Library: Olive and Olive Oil
Isaksson and Bruze note that contact allergy to olive oil is considered rare. A review of studies, however, identified twenty cases of contact allergy to olive oil; three of these had occupational hand eczema as a result of olive oil. They describe the case of a masseur who was allergic to olive oil, resulting in occupational hand eczema. Tests revealed that reactions occurred to the oil when applied to the skin but not when ingested. They recommend that, as sensitization occurs, the external use of olive oil should be discouraged. (1)
A study by Kränke et al found that olive oil when applied to the skin can, in susceptible individuals, cause adverse reactions. They question the use of olive oil in any creams or lotions intended for use by sufferers of eczema. (2)
Reactions to the use of olive oil on the skin can also be delayed. van Joost et al identified a delayed type of hypersensitivity to pure freshly-prepared olive oil in two individuals. They also raise the issue that olive oil is sometimes used as a vehicle in patch testing and that the possibility of reactions to the oil need to be considered when this form of testing is used. (4)
Unsel et al provide details of a twenty eight year old man who experienced itching in the roof of his mouth and genaralized urticaria after ingesting olives three years after being diagnosed with olive pollinosis. On testing it was found that he did not react adversely to olive oil and that no other fruit allergy was present. (3)
(1) Isaksson M, Bruze M. Occupational allergic contact dermatitis from olive oil in a masseur. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1999 Aug;41(2 Pt 2):312-5.
(2) Kränke B, Komericki P, Aberer W. Olive oil--contact sensitizer or irritant? Contact Dermatitis. 1997 Jan;36(1):5-10.
(3) Unsel M, Ardeniz O, Mete N, Ersoy R, Sin AZ, Gulbahar O, Kokuludag A. Food allergy due to olive. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2009;19(6):497-9.
(4) van Joost T, Smitt JH, van Ketel WG. Sensitization to olive oil (olea europeae). Contact Dermatitis. 1981 Nov;7(6):309-10.