Writer and expert /
There are few things as frustrating as discovering you’re intolerant to a food you really love. More often than not, your skin is the first part of your body that shows a reaction. The vast majority of food allergies come from just a small handful of food types; here are the most common. If you suspect you’re suffering allergic skin reactions, always seek medical advice.
An allergy to nuts, particularly peanuts and tree nuts, is the most common food allergy of all, affecting 1 in 50 children, 20% of whom grow out of it. However, that’s still an awful lot of adults squinting at the packaging of every item in the supermarket. Hives and eczema are the most common skin reactions and thankfully, more serious issues like breathing difficulties are far more rare. Avoiding nuts completely can be hard work, but is essential for true allergy sufferers.
While celiac disease – a true allergy to gluten – is relatively rare, gluten can cause skin reactions in many people. In fact, in severe cases, sufferers develop itchy, blistering rashes until they eliminate the protein from their diet entirely. However, a milder reaction – usually in the form of a short-term blotchiness after eating foods containing gluten – is more common. Many people find it difficult to fully eliminate gluten from their diets, since it’s present in bread, beer, cereals and other everyday foods, so simply learn to live with the symptoms.
Issues with dairy often go hand in hand with eczema, causing flare-ups. Many babies and young children get rashes and other allergic symptoms to milk which they later grow out of. However, unfortunately, some people continue to experience reactions into adulthood. The good news is, with veganism being on trend, these days tasty alternatives – like rice milk, almond milk and coconut milk – are readily available. Additionally, there are more traditional options like goat’s milk which, due to different protein configurations, rarely causes skin reactions.
Egg is a common trigger of skin reactions and rashes, due to the human body’s natural histamines viewing egg white as a foreign invader. The reaction can come on quickly, with rashes and hives forming, particularly in children, but is usually short-lived. Well-cooked egg, as an ingredient in cakes and many everyday foods, is far less likely to cause a noticeable reaction.
Food containing lots of additives, like artificial colours and preservatives, can cause flare-ups of existing skin conditions. Therefore, anyone suffering with sensitive skin should try to eat as natural a diet as possible, avoiding freezer foods, fast food and too many sweet treats. Of course, this is good advice for everyone, not just those who suffer from sensitive skin!
The tell-tale flushing that many wine lovers suffer around their faces, necks and chests is usually a brief annoyance, and a common reaction to the tannins in wine – particularly red wine. Hence, it’s best to avoid drinking it regularly if it aggravates existing skin conditions like eczema.
Neutral 0% Sensitive Skin’s range of skincare and household products can help reduce the risk of skin irritation and allergic reactions that may have flared up as a result of food allergies. Our Neutral 0% Body Lotion, containing no perfumes, colourants or parabens, soothes and moisturises skin, while our Neutral 0% Laundry Range avoids further irritation to sensitive skin.
I'm editor of Mush, the social app for mums, as well as being a freelance writer for the likes of The Telegraph, Grazia and heat, specialising in women's lifestyle, entertainment and parenting. I love using Neutral 0% products on my little boy's delicate skin. I spend my spare time chasing my toddler, Raphael, around the open spaces of south east London, watching trashy US teen shows (and Peppa Pig...) on Netflix and coveting Scandi-style home furnishings.
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