Is Your Diet Causing Skin Irritation?

There’s nothing worse than that irritating, itchy sensation that seems to creep under your skin and refuses to leave. This itchiness can be caused by a variety of factors from eczema to hormonal fluctuations but it is also possible that your diet may play a role.

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) and food allergies often go together. In fact, food allergies may play a role in aggravating dermatitis. For others, eating or just touching a particular food may cause their skin to react (allergic contact dermatitis).

When your skin is affected, symptoms may include redness alone or a combination of swelling, a rash or itchiness. Skin reactions to food can be immediate or take hours, even days to appear. Some food allergies can be severe, causing life-threatening reactions known as anaphylaxis.

Food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms. It's easy to confuse a food allergy with a much more common reaction known as food intolerance. While bothersome, food intolerance is a less serious condition that does not involve the immune system, but can cause unwanted, yet treatable skin conditions.

Like your physical well-being, your diet can have an enormous impact on your skin, with certain foods influencing your susceptibility to skin conditions such as acne, while other foods can help to support your skin, preventing problems such as dryness or oiliness. The bad news is that some of our favourite foods could be to blame for uncomfortable skin reactions, but the good news is eating certain foods can help calm your itchy skin.

The most common food intolerances causing skin irritation are:

  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Processed meat
  • Nuts – walnuts, cashews, peanuts etc.
  • Seeds
  • Sugar

In contrast, there are certain whole foods that nutritionists recommend for dry, itchy skin, including oily fish, such as salmon, or foods rich in omega-3s to promote moisture retention in the skin’s by-layers. Avoiding foods that cause skin irritations can be difficult, but by eliminating certain elements from your diet you will be more likely to find the cause and save money down the track.

For people who are not getting the nutrients needed for healthy, glowing skin, evidence has shown that supplements can help fill the gaps in individuals’ diets. Along with barrier protecting and repairing skincare, no one needs to suffer having undesirable skin conditions, but sometimes you need to look more than skin deep!