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Can I be allergic to coconut oil?

by (3159)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:20 PM
Created March 25, 2011 at 2:33 AM

I use coconut oil to cook with (in addition to other fats)and I don't think I have any negative affects. I make my own toothpaste (coconut oil + baking soda). All is fine and dandy until I put coconut on my face as a moisturizer.

My face gets flushed and feels like I have some sort of reaction to it. I don't blister or anything but it doesn't feel right. Thus, I don't use it on my face (I know ... a novel idea.) I have always had sensitive skin. I only clean my face with water and the occasional castile soap or baking soda if I get paint on me from work. But it's only when I have tried the coconut oil I have a reaction.

Does this mean I'm just 'sensitive' to coconut oil? But 'not' allergic? Should I stop using coconut oil for a while (e. g. not eating it, toothpaste)? And if so, what changes should I look for to know if I am having alleviation of any symptoms?

While I think it is unlikely I have a full-fledged allergy, which I've read is rare. I'd love to hear y'all's thoughts and comments. Thank you in advance.

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301 · November 15, 2013 at 2:50 AM

Yummm...coconut flavor lol.

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301 · November 15, 2013 at 2:42 AM

That's because olive oil is awesome! OO for the win!

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301 · November 15, 2013 at 2:39 AM

I call BS. Allergies don't dissapear, unless you made them up inside your head in the first place.

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301 · November 15, 2013 at 2:37 AM

Any oil that gets in your eye will burn, even your own sweat and body oil, try it out if you are adventurous. Its not the coconut oil.

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744 · January 28, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Try refined coconut oil. Some people are allergic to regular coconut oil due to low thyroid function.

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1187 · January 28, 2013 at 5:27 PM

I can attest to my empty epi pen that I am still allergic to seafood!

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1187 · January 28, 2013 at 5:24 PM

I know I am! (same description too with itchy esophagus.)

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5191 · October 13, 2012 at 3:06 AM

There may have been a bacterial contaminant in your co or it could have been a coincidence and you picked up the bug from somewhere else. I don't think I would use anything on my eyes not specifically labeled for such use. You could try applying a small dab elsewhere, though, and see if you have a reaction. But please throw out the oil you used as makeup remover in case it is contaminated.

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320 · July 31, 2012 at 11:51 PM

just as an aside.. I try to be very simple and pure when it comes to beauty products too, because I am also very sensitive. I use a mixture of aloe vera and vegetable glycerin. You can get both in your beauty dept. at Whole Foods or natural food shop. Actually, glycerin is commonly used as an alternative to alcohol when making tinctures with herbs.. so I've steeped rose petals in it for a month, strained it, and then I have a lovely little moisturizing serum. So nice.

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4413 · July 31, 2012 at 11:36 PM

Why bother Mrs Y. She basically did a skin test at home!

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4413 · July 31, 2012 at 11:35 PM

Judy Monoculeosis is caused by a VIRUS not a bacteria. Antio-biotics treat bacteria. They do not help get rid of viruses at all.

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6709 · January 07, 2012 at 8:01 PM

If you have health insurance you should see if you can get an allergy panel done so that you can see what you are allergic to. IF you are allergic to coconut, you should not consume it any longer because even if you do not feel it, it can be causing inflamation and other negative responses by your bodies immune system.

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24271 · September 25, 2011 at 5:49 PM

Pieter coconut oil is rated as highly comedogenic. I don't think it's an allergy at all. People prone to acne have somewhat dysfunctional skin and CO is just a disaster for it. I suspect the CO is, for lack of a scientific term, "too heavy" for our pores or has some other property to it that keeps them from exfoliating themselves properly and they clog. I have not ever been able to find information on the exact process (doubt its been studied actually) but I think it's more an issue of it not working well with our already compromised ability to keep pores open and flowing.

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5796 · September 24, 2011 at 11:03 PM

Poor college students have more disposable income than many "wealthy" couples with kids, especially the parents of poor college students. Go get the test done while nobody else is depending on your income. You probably have a cell phone, mp3 player, computer, car, etc. and you complain that you can't afford health care.

D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3
5796 · September 24, 2011 at 11:02 PM

Poor college students have more disposable income than many "wealthy" couples with kids, especially the parents of poor college students. Go get the test done while nobody else is depending on your income.

86a7abe4a54c4dc15ea44bacef00c5a8
523 · September 24, 2011 at 5:16 PM

If you are still having mono problems, start dosing with Vitamin C to bowel tolerance. The Vit C can help boost your immune system and make the mono run its course faster.

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10294 · September 24, 2011 at 7:05 AM

Eating and putting on body, no problem, but on my face, probably too fatty. So I have a similar experience as Shari. Don't know if it means something allergy like...

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3159 · March 25, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Uh ... I would ... but I'm a poor college student and have to save all I have. Good idea though.

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3159 · March 25, 2011 at 4:01 AM

Thank you for the link. I'll just be steering clear of applying it to my face.

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3159 · March 25, 2011 at 3:37 AM

Yes, I've used it on my body as a moisturizer as well. No problems there. Perhaps I'm just being paranoid. Thanks for relaying your experience.

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3159 · March 25, 2011 at 3:36 AM

Well that's a bummer.

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37 Answers

E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29
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3976 · March 25, 2011 at 3:06 AM

Any human can become allergic to anything, at any time, not just the most common allergies. In my opinion, if it irritates your face, it may irritate your intestines or other body components. I don't think I'd ingest anything that gave me a skin reaction for that reason.

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3159 · March 25, 2011 at 3:36 AM

Well that's a bummer.

2b1e715df7b197f784465669f95d793e
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20 · July 16, 2012 at 12:56 AM

I cannot stress enough if you are allergic to something, DO NOT USE ANYTHING ASSOCIATED WITH IT. I have a coconut allergy, so why would I want to use coconut oil, water or any other product related to it? You also have to look at the other food products that have coconut in them. RE: chocolate, oatmeal cookies, and the list goes on. Coconut is a cheap filler as well as giving food that "nutty" flavor. So I do not eat much chocolate and I read every single label. I like being able to breathe and not having to stab my leg with an Epi pen on the way to the Emergency Room. With any allergy you have the potential to have Angioedema,,,, this is DEADLY and can KILL you. With angioedema you only have a short window of getting to a medical facility.... DO NOT FOOL AROUND WITH YOUR LIVES.

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24271 · March 25, 2011 at 3:21 AM

I know that I break out in horrible cysts if I get CO anywhere near my face. I can eat it, slather it on my body and my hair and it's fabulous but on my face it's a disaster.

I tend to think that facial skin is particularly sensitive in some and don't think that a reaction on the face is necessarily indicative of a systemic problem. Have you used it on the skin of your body without problems? If not I would try that to see if you have the same reaction. My hunch is that you will not.

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24271 · September 25, 2011 at 5:49 PM

Pieter coconut oil is rated as highly comedogenic. I don't think it's an allergy at all. People prone to acne have somewhat dysfunctional skin and CO is just a disaster for it. I suspect the CO is, for lack of a scientific term, "too heavy" for our pores or has some other property to it that keeps them from exfoliating themselves properly and they clog. I have not ever been able to find information on the exact process (doubt its been studied actually) but I think it's more an issue of it not working well with our already compromised ability to keep pores open and flowing.

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e
10294 · September 24, 2011 at 7:05 AM

Eating and putting on body, no problem, but on my face, probably too fatty. So I have a similar experience as Shari. Don't know if it means something allergy like...

B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0
3159 · March 25, 2011 at 3:37 AM

Yes, I've used it on my body as a moisturizer as well. No problems there. Perhaps I'm just being paranoid. Thanks for relaying your experience.

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1065 · March 25, 2011 at 2:51 AM

Yes, coconut is known to be a possible allergen. Coconut oil would be even tougher than coconut as it is pretty much all fat (usually it is proteins that cause allergy).

Here is a general thing on coconut oil: http://foodallergies.about.com/od/nutallergies/f/coconutallergy.htm

It is rare, but not beyond the realm of possibility. Putting it on your face is probably the highest exposure you could possibly get, although maybe being that oily could have also been a bother. Testing would tell you, that is what I would do in that situation.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3
6709 · January 07, 2012 at 8:01 PM

If you have health insurance you should see if you can get an allergy panel done so that you can see what you are allergic to. IF you are allergic to coconut, you should not consume it any longer because even if you do not feel it, it can be causing inflamation and other negative responses by your bodies immune system.

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3159 · March 25, 2011 at 4:01 AM

Thank you for the link. I'll just be steering clear of applying it to my face.

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10 · January 30, 2013 at 4:25 AM

Coconut oil burns my face also, I have heard it is antibacterial. Olive oil is much gentler on the skin.

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301 · November 15, 2013 at 2:42 AM

That's because olive oil is awesome! OO for the win!

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91 · January 28, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Generally speaking the food isn't the problem, but the way it is grown and processed.

My daughter was allergic to banana's... yes banana's.

Mouth sores, hives, the whole bit.

Gave her Organic Banana's and she is fine.

It taught us that what man does to food is often bad for man.

Even "organic" coconut oil may be tainted with non organic coconuts. And since most if not all of coconut oil is imported, who would know?

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10 · January 20, 2013 at 5:05 AM

OHG, I have been using coconut oil on my face for the last 7 months. I have been to emergency for swollen tongue, once, then I quite spooning it in my mouth but I still occasionaly used it at night as a moistuerizer on my face. SEVERAL times my lips have swollen, look like Angelina Jolie. Or swollen left jaw, or swollen right jaw. Today, look like chipmunk on left side. I am so gratefull for what I am reading, I think this is the cause of my strange maladies. Will quite to rule out. Thank everyone for their feedback, so glad I found this site.

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78417 · November 08, 2012 at 7:56 AM

Going Paleo should naturally treat your allergy overtime.

Since going Paleo, my allergies have disappeared.

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301 · November 15, 2013 at 2:39 AM

I call BS. Allergies don't dissapear, unless you made them up inside your head in the first place.

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1187 · January 28, 2013 at 5:27 PM

I can attest to my empty epi pen that I am still allergic to seafood!

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114 · October 13, 2012 at 2:49 AM

Don't use it as a vaginal lubricant! I made that mistake. Once.

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10 · October 13, 2012 at 1:28 AM

I had exactly the same prolem as the above poster! I used coconut oil as eyemakeup remover in the summer, and got the worst case of "pink eye" ever! I too, thought that this happened because I got a mosquito bite on my eyelid right before the problems started, but after reading this I am thinking I could have a sensitivity to coconut oil. Very disappointing, as I have heard so many good things about CO.

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301 · November 15, 2013 at 2:37 AM

Any oil that gets in your eye will burn, even your own sweat and body oil, try it out if you are adventurous. Its not the coconut oil.

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5191 · October 13, 2012 at 3:06 AM

There may have been a bacterial contaminant in your co or it could have been a coincidence and you picked up the bug from somewhere else. I don't think I would use anything on my eyes not specifically labeled for such use. You could try applying a small dab elsewhere, though, and see if you have a reaction. But please throw out the oil you used as makeup remover in case it is contaminated.

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10 · September 15, 2012 at 9:59 AM

I had an allergic reaction to coconut oil yesterday. I didn't break out on my skin, but after an hour massage with coconut oil, I started to vomit and had the runs all night. I also had a delirious fever. I eventually saw the doctor this morning and had a nausa shot to calm it down.

I knew I had an allergy to highly concentrated coconut after drinking Malibu rum when I was 19. Unfortunately, yesterday when they massaged me, I wasn't aware that they were using pure coconut oil. I won't be getting anymore massages and I definitely will be checking EVERYTHING for concentrated coconut in future. I never want to feel like that again. I'm just lucky that all I had was fever, vomiting and diarrhea and that the bloody stuff didn't kill me!

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254 · April 22, 2012 at 5:01 AM

It's possible that you're allergic to coconut. Have you tried substituting refined coconut oil?

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10 · August 16, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Okay well, I'm 15 years old and I've been trying my best to get over mono and get back to school. My mom put some virgin coconut oil in my tea, and according to the woman at the market who sold it to her, its not usually an allergy type thing. About 2 hours after I had finished one small glass of hot tea and A TEASPOON of coconut oil, my entire body began to breakout in hives. I've never been allergic to anything before in my life, and waas quite frightened. I've been trying to find some answers online but so far I haven't found anything that's actually helping me. I'm tired of taking medicine. I'm tired of having mono. And I'm tired of being tired. I really wish someone could help me, please?

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523 · September 24, 2011 at 5:16 PM

If you are still having mono problems, start dosing with Vitamin C to bowel tolerance. The Vit C can help boost your immune system and make the mono run its course faster.

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290 · March 25, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Go and see an Immunologist and have a skin prick test done and know for sure where you stand on this and other possible allergens.

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4413 · July 31, 2012 at 11:36 PM

Why bother Mrs Y. She basically did a skin test at home!

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5796 · September 24, 2011 at 11:03 PM

Poor college students have more disposable income than many "wealthy" couples with kids, especially the parents of poor college students. Go get the test done while nobody else is depending on your income. You probably have a cell phone, mp3 player, computer, car, etc. and you complain that you can't afford health care.

D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3
5796 · September 24, 2011 at 11:02 PM

Poor college students have more disposable income than many "wealthy" couples with kids, especially the parents of poor college students. Go get the test done while nobody else is depending on your income.

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3159 · March 25, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Uh ... I would ... but I'm a poor college student and have to save all I have. Good idea though.

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1485 · March 25, 2011 at 9:20 AM

I wouldn't stop eating it simply because it troubles your skin. If you feel fine when you eat it, go with that.

An allergy happens when our immune system starts to attack a substance as if it were a microbial invader. If your skin reaction was due to an allergy, then your body would react any time coconut entered your system. Now coconut oil may get broken down in your gut, and thus none of it enters your bloodstream intact, but surely if you were allergic your mouth and lips would have a reaction as well.

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0 · January 17, 2014 at 3:55 PM

It is called a healing reaction. I can't speak for everyone's case, but a lot of literature says that it is in fact healing the skin from the inside, bringing a lot of junk to the surface and expelling it.

I had woken up after the first day with rashes that I didn't even know I had surrounding a problem area. Then next day, even worse. Then I started googling and reading and people told me to hang in there. I figured the area was under my clothes, not able to be seen, so I gave it two weeks. I am happy I did because not only did the rashes disappear, so did the original infection I first turned to coconut oil for. I even have had to scars fade to the point there are not noticeable. All in 3 weeks.

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0 · November 15, 2013 at 2:22 AM

my daughter has had a small red spot on her neck at her hair line for years that comes and goes whenever she wears hats. It looked a little irritated recently so I put a dab of coconut oil on it. Big mistake! Now it's red, flakey, and itchy. Never bothered her until I applied the co.

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0 · August 29, 2013 at 4:42 AM

Ive been using coconut oil for about a month now, I've used it as toothpaste, moisturizer, conditioner. It seemed like a great replacement for several products but yesterday I broke with little red dots everywhere I am planning on discontinuing my use, has anybody continued to use after they realized a rash?

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0 · July 08, 2013 at 3:10 AM

I am also allergic to coconut oil. It causes mild lip swelling. So I tried MCT oil, thinking that maybe I wouldn't be allergic to super-refined coconut oil. Boy, was I wrong! I broke out in hives.

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0 · June 26, 2013 at 5:49 AM

I' ve been taking tasteless co & you wouldn't believe the energy I now have[57 going on 80 somedays]Started using it externally on my genital area that suddenly started to happen a couple of years ago & the only thing that helped was cortizone cream.After talking to some aquaintances while on holday they suggested using co.I ended up buying the tasteless one[cheaper].It has also helped mt blood sugar readings,my feet look they did 30 years ago & I'm losing weight & not even trying.I ran out out other day & bought some of what I thought was the tasteless one,but no.I persevered with taking it & got wind pain so bad I couldn't sleep,had a fever & the thought of food put me right off[good for the figure]I rang the company who manufactured the co & they said it was a chemical in the oil that's removed when they take out the taste.I think she said it was called Lycene but don't quote me. If you are able try to get a hold of some tasteless co & see what happens.Their website is Bio-Medical.com.au.Best of luck.

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5 · May 13, 2013 at 8:52 PM

I found a recipe on pinterest for an eye cream using raw coconut oil and vitamin e capsules. I used it one time and the next morning my eyes were puffy. I washed my face and took some benadryl. I also put a cool wet wash cloth on my eyes. They seemed to be getting better but the next morning I looked like Quasi Modo! My left eye was so swollen I could barely open it. I went to urgent care and had to get a steroid/cortizone shot. It's doing better now but I don't know if I was allergic to the coconut oil or the soybean oil from the vitamin E oil. :( Any thoughts?

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0 · March 15, 2013 at 9:30 PM

Hi! I started using CO as a moisturizer, the organic and refined, my body is fine, but my face? Not so much... at first it worket perfectly, smooth as a babies bottom! But after a couple of days i had a massive breakout, red bumps, redness and extremely dry skin. So sad, i'm struggling to find a moisturizer that works for my face, and i thought this was it... but my search continues... anyone got any good tips? I'll really appreciate it! I've got mixed skin prone to dryness. I feel for and with you! Btw. Don't beat down on poor students, it's just mean and unnessesary...

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0 · March 07, 2013 at 8:43 PM

I used coconut oil on my head to heal my scalp from allergy to PPD in hair color. I had lost hair and discovered that I have a serious reaction to PPD.

A friend had suggested that since I had stopped using hair color, I might like to try coconut oil because of it's healing properties, to help my hair grow back in. My scalp had healed up from the hair color incident, so why not coconut oil since it is supposed to have healing properties.

It is VERY possible to become allergic to CO!

Within just a few min my scalp began to itch something terrible.
Not only that, but it has been a full week since I washed it out of my hair.
My scalp turned bright red, sores all over it, and a red burn looking patch on my forehead. I have intense itching all over my scalp, and now...a week later...my body is breaking out. Small patches of rash started within 2 days after using coconut oil...and has steadily become worse. I also ingested some thinking I was going to help my internal organs. Boy was I wrong.

If you have a reaction on your skin from using coconut oil, STOP using it!

It is possible to be allergic to anything.
Read your body. Pay attention to how your body reacts to the things you use.

The coconut oil that I used was ultra refined and organic.

Goes to show you...

Also, if any of you have a rash on your body from a possible allergic reaction, take a bath every day with 2 cups Epsom Salts, 1 cup Sea Salt, & 1 cup Baking Soda. Keep using this every day until rash goes away. One can also use Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera, along with pure Lanolin from health store. This should be put on the skin right after the salt bath. It is a wonderful (little sticky feeling)must be applied with moisture, while skin is wet, intense moisturizer for the skin. Bath salts can be drying, but the latter takes care of any drying of the skin.

I did this when I broke out from allergic reaction to hair color and it healed the rash that was all over my body.

I am using it again

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0 · February 21, 2013 at 10:24 AM

If you are using the cooking oil then probably so. I've used the solidified cooking coconut oil from Costco on my hair for moisture and on my eczema. I too can consume it without issue.

Of course everyone is different, I had previously suffered from eczema throughout adulthood until I stopped chemically treating my hair. No perms, relaxers, chemical straighters, or color for 4 years and no eczema. All of a sudden, someone recommends cocnut oil and in comes the eczema with dry patches on face, neck, shoulder. That was literally where I used the coconut oil. I washed my hair and I immediately notice how my skin calmed down.

However, 3 months, 3 doctor visits (1 general & 2 different dermatologists), 90 questions, 2 steroid shots, 1 bottle of Hydroyl HCl 25 (as antihistamine) and my skin is normalizing. Leave the coconut in the kitchen!

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0 · January 31, 2013 at 8:39 AM

whoa what a coincidence my situation is almost verbatim to the original posters which is why I googled it. I am about to see an Immunologist on the 7th so I'll report back if I turned out to be intolerant or at least what the immunologist thinks.

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0 · January 28, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Well for me i have 2 rashes and ive been trying to use coconut oil to heal it. When i use it the rash becomes very itchy and red. I figure the rash is reaction in a positive way. Does this mean its acutely bad and will not heal my rashes ?

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3 · January 20, 2013 at 5:06 AM

use the refined. end of discussion. ray peat

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0 · January 08, 2013 at 2:24 AM

I too broke out with itchy red dots all over my arms, face, and neck mere hours after applying coconut oil. I found a website that said one of the treatments for itching was coconut oil. It stated "At first coconut oil increases skin rashes, itching, inflammation, and dry skin. Toxins coming out make the skin very dry. However, these reactions are part of the healing processes that will change and improve as you continue on a healthy program and keep applying coconut oil."

As crazy as it sounds, I have been applying it for 3 days now with no change, and I'm unsure whether I will keep applying it. Has anyone else experienced this? How many days does it take before the itchy red dots go away?

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0 · November 08, 2012 at 4:18 AM

I use it as vaginal lubricant, with MUCH success lol

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301 · November 15, 2013 at 2:50 AM

Yummm...coconut flavor lol.

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0 · September 07, 2012 at 6:23 AM

Has anyone had eye swollen shut or numb lips and toungue from CO ? I used CO and loved what it did for my skin... But then had bug bite over eye and woke up with eye swollen shut... 24 hours ... Then lips and toungue swollen... It's a week later and lips still tingly. Want to use CO again on face ... But don't k ow if I have allergy or reaction to bug bite. any INPUT?

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0 · August 04, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Does anyone experience red swollen itchy eyes after handling coconut oil? I have been having problems off and on with really itchy eyes and this morning I began to suspect the coconut oil because I hadn't eaten or touched anything else and my eyes became very irritated and itchy.

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0 · August 04, 2012 at 2:50 AM

Cynthia, this is exactly what has happened to me ! I recently tried CO so without out any medical proof, I'd still YES it was the CO or one heck of a coincidence.

Stop using it for a week and start ago to see if it happens again.

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0 · July 31, 2012 at 11:16 PM

I am wondering the same thing about my face -- I used coconut oil to remove make up over vacation (I use it in my hair and didn;t have other moisturizer) and two days after I returned home had dry, scaly cheeks and nose. Not thinking it was the CO, I put some on the dry patchy blotches last night and woke up with it MUCH worse.

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0 · July 24, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Coconut oil is very powerful and can really help the body to heal in many ways. I take it internally and it works very well for me this way, gives a lot of energy and keeps everything moving in my intestine. But when I use it on my face it also breaks me out; but I've noticed that when I keep using it on my skin it gets better and better. It's as though it's pulling lots of toxin/dirt/etc from deep skin layers and they get brought to the surface. I look terrible for a few weeks, mabye months but then it begins to clear and is better than ever. You can always try keeping taking it internally and trying it on one small patch of skin behind your ear and then on half of your forehead and see what happens. It's very unlikely that you will be allergic to coconut, and more of a cleansing reaction that will eventually clean itself out.

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0 · July 23, 2012 at 4:06 AM

I recently started using coconut oil on my body and face. One morning I woke up with the areas under my eyes (along my cheak bones) red and swollen. As the swellen went down, dry drawn skin appeared. It actually let noticable wrinkles. I'm trying to figure out if it was a reaction to the coconut oil. I have not had any other problems on my arms, legs, etc. HELP!!!

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0 · April 22, 2012 at 3:41 AM

Hanna - When you have mono, you cannot be taking any anti-biotics which would cause you to break out in hives. That happened to me, and that's how the doctor knew that he needed to test me for mono.

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4413 · July 31, 2012 at 11:35 PM

Judy Monoculeosis is caused by a VIRUS not a bacteria. Antio-biotics treat bacteria. They do not help get rid of viruses at all.

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0 · September 24, 2011 at 4:37 AM

First of all if u need to be natural get some stinging nettle tea. Maybe a doctor would help if that does not help. Mononucleosis does just run its course if you rest up for a while

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