I came across this about a year ago when one of my customers said her son had a compositae allergy which caused his eczema. I hadn’t heard of it, so obviously went away to do some research. I’m always quite focused on minimising contact with things that you have an allergy too, as this is one of the main ways to keep your skin healthy. But this is slightly different. Where I’m normally going on about avoiding chemicals and all the manmade evils in skincare, this allergy is all about certain totally natural plants! Therefore the reason this allergy is relevant to natural skincare producers like me is that we often use lots of natural ingredients that can cause and aggravate this allergy.
Here’s some background:
Compositae allergy is caused by a group of plants commonly known as Compositae or Asteraceae. Contact with the leaf, stem, flower and pollen or certain plants causes eczema/dermatitis symptoms; dry, red, itchy, sore, inflamed skin.
It’s important to know if you have this specific allergy so that you can completely avoid contact with the relevant plants.
This can be tricky, according to http://www.dermnetnz.org/dermatitis/compositae-allergy.html “These plants include about 20,000 species of flowers, herbs, weeds and vegetables, including asters, daisies and sunflowers. They occur worldwide, and are found in gardens, roadsides and wilderness; they account for 10% of all flowering plants.”
So that’s quite a lot of plants! Out of the long list, I regularly use sunflower seed oil and chamomile essential oil, and many other producers of eczema skincare use chickweed and calendula, which although are normally very helpful in dry skin conditions, are all part of this family. A google search would give you more information on the range of other commonly used ingredients that are part of the compositae allergy.
If you think you might have this allergy you would need skin-patch testing, which can be arranged via your GP.
There are lots of ways of improving your immune system so that any allergy you have does not cause you too much of an issue. I wrote about this in my Hay fever newsletter, click here to read this.
This is a big subject to cover in a blog, but I thought I would just bring it up so that if you want more information on this, you know a bit more about where to start. I list all my ingredients not only on the back of each product I sell, but on the product page on my website, so you can be sure to avoid anything you can’t use. But do contact me if you have any queries.
Thanks for reading.