Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

Hello all. Due to a recent uptick in coconut allergy activity, I have been receiving several emails (some frantic) asking for help. Most of the questions are the same thing, over and over, so I will post answers here:


Q: I think I'm allergic to coconut, but I'm not sure. How can I sort it all out?
A: Really, truly, if you have not been to see an allergist/ allergy doctor specialist please make an appointment. They can do skin tests and blood tests. Sometimes the skin tests have false positives, sometimes the blood tests have false negatives. Occasionally, you might need to do both. Keep a detailed food, cosmetic and skin reaction log before the appointment documenting all reactions for at least two weeks, because any good doctor will ask you to do this, and you will save a step if you already have it.

Q: What do you use for. . . laundry detergent?
A: I use All Free and Clear, or other unscented detergents, and just do a second rinse cycle.

Q: . . .dish soap?
A: I am fine if I use almost anything. I wear those sexy housewife yellow gloves and rinse well.

Q: . . . hand soap?
A: Kiss my face pure olive oil soap. Sometimes soaps with palm oils instead of coconut oil.

Q: . . . shampoo?
A: When allergies are at their peak, I sometimes use the olive oil soap or no soap and just use conditioner. Most conditioners don't have a bit of coconut in them! When there is build up, I can do a quick rinse with vinegar (don't get it in your eyes!).Usually I shampoo with things that have the least coconut ingredients possible. Sometimes they are not totally coconut free, but if it's just a coconut sugar or oil and it's the 10th ingredient and I rinse well, it doesn't bother me.


Q: What else are people who are allergic to coconut usually allergic to?
A: Sometimes just coconut, sometimes a ton of things. I have to mention here that there is something allergists call "Total Allergic Load." This means that if you are allergic to a lot of things, you will be having more allergic reactions and be more sensitive to the things you are allergic to. For example, a lot of people have fewer food allergies in the winter because their total allergic load has decreased when the ballistic pollen has all frozen over and their bodies get a rest from being hyper sensitive all the time. A few folks (very few) are also sensitive to Palm oil or Palm kernel oil as well as coconut because they are more closely related. Coconut is in NO WAY related to actual nuts like peanuts or tree nuts, but the brilliant folks who control food labeling will list coconut as a tree nut anyway.

Q: My skin keeps breaking out when I use this soap/shampoo/lotion/ detergent/ product, etc. that people say is coconut free. What do I do now?
A: You may not be having an allergic reaction. You could have another skin condition like eczema or dry skin or a fungus that a dermatologist can pinpoint and treat. Maybe you are allergic to a fabric, something in the air like a pollen, mold, or your pet. Maybe your spouse uses a product you are allergic to and you like to hug him/ her lots. I don't know, but at least I can give you lots of wild guesses, which any good friend would do, right?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have found that many products do not say "coconut" in the ingredients, but any one of these ingredients could be derived from coconut i.e.: Glycerine, Sodium Layrel Sulfate, Sodium laureth sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocamide DEA, Cocamide MEA, Cocos Nucifera Oil (latin name for coconut).
hope this helps :D
stay healthy!

Anonymous said...

I have found that many products do not say "coconut" in the ingredients, but any one of these ingredients could be derived from coconut i.e.: Glycerine, Sodium Layrel Sulfate, Sodium laureth sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocamide DEA, Cocamide MEA, Cocos Nucifera Oil (latin name for coconut).
hope this helps :D
stay healthy!

Anni said...

Those ingredients are in almost every soap... Even at Ihop restaurant...who would think they use coconut soap in their bathroom...Seriously??!! My hands started tingling right away. Lately it seems to be getting worse and worse...with the smallest traces of cocnut and it seems to be effecting more areas...started on my chin with topical dermititis then one pinky then my other hand and now my whole body kinda is irritated more and more. As well I break out on my face which I never did before and it's more of an allergy type pattern than a adult acne type. I wrote a lot...If anyone can help/comment I'd really appreciate it. Anni

Jen said...

Anni - my daughter (almost 5) is SEVERELY allergic to any/all forms of palm and coconut. We have learned to bring our own soap wherever we go. We use a tiny travel sized bottle, and usually use Cetaphil liquid soap in it. My experience with my dairy allergy mirrors yours w/the coconut. I seem to keep having more and worse reactions to smaller amounts. :( Not just you - but no fun at all!
~ Jen

pianovan said...

I am allergic to coconut, but also allergic to lavender, aloe vera, rosemary, and mint. There are a slew of things in soaps and shampoos you might be alelrgic to.

Xzigalia said...

Any recommendations for cosmetics? My eyes puff up every time I apply liquid eyeliner!

Also FYI Jen, Cetaphil has coconut.

Angela Mooney said...

I am so frustrated. I just found out at allergy testing a few weeks ago that I am allergic to coconut. I had avoided it prior to this (not the oil just the fruit) and never had a problem. Within three days of testing I accidentally ingested coconut oil in a coffee drink and had a bad mouth / lip throat reaction with a metallic taste to follow the next day or two. That freaked me out so I am eliminating everything and when I told my Dr. what happened she prescribed me an epipen. A few days later I had a small mild reaction to my toothpaste. Now I am left wondering where this came from and is it all in my head. People at work think I am crazy that this happened right after the testing. They think I am either making it up or the testing caused it. Please share your stories, help me not feel so crazy and alone!
Thanks guys!!

Smerby said...

There's a lot of cross over between latex and coconut allergies, fyi. Apparently they share a similar protein.