Fragrances, perfumes, aromas, scents, essential oils, pot pourri, strong smelling herbs, plants and flowers, fragranced cosmetics, toiletries, washing powders and cleaning products, air fresheners, scent sprayers, toilet deodorisers. None (high in inhaled salicylates). Use fragrance free products instead or diluted vanilla essence in water in a spray bottle. See Guidelines on the Use of Perfumes and Scented Products from Toronto University in Canada (Canada is leading the world in this area, many hospitals and educational institutions have low perfume policies)

See also the fumes and perfumes factsheet which includes details of the First Defense Nasal screens, Azep Nasal Spray and Wein Air Supply.

Note about SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate): there is a lot of misinformation about this chemical. See recent blog.

This article argues that it is safe in cleaning products but not necessarily body application products:

Environmental chemical exposure is a major concern for consumers of packaged goods. The complexity of chemical nomenclature and wide availability of scientific research provide detailed information but lends itself to misinterpretation by the lay person. For the surfactant sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), this has resulted in a misunderstanding of the environmental health impact of the chemical and statements in the media that are not scientifically supported. This review demonstrates how scientific works can be misinterpreted and used in a manner that was not intended by the authors, while simultaneously providing insight into the true environmental health impact of SLS. SLS is an anionic surfactant commonly used in consumer household cleaning products. For decades, this chemical has been developing a negative reputation with consumers because of inaccurate interpretations of the scientific literature and confusion between SLS and chemicals with similar names. Here, we review the human and environmental toxicity profiles of SLS and demonstrate that it is safe for use in consumer household cleaning products.

Environ Health Insights. 2015 Nov 17;9:27-32. doi: 10.4137/EHI.S31765. eCollection 2015. Human and Environmental Toxicity of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): Evidence for Safe Use in Household Cleaning Products. Bondi CA, Marks JL, Wroblewski LB, Raatikainen HS, Lenox SR, Gebhardt KE.

See popular sunscreen recommendations from failsafe members below

Fragrance-free personal care products

Toiletries- FRAGRANCE FREE PRODUCTS (avoid fragranced products with flavor, perfume, ‘parfum’, fragrance, scent, ‘arome, essential oils or natural fragrances such as eucalyptus, mint, lavender or lemon; avoid anything that causes a reaction)


Bar soap, fragrance free

• Dove Extra Sensitive Beauty Cream Bar for sensitive skin, fragrance free, hypoallergenic and contains no colours or preservatives from supermarkets

• Velvet Sorbolene Sensitive Skin Moisturising Bar Unscented from supermarkets

We bought some of this soap in the old packaging and detected a subtle scent and contacted their quality assurance unit to check if the formulation had been changed. On sending the product back, they agreed that scent could be detected and traced the problem back to a new operator who they then re-trained in the procedure for flushing the line after producing scented soap. They exchanged our product for unscented soap and handled the query professionally and quickly, taking our concerns about the scent seriously - thanks Amelia.

• Redwin Sorbolene Moisturising Bar, available in supermarkets and pharmacies

• Redwin Unperfumed Sorbolene Moisturising Bar with Vitamin E and Glycerine has been recommended by several failsafers, including one whose son reacts to Simple soap. 

• QV range (pharmacies)

DELETED DUE TO FORMULATION CHANGE, NOW CONTAINS BENZOATES Soap free Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar for children with eczema, from many pharmacies


Liquid soap fragrance free

• Redwin (supermarkets)

• QV range (pharmacies)

• Envirocare fragrance free (health food stores)

Joy Handmade soaps are failsafe and several failsafers have praised them. Thanks to Kylie.  and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Soap Handmade soaps with all natural ingredients. The base consists of olive oil, coconut oil & rice bran oil. For the Pure & Simple range (unperfumed) you have a choice of plain or goats milk with added oatmeal if you want. There is a discount for bulk buying: 3 bars for $10, 5 bars for $15 & 7 bars for $20.

Reader review: I buy the Soapcakes Pure & Simple range. Recently a guest asked me "what is that lovely soap in your bathroom?" – thanks to Jenny

Hair products

**CAUTION** There have been reports of itchy and burning reactions to Dermaveen shampoo, conditioner, soap wash and moisturising lotion. Some have used QV, Melrose shampoo base and MooGoo products to good effect. As we never tire of saying, everyone is different. It is so individual to what product is tolerated. Try it and see. There are many scent-free products here

Hair Shampoo & conditioners – fragrance free (avoid perfume, ‘parfum’, fragrance and scent including essential oils and natural fragrance such as eucalyptus in ‘fragrance free’ shampoos
e.g. lavender essential oil in the Biologika "fragrance free" conditioner is NOT okay, thanks to Michele)

Reader report: “Thought you would like to know that the children had a reaction to Palmolive Kids shampoo and conditioner in one. (Very mild smell). Levi could not keep still and had trouble sleeping, and Sarah cried for 2 hours until we gave her a bicarb bath” – thanks to Kylie

I bought a salicylate-free shampoo online from Cleure and, aside from it costing a ton, even though it is sal-free it has a ton of other stuff in it and I don't tolerate it. Itchy, oozing red bumps on my scalp. - from failsafe Canada group

• Dermaveen Oatmeal Shampoo and Oatmeal Conditioner from pharmacies

People vary in their skin sensitivities. Most shampoos including Dermaveen contain SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) which can cause skin irritation in some people. However, many of the SLS-free formulations contain natural fragrances that can be worse than SLS for those with salicylate sensitivity. Dermaveen products are recommended by the RPAH allergy clinic - the guidelines for personal care products are: if you feel a stinging sensation on first application, discontinue use, see reader comment below.

Reader report: I went to the pharmacy to check out this shampoo, did you know it contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). I had an allergic reaction to SLS years ago the week before my wedding huge skin irritation and red rash down the side of my face due to SLS in the shampoo getting on my skin so I never use anything with it. - thanks to Lee

•  Ego QV gentle shampoo and condition ("Free from fragrance and botanical extracts")

Reader review: Salicylates affect me within minutes of eating or having on my skin so I have to be really careful with what I eat and use for toiletries - this is what I use - thanks to Tamara


•  For people with SLS sensivity, Envirocare Sensitive Body and Hair Cleanser (no SLS, no fragrance) may be a suitable alternative.

•  Alchemy Unscented Very Gentle Shampoo  & conditioner

• Melrose Everyday or Botanicals Fragrance Free Shampoo Base & Conditioner Base from health food stores and

• Simple Gentle Shampoo, Gentle Conditioner (‘no perfume no colour’) at Big W, Priceline, Kmart and pharmacies

• QV soap free wash for children with eczema from pharmacies

DELETED DUE TO NOW CONTAINING BENZOATES Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar, soap free for children with eczema, from many pharmacies

• Natural Oil Workers Unscented shampoo and conditioner from health food stores in a bright blue bottle and is quite economically priced compared to other products. Ingredient List for the shampoo is: Coconut Oil, Mountain fresh water, glycerine, sodium chloride, citric acid, natural emulsifier derived from vegetable castor oil, canpres BNPD a herbal preservative. The Conditioner is similar

Reader Review: I find Natural Oil Workers Unscented shampoo and conditioner works far better than any other products I have used, you don't get the usual build-up and it has no smell at all. I was a little worried about reacting to it but haven't had any noticeable problems. – thanks to Anna


Fragrance Free Leave-in Conditioner by Alba Botanica available from USA company but shipped in Australia. Reader comment: "I bought this product after my daughter started using it and I could see for myself how lovely her hair looked. We are both sensitive to fragrances and despite the botanical name we can't detect any smell."

Amine, salicylate and perfume-free personal products: we get many requests to link to other sites but most don't understand food intolerance but these people do although they are in USA. Let us know if you use their products. make a interesting range of soaps and household cleaning products. As a small home-based operation they can leave out the fragrances if you ask them.

• Moo Goo Scalp Friendly Shampoo, ‘No fragrance’ but contains ‘fragrant oil’

Reader Review: Moo Goo Scalp Friendly Shampoo is very low scent and psoriasis friendly. I’ve found it actually soothes and I can cope with it far better than the Dermaveen. The conditioner is no good for me, though, as it contains aloe vera (which I m allergic to). It seems to be quite commonly available in most health food stores – thanks to Nick

Hairspray, VO5 Firm Hold Weather Resistant Pump Hairspray - firm control & unscented, available from Coles  - thanks to Tamara

Several readers have reported that fragranced hairspray alone is enough to stop the diet working in their child, e.g. 'Our daughter’s behaviour and concentration have plummeted, the only thing we have done differently is a new hairspray - later - our daughter has settled down about 2-3 days after dropping the hairspray. She even said this morning gosh I feel better’ – thanks to Nic

Hair Colours - Although Logona Herbal Hair Colours with henna were recommended by a failsafer (thanks to Kyria) see the following review:

Logona Herbal Hair Colours review: I am very sensitive to fragrance, but since your product says it is free of synthetic fragrance I had hoped it would work. I would suggest however that you mention on your website that there is a strong odor, albeit "natural" - as it would encourage more care. – thanks to Paula

Deodorants – no aerosols, fragrance free roll on, stick or pump spray e.g.

• Mitchum Unscented, For Sensitive Skin, Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Roll On, supermarkets and pharmacies

• Nivea Deodorant Roll on Sensitive Fragrance Free, supermarkets and pharmacies

Reader review: I used to use the Nivea Fragrance Free roll on deodorant but they've changed the recipe & packaging and it now has a very strong scent, as well as causing a rash - thanks to Nick (April 2011)

• Miessence aroma free organic Roll on, health food stores and online

• Ego QV Naked Fragrance Free Aluminium Free Deodorant Spray for men or women Available from pharmacies all over Australia (they will order it in) or mail order.

• Deodorant recipe : Put 1 part soda bicarb and 6 parts cornflour (cornstarch) in a clean jar, close the lid and shake vigorously to mix the two powders. Dab a small amount of armpits with finger tips or a cotton ball as if you were applying baby powder. Or for a similar paste, add canola oil,

Skin care products, fragrance free

All lotions contain some kind of preservative – ointments are safer - and individual sensitivity varies. Natural botanical products can cause as many problems as artificial chemicals. Avoid any product that smells, stings or causes redness either immediately or over time.

The RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook lists (on page 113) the following suggestions.

Dermeze Ointment
Ingredients: Liquid paraffin 50%, white soft paraffin 50%, no colours, no preservatives.

Emulsifying Ointment
Ingredients Emulsifying Wax 30 w/w, White Soft Paraffin 50 w/w, Liquid Paraffin 20 w/w

Ingredients: Water Glycerin Urea Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride Octyldodecanol Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides Cetearyl Alcohol Sodium Lactate Dimethicone Arginine HCl Glyceryl Stearate SE Carnitine Chondrus Crispus Extract Phenoxyethanol C18-36 Acid Triglyceride Ethylhexylglycerin Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer Lactic Acid


QV Moisturising Lotion

Ingredients: Light Liquid Paraffin (Paraffinum Liquidum), Petrolatum, Isopropyl Myristate, Polyethylene, Cetearyl Alcohol, Silica, Dimethicone


Redwins Ingredients Water (aqua), Glycerin, Sorbitol, Stearic Acid, Mineral Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Triethanolamine, Triticum Vulgare (wheat) germ oil, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Sodium Benzoate, Chloroacetamide, Tetrasodium EDTA, p-chloro-m-cresol.

Dermaveen Moisturising Lotion update (September 2016)

"I wanted to pass on to others my recent discovery that Dermaveen Moisturising Lotion has had a change of formula.  I've been using the original formula as recommended in the RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook with no reaction, but recently purchased a new bottle and upon using the lotion my skin reacted becoming red and burning. I didn't realise the ingredients had changed. The ingredients are listed on the back of the bottle, but there's no obvious wording on the bottle to alert purchasers to the change which I thought was surprising considering the demographic the products are aimed at. I've attached a list of the original and new formulas plus photos of the bottles. " - thanks to Lee-anne


The new Dermaveen ingredients include triethanolamine and sorbic acid. In a recent study of patients with contact dermatitis, these were two of the top four most common irritants in cosmetic products  When I visited the Dermaveen website, I couldn't find any ingredient listings. This is not useful for sensitive consumers - Sue

(We welcome feedback regarding the above products. Please specify the exact name of the product and include an ingredient listing if possible: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


UPDATE February 2018

Everyone is different. Some people react to one sunscreen, others to another. Here are our current recommendations based on failsafe facebook group feedback BUT try it and see. If it doesn’t work, try another (and tell us). Note that ingredients change all the time.

RPAH say it is most important to seek products that are free from fragrances and do not contain nut oils, PABA (p-amino benzoic acid) or menthol. Nearly all sunscreens contain some preservatives.

Current most popular:

Moogoo - – many have said no reactions. 25% zinc oxide, no chemical UV filters, fragrance-free.


Invisible Zinc - tinted dayware in various formulations including Junior uses only non-nano zinc oxide with a preservative. , supermarkets and various pharmacies including online. The general consensus is that various invisible zinc types are not quite so invisible.


Cleure sunblock sensitive is pricey from USA but well-tolerated. Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide 13.5%, Titanium Dioxide 8% Inactive Ingredients: Purified Water (aqua), Methylcellulose, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Euxyl PE 9010 (mild preservative, globally considered safe and non-irritating). “I found it works really well and it's nice and smooth to rub on with no smell." - Ruth


 RPAH suitable list:

Cancer Council - many members report reactions to these currently and many types have a strong smell. The new Sensitive Invisible might be worth trying. 22% zinc oxide, fragrance-free and with three preservatives.

Ego Sunsense - members liked older formulations of these

SunSense Sensitive SPF 50+ and Invisible SPF 50+ are non-nano titanium dioxide and zinc oxide based, no chemical UV filters, and fragrance-free. SunSense Junior SPF 50+ contains chemical UV filters but no nanoparticles and is fragrance-free.

Sunsense reader review from an extra sensitive family: With few other choices, we use the RPAH recommended Sunsense Sensitive Sunscreen. It uses Titanium Dioxide as a physical blocker, and uses no chemical blockers. It contains hydroxybenzoate preservatives. My extra sensitive sons seem to cope with it for going to the beach or all day school athletics carnivals etc, but we don't use it every day. Mostly (if not swimming) we just use hats and shade.

Hamilton’s Sensitive - contains both chemical UV filters and preservatives. Some negative reports.

Soul Pattinson’s Ultrablock – appears to be no longer available by that name in Australia but may be found in NZ. Contains both chemical UV filters and preservatives.

Zinclear - appears to be no longer available by that name in Australia, possibly following fall-out from marketing as nano-free when it was not. Advance NanoTek Limited (ASX: ANO) may be supplying zinc oxides to other sunscreen manufacturers.

Other sunscreens mentioned by members, but NOT FAILSAFE:

Arbonne – non-nano zinc but botanicals. Not failsafe.

Aveeno - chemical UV filters, preservatives and fragrance. Not failsafe.

Cetaphil – chemical UV filters, benzoate preservatives. Not failsafe.

La Roche-Posay - nano titanium dioxide, chemical UV filters and benzoate preservatives. Not failsafe.

Wotnot – zinc oxide based, no titanium dioxide but has grapeseed and sesame oils. Also contains NaticideTM, an organic skincare preservative. Not failsafe.

More reading:


 Insect repellent recipe

To ward off mosquitoes, gnats, midges and other flying insects, this recipe could be worth a try:

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1 cup of water

Simply mix together and apply to the skin. You can also place some neat vanilla extract in a small open container where the gnats tend to congregate and this will keep them away. Other internet recipes containing baby oil and dettol, tea tree oil or citronella are likely to affect failsafers who are sensitive to strong smells. Thanks to Sheryl, Robin, Renee and

Lip balm and moisturiser

Lansinoh – 100% Ultra Pure anhydrous lanolin, no preservatives. From pharmacies in the nipple care section

Reader reviews:

• I use Lansinoh as a lip balm. It is marketed for breastfeeding mothers for the treatment of sore nipples, but is also recommended for use on dry or cracked skin, on chapped lips etc. For which it is great. It is fairly expensive but I have a 56gram tube which has lasted over 2 years already. – thanks to Alison

• I find Lansinoh 100% ultra pure lanoline is great, we use it on our 5 year old when he gets sore and dry lips also use behind his knees when dry and red helps lots – thanks to Anita from the failsafe eczema group

• Duncan's Ointment (preservative free zinc oxide) is now available at St Clair Pharmacy and News, Port Kennedy, WA, ph. 08 9593 0299 (pharmacists George or Kelly, or lab tech Tegan) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 90g tub for $19.95 + $10.40 express post, or $39.95 for 300g tub, or contact them for different quantities. Duncan's Ointment has been described previously as "all natural ingredients including zinc oxide for lips, cracked heels, eczema, nappy rash". Thanks to Kylie for chasing this.


Lubricants (personal) Although it contains salicylates many tolerate the Sylk lubricant derived from kiwifruit (this product is getting hard to find but can be ordered online from NZ).  KY jelly is also failsafe so far as we know. Also effective but expensive is Replens vaginal gel, which does contain sorbates. None of these contain perfumes.


Moisturisers and eczema creams

• Sorbolene, fragrance free, e.g. Redwin Sorbolene Moisturiser fragrance free, in supermarkets and pharmacies

Reader Review: For people with eczema, there are many possible problematic ingredients in sorbolene especially triethanolamine (TEA) which may cause irritation, redness and pain, especially on repeated contact. To ensure that sorbolene is free of this additive ask a local pharmacist or Compounding Pharmacist to make a batch of pure sorbolene with 10% glycerin (for added moisture retention) without TEA. – thanks to Fay

• Dermaveen Moisturising Lotion with natural colloidal oatmeal, free from dyes and fragrances, from pharmacies and Priceline stores

• Dermeze Ointment was developed by the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne for severe eczema sufferers. Available from pharmacies or online, it is just 50% soft paraffin and 50% liquid paraffin

Reader reviews

Dermeze is reasonably greasy, but good for night time application if that characteristic is a problem store it in the fridge and it is lovely and cooling - I use it on my kids (who are now free of eczema thanks to being Failsafe) and recommend it to patients – thanks to Dr Alison

I find Dermeze is heaps better than sorbolene it is a little more greasy but it works for us and is available from chemists. It may need to be ordered in, comes in a 500g tub and it lasts a long time – thanks to JB

• Failsafe Oil

Reader reviews:

The best option recommended by the failsafe eczema group was to use rice bran oil OR canola oil rubbed straight into the skin. I can report that my super sensitive 2 year old has not reacted to the canola oil on his skin – thanks to Anna and the failsafe eczema group

I continue to use rice bran oil as a moisturiser, as was recommended by people on this list). I find it great.- thanks to Judy and the failsafe eczema group

• Ego QV brand skin care from pharmacies

Reader Review: I recommend the Ego brand of skin cream made by dermatologists in Victoria Australia. We use the pot of skin cream for our daughter. I would recommend the thicker cream for putting on eczema as it seems to sting less when put onto dry, cracked skin. It is more expensive, but for an outbreak we usually need it for 3-4 days before the skin is pretty much healed. Obviously, we know the cause (dietary salicylates) so it's not likely to recur. - thanks to Jessica

Reader review: I can't use any of the commercial sorbolene creams. If I use any of them on my face I end up with a burning sensation. I have had the most success with QV brand items from the chemist. I use QV Kids Wash to wash my face (it's the only thing I've ever found which doesn't feel as though it's burning), and I've found the creams and lotions to be safe. The oatmeal hair wash is also safe and unperfumed. For me, the only alternative is to use nothing, which I do much of the time :) - thanks to Cathy

Reader review Ego QV Kids Wash: I bought the QV Kids Wash for my girls 5 and 3 and also used it myself and all three of us reacted to it in some way. For the 5 year old who is extremely sensitive to artificial colours she of course reacted behaviourally. I have since bought the QV normal wash and so far haven't noticed any reaction. The only thing I can think of is the tiny little coloured beads in the Kids wash. (Although described as “colour free” on their website, this product contains tiny beads of 3 natural colours) I was wondering if anyone else may have experienced this”. - thanks to Melanie

• Emulsifying ointment

Emulsifying Ointment is a moisturizer for very dry, cracked skin (eczema, dermatitis). It is mixture of emulsifying wax, white soft paraffin and liquid paraffin with no colours, fragrances or preservatives, There are several brands available from pharmacies

• Simple Skincare Rich Moisturiser

In a UK trial of 13 moisturisers over six weeks, Simple Skincare’s Rich Moisturiser outperformed more expensive brands. Simple products never contain perfumes, but failsafers may have problems with other ingredients including botanicals. At Big W, Priceline, Kmart and pharmacies

• Moo Goo Eczema & Psoriasis Balm

Reader review: Moo Goo do all types of shampoos, creams and soaps without all the nasties. I have eczema on my hands and I started using the Moo Goo Eczema & Psoriasis Balm and it has helped considerably. – thanks to Michelle

• Duncan's Ointment (preservative free zinc oxide) is now available at St Clair Pharmacy and News, Port Kennedy, WA, ph. 08 9593 0299 (pharmacists George or Kelly, or lab tech Tegan) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 90g tub for $19.95 + $10.40 express post, or $39.95 for 300g tub, or contact them for different quantities. Duncan's Ointment has been described previously as "all natural ingredients including zinc oxide for lips, cracked heels, eczema, nappy rash". Thanks to Kylie for chasing this.

Facial cleanser (fragrance free) for eczema from Cleure

Reader report: I have been using the facial cleansing system for two weeks and the small amounts of stubborn eczema and adult acne which have hung about - even after going completely failsafe and even further restrictive due to additonal allergies and intolerances - has started to clear up quite miraculously. – thanks to Emma

•  Face Moisturiser - Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture Sensitive Skin - thanks to Tamara

•  Face Cleanser - La Roche Posay Toleriane Softening Foaming Gel, available from National Pharmacies

Reader review: I was so happy when I found this as it was so hard to find a fragrance free cleanser for normal/combination skin.- thank to Tamara

Shaving foam, gel or soap

•   Shaving product, fragrance free/low fragrance Gillette Fusion HydraGel Pure & Sensitive
Reader comment  - it is "dye and perfume free", but it does have a slight citrus smell however I cannot smell any residual fragrance after my husband has washed the product off.  Chemist Warehouse for around the $6 mark.  My husband is not sensitive to sals and fragrances but I am.  The product is definitely not failsafe in itself, but at least it doesn't leave a residual smell for me who is sensitive to fragrances. I don't use this product for shaving - I just use Dermaveen liquid soap - thanks Jodie

• Schick Skin Protect Sensitive Shave Gel Fragrance Free seems to be no longer available?

Reader Review: Schick Sensitive Shave Gel really is fragrance free – many of the “Sensitive” or “Neutral fragrance” shave gels on the market still have a very strong fragrance to them. I used to find that that the smell of my husband’s old “Sensitive” shaving gel would stay on his face and in the shower for quite a while and was quite frustrating when we are trying to avoid all perfumes/fragrances.- thanks to Jodie

• The Art of Shaving Shaving Soap with Bowl or refills - unscented , but not cheap

• Shaving cream: Redwin Sorbolene Moisturiser - All over body moisturiser - is recommended as a shaving cream for legs, underarm and face  

Reader review: I tried this on my legs and it really works - thanks to Robyn

Toilet paper and tissues, no perfumes, no aloe vera, no eucalyptus (e.g. Sorbent hypoallergenic, Kleenex hypoallergenic)


Toothpaste and other dental products


Toothpaste - see separate factsheet

Dental floss, Plain (not mint flavoured)


Cosmetics - fragrance free (sensitivities vary so you have to try and see for yourself). Reviews welcome.

  • Both Clinique and Inika have been removed as suitable cosmetic brands, as they contain salicylates, sorbates and preservatives. Inika's loose mineral powder is OK, as are others like Adore Beauty and Youngblood. Flower Beauty by Drew Barrymore (exclusive to Chemist Warehouse in Australia), looks like the majority of its products are failsafe, and might be a better suggestion - thanks Caroline.

Reader report : Makeup hints from a failsafe dancer with severe eczema:I found a great mascara from a health food shop from; And a great red lipstick that doesn't make lips go puffy - from hemp organics www.colorganics.netThanks to Cathy

Reader report - Tamara's Makeup: Salicylates affect me within minutes of eating or having on my skin so I have to be really careful with what I eat and use for toiletries. So I thought I would share with you the toiletries I use so that they might be able to help others. I found the best place for getting cosmetics was Priceline because they have lists of all of the ingredients in each cosmetic product - some (eg lipsticks) often don't have it on the packaging.I don't seem to be affected by colours on my skin, and haven't really done proper testing to determine if I am affected by consuming them but I avoid them anyway. It took me ages to find all of these but I am now happy with them.
I don't use makeup every day, but for occasional use I have had no problems with the following:
Primer: Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer
Foundation: Nude by Nature Natural Mineral Cover (powder)
Blush: Rimmel London Match Perfection Blush
Eyeshadow: Revlon ColorStay range
Lipstick: MaxFactor Lipfinity Lip Colour (12 hour colour, that way I am not eating it!).  It has a nice lip balm you put over the top that stops it drying out.
Make up wipes: Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes  - thanks to Tamara

Feminine hygiene products, fragrance free (avoid fragrances including essential oils) e.g.

• Libra disposable pads are fragrance free – thanks to Robin

Fragrance free alternatives to disposable pads

• Menstrual products “personally I use a 'mooncup' ordered from  - there is also an American brand called diva but they do not deliver to Australia. Made of silicon and I think would suit some sensitive people (aside from the environmental credentials)” - thanks Fiona.  

• Organic cotton washable cloth pads, it’s worth reading the testimonials on - thanks to Cas

Reader report: I’ve started to have a problem with pads; they make everything stinky these days :-( - thanks to Sheryl

More fragrance free environmentally friendly personal care products – thanks to Kyria

• Biome Living Shop 4 / 2 Latrobe Tce Paddington Qld, 07 3368 3009 for a range of fragrance free and environmentally-friendly products

• Ecover washing & cleaning range

Medications, supplements and vitamins

Warning Pharmaceutical products such as supplements and medications have to list preservatives but not other ingredients such as artificial colours and flavours. You can usually find the complete list of ingredients on the CMIs (Consumer Medicine Information sheets). CMIs are generally available at Take essential medication, avoiding nasty additives where possible. White tablets are best Avoid unnecessary medication. For more information, ask for our Medications Information sheet (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


(no flavoured, preserved syrups, no artificial colours, no preservatives, no aspirin)

Most brands of paracetamol tablets or capsules contain potassium sorbate (preservative 202) and syrups contain artificial colours or flavours. The following brands are free of nasty additives.

• Panadol Mini Caps: consist of 500 mg white preservative-free powder in artificially coloured gelatine capsules. Use the powder and throw away the capsule.

• Herron Capseals: consist of 500 mg white preservative-free powder in artificially coloured gelatine capsules. Use the powder and throw away the capsule.

• Herron Gold paracetamol tablets and tabsules (no thanks to the TGA, colour ingredients do not have to be listed on pharmaceuticals, however the yellow is iron oxide colour 172, failsafe)

• Amcal Paracetamol Pain Relief white preservative free tablets (from Amcal pharmacies or the Amcal online pharmacy Amcal Online

• For children, the dose is 15mg paracetamol per kg body weight. It is possible to divide a white adult tablet, crush and serve with 1 tbsp of golden syrup or failsafe ice cream but it is essential to get the dose correct, ask a compounding pharmacist to an additive-free children’s syrup for you, see under Compounding in the yellow pages. For babies ask for our Paracetamol for Babies recipe

• Paracetamol + codeine without sorbates or other additives, Apo-Paracetamol/Codeine 500/30 manufactured by Apotex Ltd (minimise use as codeine is addictive)

• Chemists Own brand tablets, paracetamol simply called Pain Tablets – thanks to Jane

• Extra Strong Pain Relief Terry White chemists own brand,

Reader review: I notice you mention Panadol brand has preservative. I react to Panadol so avoid all their products. I needed a stronger painkiller last week and went searching. I found Terry White chemists own brand 'Extra Strong Pain Relief' which has no preservatives or artificial colours. According to the pharmacist it also has no flavourings. I used these for a week without any major trouble so thought it might help for other people to know of as it is pretty horrible to be worrying about having a major reaction to your medication when you are already sick! – thanks to Anna

Aspirin, none (NOT suitable for your elimination diet • people with salicylate sensitivity must avoid aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) because it is a salicylate challenge!)

Warning: aspirin containing medications and lotions, ibuprofen (Nurofen), naproxen, diclofenac and similar NSAIDs are not suitable for a low salicylate diet. While ibupofen and others do not contain salicylates, they have been shown to affect the majority of salicylate-sensitive people with an aspirin type reaction. Codeine is addictive and should be used with caution.

Warning about fever in children: there has been a medical mind change on fever - experts now say that fever has beneficial effects in fighting infection, and there is no need to bring down a child’s temperature with medication

Worm tablets

There are no failsafe medications for worms. Combantrin orange flavoured tablets are supposed to be the best tolerated * but some failsafers say they react, especially if doing the 3 day course. Has anyone tried an additive free alternative from a compounding pharmacist?

Reader review: Combatrin I have treated the whole family today with combantrin, within ten minutes my daughter’s cheeks were bright red and this evening she has big dark circles under her eyes.

Wound care

• Duncan's Ointment (preservative free zinc oxide) is now available at St Clair Pharmacy and News, Port Kennedy, WA, ph. 08 9593 0299 (pharmacists George or Kelly, or lab tech Tegan) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 90g tub for $19.95 + $10.40 express post, or $39.95 for 300g tub, or contact them for different quantities. Duncan's Ointment has been described previously as "all natural ingredients including zinc oxide for lips, cracked heels, eczema, nappy rash". Thanks to Kylie for chasing this.

Comments on suitable compounds (eg Betadeine, Savlon) and treatments (eg which brands of bandaids) welcome. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Antidote for food intolerance reactions

ENO regular antacid powder (ingredients: sodium bicarbonate,sodium carbonate, citric acid) temporary relief for stomach upsets, has also been found to worked for food intolerance reactions including hyperactivity, difficulty falling asleep, itchy rashes, headaches and stomach aches. Use according to directions on bottle. Do not exceed recommended doses. Not recommended for children. Failsafers say that baking soda baths (bi-carb soda) baths can help (adult dose is half a cup of soda bicarb or 1 tsp per 4 litres of soda bicarb for babies)

Vitamins and supplements

Avoid multivitamins with colours, flavours, PABA. See also Supplements Factsheet

Adult multivitamins:

**WARNING** Amcal One-A-Day multivitamins are NOT FAILSAFE as the new formulation (Sept 2014) contains BHA 320, BHT 319 and sunset yellow 110.

• Blackmores Slow Release Multi-Vitamin are suitable for your supervised elimination diet* Note that Blackmore’s sustained release Multivitamin, which is recommended, has changed label it appears to Blackmore sustained release Multi + antioxidant. Same product.

Reader review: Blackmores Slow Release Multi-vitamin is the only one in the range with no herbs. It does have one plant product which acts as a gel (to provide the slow release effect) but this doesn’t seem to provide any ‘flavours’ and so far have had no problems. – thanks to Liz and Anna

Cenovis Multivitamin and minerals are suitable for your supervised elimination diet.

• Elevit pregnancy vitamins are suitable for your supervised elimination diet  - no lactose, dairy or gluten (thanks Vivienne)

Reader review: Some dietitians recommend Elevit pregnancy supplements (half dose for children). They are easy to halve and crush for kids. Thanks to Anne

• Vitamin supplement for children: Orthoplex Children's Formula

Calcium supplements

Caltrate tablets must be plain white (see Supplements factsheet for more information)

Probiotics, None. (Not suitable for your supervised elimination diet • for people who have finished challenges, we have heard that some dietitians recommend probiotics in the long term. They must be dairy free for people who are avoiding dairy. See also factsheet on probiotics e.g. Inner Health Plus, Inner Health for Kids

Fluoride tablets Warning fluoride tablets are generally now not recommended, however, if recommended by your dentist check for artificial colour sunset yellow (110), unlisted on the label because pharmaceuticals do not have to list all ingredients. If you ask the manufacturer they are likely to tell you the colour is CI 15985. This is another name for colour (110).

Fish oil supplements, none (Not suitable for your supervised elimination diet)

Reader review: My six year old son had an horrific adverse reaction to [a fish oil supplemement with flavouring] and was waking up through the night on it, in fact, he asked me if he could stop taking it”. - thanks to a failsafe father, more information, Supplements Factsheet

updated February 2023