Food influences our health and can affect our skin. Acne is an example, with the typical western diet of dairy products, red meat and carbohydrates a factor, rosacea is another condition affected by consumption.
With the perceived links between allergy and atopic dermatitis, many believe this is also a prime candidate. Whilst there are cases where the belief is correct, we would suggest a degree of caution before assuming a direct link.
Double blind clinical trials have been run on a substantial scale. Where patients with a range of atopic dermatitis symptoms were not pre-selected, excluding foods of concern brought no benefit in most cases.
There were exceptions and as other trials have suggested, they are likely to be more severe cases. However, at least 80% of people with atopic dermatitis do not have symptoms related to food allergy.
Perception & Evidence
There are misconceptions on dietary changes bringing a cure for a range of skin conditions, such as how skin cancer and diet are related.
We do not wish to exclude dietary modification as an option for atopic dermatitis. Eating healthily can help many medical conditions and excluding specific foods may be a benefit in some atopic dermatitis cases.
Professional diagnosis on an individual basis is the best solution. This gives an opportunity to identify cases where diet matters, or set aside the understandable misperception patients can have on the link.
Even where changing diet may have seemed to help, a placebo effect is not uncommon. In trials, patients have also been found many times more likely to perceive adverse reactions to foods than is real.
Misdiagnosis & Risk
Eliminating and later reintroducing certain foods can cause issues, possibly anaphylaxis. Similar problems could occur in very young people, where witholding foods may make allergic reaction to them worse if they are eaten.
In both cases, our bodies benefit from exposure by adjusting. Avoiding dietary elements because there is a possibility of a link to atopic dermatitis could be incorrect and ultimately bring a new medical issue.
Best to bear in mind that the root of the problem is often your skin, rather than diet. Good moisturisation is likely to achieve more than changing your diet, along with a range of treatment options suited to you.
Our consultants will never dismiss diet as a possibility. They simply wish to treat dermatitis and eczema in the best possible way for their patient.