The big question is, should topical skin and hair care products containing nuts and nut oil be avoided in tree nut allergic people? And is there any documented anaphylaxis to topical nut oil?
Little is known about the allergenic risk from food ingredients that are present in haircare and skin care products (cosmetics, toiletries). As far as many products are concerned, the risk may be small or non-existent because the ingredients used (for example, oils produced from nuts) may have been highly refined to the point that most of the proteins present have been removed.
There are still unanswered questions about the risk to people with food allergies from haircare and skin care products so our advice is to play safe. If a customer is allergic to a food, and know it is present in a non-food product, it is always best to avoid using that product. This is a matter that should ideally be discussed with the customers allergy specialist or Doctor.
Some of the products we manufacture contain small percentages of the following ingredients: Macadamia Nut Oil, Argan Nut Oil and Almond Nut Oil. It worth noting Haircare and Skin care products are for external use and are not meant to be taken orally. Therefore when used topically (applied to a particular place on the body) the chances of getting serious exposure, to whatever it is in the nuts in which a person reacts to, is low.
The content or percentage of nut oil we use to manufacture haircare and skin care products is very low, and the amount that is going to get through the skin to your blood stream will be lower still.
We source and manufacture our products from the purest grades of oil available, and these are the ones least likely to cause allergic reactions. Unlike food products, carry over from other products that contain nut products is unlikely. Our manufacturing equipment is cleaned down thoroughly between batches and cross contamination is very unlikely to happen.
1/ Contrary to common belief, the Macadamia “nut” is actually a seed, not a nut at all. It belongs to the Proteaceae family, which is classified separately from most other tree nuts and from peanuts. Allergens (From Oral consumption) are less common than in other tree nuts or peanuts.
2/ The major allergen in peanuts does not transfer during the process of turning them into oils for use in cosmetic products and thus, the use of these ingredients (Including Macadamia and Almond Nuts) in haircare and skin care products does not represent an allergy concern for children (or adults) with peanut allergies.
3/ Several company who use high levels of Macadamia Nut Oil in their products have done extensive allergy testing. The conclusion was there were zero reports of any incidents, of their products causing allergic reactions even in those suffering from nut allergies.
4/ A lady whom has a child who is anaphylactic asked their hospital about using shampoo and conditioners containing Nut Oils and they advised they shouldn’t be a problem, particularly given any nut oil in shampoos and conditioners is highly refined.
5/ Dr Wechsler says: "I have not had any patients who have anaphylaxed from a topical cream.
6/ America’s director of corporate communications and education, Jennifer Barckley, from Weleda North says: "Someone with a nut allergy won’t necessarily be allergic to a nut oil in a hair care or skin care product. It’s the protein in the nut that causes an allergic response, and manufacturers remove the protein from the oil. The method used to process the sweet almond and macadamia nut oils involves heating the oils above 400 degrees and filtered, making them risk-free.
7/ An article by 'Anaphylaxis Campaign’ states: “From the start it is important to point out that little is known about the allergenic risk from food ingredients that are present in [cosmetics, toiletries etc]. As far as many products are concerned, that risk may be small or non-existent because the ingredients used (for example, oils produced from nuts) may have been highly refined to the point that most of the proteins present have been removed.
8/ An article from 'US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health' proposed that sensitisation to peanut protein may occur through application of skin preparations containing cold-pressed peanut oil to inflamed skin, highlighting the cutaneous route of peanut exposure. There are no reports of ingestion or contact-related reactions to shea butter in individuals with nut allergy. Considering the wide use of skin products containing shea butter, we sought to determine whether there are detectable proteins in shea nut or shea butter extracts and whether such proteins are recognised by subjects with peanut or tree nut allergy.
9/ An article from 'US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health':This is the first study examining the potential allergenicity of shea butter. Shea nut and shea butter contain extremely low levels of water/salt soluble protein with undetectable IgE binding by Western blot and ELISA. Protein extraction may be limited by the high fat content of shea nut compared with other tree nuts and peanut and by the presence of latex within the shea nut. These findings are reassuring for individuals with nut allergy who are using shea butter–based products topically. This may explain why no allergic reactions have been reported, despite the popularity of these products.