I love it when I strike up a conversation with someone and they start to tell me all about their medical problems. Seriously, I actually find it fascinating and want to help! This week, I had someone ask me about food allergies and eczema. He pulled up his pants legs to show me just how bad his eczema has gotten, including weeping sores and a red irritated rash. Fortunately, I’m not even a little bit squeamish and my heart totally went out to him.
Eczema in childhood is a risk factor for food allergies. Somewhere around 25% of children with eczema develop food allergies. Of course, that means that 75% don’t. Skin issues are also associated with Celiac disease in the form of dermatitis herpetiformis. The truth is that I can’t say whether or not an allergy is causing his eczema, but I can say that unaddressed and underlying medical issues, including food allergies, autoimmune disease, diabetes, and more can all impact skin integrity.
Properly caring for your skin includes keeping it clean, not scratching, and moisturizing appropriately. Chlorine or salt, luke-warm baths may help. Altering diet has the potential to make a difference too.
I have invited my new friend to call me to schedule an appointment for a consult and I really hope he does. I think I can help him. I don’t know if he his eczema is caused by food allergies, but I do know that improving diet always improves health. If you have ongoing and unresolved issues with rash, eczema, or other skin issues, ask your PCP or dermatologist for a referral to a registered dietitian nutritionist who may be able to help determine if diet is impacting your skin health.