Are food allergies and atopic dermatitis related?

Atopic dermatitis (AD) affects more than 230 million people worldwide. With an increasing global prevalence, up to 20% of children and 10% of adults suffer from atopic dermatitis in developed countries. 1  

Atopic dermatitis is often associated with other diseases like rhinitis, food allergies, or asthma. Why is this so? Is it always the case? Read on to find out more!

The atopic march, a succession of allergic phenomena

Atopic dermatitis is often the first manifestation of the “atopic march“. The atopic march consists of sequential development of allergic spectrum diseases such as food allergies, asthma, and allergic rhinitis. 2,3   

People with AD have a damaged skin barrier, which allows foreign substances or allergens to enter through the skin. The immune system recognizes these allergens and generates antibodies against them so that upon re-exposure, the body reacts, resulting in allergy symptoms. 3  

In most cases, atopic dermatitis develops during the first year of life, and food allergies usually follow soon after, also during this first year. The most common foods to which allergies develop are cow’s milk, egg, wheat, soy, nuts, fish, and peanuts. These allergies tend to disappear during childhood. 2  
Not all people with AD suffer from food allergies; it can vary between 30 % and 80 %, depending on the severity of the dermatitis. More severe cases are associated with a more frequent diagnosis of food allergy, at around 40 %. 1,3  

Asthma is the next component of the march to appear, and it develops during early childhood, followed by allergic rhinitis. However, as with AD, these conditions may resolve and not reach adulthood. However, in some people, they persist, affecting their quality of life. 2

Do food allergies worsen atopic dermatitis?

We know that atopic dermatitis and food allergies can coexist, especially in patients with moderate to severe AD. It is still unclear whether exposure to certain foods can worsen atopic dermatitis. 3,4  

Although some foods may act as triggers for flare-ups in some individuals, eliminating allergens from the diet may prevent young children from developing an oral tolerance and lead to dietary deficits. It is advisable to check with a healthcare professional to guide you through this process, as atopic dermatitis is a multifactorial disease.

The Food Allergy Expert Panel of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the United States suggests that food allergy testing could be considered if a child under 5 has severe or moderate atopic dermatitis and one or both of the following circumstances are present: 3,4  

1.            Persistent disease despite optimized treatment and topical therapy.
2.            Reliable history of immediate allergic reaction following ingestion of a particular food.  

Always take care of the skincare first, keeping the skin hydrated and protecting the skin barrier, and then look for food allergies.

Prioritize your skincare

At Prospera Biotech, we have been researching for more than 20 years to offer you innovative formulas based on the latest scientific advances to help care for the most sensitive skin. Our products result from scientific research into skin’s behavior and the neurosensory system.  

Our Nocisens line is specially formulated to care for sensitive skin by combining the most suitable active ingredients.  

Nocisens Oil, our neurodermatological oil, is indicated for the daily care of sensitive and atopic-prone skin of the whole family. Nocisens Intense, with twice as many neurodermatological ingredients, is very useful for areas prone to breakouts.

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Keywords: atopic; dermatitis; food; allergy; march

References

  1. Papapostolou N, Xepapadaki P, Gregoriou S, Makris M. Atopic Dermatitis and Food Allergy: A Complex Interplay What We Know and What We Would Like to Learn. J Clin Med. Jul 2022;11(14):4232.
  2. World Allergy Organization [Internet]. Milwaukee (Wisconsin, Estados Unidos). World Allergy Organization. The allergic march; Sept 2015; [cited 18th December 2023]; [aprox. 3 screens]. Available at: https://www.worldallergy.org/education-and-programs/education/allergic-disease-resource-center/professionals/the-allergic-march
  3. National Eczema Association [Internet]. Novato (California, Estados Unidos): Nation Eczema Association. Eczema, Atopic Dermatitis and Allergies: What Is The Connection?; 15th July 2021 [cited 18th December 2023]; [aprox. 6 screens]. Available at: https://nationaleczema.org/blog/atopic-dermatitis-and-allergies-connection/
  4. Sidbury R, Tom WL, Bergman JN, Cooper KD, Silverman RA, Berger TG, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis. J Am Acad Dermatol. Dic 2014;71(6):1218-33.

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