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?