What is it?
Lavender oil is a fragrance derived from the Lavandula angustifolia plant and is used in a variety of products such as personal care products, flavorings, and essential oils in perfumes. Skin products that contain lavender oil can increase photosensitivity (sensitivity to sunlight).
How can I avoid it?
Skin contact with lavender oil is required for it to cause a rash. Discontinuation of exposure to products containing lavender oil should result in improvement and/or the resolution of your dermatitis. By law, all products made in the U.S. for topical use have the ingredients listed either on the product package or the box that contains it, so check the labeling of your skincare products for this ingredient. If there is not enough information, ask your pharmacist or contact the company directly. At work, request a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to help identify potential sources of exposure.
The avoidance of fragrances and flavoring agents such as lavender can be difficult since so many everyday products contain these substances. One should use only fragrance-free cosmetic and household products. “Unscented” products may contain low levels of a fragrance to cover up an undesirable odor and also should be avoided. Products labeled as “hypoallergenic” do not assure that the product is truly free of fragrance.
Since fragrances are complex mixtures of many ingredients, an individual may tolerate one fragrance but not another. A trial-and-error method of avoiding a fragrance allergen in a product can be performed by applying the product to the forearm in the same small area twice a day for a week. If no dermatitis develops, the product may likely be used safely.
Although it is rare, since some fragrances are also flavors, foods that contain them can sometimes cause flare-ups of dermatitis in fragrance-sensitive individuals. If your healthcare provider has diagnosed that you have oral or lip allergies to flavorings, it would be best to avoid foods prepared with lavender.
- Perfumes/Colognes/After-shaves/Toilet water
- Skin Care Products/Cosmetics
- Haircare products
- Soaps/Cleansers/Household detergents
- Shaving products
- Topical medications (prescription and over the counter)
- Creams, Ointments, Solutions
- Foot and other powders
- Nasal decongestants
- Herbal remedies including traditional Chinese medications
- Wound dressings
- Textile sizing agents
- Household products
- Air Fresheners/Aromatherapy/Potpourri
- Cleaning products/Soaps/Detergents (a preferred household cleaner is dilute white vinegar)
- Furniture polish
- Laundry care (detergent, softeners)
- Cake decoration
- Baked goods
- Oral Care Products as a flavoring
- Cough mixtures
- Throat tablets and lozenges
- Industrial/Manufacturing/Construction uses
Other names for Lavender Oil:
- Lavandula hybrida oil
- Lavender Angustifolia
Potential cross-reacting/co-reacting substances:
- Balsam of Peru
- Essential oils
- Wood tar
- Other fragrances