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What Is a Vitamin E Allergy?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A vitamin E allergy is a relatively rare condition that generally results in a mild skin reaction. Contact dermatitis, also known as eczema, is the most common symptom. Vitamin E is an essential vitamin that naturally occurs in many foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, and an allergy to foods containing it is very rare. It is more common for a person to be sensitive to medications and beauty products that contain this ingredient.

People who have an allergy to vitamin E produce too much of a chemical known as histamine when the skin comes into contact with the vitamin. These elevated histamine levels often cause a rash that might itch and swell at the location of contact. The exact symptoms of the allergy vary according to the type of product used as well as the severity of the allergy itself.

Many beauty products and cosmetics contain vitamin E, and the majority of people will not experience any negative side effects from them. People who have a vitamin E allergy might experience redness, swelling or itching at the application site. In some cases, hives or welts might develop. Treatment with an oral or topical antihistamine, which usually can be purchased without a prescription, is generally all that is needed to treat these symptoms. If over-the-counter antihistamines do not provide sufficient relief, a medical professional might prescribe stronger medications.

It is almost unheard of for a person to be allergic to the vitamin E found in foods, although it is possible for this to occur. Some foods that contain vitamin E include peanut butter, vegetable oil, mayonnaise, and eggs. Many processed foods contain it as an added ingredient, making it essential for anyone who has an allergy to carefully check food labels.

Anaphylaxis is a term used to describe a severe and potentially fatal type of allergic reaction. This type of vitamin E allergy is extremely rare but requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of anaphylaxis might include swelling of the face, tongue, and throat, as well as a rash or hives. When the throat swells, it might become difficult or impossible for the patient to breathe. Emergency medical attention is necessary when this occurs, and hospitalization is frequently needed until the patient is stabilized.

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Discussion Comments

By gdanelvr71 — On Nov 23, 2014

I'm curious about relief from my allergies caused by Vitamin E. I take 2 benadryl at night because I can't take them during the day as the cause me to be drowsy. I also am allergic to both external and internal exposure. External exposure is more immediate whereas my internal seems to take time to build up. Most of the time I begin itching and have to retrace my steps and tear things done to figure out where I came across the Vitamin E. It's very irritating as not all things will list it on their ingredients such as sunflower seeds. Until today, I had no clue they contained it, and found out they are one of the best sources of it yet their packaging says nothing of the sort. I am in no way deathly allergic to it and i feel for those of you who are.

Does anyone have a suggestion of an OTC allergy medicine I can take besides benadryl that might help?

Thanks in advance to all who read this and I hope you all have a safe, happy and Vitamin E free Thanksgiving.

By anon962479 — On Jul 23, 2014

I am allergic to both taking it internally as well as external exposure. I also have a sensitivity to those foods rich in vitamin E, peanut butter being the worst offender. I also cannot eat avocados and mangoes. I can eat maybe one slice of each of these, but if I eat the whole thing I wake up in the morning with itchy fluid filled rashes all over my face and neck and chest. It's very ugly.

There is no relief other than to completely stay away from everything having to do with this vitamin. I believe that being allergic to it may shorten my life as it is an important vitamin to combat cancer and other illnesses.

By anon356295 — On Nov 23, 2013

I'm allergic to Vitamin E around the eyes, unfortunately I 'm unable to find cosmetics that don't contain it. Anyone have suggestions?

By freefly — On Mar 06, 2013

I'm allergic to vitamin e oral supplements, whether they are pharmaceutically concocted or organic. Any extracted vitamin e extract on my skin is a disaster. It gets worse with each experience, it seems.

Just recently I purchased a vial of skin oil with no ingredient list (duh-uh on me!) My face became a balloon and my family couldn't recognize me and felt sick to look at me. As soon as I put it on I could feel the burning and prickling pain. It was very similar to an actual heat burn. It was so bad the only thing that soothed somewhat was a thick layer of vaseline for seven days.(I know, it's a yucky petroleum product).

It actually kept moisture in, allowing three layers of skin to slough off and new skin to regenerate. I also felt small sharp pains occasionally in my heart muscle, but not problem with my breathing. Believe me, I learned again to read every label or don't touch it! I eat a lot of nuts and seeds and don't seem to have any reaction to whole foods with naturally high levels of vitamin e.

By literally45 — On Jan 16, 2013

I'm allergic to vitamin E supplements. I haven't had any severe reactions to it, but in general I don't feel well after taking it. My vision also becomes blurry. I had an allergy test and results say I have a mild reaction to vitamin E. If anyone experiences such symptoms after taking vitamin E supplements, I highly recommend getting an allergy test.

By serenesurface — On Jan 15, 2013

@turkay1-- No, not necessarily. There might be people who are allergic to both but I don't think it's very common.

The vitamin E in foods is in its natural form so the likelihood of this type of vitamin E to cause allergies is low. But the vitamin E used in cosmetics and skin care products are different. They are probably vitamin E extracts or oils and have been processed. So that's why some people like me become allergic to it.

I have such a hard time finding body lotion because many brands put vitamin E in their products nowadays. If I use any lotion with vitamin E, I break out in a red, raised, itchy rash. It's really annoying.

By candyquilt — On Jan 15, 2013

Are people who are allergic to vitamin E skin products also allergic to foods rich in vitamin E?

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