“Natural” Skin Products Loaded with Nickel

From grocery stores to cosmetic counters, skin care is not care at all. Forms of aromatherapy, massage and skin “treatments” traditionally known as delightful indulgences often include a rash when you have eczema.

From grocery stores to cosmetic counters, skin care is not care at all. Forms of aromatherapy, massage and skin “treatments” traditionally known as delightful indulgences often include a rash when you have eczema. Facial peel, yup sure did. I don’t think that’s what they meant. Sounds delightful right? Nope, it results in such unpleasant eczema and undoes the intended sought after relaxation.

Many unscented cosmetic and personal hygienic products with “natural” ingredients like seeds, nuts, beans, cocoa, and oats all contain high concentrations of nickel.

Unless I am interested in nagging and acute scratching, I cannot place any of these ingredients on my skin:

• Almond butter
• Coconut butter
• Cacao butter
• Shea butter
• Jojoba oil
• Oats
• Walnut oil
• Bran oil
• Safflower oil
• Sunflower oil
• and anything with fragrances

Instead I enjoy using Cetaphil’s lotion and cleansing products, and simple olive oil when I receive a massage.
Cetaphil
olive oil

If I cannot eat it, I certainly can’t slather it on my skin.

20 comments
  1. do you know if Castor oil contains traces of nickel?
    and do you have any recommendations for a shampoo, conditioner or body wash one with nickel allergy could use?
    thank you

    1. Hi Jeane,
      Thanks for your comment. This research article suggests nickel might be found in caster oils. My dermatologist recommends fragrance free products for those with atopic dermatitis. Free and Clear is a well known brand and there are many others. I’d caution to read the ingredients and exclude products with nuts, seeds, oatmeal and other natural foods found to be higher in nickel.
      Christy

      1. thank you for the fast reply.
        yeah I read some good reviews on the “Pharmaceutical Specialties Free and Clear Shampoo”, i’ll try it out.
        and I came across this article as well, but as I understood it only “castor wax” contains nickel, that is used as a catalyst in the hydrogenation of the oil :
        “Hydrogenation, that is, the addition of hydrogen to castor oil in the presence of a nickel catalyst, results in hydrogenated castor oil (syn. castor wax) which is hard and brittle”
        how do you understand it?
        thanks again

        1. Hi Jeane,
          I don’t know about castor oil, often the hydrogenation of oils can include nickel.
          You could try contacting the manufacturer of the caster oil you want to try to find out about its nickel content and if they hydrogenate the oil when creating it.
          Best,
          Christy

  2. I notice the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream contains sweet almond in the ingredients…this doesn’t effect your skin? Do you use it on your face?

  3. Hello,
    have you heard of tamanu oil? I googled to see if it contains high levels of nickel but couldn’t find anything. Do you know anything about this oil?

    1. Hi Julia,
      Thanks for your comment. I haven’t heard about tamanu oil. From what I’ve briefly read online, it’s from nuts, but can be especially useful for those with eczema. Have you tried it? There are many who use lotions with oatmeal as a main ingredient. However, many of us with nickel allergies can’t tolerate ingredients that they themselves are higher in nickel, like oatmeal and nuts. If you’re able to tolerate it, that’s fantastic. I hope that helps.
      Warm regards,
      Christy

  4. Hi thanks so much for your help! Do you feel like the tocopheral (vitamin e) is a problem because it’s from soy? I’m having a hard time finding a multivitamin.
    I wonder if because it’s processed so much it’s reduced the problem. Same for glycerin which is normally “vegetable sources” and the cocomides. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Mona,
      Thanks for your comment. I think you’re on to something since so many foods high in vitamin E are nuts. Perhaps instead of supplements have you tried eating more vitamin E rich foods, like red peppers, broccoli, butternut squash, asparagus, rainbow trout, salmon, cod, snails, mangos, blackberries, kiwi or avocado?
      Warm regards,
      Christy

    1. Hi Sasha,
      Thanks for your comment and appreciation for my website. Argan oil is derived from nuts, which are known to be higher in nickel, so I’d assume argan oil is higher in nickel in cosmetic products.
      Warm regards,
      Christy

  5. You mentioned eating salmon in an earlier comment, but a site I found mentioned to avoid it due to its high nickel concentrations. Have you found salmon doesn’t bother you? Also, am I really unable to eating any type of lettuce?

    1. Hi Lauren,
      Thanks for your comment. Salmon doesn’t bother me, especially if it’s fresh. I don’t have a histamine intolerance. Some with systemic nickel allergies also experience issues with histamines. Certain foods, frozen foods or left overs can cause your body to release more histamines. Sometimes the longer you’re on the low nickel diet the better  you can tolerate moderate to higher nickel foods from time to time. Some can tolerate iceberg lettuce or lettuce grown hydroponically. Using a food journal is a great tool to identifying what you can or cannot tolerate.
      Warm regards,
      Christy

  6. Thanks for this info! I’m having a hard time finding a face wash with clean ingredients and without these potentially triggering natural ingredients. I’ve had eczema or atopic dermatitis pop up on my face and eyelids since around the beginning of quarantine and can’t get it to go away! I’ve never had it before although I have dyshidrotic eczema on my hands off and on. My question is about Cetaphil: the gentle cleanser contains mostly unclean ingredients: parabens, SLS, and propylene glycol. Is that the one you use? Or have you found something with cleaner ingredients?

    1. Hi Darcie,
      Thanks for your comment. I totally understand and experience eczema on my eyelids, above my lip and on my neck. I didn’t used to use anything, but now I use Skintifique’s Cleasner P before I go to bed and it works great. I write about it and provide a referral link in this review post. Eating a low nickel diet also cleared up by eczema on my face and neck.
      Warm regards,
      Christy

    1. Hi Karen,
      Thanks for your comment.. Upon closer inspection, I use cetaphil’s moisturizing cream. It doesn’t include shea butter, but does include almond and sunflower oil ingredients. I’ve never had an issue with it, but as an alternative I’ve also used Lubriderm Daily Moisture Body Lotion – Unscented and Skintifique’s products (my post includes a referral discount code). Perhaps either of those could be great alternatives for you. 
      Warm regards,
      Christy

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