Lavender allergy: symptoms, causes and treatment

A lavender allergy is a rare allergic reaction to lavender or lavender oil. Lavender oil is an essential oil derived from the lavender flower.

If you are allergic to lavender, you may suffer from allergic contact dermatitis if exposed. Possible symptoms include a rash with redness, swelling, and itching.

Linalyl acetate is a chemical fragrance used in most forms of lavender essential oil and is known to cause allergic eczema.

This article will provide an overview of lavender allergy, including symptoms, causes, and treatments.

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lavender flower

Lavender is a flower often used in aromatherapy oils, as well as personal and household products. It is a possible cause of allergic contact dermatitis.

A study found that when 2,178 people were tested for a lavender allergy, 49 reacted. This meant that 2.2% had a positive patch test and were considered allergic to lavender.

Symptoms

Possible symptoms of allergic contact dermatitis include:

  • Eruption
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itching

causes

An allergic reaction is caused by an overreaction of the body’s immune system. The most common cause of a lavender allergy is personal care products, as this oil is often used in soaps, shampoos, and lotions.

Two of the main components of lavender oil are linalool and linalyl acetate. These substances have been found to cause allergic contact dermatitis in individuals.

Linalyl acetate is a fragrance chemical found in lavender oil. It has been associated with an increased risk of allergic contact dermatitis.

Treatment

The best treatment for an allergy is to avoid the allergen. If you have contact dermatitis from lavender, consider seeing your primary care provider, an allergist or dermatologist, a doctor who specializes in skin, hair, and nails. They will perform a physical exam and may recommend allergy testing.

Possible treatment options for allergic contact dermatitis include:

  • Cool compress to relieve itching
  • Calamine lotion or colloidal oatmeal baths for open wounds
  • Oral prednisone to reduce swelling and redness (prednisone is only used in episodes of moderate to severe dermatitis)
  • Phototherapy (treatment using natural or artificial light)

Prevention

An allergic reaction is an overreaction of the immune system. The only way to prevent the reaction is to avoid the trigger. If you are allergic to lavender, you should avoid all lavender flowers or sources of lavender oil.

Since lavender is commonly used in household and personal care products, it’s important to exercise caution with new products. Read the label carefully and use only a small amount the first time.

Summary

Although rare, it is possible to experience an allergic reaction to lavender flowers or lavender essential oil. Possible signs of allergic contact dermatitis include a red rash, swelling, and itching. To treat allergic contact dermatitis caused by lavender, consider trying cold compresses, calamine lotion, and colloidal oatmeal baths. Consult your health care provider if home remedies are not successful. The best way to prevent a lavender allergy reaction is to avoid the trigger.

A word from Verywell

Allergic reactions to lavender are rare but possible. Talk to your healthcare professional if you think you may be sensitive or allergic to lavender. It is important to avoid lavender as much as possible to avoid an allergic reaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does the lavender plant look like?

    The lavender plant contains long purple flowers attached to very long green stems. The flowers may also appear blue or periwinkle.

  • How common is a lavender allergy?

    An allergy to lavender is rare. Having an allergic reaction to an essential oil is rare. Talk to your healthcare provider if you think you may be sensitive or allergic to lavender.

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