What kind of food allergies cause acne
Eczema and food allergies are common in the developed world. Research suggests that eczema affects roughly 20% of children and up to 5% of adults. By comparison, around 7% of children and 6% of adults own at least one food allergy.
While a connection between allergic or atopic diseases endless been recognized, a review published in The Lancet reported that up to 81% of people with eczema were also found to own some form of food allergy.
According to the researchers, eczema appeared to precede the development of the allergy, suggesting that the previous somehow triggered the latter.
It is a pattern identified in other studies, which scientists today refer to as the "atopic march." This describes a pattern of development in which eczema generally appears first, followed by food allergies, seasonal allergies, and asthma.
Food allergies are today recognized as a comorbidity (related health condition) of eczema along with allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma.
What's the evidence on acne and diet?
It's tricky to summarise complicated and extensive scientific research, but, in short, there are a handful of studies that show young people who drink a lot of milk (regardless of fat content) are more likely to own acne than those who don't.
The lowdown on calcium
Whatever your attitude to dairy, the fact remains that it's an excellent source of calcium.
But what if you can't, or don't, consume dairy products?
These studies own come out of a variety of countries, and were conducted on men and women between the ages of
While there is general agreement there is some sort of link between milk consumption and acne, that link isn't strong enough to warrant changing any sort of official stance regarding diet and skin.
Namely, while a balanced diet is beneficial for excellent health every around, no specific universal dietary changes are recommended for the treatment of acne.
Health professionals and professional bodies are rightfully careful about making changes to official recommendations, especially around foods that are generally regarded as "healthy", love milk.
Drinking milk is a really simple way to get a daily dose of calcium, especially for young people whose bodies need 3½ serves of calcium per day.
So it makes sense that nutritionists might desire to tip-toe around any official advice regarding its intake.
"Milk is basically a extremely excellent product, but if you are having a extremely large quantity and you own bad acne then it's probably worth a trial as to whether reducing your intake benefits you," explains dermatologist Michael Freeman.
What's a low-GI diet and why would it affect your skin?
The GI is a rating of how diverse foods affect your body's blood sugar levels.
It is a measure of how quickly your blood sugar rises after the food has been eaten, and how quick the sugar can be broken below and absorbed by your body.
Make healthy eating easy
Good food should be simple and keeping things simple will assist you make better choices.
Examples of foods with a high GI are white bread, instant oats and lollies.
"Your body secretes insulin to get your blood sugar under control, and that insulin also stimulates growth effects on some of our tissues.
That can cause the relative blockages in the pores," explains Dr Freeman.
The rapid spikes in your blood sugar levels can also increase the secretion of hormones which stimulate oil production that can trigger acne.
Why is there a link between milk consumption and acne?
Well, one thing scientists do tend to consent on (regarding most things, actually) is that there needs to be more research.
A no-fuss guide to taking better care of your skin
Let's take out the guess work, fancy serums and overnight masks, and get back to the basics of excellent skincare with these easy-to-stick-to routines.
That's because we still don't know why this link between milk and acne exists.
One thought that has been suggested is the hormones in cow's milk accelerate the production of sebum, the oily secretion from the glands in your skin.
Sebum is perfectly normal and healthy (it helps to moisturise and protect your skin) but too much can clog your pores and lead to spots and blackheads.
Aside from the controversial milk subject, there is some evidence regarding a link between glycemic index (GI) and acne.
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Food allergies are more likely to cause eczema flares in infants and people with severe eczema. Symptoms can develop soon after eating an offending food or up to several days later, and may include:
- Itching that tends to get worse at night
- Increased dryness, redness, and swelling
- Formation of tiny bumps that can ooze and crust over
Why eczema tends to precede a food allergy is still something of a mystery.
Part of the explanation may be in the way in which each develops.
An allergy, by definition, is an abnormal immune response to an otherwise harmless allergen (such as food or pollen).
By contrast, eczema is one of several atopic disorders in which a hypersensitive reaction occurs as a result of allergen exposure on another part of the body.
It has been hypothesized that eczema "landscapes" the body for allergy, in part, by diminishing the barrier function of the skin. As the structure of skin cells collapses, it not only causes the loss of moisture but allows allergens and irritants to infiltrate vulnerable tissues.
This, in turn, triggers an immune response in the form of inflammation.
It is believed that this hypersensitizes the immune system to the various allergens it encounters on the skin, causing an exaggerated response when those allergens are later eaten or inhaled.
This may explain why kitchen workers with eczema are more likely to develop food allergies than people with eczema who own diverse jobs. The increased exposure to food allergens appears to amplify the risk, suggesting that the environment plays as strong a role in the development of allergy as physiology.
Once the flip side, food allergies can trigger eczema by causing itching and swelling.
Scratching only makes things worse.
Eczema flares are frequently triggered by the "itch-scratch cycle." This is when itching leads to scratching, which triggers the release of inflammatory compounds, which instigate a flare. Eczema symptoms, in turn, lead to more itching, perpetuating the cycle.
Risk in Children
Food allergies are also more common in people who develop eczema early in life compared to those who experience later onset of disease. Moreover, those who develop eczema as infants or in early childhood are more likely to experience severe food allergy symptoms.
This suggests that eczema associated with food allergies may, in fact, be an entirely unique subtype of atopic dermatitis.
Common Food Triggers
Though food allergies don't cause eczema, they can trigger a worsening of existing eczema symptoms.
The process by which flares are triggered can vary by the type of food eaten as well as the immunologic response of the individual.
IgE-Mediated Food Allergies
True food allergies are triggered by a reaction called an immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated immune system response.
This involves the release of IgE by the immune system which stimulates the production of histamines that cause allergy symptoms.
The foods that are most likely to trigger an IgE response in people with eczema are also among the most common food allergens in the United States, namely:
- Eggs(the allergy of which is six times more common in infants with eczema)
- Wheat(not be confused with gluten intolerance)
- Soy(not to be confused with soy-protein enterocolitis)
- Milk(not to be confused with lactose intolerance)
- Peanuts(the allergy of which is 11 times more common in infants with eczema)
Eczema symptoms can wax and wane, often for no apparent reason.
Just because a flare occurs after eating doesn't mean that food was the cause. An extensive evaluation by an allergist may be the only way to determine if an allergy was, in fact, to blame.
If you're one who's prone to acne, then you've probably already tried a whole bunch of ways to hold those pesky spots at bay.
There's plenty of advice out there around skincare and medication — but things are a little less clear when it comes to how your diet might affect your skin.
Acne, which is caused by inflammation of the hair follicles, features blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and cysts.
(That's correct, acne and pimples are not the same thing.)
It is a complicated health issue involving a combination of bacteria and hormones — things which themselves can be influenced by a huge number of factors, including stress, genetics, environment and medication.
Triggers for acne and the way it manifests can also vary from person to person.
Identifying any sort of clear link between acne and anything else (let alone anything as complicated as diet) is therefore fairly difficult.
Saying that: there is some limited evidence that diet can be linked to acne flare-ups.