Friday, July 31, 2009

Lotions and Potions--May Contain Nuts

For those of you with daughters, especially, look out for "fancy" lotions! The other night I took my girls to a class at the park district to learn how to create their own body lotion and lip gloss. I know, they really need that at ages 6 and 9 but they begged me to go and I caved.

Now, most of the "little girl" type of lotions and cosmetics that I've come across over the years do not contain nut oils. However, that didn't stop me from asking the teacher if any of the products the kids would be using had nuts or nut oils.

She couldn't have been nicer or more convincing--"Oh, no I never use that stuff. Too many kids are allergic."

I left feeling pretty confident and hung out about 5 minutes away for the duration of the 1-hour class (allergy moms tend to stay close) but when I arrived for pick up, my daughter had that "look" that told me something was wrong.

The teacher had used almond scent, flavor and we think, almond oil. Even though my daughter didn't use the scent or flavor (and frankly, it was probably artificial, but how the heck do I know), she couldn't use any of her products since the base they used to make everything was "a mix of oils" according to the teacher. (My daughter asked.) So, who knows what was in there? After the almond scent, I wasn't taking any chances.

Now, maybe this teacher thought I was only concerned about peanuts. (I said all nuts, don't know how much more clear to be!) Unfortunately, almond is one of my daughter's top 5 allergens and in the past, she has broken out when she used cherry/almond lotion at a friend's house. If it got in her eye or mucous membranes, she could have a severe reaction. So, scary stuff!

Whew, boy. I ended up buying safe Bonne Bell stuff for her on the way home and she gave me her products to keep.

What would I have done differently? First of all, avoid lotion and potion making classes unless I personally have inspected each and every product.

Second, I would have corresponded directly with the outside company offering the classes prior to the beginning of the workshop (turns out the company is not affiliated with our local park district).

More educating needs to be done--our park district is clear about their food allergy awareness with regards to cooking classes, but nut oils in cosmetics are not on their radar. Time to start contacting all parties involved.

Just wanted to give a heads-up so that you don't get stuck with the same problem. Has this ever happened to any of you?


Anonymous said...

I cannot thank you enough for these "warnings". your daughter is that much older then mine, where you are heading into these activities slightly before I am...

I have had people reassure me confidently when I KNOW they really shouldn't be. then what?!

sTaY aT hOmE mOm said...

I can't believe I have never seen your blog before tonight. I feel like you wrote this for me :) My husband and 3yr old son have tree nut allergies and my husband is also allergic to peanuts and sesame seeds. His original reaction was to Pine Nuts and the rest followed.
Last week I checked out the ingredients in my husbands shaving cream and it lists Macadamia oil...this one was new to me but he keeps using it and is fine.

Thanks for all the info on your blog. I will now be a frequent visitor! Especially since my son starts school in Sept...brushing up on my allergy info again so I can relay properly to the teachers :(

Anonymous said...

Not much to add to the post, since my daughter is too young to request any fancy lotion..etc. But in my bathroom for many years, I have a bottle of st ives apricot scrub, and one day, it shocked me to see that the "apricot" is actually walnut shells..thankfully my daughter is not allergic to walnut, but that still gives me chills thinking parents of kids with tree nut allergies. Always check labels, not matter what it is!

Anonymous said...

I too have the St Ives scrub and a son that allergic to tree nuts with Walnuts being one of his highest allergens. Definitely scary stuff - You have to literally read every label on everything. Thank for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this information. I too have found that many beauty/skin care products just are not safe for my daughter with severe food allergies. We have finally convinced most family members and friends to look for allergy warnings on food products. Now we are finding that we have to remind everyone to be mindful of "lotions and potions." Our daughter understands that she can't eat what most of her friends eat, but it is really hard for her to understand that she can't even use the same lotions,lip balms, etc. She just wants to feel like a "normal" little girl. I am amazed how hard it is to find a line of NUT FREE beauty products. Any ideas?