A woman has experienced a life-threating allergic reaction after using a moisturiser with ‘natural’ ingredients.

The 55-year-old woman experienced the reaction after eating goat’s cheese, which researchers say was triggered by the repeated use several months earlier of a moisturiser that contained goat’s milk.

Professor Robyn O’Hehir, Director of Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, said many creams – even for the treatment of dry skin and eczema – are advertised as ‘natural’ products.

“Surprisingly, some of these products contain foods which are known to cause allergy,” Professor O’Hehir said.

“Goat’s milk, cow’s milk, nut oils and oats are common ingredients in ‘natural’ cosmetics.”

Professor O’Hehir said the study, published this month in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, was the first to demonstrate in the laboratory evidence of a link between topical application of cosmetics and the subsequent development of food allergy.

“While unlikely to be a problem for most people, application of these to broken or eczematous skin may lead to a severe allergic reaction when the food is next eaten,” Professor O’Hehir said.

“To ensure allergies don’t develop, if you have eczema, it’s important to use skin care that is bland and avoid agents capable of sensitization, especially food.”

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(Source: Monash University, The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice)