It can be easy to overlook the presence of nut allergens in non-food items because the allergens are often listed by their Latin or scientific name. When the top eight food allergens are used in food products, the allergens are required to be on the label in common-use English terms (e.g., peanut, almond). This plain-English requirement is not placed on manufacturers of non-food products such as lotions, shampoos, medication or make up.
Latin Names for Nuts
It helps to read labels only if you know what to look for. Here are the Latin names for nuts that may find their way into non-food products:
- Almond (sweet): Prunus amygdalus dulcis
- Almond (bitter): Prunus amygdalus amara
- Brazil nut: Bertholletia excelsa
- Butternut: Juglans cinerea
- Cashew: Anacardium occidentale
- Chestnut: Castanea sativa
- Coconut: Cocos nucifera
- Ginko nut: Ginkgo biloba
- Hazelnut or Filbert: Corylus avellana
- Lychee: Litchi chinensis
- Macadamia: Macadamia ternifolia, m. integrifolia
- Pecan (Hickory): Carya illinoinensis
- Peanut: Arachis hypogea
- Pili nut: Canarium ovatum
- Pine nut: Pinus pinea
- Pistachio: Pistacia vera
- Shea: Vitellaria paradoxa (or Butyrospermum parkii)
- Walnut: Juglans regia
When Names Are Misleading
Knowing the Latin terms for nuts does not make label reading and trying new products a cut and dry affair. Even products that should be non-irritating may turn out to be so.
For instance, some individuals with peanut allergy have reactions to sunscreens containing “arachidyl propionate,” a waxy semisolid used as an emollient, lubricant or gloss in lipsticks and skincare products.
A sunscreen purchaser who knows that the Latin name for peanut is Arachis hypogea might suspect this ingredient is a peanut derivative. However, according to cosmetic science sources, arachidyl propionate is not made with or from peanuts, so is not an allergy concern for adults or children.
If you are unsure about an ingredient in a cosmetic or skincare product, call the manufacturer. You can also find information about skincare ingredients at cosmeticsinfo.org. and at ewg.org/skindeep.
Even if you believe that the ingredients in a new product are safe, give the cream or cosmetic a trial run on a small patch of skin.