Author: Dr Mark Duffill, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2008.
What is coconut diethanolamide and where is it found?
Coconut diethanolamide is a widely used surface active agent which helps to stabilise the foam in hand gels, hand-washing liquids, shampoos and dish-washing liquids. It is manufactured from coconut oil and is a non-ionic surfactant.
Products which may contain coconut diethanolamide
All purpose cleaners
Dish washing detergents
Hand washing liquids
Hydraulic mining oil
Potential occupational exposures
Food preparations occupations
Janitors and maids
Sheet metal workers
Heating, air and refrigeration mechanics.
What are the reactions to coconut diethanolamide allergy?
Coconut diethanolamide can rarely cause contact allergic dermatitis, particularly on the hands. Leave-on products (hand-protection foams) cause sensitisation much more rapidly (2-3 months) than rinse-off products (hand-washing liquids; 5-7 years).
Am I allergic to coconut diethanolamide?
Coconut diethanolamide contact allergy is diagnosed by a positive patch test to coconut diethanolamide.
Treatment of contact dermatitis due to coconut diethanolamide exposure
If you are diagnosed with coconut diethanolamide allergy then avoid products which contain this. Read product labels. It may take 2-3 weeks of avoiding exposure before improvement in the dermatitis occurs.