29.11.12

Food Allergens in Skin Care

Food Allergens in Skin Care

As you know my blog centres around my eczema and allergies. I am lucky to have opportunities to test products but sometimes I have to turn them down because beauty products can contain my food allergens. For the first time ever I was questioned by a Company offering me a product containing one of my allergens. It may seem odd to refuse to test a hair styling product. However, I have to consider the percentage of product that I can absorb via my skin and if it could come in contact with my mouth (transference from hands if not washed immediately after use).

Pai Body Cream and Dr Organic Coconut range are off limits for me because they contain orange. If I consume oranges (or their relations like tangerine or mandarin) I get a rash and asthma. Let me tell you that for many years I suffered an itchy scalp even after switching to SLS free shampoo. When I was at my wits end I read the ingredients over and over again and the common factor between brands I had tried was orange. Once I switch to brands free from orange my scalp has rarely itched. It could be pure coincidence but it may not.

Most recently I have started to break out with eczema across my shoulders. For many years I have washed my hair over the bath as this limits the contact with eczema on my body. Out of laziness (and a sore back) I went back to washing it in the shower. I have been using Unique Nature Green Moisture Shampoo since September. When I blogged about it Dairy Free Baby & Me pointed out it contains Whey. Could the sudden outbreak of eczema be a reaction to this ingredient? Is it a coincidence?  Could I build up a reaction over time? It’s certainly food for thought (pun intended!).

When I had my skin prick test at 10 years old I have no idea whether any one said to my Parents I was to avoid my allergens in skin care. My Mum will tell you how sore my skin was when it came in contact with certain skin care but she wouldn't have checked ingredients. It's certainly something I have taken upon myself to do in recent years. It is just as important to me as avoiding as many synthetic ingredients as possible. Of course I am basing this on personal experience. I find it interesting that some natural brands promote being allergen free (Sophyto is Gluten free & Premae is free from 8 common allergens). 

If you are suffering from sensitivities and have food allergies it may be worth thinking outside the box and looking at the food ingredients you are putting onto your skin.  I would love to hear from others in the same position as me. I am fortunate to not have anaphylaxis as I imagine if you are then avoiding food allergens in your beauty routine is necessary. But for everyone else with milder reactions or intolerance, are you avoiding food allergens in skincare? Have you noticed reactions via your skin? Do you worry about products coming in contact with your mouth? (e.g. lip balms or face creams) 




18 comments:

  1. A great post which really did make me think, it must be difficult for people with allergies to find suitable products that will not cause harm. My neice has a nut allergy so has to be very cautious regarding cosmetics.

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    1. I'm lucky not to have a nut allergy, how I managed to get away with that I will never know lol. It must be difficult for people like your niece, nuts seem to be every where.

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  2. It doesn't surprise me that you might react topically to food allergens, as so much of what we put on our skin is absorbed! I know there has been research done recently on gluten intolerance and gluten in personal care products.

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    1. I've seen articles about the gluten but have yet to see other allergens talked about. I'd been interested to see if anyone researched milk in personal care products as that is another one of my allergies, hence why I mention the Whey in the shampoo. There are a few products I'd like to try but dare not (Burt Bees or Moo Goo)

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  3. This is a subject that interests us a lot at Skins Matter, and we've covered it quite a bit, in various forms, including gluten in skincare, and a recent article on fragrance allergens. I wonder whether it may be the limonene in orange oil that's causing a response? Patch tests can help identify problem ingredients if you're willing to go through it. We get asked occasionally about skincare products which are free from food allergens, so it's an increasing consideration. Would you like to see a food allergy box on skincare as on food? Or food allergens to be included more on 'free from' skincare boxes, along with parabens and SLS? It may be the way forward ...

    Anyway - really pleased to see this issue raised!

    Alex Gazzola, SkinsMatter.com

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    1. I've been reading your article about fragrance allergens. It's a very interesting subject. I think better labeling has to be a good thing and I would be comfortable with either format you have suggested. I assume only the most common would be accounted for otherwise it would be a never ending list. The other day I rejected a hair product as it contained mushrooms which is another one of my allergies. I know you have to list ingredients by INCI but not everyone puts the English versions alongside. That's when my world gets a bit complicated. I find it difficult to remember which is which when faced with Citrus Paradisi, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis and Citrus Medica Limonum (grapefruit, orange & lemon). Has anyone looked at Milk in skincare? I naturally avoid products like Burt Bees Milk & Honey body cream or the Australian brand Moo Goo.

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  4. Yeah, I've been hearing a lot about this stuff recently. Most people with severe gluten allergies can't even go to a hair salon and get their done because a lot of hairsprays contain gluten. :(

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    1. Interesting that is not something I have heard of before not being able to go to hairdressers? What I am hearing always relates to Gluten but I want to raise awareness that there are other food allergies in personal care.

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  5. I have always wondered about this and I definitely think having a food ingredant in a skincare product could cause a reaction. x

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    1. I am certainly thinking the possibility is there from my own experiences :)

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  6. I found this post so interesting! I have dermatitis and also I come out in hives when beer, cider or wine comes into contact with my body whether it is spilt on me or I drink it. I'm not sure what it is in it yet but I just always react to it so it's something I really need to find out about from the doctors since I've been like this for as long as I can remember but I've just always avoided it the best I can. I'm not a fan of going to the doctors...

    Gem x
    http://www.gemmameansjewel.com

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    1. Glad you find this post of interest and I find your reaction of interest. I know people can be allergic to yeast or the grains used in beer or sulphites so maybe one of them is the cause of your reaction. I hate going to the Doctors as well (I faint in Hospitals :S)

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  7. it is terrible that the company even questioned you. I get ictchy burned hand from potato starch, the skin is the largest organ in the body and a semi permeable membrane. It is a FACT that you can absorb things via the skin. xxx Rose

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    1. I suffer from similar with potato I can't peel them with bare hands without getting a rash, it's to do with a fungi that is naturally present under the skin

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  8. My son has multiple food allergies. When our household started to switch to cleansers and toiletries with natural ingredients, I noticed that some products do contain ingredients such as wheat germ, soy, milk, nuts etc. I talked to his Allergist and he did warned me to test any product on a small portion of his skin first for at least 24 hours before using it. He said he learned it the hard way when they were on vacation and used a new sunscreen without reading the label to his daughter who eventually had a major allergic reaction.

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    1. It's very interesting to hear that others do have to consider food allergens in personal care products.

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  9. One of the things I can't stand when brands say they are allergen free or hypoallergenic is that people react to different things, so how can they make such sweeping statements? I'm allergic to rose/rose oil and so many companies use it atm, so annoying! x

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    1. There are no guidelines to govern the use of the word "hypoallergenic" so that's why they can slap it on products. Rose oil is thought to be very beneficial to skin, I personally dislike the scent so I avoid and notice it is in many products

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