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Whiteface, Chapped Lips, and My Dermatone Allergy

Mother nature teased us last week with some absolutely perfect spring-like days. Beautiful blue skies, warm temperatures, and perfect Adirondack corn snow.

In fact, it was so nice out that we spent most of our free time skiing at Whiteface.

Here is a photo of Upper Skyward taken from the Summit Quad.

One consequence of skiing so much is that your face takes a beating. The combination of sun, wind, and dry air can be brutal.

So when my lips started drying out last week I reached for some lip balm. The product that just happened to be closest to my hand was SPF 23 Dermatone.

While I had never used this particular product, I thought nothing of it. Lip balm is lip balm is lip balm. Right? Besides, Dermatone is wildly popular among outdoor enthusiasts.

The next morning however, I woke up talking like a ventriloquist. My mouth felt like what I imagine it feels like after an injection of Botox. Y’ouch!

For a brief moment I suspected the Dermatone might be the culprit, but a quick look at the ingredients turned up nothing strange, and I have never had a reaction to lip balm or sunscreen before. So I shrugged off the thought, chalked it up to a bad case of chapped lips running its course, and headed back to the slopes!

This time, heeding the advice of all of the skin cancer PSA’s, I decided to protect not only my Botox swollen lips, but indeed my entire face. So on went the Dermatone Lip and Face Protector! Forehead, cheeks, eyes…

I was a great day on the mountain followed by a fun night with friends.

And then this is how I woke up the next morning…

What, isn’t that what chapped lips look like?

Might be hard to tell from that photo – we took it hastily on our way out the door to the emergency room – but my eyes are pretty much swollen shut. I’m trying hard to open them for the picture and what you see there is the best I could do.

If you compare that with a photo of me before the swollen face, you can see how drastic an allergic reaction this really was.

Yeah, ok, no one is buying that…

Clearly though, I was having one nasty allergic reaction to something. And all signs pointed to the Dermatone.

Oh by the way, hi mom, hi dad. They read the website regularly and are probably hearing about all of this for the first time right now – I’m a good son, what can I say. But don’t feel too bad for them, I can just about guarantee they are giggling about my predicament, while reminiscing about that time in 6th grade when I was stung in the nose by a bee.

So, back to this allergic reaction.

At the ER the doctors and nurses were very nice. They confirmed I wasn’t going to die or a lose my eyesight, and sent me home on a diet of Benadryl and Zantac. Both of which promptly knocked me out for the night.

And then this is how I woke up the next morning…

Lookin sexy! Jess is one lucky lady.

That is actually significant improvement over the night before. I can now keep my eyes open without a struggle, which is what is allowing me to type up this post.

I’m hoping a few more rounds of Benadryl and another night’s sleep will get me even closer to normal. Sure, it was fun for a day, but the Quasimodo look is getting kind of annoying now.

As for what exactly caused this reaction? Well, I’ve poured over the labels of the two products in question, and the only ingredient that they do not share with other products I have used recently (and that have not caused a reaction) is something called: “Padimate O”

A bit of google research tells me that this is an organic compound related to PABA, and while PABA is known to cause the occasional allergic reaction, Padimate O allergies are supposedly rare.

Just my luck!


  1. tourpro

    My wife has this belief that Dermatone will actually keep your skin warmer.

    The poor kids would have that stuff all over their face like. I used to tell them that Dermatone is actually made of seal-blubber.

    Ever tried to clean that stuff off your glasses or goggles?

    • Dave

      Ha, maybe I’m allergic to seal blubber!

  2. Joann

    I guess this is an appropriate time to say I’m sorry for teasing you while you were having an allergic reaction. No one said it is easy, but it sure is fun to live here.
    We are glad you are getting better Dave!
    Whiteface this week?

    • Dave

      I complain about so many things, one of them is bound to be serious every once in awhile – so don’t feel bad for the teasing. 🙂 Sure wish I could have spent today at Whiteface!

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