Allergies anyone?

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Kathymzr

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Has anyone on the Forum experienced or heard of experiences of customers, or even suppliers, of allergic reactions to soaping oils, FOs or colorants? I developed an allergy recently (that I thought was shingles but doc says it’s allergy—thankful). Going to allergist to get tested. I only use organic standard soaping supplies and I really doubt it is that. I have had no other allergies in my life.
Well, 46 years ago, when I was pregnant, I developed an allergy to Cheer laundry detergent—haven’t used it since. I’m just asking if anyone has heard of anything from the soaping community. I know it isn’t nuts because I have eaten some with no issues. I recently learned that I am gluten-sensitive. Any thoughts anyone??
 

LilyJo

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Many FO and colourants are known allergens so it depends on what you are using and at what intensity. And tbh there are plenty of people who cannot use a variety of oils from palm, to coconut etc so allergies always possible
 

Kathymzr

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Thank you everyone! When I visit the allergist to get tested I will be able to take a list of ingredients for the soaps I made that I have been using, as well as FO etc., thanks to my notebook. I will be disappointed if it is a soap ingredient. Since I’m back in CA, the change of environment hasn’t seemed to help. It could be a food allergy too. I’ll post what I learn. Thanks all!
 

Kathymzr

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I think I know what caused the reaction. My Neem soap contains 10% Sea Buckthorn oil. While it doesn’t seem to cause known problems when taken internally, when applied to skin can cause a rash. I’ve been using the Neem soap exclusively for the last month. Glad the rash happened to me, not someone else! I don’t sell—so here is another reason to try things out!
I could be wrong, so let’s test the allergist ( I’ll give him my ingredients list) and see if he concurs!!
 

cmzaha

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Thank you everyone! When I visit the allergist to get tested I will be able to take a list of ingredients for the soaps I made that I have been using, as well as FO etc., thanks to my notebook. I will be disappointed if it is a soap ingredient. Since I’m back in CA, the change of environment hasn’t seemed to help. It could be a food allergy too. I’ll post what I learn. Thanks all!
But keep in mind, when the process of soap is complete the fats have changed. Unless your soaps have a high superfat I cannot see any of the oils bothering you, but maybe a constituent in the fo. Not many properties of additives seem to survive the lye monster.
 

Becky1024

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I have customers who are allergic to latex and so need to stay away from Shea butter since they are related.
 

MGM

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And I think it depends how you define "allergy" and its symptoms. Getting a rash or dermatitis from a skin product isn't necessarily an allergy, nor would it show up on a classic allergy panel. Getting a migraine from lavender also isn't an allergy, but I know many people who get that.
 

LilyJo

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I think there are number of known ingredients and compounds that are known allergens that may cause a reaction in some people - it's why labelling is vital and part of the reason we have to safety test every recipe.
 

Kathymzr

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Those are all good valid points. I’ve used most of these oils before anyway. The “rash” is under the skin too, and only shows up in hot situations. Since I’ve had to go gluten-free, too, it could be a food allergy. But good reason to test all products, keep detailed records, and keep it simple. Good lessons for me. Thanks again for thoughts!
 

Mistrael

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I have a ton of crazy allergies, which is one of the reasons I'm learning to make soap. I would like to be able to have nice, handmade soaps, but when I look at the ingredients in most handmade soaps, there's almost always something I either know I'm allergic or sensitive to, or something I suspect will trigger a reaction. Also, I have an exceptional sense of smell, so many products other people think are fantastic smell like chemical perfume bombs to me. It's a real problem, and I've been stuck using Dove Sensitive bars for years because every other thing gives me a rash. :-(

But now that I'm getting into handmade soaps, I'm finding that there are a lot of natural ingredients that I can use after all! For example, I bought a few bars from Ophelia's Soapery (omg so pretty!) and so far, so good. Since I have a latex family allergy and a latex sensitivity, I had thought shea butter would be out of the question. There are lotions and body butters I've tried that were shea heavy, and WOW the rash! But apparently it's okay if it's in small quantities in a bar of soap. Go figure!

Another of my allergies is to metals, though I haven't been tested thoroughly enough to know exactly which metals trigger a reaction. Doctors won't give explicit, "Yes, this item will be okay," because they can't make themselves responsible for random items we use at home, so it's not like I can ask, "Hey, is this mica safe for me?" They will generally say, "I don't know, but it's probably a bad idea," just to be safe. So far the micas I've experienced in handmade soaps have been okay, but whenever I pick up a new bar I have to anticipate the possibility of a reaction.

I'm so, SO very thankful that nuts are not among my allergens. I don't know how people with nut allergies, or parents with kids with nut allergies, navigate our world safely.

But overall, I'm starting to wonder if the saponification process kills off enough of the allergen part of plant materials that it isn't an issue with the soaping oils? And are fragrance oils for soaping more likely to be made in a hypoallergenic fashion? Because Ophelia's Soapery uses plenty of fragrance too, and I haven't had a problem. It's been a bit of a shock to me, because my allergies have gotten worse over the years. Most intense, more varied, more unpredictable, and more dangerous. There are foods that will trigger anaphylaxis, even. (So I will not be using or buying anything with mango or melons, no matter how processed. No matter what mango butter might do in a soap, it's just not worth the risk.)

Interestingly, it seems that not all lavender is the same. I'm also asthmatic, and there are lavender-laden bath bombs that have made me wheezy. However, I've recently bought a small bottle of lavender essential oil to test on myself, and so far there's been no issue. It's weird as heck. So now I wonder whether it was the chamomile or frankincense that made me wheeze!
 

Kari Howie

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I have a ton of crazy allergies, which is one of the reasons I'm learning to make soap. I would like to be able to have nice, handmade soaps, but when I look at the ingredients in most handmade soaps, there's almost always something I either know I'm allergic or sensitive to, or something I suspect will trigger a reaction. Also, I have an exceptional sense of smell, so many products other people think are fantastic smell like chemical perfume bombs to me. It's a real problem, and I've been stuck using Dove Sensitive bars for years because every other thing gives me a rash. :-(

But now that I'm getting into handmade soaps, I'm finding that there are a lot of natural ingredients that I can use after all! For example, I bought a few bars from Ophelia's Soapery (omg so pretty!) and so far, so good. Since I have a latex family allergy and a latex sensitivity, I had thought shea butter would be out of the question. There are lotions and body butters I've tried that were shea heavy, and WOW the rash! But apparently it's okay if it's in small quantities in a bar of soap. Go figure!

Another of my allergies is to metals, though I haven't been tested thoroughly enough to know exactly which metals trigger a reaction. Doctors won't give explicit, "Yes, this item will be okay," because they can't make themselves responsible for random items we use at home, so it's not like I can ask, "Hey, is this mica safe for me?" They will generally say, "I don't know, but it's probably a bad idea," just to be safe. So far the micas I've experienced in handmade soaps have been okay, but whenever I pick up a new bar I have to anticipate the possibility of a reaction.

I'm so, SO very thankful that nuts are not among my allergens. I don't know how people with nut allergies, or parents with kids with nut allergies, navigate our world safely.

But overall, I'm starting to wonder if the saponification process kills off enough of the allergen part of plant materials that it isn't an issue with the soaping oils? And are fragrance oils for soaping more likely to be made in a hypoallergenic fashion? Because Ophelia's Soapery uses plenty of fragrance too, and I haven't had a problem. It's been a bit of a shock to me, because my allergies have gotten worse over the years. Most intense, more varied, more unpredictable, and more dangerous. There are foods that will trigger anaphylaxis, even. (So I will not be using or buying anything with mango or melons, no matter how processed. No matter what mango butter might do in a soap, it's just not worth the risk.)

Interestingly, it seems that not all lavender is the same. I'm also asthmatic, and there are lavender-laden bath bombs that have made me wheezy. However, I've recently bought a small bottle of lavender essential oil to test on myself, and so far there's been no issue. It's weird as heck. So now I wonder whether it was the chamomile or frankincense that made me wheeze!
You poor thing! I hope you can find the perfect combination of oils and additives that agree with you. One of my daughters has asthma and eczema and she is the reason I started making soap although it’s a struggle that requires far more than a carefully formulated soap.
 

Kathymzr

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Wow, you need a cemist’s advice. I too would like to know what exactly saponification changes but doesn’t change oil properties. Your allergies are on a molecular level or smaller. I think it would be worth it to work with a chemist on soapmaking so you don’t inadvertently make things worse. Obviously, the simplest fragrance free soap would be safest. Also, colorants, as benign as they might seem, and made in labs, are copies of natural oxides, including metals.
Your efforts in research are very valuable and specialized, and benefit everyone. I hope you will continue this project.
 

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