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A woman holds a lotion bottle and inspects the ingredient label.

Is New Skincare Lotion Causing A Rash?

Our family took a holiday trip to get away from work and life. The beaches were beautiful, and it was a great trip!

Because I frequently travel for work, I have a routine when I pack. But I realized I forgot to pack my travel-sized body lotion for our holiday trip. I have separate travel-size containers of eye cream, face moisturizer, and body lotion.

Buying another body lotion on the trip

I figured I didn't need to worry because there was a store near our hotel. I found a travel-size bottle of body lotion at the store and slathered it on my parched arms and legs. It was working fine. We flew home, and I woke up the following day with itchy legs. Then I noticed I had a rash on my legs.

Experiencing a rash

I was baffled at first but then chalked the rash up to lots of walking at the beach. Maybe my legs were just chafed from that. But nothing seemed to help soothe the itching and the rash.

As I was putting my usual body lotion on my legs, the texture on the other side of my legs felt weird. I turned on a bright light and noticed a rash on the outside of my legs. The mystery deepened!

Then I was putting lotion on my arms...and the same thing happened. I felt a weird texture and noticed a rash on both arms.

I wondered, "What was going on? What could be causing the rash?"

Trying to determine the cause of the rash

I wracked my brain to see what I had done that was different. I hadn't eaten any food allergens; it definitely wasn't anaphylaxis from food allergies. I didn't have any other symptoms besides a rash. Was it caused by the sheets on the hotel bed? They were a little scratchy. But no one in my family had a rash on their arms or legs.

I thought about many options, like if I inadvertently used a new laundry detergent. Then I realized I had used a new body lotion during our vacation.

Is skincare lotion causing the rash?

Body lotion seems potentially harmless to me. I have never experienced hives or a rash from lotion before. I pulled out my travel bag and located the small bottle of lotion.

I inspected the bottle. It was the same brand as my face moisturizer. Could face lotion and body lotion be THAT different, especially from the same brand? Could I react to one cream and not another made by the same brand?

Inspecting the ingredients label

Then, I read the ingredients. In this lotion, there didn't seem to be any fragrances to which I might have reacted. However, some fragrances can be hidden under many different names.

Am I allergic to shea butter?

The lotion contained shea butter, and I have never used lotion with shea butter before. I did a quick Internet search and found that some people can get a rash after using shea butter. Lucky me. Shea butter is the fat that comes from the nut of the shea tree. I'm not allergic to tree nuts, but this may be a new allergy.

I know that I can develop a new allergy at any time. I had anaphylaxis to chicken curry last summer. Surprise! But I don't usually react to any topical products. I threw the bottle away and now have a new travel bottle of the lotion I usually use. Lesson learned!

Has anyone else had a strange rash from using lotion or skincare products?

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