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, The growing rise in fragrance allergies
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.
You might also find my blog – ‘Coriander allergy – spices to avoid’ interesting.
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?
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.
Amber Wilson says
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
Linalool is making my hair fall out !! I did the research , Found a shampoo without Linalool !
Ruth Holroyd says
Oh gosh that’s terrifying. What shampoo did you decide to use Maria?
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.
Jessica Rodriguez says
awesome! thats clarifies it 🙂 Thanks, Tina!
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!
I have Linalool allergy too (as well as sodium benzoate). Did you find a body lotion you like that doesn’t contain Linalool?
Ruth Holroyd says
Hi Mary, I use emollients mainly as my skin is very dry that there are loads that are freefrom lanolin. Check this website out for loads of alternatives https://www.skinsmatter.com/
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.
Does llinaloo cause any reactions on the lip?
Liz Friedenfeld says
I was recently diagnosed with contact dermatitis, caused by exposure to linalool and licorice root. I’m struggling to find products that don’t contain linalool. Does anyone have recommendations for hair and skin care products? I would appreciate any recommendations!!
Ruth Holroyd says
Have you tried Pure Potions Skin Salvation? They have loads of amazing products and i’m pretty sure they don’t contain Linalool. Check out Little Gems too.
I use Philip Kingsley No Scent Shampoo and Conditioner. I have also tried The Green People Unscented shampoo and conditioner – both are very good. I am allergic to Linalool and have had to change absolutely everything I use.
Ruth Holroyd says
Hi Janice, I haven’t tried Philip Kingsley so thanks for the recommendation. I’m just about to finish my A’kin unscented which has been lovely and I also like the Greenpeople one. Thanks so much for the comment.
Jenny Hammond says
My patch tests back in February this year revealed my allergy to Linalool and Lanolin. My doctor prescribed E45 wash lotion for my face and recommended Surcare laundry detergent and suggested I research for the rest of my products. There are a number of laundry detergents that come Linalool free. It is worth doing this as I stayed away for two nights a while ago and the bedding contact made my skin itch like crazy again.
For face skin care I am finding that many products of The Ordinary and NIOD on the Deciem website are great. I have also been using an day cream from Eucerin for Atopic skin conditions. My doctor prescribed E45 wash lotion for my face. There is also a company called Paula’s Choice that has a big following, I have used an exfoliant from there that has worked well.
I am currently deciding on an SPF and am tending toward La Roche-Posay Anthelios, my skin does not react to this.
For shower gel I use Simple and for shampoo I was recommended to use Boots Conditioning Baby Shampoo. I have long hair and find this shampoo alone left my hair really static and made it stick to my face! I use Philip Kingsley No scent Conditioner. I tried the Shampoo but found the Boots one better.
There are a number of hair products that I’ve found but not tried, a brand i think called green people, sold in Holland and Barratt.
Sainsburys do a sentitive roll on deodorant that is safe.
On the data sheet I was given for Linalool it said to avoid:
Anything with perfume or fragrance listed
Linalool is naturally occurring in more than 200 natural oils for example: lavender, cinnamon, bergamot, jasmine, rosewood, coriander, basil oil, … the list went on but basically avoid plant based oils.
So I have banished them all from products that touch my skin and read the ingredients labels on everything now, I am struggling to find any good hair styling products but luckily I keep my hair fairly natural.
I was also told to avoid scented room sprays and scented candles.
Lanolin hasn’t been so hard to avoid.
An extra complexity for your situation is that I have notice quite a few products use Licorice Extract as an anti-inflammatory, I’ve noticed it in products for sensitive skin and in the one I use (Eucerin). La Roche-Posay doesn’t appear to use it.
I Hope that helps
Thanks Jenny! I have these two same allergies as you. Have you found a need to discontinue drinking black teas, season salts, certain types of toothpastes?
Helen Prince says
I have an allergy to linalool and Lyral. I use only fragrance Free products. However I still itch but it’s usually where my underwear touches my skin eg.knicker waistband,bra fastening and straps. I’ve tried to find out if there’s something in the fabric or elastic. I saw a documentary called Stink which highlighted the chemicals used in new clothing and packaging but of course the labels don’t show them. Does anyone have similar experiences?
Is there a hair care product ( shampoo, conditioner, other…) that doesn’t contain Silicone, hydroperoxides, or propolis? My son is allergic to all three, Silicon reactions are by far the worst (blistering, swelling – to the point of splitting open his skin causing bleeding, burning, other). I have found silicone free, but not free of all three.
Ruth Holroyd says
Hi there R, I would check out the FreeFrom Skincare awards website and look at their shampoos https://www.freefromskincareawards.co.uk/
I’ve also blogged about shampoo a lot but without checking them all I can’t remember… search shampoo and read the more natural roundups. One thing I’ve tried is the soap bar shampoos. They might be better? Also Rhassoul clay which you mix up. Really natural, bit messy but works for me, if you have time. Check out Faith in Nature brand and Green People. I have these at the moment and ingredients look OK for you. Health food shops might stock or look online.