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Eczema and Food Intolerances

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a condition where patches of the skin become red, itchy, inflamed, and rough. Sometimes it can also cause blisters to occur. Usually onset in childhood, it affects roughly 1 in 5 children in the UK at some point. Thankfully, the majority of children do grow out of it, with only 1-3% worldwide still experiencing the condition in adulthood.

Many people do not realise that eczema is a common sign of a food allergy. According to the office for National Statistics (2015), over 40% of US citizens who do not suffer any allergies themselves are unaware that the atopic skin condition is, in fact, a key allergy symptom.

Causes of Eczema

While eczema isn’t yet curable, the symptoms can be managed. There are various potential triggers for an eczema flare-up, including stress and environmental factors. Another common trigger for a flare-up is food allergens. It’s widely accepted that those with eczema are more prone to other allergic conditions such as hay fever and food allergies. A 2015 study found that roughly 50-70% of children with eczema are found to have at least one allergy.

There is evidence suggesting that eczema sufferers are more likely to develop food intolerances. A 2018 Chinese study found that patients with the skin condition have much higher levels of IgG when compared to healthy controls. This study also compared IgG levels among general allergy sufferers with those in the eczema group; they found similar levels of IgG in both groups.

Research into this atopic condition and its link with various other conditions has been quite a popular topic, with experts finding links between eczema and other conditions such as depression, insomnia and ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder).

With these connected conditions and the strong relationship between food allergies and eczema in mind, it would seem logical for those suffering from the skin condition to seek out allergy and intolerance testing. Identifying food intolerances could be helpful in reducing symptoms, as research indicates a higher prevalence of food intolerances among those diagnosed with the skin condition.