Lash technician forced to give up her dream job - after becoming allergic to "everything"
Chronic urticaria angioedema
A former lash technician had to give up her job after it triggered an allergy to ‘everything’ - including fruit, alcohol, painkillers and antibiotics.
Silje Søndrål Reinertsen, 22, suffers from chronic urticaria angioedema - an autoimmune condition which causes her face to swell and break out in hives during an allergic reaction. Initially she was triggered by the ingredients in lash glue - but before long, “anything and everything” would cause a flare-up. Now, she has to carry an EpiPen around 24/7 - and quit the job she spent £29k training for.
Silje, from Stavangar, Norway, said: “Doctors can’t say for sure what triggers my allergies - it can be anything and everything. I was constantly scared at the beginning of my health journey - I was afraid of how much my allergies were impacting my life. It’s so difficult not knowing what exactly I’m allergic to - I could be out with friends and they’d all-of-a-sudden tell me my face had completely swollen.”
Just one year into her job, she started seeing bizarre side-effects to the glue she would use - including blemishes all over her face, a runny nose and a sore throat - which felt like it was closing up. The allergies began to be triggered by other, everyday items - like face moisturiser, paracetamol and orange juice.
Silje, who now studies graphic design at the University of Stavangar, said: “I didn’t realise how strong the glue would be - and that it releases chemicals into the air. I was working from home, so I never got a break from it. I had blemishes all over my face, my throat was closing, my nose was running - I was sick, all the time.
"I was once out shopping and my friend pointed my face out - I didn't know that it had totally swollen. I’d swell up and I didn’t understand what was going on - even after drinking my morning orange juice.”
Paracetamol and other painkillers
Raw citrus fruits
Moisturiser and other facial creams
Silje’s would take antihistamines to help with the swelling - but for the most part, it was a matter of waiting it out. She even found she’d become allergic to antibiotics, after she was prescribed them for a UTI in 2020. Despite being newly allergic to antibiotics and over-the-counter painkillers, Silje continued taking them to fight her health condition - alongside antihistamines.
In 2020, Silje finally decided to see her GP about her symptoms - and what she could do to alleviate them. She was told she needed to start making big lifestyle changes as soon as possible - including changing career paths.
She said: “It was the stress of my job, as well as the glue. We thought it might be the latex at first - but after trying non-latex glue, it still gave me a reaction. I was really disappointed to end my career as a lash technician - and really afraid of losing out on stability. But I knew I needed to do it for my health.”
Silje also cut out citrus fruits, paracetamol, antibiotics and alcohol - among other things, as well as taking antihistamines four times a day and carrying an EpiPen around with her at all times.