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J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014 Mar;7(3):30-6.

Diet and dermatitis: food triggers.

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1
Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

Abstract

Given increasing awareness of the link between diet and health, many patients are concerned that dietary factors may trigger dermatitis. Research has found that dietary factors can indeed exacerbate atopic dermatitis or cause dermatitis due to systemic contact dermatitis. In atopic dermatitis, dietary factors are more likely to cause an exacerbation among infants or children with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis relative to other populations. Foods may trigger rapid, immunoglobulin E-mediated hypersensitivity reactions or may lead to late eczematous reactions. While immediate reactions occur within minutes to hours of food exposure, late eczematous reactions may occur anywhere from hours to two days later. Screening methods, such as food allergen-specific serum immunoglobulin E tests or skin prick tests, can identify sensitization to specific foods, but a diagnosis of food allergy requires specific signs and symptoms that occur reproducibly upon food exposure. Many patients who are sensitized will not develop clinical findings upon food exposure; therefore, these tests may result in false-positive tests for food allergy. This is why the gold standard for diagnosis remains the double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge. In another condition, systemic contact dermatitis, ingestion of a specific food can actually cause dermatitis. Systemic contact dermatitis is a distinct T-cell mediated immunological reaction in which dietary exposure to specific allergens results in dermatitis. Balsam of Peru and nickel are well-known causes of systemic contact dermatitis, and reports have implicated multiple other allergens. This review seeks to increase awareness of important food allergens, elucidate their relationship with atopic dermatitis and systemic contact dermatitis, and review available diagnostic and treatment strategies.

PMID:
24688624
PMCID:
PMC3970830

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