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Sensitivity to DIY Ingredients?

Discussion in 'DIY E-Liquid' started by Bundy1971, Feb 27, 2018.

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  1. Bundy1971

    Bundy1971 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 13, 2015
    Cleveland, OH
    I've been vaping for 3+ years and never had any physical reactions/problems with commercial e-liquid, other than the price!

    I'm pretty new to DIY (2 months) and feel like I'm starting to get a "bad" reaction to my eliquid. I was fine for the first month and a half, but every night for the last 10 days or so I get a sore throat and congestion, and wake up the same way. By around noon I seem to be fine. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    I use flavorings from all the common name brands: CAP, TPA, FA, FLV, INW, LA, etc., and I don't use excessive amounts in recipes (usually around 8%-12%). My nic is 100mg/ml VaporsTek, and most of my mixes are 3mg. My PG/VG is Nature's Oil from Bulk Apothecary.

    I assume it's not the flavorings since they are the same the commercial guys use, which leaves the nic and PG/VG. Has anyone ever had a sensitivity or reaction they were able to track to specific ingredients? Has PG/VG from a specific brand caused anyone problems? Same for nic?
     
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  2. stols001

    stols001 Mistress of the Dark Nicotinic Arts Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 30, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    It could definitely be a sensitivity to a particular type of VG/PG, I think someone stated recently that some VG is made from coconut oil and some folks don't react well to it. I guess it would also be possible that the nicotine isn't "right" for you.

    It is also possible to develop a sensitivity over time.... I vaped PG when I dual used and then went back to smoking, and I can't tolerate much PG when I finally switched over to just vaping.

    You could try isolating the ingredients.... Vape a 0 nic mix at your usual percentages and see what that's like. Nic does sort of "vary' between vendor, so if your nic is too harsh, you could try another vendor or nic salts (most vendors will send a nic sample for the cost of shipping, if you ask). Might also try a different VG and PG. I'd also try just straight VG, and see if your symptoms "worsen" some folks report that too much VG causes a heavy feeling and congestion in the lungs.

    As far as flavors, I'd say it's possible to have sensitivities to flavors as well. My system seems to not like vanillas so I don't use them. I guess you could mix up single flavor mixes too (if all the rest seems fine) to isolate which flavor(s) are giving you trouble.

    That's probably how I'd approach it, but it is possible to get DIY anything and wind up sensitive to it. When I found a nicotine I liked for DIY (Nicotine River, nic salts) I stuck with it.

    Best of luck figuring it out! Maybe try one of your old all day "vapes" and see how you do with it, that might help you narrow things down, too.

    Best of luck,

    Anna
     
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  3. BrotherBob

    BrotherBob Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Dec 24, 2014
    Sunnyvale,CA,USA
    You could try some simple tests to determine where the problem is:
    Vaping VG only, and see how your throat reacts.
    Vaping PG only, ".
    Vaping VG with your standard nic mg (mg's/ml) , and see how your throat reacts.
    Vaping PG ".
    If the introduction of nic seems to be the cause, might want to reduce the mg's or look into Nicotine salts as an alternative to free base nic.
    Other causes can be viewed below.
    Might like to read:
    Why Vaping May Lead to Throat Irritation | White Cloud
    Vaping and Sore Throat - Mig Vapor Ecig News and Vaping Blog
     
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  4. JCinFLA

    JCinFLA Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 21, 2015
    I know different people are sensitive to different things, but I've personally used Bulk Apothecary's VG & PG for several years now with no problems. At least 1/2 dozen local friends also use it and haven't said anything about troubles with it. There are also many on ECF who DIY and use it, too. I haven't seen problems mentioned from them either.

    However, not everyone does their DIY at the same VG/PG ratio. Some people do get some congestion with higher VG ratios, with any brand of PG and VG. What ratio do you currently make yours? Is that the same ratio that was in your store-bought eliquid?

    As far as the sore throat, I'd lean toward it being a problem with the nic base. Maybe that brand is too harsh for you even at 3mg.
     
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  5. lil_buddy

    lil_buddy Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 9, 2017
    Vape unflavored liquid for a few days and see if it goes away. If it does, there's a flavor extract that is not working for you. If it doesn't you are having problems with either your VG or PG. To determine that, next step would be to vape pure VG (with a touch of distilled water to decrease viscosity)
     
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  6. Bundy1971

    Bundy1971 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 13, 2015
    Cleveland, OH
    Thanks for the replies!

    I'm vaping some commercial stuff for the next couple days to see if it goes away (Coil Butter Le Berry).

    I'm not really trying anything crazy with DIY, just some basic 2 or 3 fruit mixes at 80/20 (VG/PG), 3mg. I got a couple HiC recipes that are steeping as we speak as well (Red Cream Soda and Orange Pop).

    I hope it's not the nic! I tried a few different vendors and the VT is the only one that didn't taste like crap to me. NicSelect will probably be my next choice if it that turns out to be the issue.

    I like the BA PG/VG - seems very clean and has a good, slightly sweet taste. It's probably my mixing, but one thing I noticed is flavors seemed a bit muted and lacked depth. It seemed like flavors blended together into one "taste" as opposed to being able to distinguish them, if that makes sense? Beyond the throat thing, I was curious to see what happens to flavor with another brand, so I already ordered some PG/VG from Liquid Barn.

    If it goes away, I'll try to isolate the problem using your suggestions. It is possible that I have a stubborn bug, too, which I'd be happy about!
     
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  7. IDJoel

    IDJoel Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 20, 2015
    Boise, ID
    I am one of those vapers that seems to have a rather narrow preference/tolerance of PG/VG ratio. I have been vaping for more than 5 years. When I started; high PG ratios, for use in cartos (which didn't play well with thicker liquids), was the norm. As drippers, and cloud chasing became more popular, the PG/VG ratios swung to heavier, and heavier, VG. Now, it seems, high (≥30PG/70VG) has become the norm.

    As my equipment changed, and my vaping style (and goals) changed, I more or less followed the trend. I didn't notice any issues for the first 4(ish) years. Then, I began to become aware of an unpleasant heaviness in my chest, and a morning cough complete with phlegm, that was reminiscent of my 30+ years of smoking. Needless to say; I didn't like it.

    I had read of others, who had similar reactions, and had found relief by lowering their VG percentage. I followed suit, by going from a 30PG/70VG ratio, to trying a 50/50 ratio. It helped, in that my heavy chest and morning hack went away, but now I had a scratchy throat. Some more adjusting of the PG/VG ratio; and I finally landed on my sweet spot of 40/60 ratio. If I go higher VG; the heaviness begins to return. If I go higher PG; the throat irritation starts acting up.

    I have also started moving, from direct-to-lung (DTL), to tighter lower volume mouth-to-lung (MTL), style of vaping and atomizers. Along with an increase of my nicotine content, I am hoping to reduce my overall vapor consumption/exposure, and still meet my nicotine demands. So far, the results are promising, but only time will really tell.

    I have no idea what is causing your specific symptoms. I only offer my own experience as one anecdotal story; that may, or may not, have any similarity.

    (By the way: I am also one of those folks, @JCinFLA mentioned, who has used Bulk Apothecary as my PG and VG supplier, for much of my DIY journey.)

    Another question that ran through my mind as I read your your two posts: How old is your nic? And how is it stored? (Okay; two questions:blush::facepalm:)

    Some DIYers have reported, that as their nic has aged, it has changed and become less pleasant. Even harsh. Exposure to air (increasing airspace as the bottle is emptied; frequent opening of the bottle), warmer temperatures, and light (UV) exposure can all accelerate this change.
    If you do decide to try a different nic concentrate; you might want to check out Heartland Vapes. They offer 3 different nicotine concentrates, including NicSelect, at some of the best prices I have found. I have only used their basic (cheapest) nic; but it has been perfect for my needs. It is tasteless, smooth (aka "clean"), and has been aging well in my freezer (I've been using the same 1 liter bottle for over the last year and a half, pouring off about 60mL as needed for a couple of months worth of mixing, without any noticeable change.)
    I doubt this is indicative of anything. It is hard to get much of a layering effect when using only a couple of flavors. Especially when they are all from the same/similar family (e.g. "fruits"). "Layering" tends to come more from the use of contrasting and complimentary flavors. That, along with combining flavors that tend to be more noticeable on the inhale, with flavors that are more pronounced on the exhale, help to create that sense of layers.

    Then add to that, someone like me; who has abused his taste buds with decades of smoking, and continues to abuse them with plenty of garlic, onions, peppers, and strong black coffee... and I am amazed that I can taste anything at all!

    Keep doing what you are doing; taking it slow. Making changes slowly, and ideally, one at a time. And you will become the DIYer you want to be!:thumbs::D
     
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  8. JCinFLA

    JCinFLA Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 21, 2015
    If the problems don't go away vaping unflavored...couldn't it be the VG, PG, or the nic base then?
     
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  9. JCinFLA

    JCinFLA Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 21, 2015
    I was vaping 50/50 for awhile when I first started vaping, because most vape shops here always stocked the largest selection of their eliquids at that ratio. After a few months, I started getting a dull aching headache at the back base of my head after vaping for only 10-15 minutes. It was unpleasant enough that I wondered if I might even have to give up on vaping.

    I discussed it with the owner of a shop in a nearby town, that I'd heard custom-made his eliquids to order. He told me of others who'd sometimes get headaches from too much PG. So he made a 10mL bottle of Vanilla Bean eliquid at a 40PG/60VG ratio for me, and I stood there and vaped it for awhile. It pleasantly surprised the heck out of me that I got absolutely no headache at all! For more than a year after that, I ordered all my eliquid from him at that ratio and was headache free! Then I started DIY, also at 40/60.

    I'd have never thought that such a small change could make such a big difference. But, like you discovered, too...it definitely can! :)
     
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  10. Frenchfry1942

    Frenchfry1942 Chillin' Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 12, 2014
    Sky Island
    I wake up dried out if I vape while reading in bed before sleeping and not drinking a clean liquid. Actually, I do it most nights, but I usually don't vape that much before sleeping, but it has happened if I do a longer read.

    I would say to drink a whole lot of water before bed, but that can lead to getting up a lot. Maybe just a few sips to wet the throat.

    Good luck!
     
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  11. Bundy1971

    Bundy1971 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 13, 2015
    Cleveland, OH
    Thank you all for the replies, and sorry for disappearing when you were all so nice to help. It turns out it may have been a bug or just a temporary issue as it seems to be clearing up without changing anything as far as supplies.

    I did switch to commercial juice for most of one day, but I much prefer my DIY juice now (especially HiC's recipes I bought) so I had to go back! I also did try to tone down the size of the hits I was taking as I may have been overdoing it a bit. I think I was getting to the point where every hit was like trying to blow massive clouds, and I'm an all day chain vaper, so I may have been overdoing it on top of the bug. I'm down to around 10ml-15ml/day now.

    Anyway, still not 100% and I know what to do now if the problem persists thanks to you fine people!
     
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  12. stols001

    stols001 Mistress of the Dark Nicotinic Arts Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    May 30, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    I'm glad Bundy, I was hoping for something like that. It seemed your sensitivities were rather complicated and I was having a hard time isolating them mentally so I'm glad things seem to be clearing up.

    Most folks do have a "range" of PG/VG they "like/tolerate/enjoy/whatever" not to mention flavor profiles. So even if it's not a sensitivity, I'd encourage you to keep experimenting here and there to see what juice bests "suits" you and your system and etc. But it sounds like you aren't necessarily "sensitized" to anything and that's great. It will make your vaping journey moving forward so much easier! I was glad to identify my PG sensitivity early on but man, it does make vaping a bit more cumbersome and cloudier than what I need. I'm steeping some PEG400 juices at the moment in hopes of generating less clouds (it's a PG alternative).

    So, congrats! Not on the bug, but on it BEING a persistent but that was interfering with your vape...

    Anna
     
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  13. Bundy1971

    Bundy1971 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 13, 2015
    Cleveland, OH
    Thanks Anna.

    I'm definitely glad it turned out to be a bug instead of a sensitivity. I thought of you when it first happened because I've read your posts about your sensitivity to PG.
     
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  14. dc99

    dc99 Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Aug 17, 2014
    earth
    Speaking of the PG issue, I got a liter of PEG400 and have been experimenting. I can actually do 50/50 with no effects. I honestly cant tell any difference in taste. Thanks Anna
     
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