Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sunscreen and Peanut/Tree Nut Allergies

With summer around the corner and some parts of the country already in full sunscreen mode, many of you have questions about what sunscreen is safe for your child with peanut or tree nut allergies. I'm happy to share some of my findings and suggestions with you as we head into the sunny season!

First, an important note: I'm speaking as someone who is not required to avoid coconut or shea butter for my child. Coconut (a tropical fruit, not a nut) has been labeled a tree nut by the FDA, but it's still usually not a problem for tree nut-allergic people. Shea is likewise thought to be low in allergy reactions.

That said, skin care and skin sensitivity tends to be very individual, so please let your own needs be your guide when determining skin care and consult your allergist if you are concerned about any ingredients--food-derived or otherwise. Many ingredients in skin care products can cause hives and rashes that have nothing to do with tree nuts or peanuts. That's why it's so important to know your child's skin and call the doctor if you see any problems.

For more information about either coconut or shea, here are some helpful articles on shea butter and coconut.

Another sunscreen concern that many parents of kids with peanut allergies have is regarding these two ingredients: arachidyl glucoside and arachidyl alcohol. Why? "Arachis" refers to peanut and "arachis oil" and its derivations refer to peanut. If arachidyl glucoside and arachidyl alcohol are in the sunscreen you want to use, I would recommend using something else until you can consult with your allergist. For some people these ingredients might not be a problem and for some people they might. Again, your individual needs will be your guide. In my case, I just avoid anything related to peanut.

Because of my daughter's allergies, I limit the brands we will try, but there are a few brands we've used without problems: some Neutrogena product,  Coppertone Water Babies and Vanicream. Click on each of these links for a list of ingredients; you can also call companies or e-mail them if you need more info.

If you are looking for organic products, the California Baby brand is widely available and a favorite among readers.

Another widely available and popular organic product is the All-Terrain brand. They make sunscreen and insect repellent, but be aware that coconut oil is used. Click the link for the company web site

Note: None of the products mentioned in this article reflect any endorsement of my blog on the part of said products. As with any product mentioned on this blog,the consumer bears responsibility for product choice and usage. If you have any questions about ingredients that are safe for your child, please consult your allergist. Thank you!

13 comments:

Jenny said...

Feel free to share your favorite sunscreen brands, too!

Unknown said...

Hi there- wow, I have never known about arachis. Have read so many books, articles, etc., and never read that means peanuts. Even went and checked my peanut allergy flip book for things to avoid and that is not listed in it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

artkdz said...

I use Vanicream, both for myself and my daughter. She gets excema from sunscreen for some reason and I tried every brand out there before I finally found this one.

Sweet Tea Mama said...

We use Neutrogena sensitive skin spf 60. We have also used Waterbabies w/o any problem.

Steph said...

My kids' daycare uses Rocky Mountain sunscreen, which claims it's free of nut oils. http://www.rmsunscreen.com Both of my kids are allergic to peanuts.

Steph said...

Our kids' daycare uses Rocky Mountain: http://www.rmsunscreen.com The website claims it's free of nut-oils. (My kids are allergic to peanuts.)

LeeAnn said...

I'm still fairly new to the food allergy world (although it has been a year since my daughter's first reaction) but I had no idea that we had to pay so much attention to skin care. We have used the 4 sunscreen brands you mentioned and never had any issues, but then again, my daughter is only allergic to cashews and pistachios, and not peanuts.

Thank you for this! It looks like I have some research to do...

Jenny said...

Hi Lee Ann, You're right, there is a lot to learn! Skin care sometimes contains different peanut or tree nut oils, shampoos, too. If you are new to allergies, you might want to check out my e-book. Click the ad on the right sidebar of the blog to go to the Amazon page. Thanks for your comment!

Anonymous said...

Hello, im just having a look at this page. I am anaphlactic to all nut but not cocanuts. I contacted all the major relaters last year looking for sun cream for my son although he dosent have allergies i oviousley cant put anything on him that i am allergic to. we used Asda own brand sensitive f50. i contacted asda and they said it was a very clean cream and guarenteed me that its nut free. i thought it was very good! for those parents who are looking at ingredients here are a few ingredience names for nuts:- Arachis prunus/amygdalus/dulcis/amara( this is almond oil i was suprised to find it in a baby bum cream bepantham)bertholletia excelsa. anacardium occidentale. castanea sativa. corylus avellana/americana/rostrata. aesculus hippocastanum. cola vera. aleurites muluccana. macadamia ternifolia/ integrifolia. juglans.

Unknown said...

We love SUN made by BALM! Baby. They customize their ingredients, so we can just order off their website with no nut oils. It's great on my baby with nut allergies; bonus is we are vegan, & so is their stuff!

Linda said...

This year we have used Banana Boat Natural Reflect. My daughter is peanut/tree nut allergic. We don't have a problem with coconut, but I don't know about shea. I love organic products. I'm going to look into the ones mentioned. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Hi, I'm new to peanut allergies, and to your blog. Based on your post, I looked at the ingredient list on my son's Neutrogena "pure & free baby sunscreen" and the second and third ingredients are arachidyl alcohol and arachidyl glucoside respectively. Just thought your readers may want to know. Thank you for what you do! Your blog (and your book) has relieved some anxiety by giving me a road map to keeping my kiddo safe.

Ashley Sims

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I used a Neutrogena Sunscreen today, and my son (who is allergic to peanuts) kissed my shoulder and then got a rash on his face. My guess is that arachidyl alcohol and arachidyl glucoside were the culprit. He took some benadryl and was fine. I guess I won't be using that sunscreen again ...