MIGRAINE and Sunless Tanners

UPDATE 2/25/2017:

I’m guessing if you clicked this post, you have migraines. I’m not kidding or exaggerating when I say, I found my miracle. It’s changed my life. Check out the blog post on my author blog for the details, but seriously, if you suffer migraines, DO THIS.

Okay. Now onto the article you clicked here for…

August 11, 2013

Vanity be gone.

I got my butt kicked by Tyramine from a pretty ridiculous source, and I’m now on day five of a particularly hideous migraine. What was the cause?


Yep. Migraine and sunless tanners go hand-in-hand. Last summer I noticed a correlation between headaches and sunless tanner use. In fact, if I really think about it, I’ve know for years how bad the stuff is, but vanity put me in denial. I’m a white girl. I mean, a WHITE girl of English heritage. I joke I have two shades: white and pink. And it’s not the pretty milky white some are blessed with. It’s a splotchy blue-ish white that looks like hell. Tanned legs always look better, make you look more fit, more healthy (even though it’s not) and since my skin doesn’t really tan, sunless tanner was my answer. I’ve tried every brand over the years thinking maybe the next one wont give me a headache or make me sick with the smell.

Migraine and Sunless Tanners

Well you know what? It ain’t gonna happen. It’s time I face it.

Later this week, my feller and I are heading out on motorcycle journey to Denver, and since we’ll be staying places with pools, I figured I’d start a week before building my fake tan. Last Wednesday, I doused myself but good with the stuff, and by that evening, felt the migraine coming on. How did I know it was the self-tanner and not something else? Because the smell had been bothering me all day, and it was a different feeling migraine than my usual. So I Googled it. And guess what the active ingredient in most self tanner is?

Migraine and Sunless Tanners

L-tyrosine. Tyrosine is an amino acid. Tyromine is a monoamine derived from tyrosine, and a known migraine trigger. That’s why people with migraine shouldn’t eat any kind of aged meats or cheeses, because of increasing tyromine levels in the brain. (L-tyrosine is also in many protein drinks, so be careful.)

And yet… there I was, rubbing it into my skin. What the heck is wrong with me? That pile of sunless tanners in the above pictures? I found all of them in my bathroom cabinet today. They’re now trash-bound so I’m not tempted next time I put on a cute summer dress and hate my pasty legs.

Migraine and Sunless Tanners

I’ve been eliminating  topical chemicals as well as the ones in my food and the ones in the pans used to cook. I’ve switched to Argon oil to moisturize my face. Coconut oil for the rest of my body. I’m using baking soda to brush my teeth. Using pure Castille soap in the shower and all natural shampoo… yet because of vanity, I chose to rub a chemical into my skin so I’d look a little tan. How stupid is that? Perhaps this nasty migraine is the wake-up call I need, and not just regarding the sunless tanner. About all tyramine issues.

I’ve been doing really well taking my lunches everyday since January. I rarely, and I mean RARELY miss. BUT… I’m still not eating a migraine-free diet.

To be honest, I’ve been in selective denial of the tyramine issue. I’ve know for about ten years that peanuts knock me for a loop. And of course alcohol, lunchmeats, sausages, hot dogs… any aged meats–basically, the obvious tyramine inducing foods which I avoid completely. The selective denial part comes into play regarding the stuff I love. Avocados. Coconut. Aged cheese. Sourdough bread. Raspberries.  Nuts. Not just peanuts. All nuts. No, that stuff doesn’t bother me, I’d say. But if it doesn’t, why am I still suffering with migraines?

For example. Know what I had for lunch yesterday in the midst of this migraine? A good, no-additive tuna (which is fine) served on an Asiago Sourdough bread from the farmer’s market, topped with a slice of Jarlsburg cheese–three big tyramine no-nos: Sourdough, and not one, but two types of aged cheese. And guess what? My already four-day old migraine went nuclear this morning.

And you know that nice granola I just posted, the one I totally love? Coconut. Bad. Pecans. Bad. Dried Cherries. Bad. I am so, so sad.


To read about about other Tyramine foods, check out this list.

Okay. Now it’s time to move on past the sad and the pain, and try again. I’ve eliminated foods I loved in the past and lived through it. I’ll live through this as well. Time to purge it all, and gradually add things back in so I can figure it all out.

And please… don’t laugh or judge when my pasty body is sitting poolside.

Until next time…

Later gators.

Going to reiterate this….


I’m not kidding or exaggerating. It’s changed my life. Check out the blog post on my author blog for the details, but seriously, if you suffer, DO THIS.

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