Linalool in skin care products can cause eczema and allergy

Over the years I’ve discovered that almost all shampoos, conditioners, shower gells, bubble bath products and sun screens cause my skin to break out in an eczema type rash. Through trial and error I’ve discovered some that are kind enough for my skin and I stick to these and very rarely experiment.

Usually testing products on your wrist or neck is a good way of gauging whether you’re likely to get a reaction, but often it can take a few weeks before seeing a reaction. I can also sometimes use a product on the rest of my body as a moisturiser but not on my face, where the skin is far more sensitive. Always try to use a sample tester before buying something in case you are allergic and always study the ingredients list to make sure it doesn’t contain your known allergens.

Recently I’ve come across something which sounds innocent enough; Linalool.

Linalool is a very fragrant component of various herbs such as lavender, mint and coriander that can be a potent skin irritant, causing contact dermatitits in some sensitive individuals. It also appears to become an allergen or sensitiser once it becomes exposed to oxygen in the air. Some experts suggest that replacing the lid swiftly can reduce the reaction… I’m no expert – but I’d suggest avoiding linalool altogether if you see a reaction.

Products for sensitive skin should probably not include an ingredient known to cause irritation in some individuals with sensitive skin but keep a lookout for this little linalool. It could be hiding anywhere.

To read more visit this helpful website: Allergy to linalool – a frequent cause of eczema
and on the Skins Matter website,
Fragrance in personal care and household products causes eczema

Coriander

Coriander


I wonder whether coriander isn’t a common ingredient here too. I am allergic to coriander in food, so could this reaction be linked? Am I allergic to linalool, or to linalool when it contains coriander? Linalool can be made from a variety of fragrant herbs e.g. lavender and mint, as well as coriander. Did you know linalool was made from coriander? Or even that linalool was a known cause of eczema? It just goes to show that the ingredient names on skin care products can be misleading. A word can be used to encapsulate a number of oils, yet not have to mention what those oils are. If someone is allergic to one of the constituents, chances are they’ll never know why because cosmetic and skin care ingredients lists don’t have to declare that much detail.

For a comprehensive list of products to avoid if you are allergic to coriander visit: Cooking allergy free.

Coriander is also linked to oral allergy syndrome. Someone who is allergic to birch may well also experience tingling of the lips, stomach upset, skin reactions and in rare cases, anaphylaxis, when they eat coriander.

Are you allergic to linalool? or coriander? Do you avoid products containing linalool?

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. http://www.whatallergy.com was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She runs a support group for the Anaphylaxis Campaign and also writes regularly for Exchange, The National Eczema Society quarterly magazine.

Comments

  1. I just found this from Alex Gazolla. Very timely and very relevant. Contact dermatitis and cosmetics http://actionagainstallergy.co.uk/node/207

  2. Thanks Ruth. Isn’t most linalool synthetically made in lab these days? It is actually a natural component of essential oils from plants but I had the impression much of it has never been near a plant in its life, although I suppose it depends what the starting material is.

    Anyhow, I was interested in which ranges you do find OK then, could be useful info for patients?

    • I’m trying to find out a bit more about linalool but so far I haven’t discovered how it’s made. It can be naturally occuring in plant oils – and if that was the case, should it be better and less allergenic? Look out for a blog post soon on the products I’ve been trying out. Some of them are fantastic.

      • I am a new Independent Consultant for Arbonne International, a pure, safe, and beneficial, 33 year old company. I am doing research on the product ingredients that I didn’t know about (i.e. Linalool, Limonene). The products that contain these ingredients are aroma therapy and other beauty products. I would assume they are from the natural form, plant based, as per the companies statement. I would like for you to add some of these products to your “trying out” list and possibly rate them with the others. If you are interested please email me and we can correspond on how to proceed. Thank you for your consideration. AMBER

      • Hi, there are 33 allergens listed on the EEC allergens list. Linalool and Limonene are amongst two of the allergens listed on it.

        In a comment above about synthetic linalool- yes most linalool is synthetic however, essential oils like lavender contains a large amount of linalool. The labelling regulations will ask that these allergens be declared (both for synthetic and naturally occuring) if it exceed 0.01% in rinse-off products (ie shower gels, soaps etc) and 0.001% in leave on products. Both synthetic linalool and naturally occuring linalool is treated as the same- allergen.

        Limonene is in just about all citrus products- lemon oil, orange oil, grapefruit oil etc.

        Also, just because its an allergen doesn’t mean everyone will be allergic to it- a lot of these are naturally occuring. Declaration is just a way to show if people are allergic to these products, they know not to use that product. One of my friends is allergic to Vitamin E and that’s not in the allergens list but it’s in a lot of skincare products!

        I hope this helps.

  3. Kat Morgan says:

    Just look at t his site it will tell a few things to make up your mind about the component
    http://www.anandaapothecary.com/aromatherapy-essential-oils-news/2009/05/linalool-common-essential-oil.html

  4. Amyfishgirl says:

    I’ve been itching every where except my face for the last 6 months! My itching was really severe when I went to bed and I couldn’t sleep! I looked for bed bugs, fleas, and scabies, nothing. I changed out all my shampoos, conditioners, hair gels, lotions, shave gel, laundry soap and fabric softener several times and I still inched! Many of these products I have been using for years. I’ve never had dermatitis before so I was thoroughly confused. I finally figured it must an ingredient in my bathroom products. But which one? After finally finding a shampoo and conditioner and body lotion that had no scent/oil additives and skipping my hair and shave gel, I narrowed it down to linalool and limonene, which when exposed to air cause dermatitis! Which explains why I inched more severely at bedtime because it was exposed to air all day.
    I’m thankful for all the research people have already done and finding out these 2 beautiful smelling oils are most likely causing my itching. I’ve not used them in 3 weeks and I’m itch free! Yay!

  5. jan robin says:

    for the past year the base of my skull has been extremely itchy. i could feel a roughness and had a friend look at it, it appeared to be under the skin. about a month ago small scabs appeared and my friend mentioned it could be eczema. i have never had any skin problems until this. last night i looked up the ingredients of my favorite e-liquid for my electronic cigarette. one of the ingredients happens to be linalool, so this quite possibly could be the answer to my itchy scalp.

Trackbacks

  1. […] I want to point out one more thing as a comparison to the Giovanni wipes. If you look up the ingredients for both of these products (just search for them at Drugstore.com), the Giovanni wipes have a much more natural ingredients list. The Alba Botanica wipes also contain both limonene and linalool; limonene has been rated a 6 out of 10 on Skin Deep’s hazard chart and both of these ingredients are listed as known allergens, with linalool apparently serving as a trigger ingredient for eczema. […]

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