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Can Flax Oil Cause Rash?

author image Diane Marks
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
Can Flax Oil Cause Rash?
Flax seeds and flax seed oil. Photo Credit: al62/iStock/Getty Images

Developing a rash shortly after taking flax oil may be an indication of an allergic reaction. If you notice that every time you ingest flax oil you develop common allergy symptoms, call your doctor for further evaluation. Although most allergic reactions to flax oil are mild to moderate, there is a chance that you may develop anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that could be deadly. Flax oil is commonly used to increase the amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your diet, but should only be used under the direction of a doctor.

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Allergic skin rashes occur because of the production of histamine near the top layers of your skin. If your immune system accidentally identifies flax oil as a dangerous substance, it will attack it with immunoglobulin E antibodies to protect the body. The presence of IgE antibodies causes mast cells in soft tissues to create histamine. Histamine is used by the body to protect against infection, but during an allergic reaction, a large amount of histamine is created, which leads to inflammation and irritation. Most allergic skin rashes develop because of the presence of this chemical.


Allergic skin rashes that can develop from a reaction to flax oil include general irritation, eczema and hives. General irritation can appear anywhere on the body, but is most commonly found around the mouth or face. Eczema is a chronic skin condition that can be triggered by an allergic reaction. Eczema appears as tiny blisters that grow into larger blisters filled with liquid. Eczema blisters commonly break, weep and crust over. Hives are a common rash caused by an allergic reaction that develops into clusters of welts anywhere on the body. Hives can migrate from part of the body to another for no reason, and are extremely itchy.

Other Symptoms

If the rash from flax oil is related to an allergic reaction, you will develop other signs and symptoms throughout the body. Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, nasal congestion, wheezing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing. During a severe allergic reaction, you may develop an increased heart rate, lightheadedness, a drop in blood pressure and facial swelling.


Treatment for an allergic skin rash includes the application of a steroid cream to reduce swelling and itch and future avoidance of the substance causing the rash. You may also take an oral antihistamine to reduce the amount of histamine your body can produce. Do not eat foods that contain flax seeds, flax oil or any other flax by-product.

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