Skincare and alpha-gal

A blog reader recently wrote to ask if we knew of any connection between skin products containing lanolin or milk proteins and allergic reactions.  She is alpha-gal positive and has had itching on her hands and face after using products with those ingredients.  Before she became alpha-gal positive, she did not have any issues with lanolin or milk proteins on her skin.  The reader recently stopped using any products with these ingredients and has not had any itching since then.  It is possible that such products contain a small amount of alpha-gal.  Has anyone else had this problem?

12 responses to “Skincare and alpha-gal”

  1. Joyce Langley says :

    My husband is also alpha-gal positive and has found he is also allergic to lanolin. It causes severe itching and red, almost blistery places on his skin.

  2. karen says :

    I have a long history of beef pork allergy and recently have been told to take 4000u Vitamin D3- which apparently is derived from sheeps wool. I am now experiencing extreme tiredness- could I be developing an allergy to lanolin?

  3. robin says :

    I have the alpha gal allergy and have found that eliminating lotions with milk proteins has helped reduce reactions.

  4. winnyninnypoopoo says :

    I started to have severe reactions to some fabric softeners, found out that many are made from tallow. Similar situation.

  5. Laurie Sevedge Beane says :

    Two years ago I began experiencing hives which later manifested as full-blown anaphalaxsis 2 years ago. We had been out on an impromptu hiking trip and been bitten but a large number of “seed ticks.” Our first reaction was to take them off our then 5 year old, and then my husband and I took them off ourselves. Two months later I started having severe reactions – which I now realize through a bloodtest is an “alpha-gal” allergy I also now have an IGE reaction to dairy and wheat. I now realize this only affects type A and type O blood types (thankfully my son and husband are both type B). See below as my newborn is type O.

    Ingesting dairy means hives. But if I have a small cut and don’t pay attention to ingredients and the lotion has milk – I’ll get a severe reaction. I also now have an IGE reaction to cat and dog dander – I belive all of the events are related. My blood test for “Alpha-Gal” showed above 80% so I’m positive the events are related (I found dairy and wheat via a blood test but was still having severe reactions. Upon my own research I found “alpha-gal” and requested my allergist test me). Living in Kansas City with a “red-meat” allergy isn’t ideal:)

    So here’s my question…is there any research for children born of an “alpha-gal” parent? I just had a newborn (have had “alpha-gal” for 2 years). Accordingly while I’m nursing my newborn has never had milk, dairy or mammalian meat. What if any research exists about exposing children to this of “alpha-gal” parents?

    I’m very willing to travel to UVA but any help would be appreciated!

    • Olivia Grimaldi says :

      I just tested positive for alpha-gal and am nursing a 10 week old. I was bitten by ticks this spring while 9 months pregnant. I too would like to know of any info about it passing through breast milk or the placenta. My allergist said no on it passing through breast milk but I’m hoping to get more clarification or advice on testing him.

    • tinahatley says :

      Skin tests for foods usually do not include beef or pork in children. I am seeing more beef and pork allergy in children in Arkansas. Skin tests are quick, results in 15 min and can be done at any age. The blood test for alpha-gal is through ViroCor-IBT.

    • Kate says :

      Did your child ever develop the allergy? I tested positive for alpha-gal about 2 years ago. I am nursing a 10 month old and haven’t exposed him to mammalian meat because I am afraid there is a chance he will have it too. What have been your experiences in the last year with your baby?

  6. Jennifer Magavero says :

    I developed an alpha-gal allergy a little over two years ago that seems to be getting progressively worse, first meat had to be elminated and then all dairy. Now even topical products containing animal by products will cause some type of reaction. Noticed it with lip balm and hand lotion. The lanolin in lip balm will cause lips to swell and my throat will feel tight. With hand lotion my hands will itch and break out in hives. Fortunately there are several products available that are animal product free, just have to read labels.

    • Di B. says :

      Hi, Jennifer, please check the internet for Vegan products. There is a growing supply of beauty and health animal-free products available. It makes searching for safe products so much easier. My daughter made me aware of some of the sites. I have found through a life with shifting allergies that if I can eliminate a particular form of allergen for long enough, I can become much less sensitive to it. The cycling of symptoms seems to match those 7 and 11 year body cycles. I wonder if others find their allergies cycling, too, over periods of years. Most of us haven’t had the meat / animal products allergies for long enough to figure out if we will have cycles with it.

  7. Nancy Misucavech says :

    I too have Alpha Gal and probably have had it for ~10 years. I have >90 reading on the blood test. The hives are worse ~ 1 week to a few months after each lone star tick bite. The hives can come on after eating even though I’ve completely eliminated all mammal meat and dairy for the last year. The hives happen when my stomach acid increases from whatever I’ve eaten. The hives get worse throughout the day and are also brought on like round lifted spots after exercise especially where clothing touches–when I scratch the area. They always go away at night (and I have 2 beagle that sleep under the covers). The itchy palms and bottoms of feet (also inside ears) was from dairy and also using my hands alot (gardening) and after standing alot. I found that eating breakfast– (I boil a batch of potatoes for the week) I heat up a sliced potatoe and a half red pepper in smart balance with the Costco salt-free seasoning, then use the same pan afterwards for 1 full egg, 3 whites. I drink a small OJ and one caffeinated coffee. Also–limit your coffee after recent tick bites because that will sour your stomach as well. This breakfast never gives me hives and is substantial so it lasts until lunch time. I wish they had a cure for this. I cannot even take allegra for the hives becasue it gave me “different” looking hives (more like a map on my skin that slowly spreads out) and low level wheezing at night.

  8. Tina Moore says :

    There is a wealth of information at Alpha-Gal on Facebook. Lists of products to stay away from and other research information. There are Drs there as well.

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