Beware of hidden allergens

Thanks to the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation No. 1169/2011, businesses that manufacture food must label their packaging if the food contains certain allergens. But would you think to check the ingredients in your body lotion or shampoo?

Many hair and skin products use oils from nuts, such as almond oil, to moisturise and it’s fine when it’s clear on the packaging as I know to avoid these products. But what if it’s not clear?

I opened a tube of Body Shop Rose hand cream and happily slathered it all over my hands. After a few minutes my skin started to itch, so I took a closer look.

On a closer inspection of the packaging there are no allergens mentioned on the front of the packaging.

On the back of the packaging is a list of ingredients, none of which are recognisable as allergens.

I Googled Bertholletia Excelsa Seed Oil, and guess what? This is Brazil Nut oil. But who would know without the power of Google?

Under the EU Cosmetics Regulations (1223/2009), manufacturers are required to list ingredients. But in my opinion this doesn’t go far enough if the ingredients are listed in such a way that the average purchaser doesn’t know what they are.

I think when it comes to cosmetics, manufacturers want us to be baffled by science so we believe that we’re being sold something new and amazing that will make us look younger and more beautiful. As an allergy sufferer I wish manufacturers would just be honest and print the allergens in bold and in plain English on the packaging so that I know what I’m buying before I slather it all over my skin.