Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Did You Know You Could Be Allergic to Vitamin E?

'cause you can, as I discovered the hard way.

I don't think it's possible to be allergic to consuming naturally-present vitamin E, fortunately, since it's a necessary nutrient and the effects of a vitamin E deficiency are pretty horrifying.

A vitamin E skin allergy, though? Oh yes.

See, sometimes I wake up with puffy eyes. This really only happens in spring, most likely because I have allergies. I can't sleep laying flat, so my puffiness isn't ever really that bad, but "none" is better than "a little" when it comes to stretching out your eye area. So, naturally, I did the first thing any self-respecting child of the internet would do when confronted with a medical problem.

I went to WebMD to make sure I wasn't developing some kind of eye cancer. Then, I hit up Google.

I came across this post on love your skin beautiful, and figured it was worth a shot. I've got vitamin E oil (it helps preserve the other oil blends I make), I've got eyes, why not? While Ashley Steinmann doesn't mention specifically using vitamin E for puffy eyes there, there are enough other sites suggesting vitamin E for the under-eye area that I figured I'd give it a go.

[caption id="attachment_3387" align="aligncenter" width="513"]Vitamin E capsule. It looks so harmless.[/caption]

There's only one problem -- while I may not have any issues taking in vitamin E in food, my body had zero interest in having it on my skin. Within a few minutes after applying it, my eyes began to feel a little itchy. It wasn't anything serious, so I chalked it up to my springtime allergies and went to bed. After all, it's just  vitamin E, what harm could it do?

Holy butts, don't ever let me utter those words again.

When I woke up the next day, my eyes were puffier than they've ever been in my life. The itching had subsided, but the pink, baggy puffiness was otherworldly. I would have taken a picture of it, but me looking like I crawled out of a sewer filled with TMNT-style mutagen ooze is not a situation I wanted to immortalize. How could a couple innocent drops of vitamin E do this to me?

I felt hurt. I felt betrayed. I felt like Kuato.

[caption id="attachment_3386" align="aligncenter" width="513"] "Quaaaaaid..."[/caption]

As it turns out? Allergic contact dermatitis from vitamin E is totally a thing. Not a common thing, not a thing I was aware I had, but a thing nonetheless. I didn't experience issues where I'd used it elsewhere on my body, but repeated exposure may make things worse (and the words "erythema multiforme–like lesions" don't really appeal to me). So... It looks like the vitamin E is back to being used as a preservative in my oil blends, and I'm back to using jojoba oil.

Do you have any tricks for preventing puffy eyes?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Protect Your Head.

I don't really wear my hair down.

Not outside, anyhow. I take it down when I'm home sometimes, if I can keep the unruly mass from getting in my way.

Usually it's in a bun, speared through with a gnarled wooden hair fork or a bit of shed antler. Sometimes it's in a braid, laying against my shoulder. Sometimes it has ribbons, or beads, or tassels, or feathers. Accessorizing it is often just a matter of fashion. Wearing it up is less so.

Some other witches and Pagan women come from traditions that practice veiling or securing their hair. Some veils are long and cover most or all of the hair. Some are as small as a square of lace. Some people just pin their hair up. Sometimes, a veil serves as a group identifier. Sometimes, it's to show obeisance to a deity. Sometimes, it's just to keep the miasma of the world from clinging to it.

In my case, I keep my hair secured because I shed like a golden retriever and sympathetic magick is a thing.

[caption id="attachment_3369" align="aligncenter" width="511"]Brunette woman with side braid, sitting next to a man. Plus I'm kind of a sucker for braids.[/caption]

If you subscribe to the idea that a curse doesn't necessarily need to have a ritual behind it -- that any malevolent thought or sotto voce wish for harm directed at you can serve as one -- then it makes sense to avoid picking up as much of that as possible. Naturally, a great deal of this can be achieved by not being a butthole. Witches are also taught to shield ourselves before we go out, to create a kind of magick bubble that will keep other people's bull where it belongs. I try my best to never be a dingus to a stranger and to keep myself shielded, but I'd also like to avoid leaving bits of myself around to pick up whatever bad vibes some random might be throwing off.

Hair is often used as a way to tie magick to a person. If someone I know and like wants to do a spell for me, I can hand over whatever they'd need. If I'm passing through a crowd and someone I don't know springs a dainty hateboner for me because they're having a bad day, I don't really need to help them direct their malevolence my way, you know?

There's actually a lot of magick surrounding hair itself, too. Many of us unbind our hair and shake it out during spellwork. I've used locks of hair for knot magick. Tying a strand to a blossoming cherry tree is said to help attract your true love. Tying sprigs of herbs, flowers, crystals, or other curios into your hair allows you to carry them with you as you go about your day. Hair's pretty important.

Do you practice veiling? What purpose does it serve for you?