moisturizer on hands

Dry Hands? Use These Safe Hand Moisturizers for those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance

Not all hand moisturizers are safe for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance.

Are your hands getting dry and cracked from all the hand washing? Mine were!

It seems everyone with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance is dealing with dry hands right now.

Like you, I’ve been hand washing more than ever lately. After bringing in mail and packages. After running errands. Before eating. I’m washing my hands 10x more than usual.

Those of us with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance can’t use just any moisturizer, though. There can be ingredients in everyday moisturizers that aren’t MCAS/Histamine friendly.

Don’t Use These Hand Moisturizer Ingredients if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

Did you know that hand moisturizers aren’t regulated by the FDA? This means that most any ingredient can go in there.

But many of the ingredients in those skin care products can cause mast cell and histamine issues.

And this isn’t just an issue for those with skin symptoms, like itching, rashes, and flushing.

Read more about Symptoms of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Everything that touches your skin gets absorbed. This means it’s likely to pass into your blood stream.

This is why my motto is: If I wouldn’t eat it, I probably won’t put it on my skin.

You want to be really careful about these ingredients in your products:

  • Fragrance
  • Parabens
  • Synthetic Colors
  • Heavy Metals: Lead Acetate, chromium, thimerosal, hydrogenated cotton seed oil, sodium hexametaphosphate
  • Aluminum
  • Nanoparticles: micronized zinc oxide, nano zinc oxide, micronized titanium dioxide, micronized quartz silica, fullerenes
  • Triclosan and other Antibacterial Products
  • Talc
  • Toluene and other nail polish additives: formaldehyde, formalin

Also, don’t use products with alcohol. Alcohol is very drying to the skin.

Manufacturers use it as a preservative. But since alcohol dries the skin, you need more and more of that moisturizer. Neat trick to sell more moisturizer! But it doesn’t help your skin in the long run.

Switch to a different product if you find those ingredients in the products you currently use.

So what should you use on your skin?

Keep reading for my favorite skin moisturizers.

Best Hand Moisturizers for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance

Below are the best hand moisturizers for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. You can use them everywhere else on your skin, too.

I use these because they have very few ingredients. And they moisturize really well.

Most moisturizers make your skin feel better for a short time. But once the moisturizer soaks in, your hands are even drier. This is especially true for alcohol-based moisturizers.

But the following moisturizers actually create a nice barrier on your skin. This protects your skin. And it allows the skin to heal.

These moisturizers also contain ingredients that support mast cells. How cool is that!

I like to use 3-4 different moisturizers through the day. This way I get the different benefits of each of them.

And all of these last a long time. You can store them in the fridge for longer shelf life.

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Emu Oil for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance

Walkabout Emu Oil is very different than any other emu oil. Other emu oils are deodorized and bleached. This removes the nutrients that support your skin. 
Walkabout Emu Oil is completely unadulterated, All the nutrients that soften and regenerate you skin are left in. In Walkabout Emu Oil, nothing added in or taken out.
People told me how much Walkabout Australian Emu oil softened their skin. But I didn’t really believe it was that different from other oils. I was really wrong. 

After just a couple days of using their topical oil, my skin is so soft and smooth. 

Walkabout Australian Emu Oil is the gold standard for emu oil.

Here is an Emu Oil Option:

Walkabout Emu Oil Mast Cell 360

Rose Hip Seed Oil for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance

I’m a big fan of rose hip oil. It is naturally high in retinoids. These help regenerate the skin. Especially sun damaged skin.

It’s best to just use this at night. This is because while the skin is regenerating for a few hours, you want to stay out of the sun. But then you’ll be fine in the morning.

This is a very “thin” oil. I use it on my face before bedtime. I’m in my 40s, but people usually think I’m in my late 20s or early 30s. My skin care is part of the reason why.

This one is 100% Pure Rose Hip Oil:

Shea Butter for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance

Shea butter comes from karite tree nuts. It is very thick. This means it coats the skin really well. It is really good for very dry skin. And for lots of hand washing.

You need to warm it in your hands for a few seconds to soften it before rubbing it on your skin.

Shea butter may help stabilize mast cells as well. Some studies have shown this. It may have anti-inflammatory properties, too. And it has been reported to have anti-aging properties. This may be related to promoting collagen production.

Shea is related to latex, though. If you have a latex allergy, please use one of the other options from this list.

Non-organic Shea can have contaminants. So, make sure you only use an organic one like this one.

Organic, 100% Shea Butter

Cocoa Butter for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance

Cocoa butter is another thick moisturizer. It comes from cacao beans. It smells amazing!

But it isn’t high histamine like chocolate. This is because chocolate is made from fermentation. Cocoa butter doesn’t go through fermentation.

It is often used for scar tissue and stretch marks.

It is more solid than the other options here. You have to melt it a little in a pan of hot water or microwave it for a few seconds. If microwaving, be sure to step out of the room to avoid EMFs.

Because this takes a little work to use, I use this one once a week after a long bath. It’s a very luxurious way to pamper yourself. And you’ll smell incredible!

You want one that is 100% cocoa butter like this one:

100% Pure Cocoa Butter

Argan Oil for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance

Argan oil comes from the argan tree nut. It is a fairly thin oil, too. It is good for balancing skin pH. You can use it all over your body. It’s great for nail cuticles.

My hair is very wavy. And I get lots of flyaways. I also like to use this on my hair for flyaways. It lasts a long time. A little goes a long way!

Argan oil is so good for the skin, too. It has Vitamin E, an antioxidant. This makes it a great moisturizer. It helps improve water retention in the skin. And the antioxidants and Vitamin E may help cuts heal faster, too!

It also has been shown to have anti-sebum effects. Excess sebum can cause acne. This may help regulate that for a calmer complexion.

In some studies, Argan oil has been shown to reduce inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and rosacea, too.

This one is organic and 100% pure:

100% Pure Argan Oil

So, definitely keep up the hand washing! But now, your hands don’t have to show it!

I’ve been keeping a moisturizer by the sink. It makes it so easy to remember to moisturize. Already, the skin on my hands is looking young and healthy again.

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  1. OO

    Drunk Elephant oil (white with the yellow top) and Paula’s choice oil (white with blue top) I handle just as well as Josie Maran’s Argan Oil. I use all three depending on where I am.. I just don’t think the Argan is as moisturizing as other products. I also keep
    Neutrogena Norwegian Hand Formula unscented in my bag (works well and cheaper than the aforementioned oils I really save for night use). Lastly Tarte Bomba Bomb is awesome! It’s really for the face but it’s fantastic. It’s really pricey to use as a hand cream, though, so I tend to stay with the aforementioned…)

    (I have immunologist diagnosed and 2nd Dr. opinion confirmed MCAS).

  2. Jo

    My skin in between my knuckles had started splitting a few months before the pandemic, I’m seeing a pattern that it tends to happen at certain times of the month (I’m female) rather than relating it to over hand washing/lack of moisturising.
    Is this a normal characteristic of mcas or do i just need to find better moisturisers.

  3. Destiny Richardson

    trying to help my mother. Shes 46 with MCS and also Shingles. They coincide with eachother. And fragrances not only will close her vocal cords and make her unable to breath but it will put her into a shingles flare. Now, I’ve just had a baby and we are figuring things out because she babysits whilst l work. However she has brought to my attention that she feels way older than she should because her face and hands are unable to have lotion cause she can’t find anything she can be around…. I am doing my research so that I may not be the one putting her in a flare anymore. Cause I totally did and I feel bad. Shes been in a flare for a month..
    HELP. She cant have ANNYYY SMELLS.. she can do like coconut and mango and min. But not while in a flare. She can barely get a shower. Also coconut oil on your face is super greasy and wont allow her skin to breath to heal from the shingles… Any suggestions?!?!??!??? 2/17/2021

    1. Suz, Mast Cell 360 Team

      Hi Destiny,
      When someone is experiencing sensitivities to this degree, we will usually start recommending nervous system support. That may sound strange when you are looking for a moisturizer, but a lot of sensitivities to smell, foods, supplements, and more can start to be addressed with nervous system support. It helps calm the mast cells. You can learn more about that in the Master Class Beth offered here:

      Beth really likes the emu oil listed in this article. It’s one of her favorites and she has had good success with it. With anything new, start very slowly and gradually increase. Just a small test spot on the arm is often the way to start with a new product.

      I hope this helps.


  4. Kimberly

    Regarding the above recommendation for the Cocoa Butter, I noticed on the Now website that it lists <0.1% Citric Acid (as preservative) under the ingredients. Since it was stated that the cocoa butter should be 100% pure, I’m thinking the formula has been changed since the recommendation was made, right? I was thinking it was stated elsewhere on this website to avoid products with preservatives like citric acid, but maybe this isn’t product isn’t considered problematic because it’s such a small amount? If this is no longer considered a recommended product, is there another cocoa butter that would be suggested?

    1. kam

      Hi Kimberly,

      Thanks for bringing that to our attention. Products do change from time to time. Citric acid is a mast cell antagonist Beth generally suggests people avoid. You may be okay with that small amount, some people are. But it’s an ingredient we avoid in the clinic. You may find these more helpful:

      Primal Life Organics Body Butter:
      Walkabout Emu Oil (low salicylate):

      Hope that helps!


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