Diet can influence allergic skin reactions

October 9, 2001 in Allergies & Intolerances, Healthy Eating

Diet can influence allergic skin reactions

People who are plagued with a skin condition called contact dermatitis may benefit from eliminating foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes. Individuals with contact dermatitis experience inflamed, red, itchy, scaly skin when they come in contact with substances they are allergic to. The reaction is usually associated with an allergen that touches the skin, and many people may not realize foods can also trigger it.

Researchers from the University of Louisville in Kentucky asked 45 patients who had previously been identified as having general food and fragrance allergies to eliminate various skin care products and perfumes as well as a variety of foods, spices and beverages.

After eliminating potential sources of irritation such as perfumes, colognes, skin care products and cleaners, patients who still did not see a reduction in symptoms were asked to eliminate foods that contain related natural chemicals for 3 to 4 weeks. Such foods include chocolate, citrus fruits, ice cream, cola and tomatoes. Study participants also gave up vanilla, cinnamon, ketchup and barbecue sauce.

After the elimination period, the patients were encouraged to start eating the foods again, one at a time every few days, in order to see which ones affected their skin condition. Nearly half of the 45 participants had a complete or significant improvement in their condition that could be traced to the dietary changes. Tomatoes, citrus and spices were the most commonly implicated foods.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.