Allergens in Cosmetics

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  1. I have a tree nut allergy and a soy allergy that is food-based and increased in severity after age 25. I eliminated these foods from my diet but continued to have breakouts and skin issues; it took me a couple years to realize that almond oil and soy derivatives are in TONS of beauty products. I had to stop using my beloved La Mer because its small amount of these oils started causing some itching and flaking, but the real game changer for me was switching shampoo and conditioner to an allergen free brand. (I was reacting on my scalp and on my face from hair contact)

    I thought i would start a thread with some of the products I've found helpful and also to list the products that have hidden almond/soy/allergens. For the most part companies are good about following the rules about listing all ingredients but it does take some work to find all the latin and 'secret' names for nut and soy derivatives!

    Soy/Nut Free Shampoos & Conditioners:
    -Original Sprout (shampoo is excellent, conditioner is just ok)
    -Aussie Moist (conditioner)

    Soy/Nut Free Makeup
    -Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation (be very careful with their other products though!)

    Alternatives to Moisturizers:
    -Olive oil
    -Coconut oil
    -Avocado oil (can cause some reactions in those of us with birch pollen allergies)

    Soy & Nut Free Face Wash:
    -Kiss my face olive oil bar
    -Dessert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash

    I have yet to find an allergen free facial moisturizer that works for me, but am trying some new products and will keep you posted.

    Products that have almond & soy and other allergens:
    -Most self tanners do : (
    -Most moisturizers do as well
    -Tarte Amazonian Clay Tinted BB Moisturizer (I reacted severly to this product but it might be from the fruit oils they have listed)
    -La Mer Serum has more almond oil than the Creme- i reacted instantly to this
    -Creme de la Mer has very small amounts
    -Lip Balms! Be sure to read the labels of lip balms and lipsticks as I found some of them to contain a lot of almond oil and since i've been more careful my lips have been less dry/flaky.
    -Kajal - traditional Indian kajal is almond oil based and its the last thing you want to stick on your inner eyelid when you have an allergy! :sad:

    For reference here are some names for almond/nut/soy derivatives that are not as obvious:

    Almond oils:
    Prunus Amygdalus
    Prunus Amara
    Prunus Dulcis

    Prunus Armeniaca (apricot oil- if you have birch pollen allergies you might be sensitive to this)
    Prunus persica (peach - same as above)
    Arachis, arachis hypogaea (peanut oil)
    Anacardium occidentale (cashew)
    Bertholletia excelsa (Brazil Nut)
    Cicer arietinum (chickpea - important for those with legume allergies)
    Corylus rostrata, corylus americana, corylus avellana (Hazelnut)
    Pistacia vera, manshurica (pistachio)
    Juglans regia (walnut)

    Names for Soy- a bit more tricky:
    Soy, soya, glycerine, soja, and some glycerols (there are non plant-based gycerols so looking for that name alone isn't always enough. i've had success reaching out to companies and asking).

    I'll try to update this list as I get more info and try different products but would love to get others' experiences and opinions.
  2. #2 Dec 4, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2014
    You have done an enormous amount of research. Really appreciate you sharing this with us.

    Used to use aloe, right from the plant. It worked great as a face moisturizer. You can buy bottled organic aloe juice.

    Luckily my allergies have mostly worked themselves out of my system but at one time everything I could use was made at home.

    Remember someone told me their family used mutton grease as a moisturizer for chapped skin back in Europe. I'm a veggie so can't recommend that but maybe a good quality no odour fish oil. Have you checked out the content of Vit C capsules? My Physio recommend them for bad scars and there was considerable improvement.

    Right now I use a few products from Sisley. There eye balm is great also like Emulsion Ecological. They are expensive but give out generous samples. I'd suggest going to the company for free samples rather than buying on eBay as their products do deteriorate over time. A good thing?
  3. I would definitely only go to the company or a retailer for samples rather than buying on ebay. I'm sure there are many reputable sellers but if someone has sensitive skin or allergies just the possibility of someone handling a products and contaminating is too scary. You're right about products 'going bad' after a while. The La Mer counter at Saks has always been very kind and generous of samples and Sephora has also been helpful- if they don't have a pre-packaged sample available then they will take one for you from one of the testers (probably some danger there but it's another option)
  4. Something else worth mentioning in case there is someone else out there like me who did not know about her allergies and what was causing certain skin/scalp issues. I thought I had seasonal dandruff but when it appeared to extend past my hair line, in my eyebrows and even behind my ears and got worse (more like red, dry, itchy and in some cases almost scabby) - my dermatologist gave me clobetasol solution (the liquid version of the light steroid) and it clears up most allergy-related/sking irritation problems within a day or two. If you are having any issues or are afraid to try a new product because of a potential irritation it's nice to know there is a solution!