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Thread: YAY Allergic contact dermatitis to coconut derived substances

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    Default YAY Allergic contact dermatitis to coconut derived substances

    That "yay" is ironic.

    I'm allergic to coconut derivatives found in nearly every commercial hair product and soaps, including "natural", "organic", "herbal", and "hypoallergenic" products since coconut is entirely naturally, often organic, and widely considered non allergenic due to the rarity of coconut allergy.

    Figures if I were going to be allergic to something it would be something weird and unusual.

    Coconut derivatives have become nearly ubiquitous in the last couple of decades, hence my increasing problems with contact dermatitis over that period. I used to keep hydrocortisone around at all times specifically to treat the rashes I kept coming down with, as there were no identifiable allergies. Nobody tests for coconut allergy as it is considered to be so rare and a lot of doctors think you can't have it at all without already being allergic to tree nuts, which I am not, and which isn't very sensible given that coconut isn't a nut at all nor remotely related to tree nuts. It is a fruit. It is a PALM fruit, related to other palms, not deciduous trees that grow in temperate regions.

    That leaves me with having to make my own cleansing and conditioning products using soapnuts, shikakai, and other herbal products.

    To date my use of herbal hair remedies has been limited to making a hair rinse from amla and hibiscus powder with fenugreek gel as a slip agent. Most of the "recipes" for shampoo call for whole soapnuts, whole amla, etc. Many are masques rather than rinses or washes. I don't want to plug up my plumbing so I preferentially stick to rinses and washes plus they're just easier for me to deal with. I love the amla rinse, after it dries it gives me great softening, definition, and clumping, but it is very tangledy in the shower and I've adjusted to that up to now by using more conditioner - which I have to stop doing since that allergy thing keeps rearing its ugly head and I have found NO conditioner that is actually free of coconut derivatives (that I can afford at least).

    My hair was historically 3a/3b but post menopause the best I can usually manage is something that teeters on the boundary between 2c/3a. It often teeters over the less curly edge of that range LOL! I've made my peace with that, after all its not like I want to attract anybody thankyouverymuch.

    My hair is high porosity and protein starved so lots of protein has helped reduce breakage A LOT and thus improved the overall length. But my hair is uber uber finer-than-baby-hair-fine and still prone to mechanical breakage (I only use afro picks and wide spaced double tooth combs). I have a detangler that works without weighing my hair down but it has coconut derivatives in it that do not seem to irritate my scalp SO FAR, perhaps largely due to the fact that it goes on my hair and not so much on my scalp. (I shield my face from overspray and wash my hands thoroughly after use - so far so good).

    But its not really a conditioner.

    I have found a recipe that uses soapnut POWDER which I can easily get (whole soapnut is called for in every other recipe for a liquid shampoo that I've found and I can only get that with difficulty) as follows:

    Herbal liquid shampoo
    Bring 100 ml water to a boil and add 1 tbsp soap nut powder,1 tbsp shikakai powder, 2 tsp hibiscus powder. Cover with a lid and keep aside for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid and use as shampoo. Repeat twice a week for best results. This can also be stored in ice cube trays for future use.

    I don't have shikakai powder YET but can easily get some. I will also say, I will be using this wash most often at intervals of NO MORE than every other day. Sorry no-poo-ers. I can't stand washing my hair once a month.

    My amla rinse is typically made as follows:

    3 T amla powder (I use Terrasoul or what they carry at my local Indian grocery) + 2 T hibiscus powder in 6 cups of water cooked over low heat in a cheap coffee maker for 6 to 8 hours, strained, decant into a 360 sprayer. Spray on hair in shower after washing, leave in 10 to 15 mins, then rinse out, then condition.

    Works great but very tangledy until it dries and I typically apply a ton of conditioner afterwards. I have also tried adding fenugreek seed gel which makes it not suitable for spraying anymore. Haven't experimented with that much yet after discovering it clogged my sprayer. My next try at that will be to make up the amla/hibiscus rinse separately, then use that liquid to make up the fenugreek seed gel rather than trying to add the gel to the amla rinse. Not a good idea to try to make it all at once since gel doesn't strain very well. I make a packet of 2 T fenugreek seed in a coffee filter in 3c of water, in the coffee maker for again 6 to 8 hours until it makes a good gel, then just fish the packet out and toss it. I'm going to use a recycled spray bottle from a commercial hair product rather than the 360 sprayer to see if its sprayable that way or still clogs, if so I'll probably have to thicken it with more fenugreek gel or xanthan gum or somethingorother to get it to stick to my hair. This all seems very involved to me.

    While the fenugreek seed may add slip/detangling, I'm not sure it actually conditions.

    I have
    • brahmi powder
    • neem powder
    • hibiscus powder
    • rose petal powder
    • amla powder
    • fenugreek seed
    • chamomile tea
    • aloe vera powder (that I got to do a henna treatment with some Zenia henna powder eventually).
    • low quality tulsi powder due to a desperate search for tulsi infusion ingredients (for drinking). It makes crappy tulsi infusion so I'm not sure of its usefulness for my hair but I guess that's one way to use up the 2 or 3 pounds of the stuff that I have that are Not Suitable for Drinking.


    Also I live in a desert so I can't use most common humectants as they work to draw moisture OUT of my hair given the air is so very dry here pretty much year round. Cider vinegar and baking soda also are bad for my hair. Complete opposites LOL! But both contraindicated for me. I have a little leeway with the acids because the water here is pH of about 9 on average, but other than lowering the pH of the water, not sure acids are of much help.

    Right now I am using SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter shampoo which has no identifiable coconut derivatives in it (decyl glucoside in that is specifically stated to be derived from sugar beets rather than coconut) but that could change - SM really really LOVES the coconut in virtually everything they make. Well really, so does nearly everybody else, but SM tends to use a lot more different types together, a lot earlier in the ingredient list. Everything in that line other than the shampoo have significant amounts of coconut derivatives.

    My protein treatment has heretofore consisted of adding the Neutral Protein filler to my conditioner and leaving that in for 10 to 15 mins, which now becomes problematic given I don't currently have a coconut-free conditioner at all. I haven't tried mixing it into the fenugreek gel yet. I have to make up new batches of the amla rinse and the fenugreek gel. Not sure of the wisdom of trying to do a protein treatment with the amla rinse so - I may need to try that with straight fenugreek gel and I have NO IDEA how that is likely to work out. Not sure what straight fenugreek gel might even do to my hair. Sheesh!

    I might also try mixing it into water and using a 360 sprayer to apply, let sit 10 to 15 mins, then rinse out. Or even let it dry in there. Not sure of the best way to do that now that I can't use commercial thick conditioners that stick to your hair well until rinsed out. I'll have WAY less control over the amount of protein applied if I try to mix it into water, and less confidence of how much of it stays in once sprayed in.

    *sigh* Advise me, oh herbal ones. I am particularly desperate for something that will adequately condition and a new vehicle for protein treatment.

  2. #2
    Eternally Windblown C_Bookworm's Avatar
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    Default Re: YAY Allergic contact dermatitis to coconut derived substances

    Do you have access to a Trader Joeís? I think their tea tree tingle conditioner is coconut free. And quite reasonably priced
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    Default Re: YAY Allergic contact dermatitis to coconut derived substances

    Well that also has coconut in it:

    C12-14 OLEFIN SULFONATE (COCONUT DERIVED), COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE

    Plus I already tried it. IT BURNS!!!! IT BURNS!!!! Seriously, just rinsing it set my skin on fire as it washed away. Probably the mint content. Didn't leave a rash or anything, but very fiery results.

    I am very very serious, there are very few products on the market that don't have coconut in them. It's even in a lot of TP and TP adjacent products (and I found THAT out by unfortunate results in the nether regions, without knowing what was actually causing it for literally YEARS). The few coconut free hair products I've identified are stupidly expensive.

    I'm for the herbs, that's really my best option at this point given the progression of my sensitivity, if I can get some info about how to do it.

    Well really, even if I can't. Help and advice would cut my experimentation time but regardless, I really only have a choice between giving up on clean hair or finding a coconut free herbal path.
    Last edited by Soj; January 19th, 2020 at 08:35 PM.

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    Default Re: YAY Allergic contact dermatitis to coconut derived substances

    Quote Originally Posted by Soj View Post
    Well that also has coconut in it:

    C12-14 OLEFIN SULFONATE (COCONUT DERIVED), COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE

    Plus I already tried it. IT BURNS!!!! IT BURNS!!!! Seriously, just rinsing it set my skin on fire as it washed away. Probably the mint content. Didn't leave a rash or anything, but very fiery results.

    I am very very serious, there are very few products on the market that don't have coconut in them. It's even in a lot of TP and TP adjacent products (and I found THAT out by unfortunate results in the nether regions, without knowing what was actually causing it for literally YEARS). The few coconut free hair products I've identified are stupidly expensive.

    I'm for the herbs, that's really my best option at this point given the progression of my sensitivity, if I can get some info about how to do it.
    Idk I see those ingredients in their Tree tree tingle SHAMPOO but not the CONDITIONER...
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    Member jane_marie's Avatar
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    Default Re: YAY Allergic contact dermatitis to coconut derived substances

    I'm sorry to here about your coconut allergy. I'm not sure what it's like to be allergic to coconut but I do have a severe soy allergy which makes shopping for for and health products very difficult. So, I feel your pain... in a way.


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    Default Re: YAY Allergic contact dermatitis to coconut derived substances

    Quote Originally Posted by C_Bookworm View Post
    Idk I see those ingredients in their Tree tree tingle SHAMPOO but not the CONDITIONER...
    I just realized I looked at the wrong product but you beat me to it LOL! There might still be some coconut in it - ceatyl alcohol is also often coconut-derived, but I'm not sure it leaves any of the allergens that are a problem for me after it is processed to make that. But still there is the problem of the burning.

    I recently got a nasal spray for a bad cold that turned out to have "menthol", eucalyptus, and camphor in it. It was like snorting Vic's Vaporub and it made my nose bleed. I guess I must be sensitive to minty/camphory stuff too. Hopefully not actually allergic, but then that's what I thought about the coconutty stuff too until it was repeatedly proven to me that I was getting the contact dermatitis with increasing frequency from products containing less and less coconut and its derivatives.

    Nevertheless I am desperate and will try it. If it burns I'll just take it back I guess. I still need to find an herbal path, it'll just be safer that way, plus I'm about to move to a place where the nearest Trader Joe's is almost 5 hours away. Hence the desperate search for a replacement for the TJ's tulsi "tea" that I won't be able to get anymore pretty soon either and all that tulsi that doesn't taste anything like tulsi.

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    Default Re: YAY Allergic contact dermatitis to coconut derived substances

    Quote Originally Posted by jane_marie View Post
    I'm sorry to here about your coconut allergy. I'm not sure what it's like to be allergic to coconut but I do have a severe soy allergy which makes shopping for for and health products very difficult. So, I feel your pain... in a way.
    Oh no, you feel my actual pain. Soy has also become ubiquitous. I'm grateful not to have that one as I am diabetic and soy (and okara, a byproduct of making your own soy milk) is one of the few low carb foods I not only tolerate but actually LIKE.

    Sometimes, bad is bad (to quote whoever wrote that song).

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    ☮ Enjoy the journey ♡ Groovy Granny's Avatar
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    Default Re: YAY Allergic contact dermatitis to coconut derived substances

    Wow that is awful....and difficult to deal with!

    Prayers for strength, hope, direction, and healing
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    Default Re: YAY Allergic contact dermatitis to coconut derived substances

    Quote Originally Posted by Soj View Post
    I just realized I looked at the wrong product but you beat me to it LOL! There might still be some coconut in it - ceatyl alcohol is also often coconut-derived, but I'm not sure it leaves any of the allergens that are a problem for me after it is processed to make that. But still there is the problem of the burning.

    I recently got a nasal spray for a bad cold that turned out to have "menthol", eucalyptus, and camphor in it. It was like snorting Vic's Vaporub and it made my nose bleed. I guess I must be sensitive to minty/camphory stuff too. Hopefully not actually allergic, but then that's what I thought about the coconutty stuff too until it was repeatedly proven to me that I was getting the contact dermatitis with increasing frequency from products containing less and less coconut and its derivatives.

    Nevertheless I am desperate and will try it. If it burns I'll just take it back I guess. I still need to find an herbal path, it'll just be safer that way, plus I'm about to move to a place where the nearest Trader Joe's is almost 5 hours away. Hence the desperate search for a replacement for the TJ's tulsi "tea" that I won't be able to get anymore pretty soon either and all that tulsi that doesn't taste anything like tulsi.
    Oh eek. Yeah even if it didnít burn, thatís not a doable commute for a shopping trip

    In terms of a thick vehicle-type medium, Iíve used Fruit of the Earth aloe Vera gel (not how you would use it though...It isnít as dry where I am, so I have used it as a leave-in). It washes out easily and doesnít smell like anything.

    Xanthan gum Iíve used to thicken up my henndigo. It does a great job thickening but isnít easy to wash out.

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    Default Re: YAY Allergic contact dermatitis to coconut derived substances

    My goodness. Even TP..... I'm sorry. I can't imagine how hard that is!

    I don't see any oils. A good conditioner or mask is methi seed powder, avj and/or water, and an oil of choice. I like a bit of melted shea butter, but sunflower oil may work better if shea is too heavy. That tends to make it more conditioning instead of just slippery.

    I know African black soap is made from plantains, but there could be some coconut content in there. I think a lot of detergents are coconut derived so no help there.

    I'm sure people will come for me with pitch firms, but have you tried water only?

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