Symptoms, causes and what to avoid

Allergy to olive oil or olives is very rare. In fact, you are more likely to experience the benefits of olive oil.

Olive oil is made from crushed olives, small fruits that grow on olive trees. The oil from the olives is then extracted through a manufacturing process. The result is a tasty liquid with many health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure. and reduce the risk of cancer.

This article discusses the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for olive oil allergy.

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Olive allergy

Olives grow in temperate and dry climates, mainly around the Mediterranean. They are also grown in some US states, including California, Texas, and Florida.

Where olive trees grow, people can suffer from seasonal allergies due to olive pollen. Olive pollen allergy is relatively common and can trigger allergic rhinitis, with symptoms including sneezing, itching, watery eyes and stuffy nose.

An allergy to olives is much rarer, and an allergy to olive oil is even more unlikely. In fact, olive oil contains very little protein, thanks to the manufacturing process that extracts the oil.

Because it is so rare, there is little research or data on olive oil allergies. However, one study reports only 20 cases of allergic reactions to olive oil on the skin.


There is no clear set of symptoms for an olive oil allergy. However, if you are allergic to olive oil, you may experience food allergy symptoms, including:

  • Urticaria
  • Stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing and cough
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • swelling of the mouth or tongue
  • Dizziness feeling faint

An olive oil allergy can also cause symptoms of contact dermatitis, a skin irritation that can be triggered by allergens. Symptoms of contact dermatitis include:

  • Skin rash, which may be red, itchy, or burning
  • Blisters
  • Swelling
  • Pain

In extremely rare cases, a food allergy can trigger anaphylaxis, a life-threatening shock reaction. If you have difficulty breathing, experience changes in your cognition, or feel faint, call 911 immediately.


Diagnosing food allergies, including an allergy to olive oil, can be tricky. Your healthcare provider may recommend blood tests, skin tests, or an elimination diet. These can detect olive allergy but not olive oil allergy.

Keeping a diary can speed up your diagnosis. Write down what you eat and document symptoms when they occur. This can help your healthcare provider understand what could be causing your allergy. Remember that even if you are diagnosed with an olive allergy, you are unlikely to be allergic to olive oil.


If you are allergic to olive oil, you should avoid olive oil. This can be tricky because olive oil is a common ingredient in foods, cosmetics, and other products. Be careful when using the following items and always read their labels:

  • Olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • Mayonnaise
  • Dressings
  • Chips, popcorn and other manufactured foods
  • Baked goods
  • Facial cleansers
  • lotions
  • Shampoos and hair products

Olive oil substitutes

Excellent substitutes are available if you are trying to reduce or eliminate olive oil. For skin health, try:

  • Almond oil
  • coconut oil
  • Argan Oil
  • tea tree oil
  • apple cider vinegar

For baking substitutes, try:

  • Grape seed oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • coconut oil
  • nut oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Butter or ghee


An allergy to olive oil is extremely rare. Even if you are allergic to olives, which is also rare, you can probably eat and use olive oil because it contains little olive oil protein. If you experience food allergy symptoms when using olive oil, it’s best to remove it from your diet and daily routine and replace it with an alternative like coconut oil.

A word from Verywell

Although an allergy to olive oil is rare, it is possible. If you think you may be allergic to olive oil, keep a detailed diary of your symptoms and talk to your healthcare professional. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and seek help in identifying the root cause of your symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you be allergic to olive oil without being allergic to olives?

    Since olive oil allergy is not well understood, there is no research on whether you can have an olive oil allergy without being allergic to olives. However, if you have symptoms, track them in a journal and talk to your healthcare provider, who can help you determine if olive oil allergy is the correct diagnosis.

  • Can people with nut allergies have olive oil?

    Yes, people with nut allergies can have olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is considered one of the safest oils for people with nut allergies.

  • What are the side effects of too much olive oil?

    Olive oil contains 119 calories per tablespoon, so eating too much could lead to weight gain. Most people should consume no more than 5-7 teaspoons of olive oil per day.

  • Is olive oil bad for health?

    No, olive oil is considered a healthy fat with many benefits, from improving cardiovascular health to soothing skin conditions. However, like all foods, it is important to consume olive oil in moderation.

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