A growing body of research has shown a link between latex and food allergies — particularly allergies to fruits and nuts. Latex is derived from a variety of rubber plants. It appears that foods that come from plants with similar characteristics can induce a similar allergic reaction.
Thus, when ingested or applied topically to the skin, these foods can cause an allergic reaction in people with latex allergies. So if you have known food or latex allergies, check your skincare products for these common plant-based ingredients before using them.
Topical ingredients to avoid
The foods that most commonly triggered an allergic reaction in several studies across the span of more than two decades are:
One 1996 study, for example, examined the effects of certain foods on two groups of people: those with known latex allergies and those without latex allergies. Of the 47 latex allergy participants, 33 experienced an allergic reaction to foods, compared to seven of the 46 non-latex-allergy participants. In a skin-prick test, avocados, potatoes, bananas, tomatoes, chestnuts, and kiwi most frequently induced an allergic reaction.
A 1998 study found that bananas contain enzymes that are similar to hevein — an allergen found in natural rubber latex. A similar study found the same connection between hevein-like compounds in avocados and skin reactions in those with latex allergies.
Does a latex allergy cause food allergies?
We are unsure yet as to whether latex allergies result from or cause food allergies. However, we do know that there is a significant correlation between latex and food allergies.
This is especially important when selecting natural or plant-derived skincare ingredients, as topical products can cause an allergic reaction as well as ingested foods.
Ingredients like avocado have become popular natural skin remedies, but anyone with a latex or fruit and nut allergy should use caution with products that contain these ingredients.
Just because a product is labeled as “natural” doesn’t necessarily make it safe — especially for people with allergies to certain plants and plant-derived products such as latex.
Check the ingredients on your skincare products before using them if you have known allergies to latex or food ingredients. If you do develop a rash, itching, or other symptoms, try to narrow down which products you may have used to help your dermatologist determine the cause of the reaction.
For more skincare tips and tricks from Dr. Leslie Baumann, be sure to follow Baumann Cosmetic on YouTube, or follow @BaumannCosmetic on Instagram or Facebook.