Food Allergies + Your Skin

Food Allergies, Food Intolerance and Food Sensitivity. What are the similarities, differences and how it effects the skin.

I have been working in the skin care industry for over 10 years now. Talked to many clients and gave thousands of facial treatments. Early into my carrier I understood that there is something else we should look into, besides the facial and the skin care product. My clients would ask me if chocolate, pizza, sugar or nuts could possibly be a cause of their acne? Does food we eat anyhow effect the skin? I decided to study nutrition, to understand how the overall body’s health effect the skin’s appearance.

There are no Good foods and Bad foods if you ask me. Unless we are talking about sodas, processed sugars and junk food in general. We all have unique bodies with unique digestion systems. The same food or type of diet could be the best for one and poisonous for another. It is all about finding what is right for you.

To answer the question above, YES food has everything to do with how we feel and how we look. Food is our fuel for our bodies to build new cells throughout the body, including skin.  It is also important to know that, if few people have allergy to the same food, the symptoms and side effects may still vary. One person may get acne, another-headaches, third-stomach pain, fourth-experience hair loss, fifth-develop skin rash including eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis . As you see we all have different weak parts in our bodies, and that is why we may experience different symptoms.

What are the methods to test for possible food allergies? There are 3 main ways: Skin test, Blood test and Elimination Diet. Sometimes it takes to combine few methods to determine the allergies.

Skin test.  A skin prick test can determine your reaction to a particular food. In this test, a small amount of the suspected food is placed on the skin of your forearm or back. Your skin is then pricked with a needle to allow a tiny amount of the substance beneath your skin surface. If you’re allergic to a particular substance being tested, you develop a raised bump or reaction.

Blood test. A blood test can measure your immune system’s response to particular foods by checking the amount of allergy-type antibodies in your bloodstream known as immunoglobulin E antibodies. For this test, a blood sample taken in your doctor’s office is sent to a medical laboratory, where different foods can be tested. However, these blood tests aren’t always accurate, because body reacts to the food differently once it goes through the digestive system.

Elimination diet involves removing specific foods from your diet, that may be causing allergy symptoms. Common allergenic foods include soy, dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, caffeine, wheat, and nuts. Elimination diets typically involve removing suspected foods for a period of time (from two weeks to a few months) and observing if the symptoms improve. If the symptoms resolve, the foods are reintroduced back into the diet one at a time to see whether the symptoms reappear. Keeping a food diary is suggested to record any adverse reactions after eating the eliminated foods.

True food allergies can affect the immune system and cause immediate symptoms such as hives, rashes, puffy eyes, and even vomiting. However, many people suffer from food intolerance or food sensitivity, and symptoms can sometimes be delayed – even up to 2 days after eating the suspected food. Food intolerance symptoms include indigestion, heartburn, nausea, cramps, headaches, fatigue, etc.

It is a good idea to pay attention into how we feel after certain meals. Remember that if your skin is showing any symptoms of food intolerance, you internal body organs are suffering and it may develop into serious illness. As it might be easier and faster just to get a prescription medication, that will only mask the symptoms and will not solve the cause of the problem.

There is an excellent App for Smartphones and iPhones that you may upload and use as you go shopping. All you need to do is to select the ingredients you want to eliminate or you know you are allergic to, save them to the App and scan the label. Find the App in App store or Google Play and start scanning. It is a great tool if you decide to try Elimination Diet.

Here are some books that I recommend if you would like to learn more about Food Allergies:

Brostoff, Jonathan. Food Allergies and Food Intolerance. Healing Arts Press, 2000. Print.

Carter, Jill. Allergy Exclusion Diet . Hay House, 2003. Print.