OTC topical antihistamine without propylene glycol?
December 30, 2017 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Last time I spent time reading labels at the drug store, the only topical antihistamine without propylene glycol was Allegra cream. Now it's discontinued, and I only have a tiny bit left -- and it's cold, and scarves and stuff around my neck seem to be irritating it. Any suggestions?

The question says it all, except that I'm traveling so mail-order isn't that easy for me -- but it's totally an option if that's what I have to do.

I am taking Allegra tablets every day, but sometimes that's not enough, and sometimes I prefer to not take antihistamines internally if I don't have to.

Polyethylene glycol is OK, so far. Not sure about ethylene glycol, butylene glycol, or other glycols - in general, I'm worried about _developing_ an allergy to these things, so I avoid them when I can, but use them at time of need.

Oh, and I'm a little allergic to a couple of topical steroids, but will consider the others, again, if no alternative can be found. And if I can find a doctor when traveling.
posted by amtho to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
Benadryl anti-itch spray does not list any of those things in its ingredients (at least per the Target website.) Listed inactive ingredients are Alcohol, Glycerin, PVP, Purified Water, Tromethamine.

Decades ago my school nurse claimed that you could put liquid Benadryl (the kind meant for oral use) on the skin, but I can't comment on either the safety or efficacy of that. Apparently it's possible to overdose on Benadryl via topical use, and I'm not sure about the concentrations in something intended for topical use vs intended for oral use, so use caution if you try that.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:49 AM on December 30, 2017

Compounding pharmacies can make topical creams without ingredients you have allergies to. These products may expire sooner and be more expensive, but it's an option you could explore with your doctor.
posted by danielleh at 9:59 AM on December 30, 2017

Look at other delivery methods - the spray referenced above, or the roll-on stick.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:35 AM on December 30, 2017

Approaching this question from a different angle- is there wool in your scarf? Wool gives me a neck rash, and so do some acrylics and knits.

A 100% silk scarf might be better- silk is very warm and feels great. You can find beautiful vintage ones that are very affordable.

I have a vintage 100% silk men's tuxedo scarf in a plain dark colour that I adore which is warmer and much less itchy than anything else. I like to spread it over my neck before putting on my coat as the wool in my coat fabric feels unpleasantly scratchy and gives me a rash.

Removing the allergen (wool?) seems like a better long-term solution than treating the allergy.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:00 AM on December 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

Along the lines of what pseudostrabismus said, definitely try a different type of scarf if you're getting irritated when you wear it and discontinue use of topical antihistamines. I've developed contact dermatitis allergies to 3 types of common cleaning and skin products so far, some of which are used on fabric and in shoes, and I also get rashes from 2 antibiotics so far. My allergist warned me against using topical antihistamines in the case of flare-ups related to any of that, because they can be sensitizing to the skin in and of themselves and so are contraindicated for treating irritant contact dermatitis.
posted by limeonaire at 2:07 PM on December 30, 2017

Response by poster: I made myself a very large silk scarf a few weeks ago (and washed with non-allergenic detergent, and rinsed oh-so-thoroughly) to try to alleviate this problem, and haven't worn a wool scarf at all this year. I've also stopped wearing necklaces. It's helped, but not completely solved the problem.

That aside, I still need to have a topical antihistamine on hand because, for me anyway, life happens and sometimes one has reactions to stuff.
posted by amtho at 9:14 PM on December 30, 2017

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