Study: People with Eczema Should Avoid Food-Based Skin Products

If you have a skin inflammation such as eczema, using skin cream that contains food ingredients could lead to an allergic reaction, according to a letter to the editor published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

Australian researchers report on the case of a 55-year-old woman who had a life-threatening reaction after eating two mouthfuls of a salad containing goat cheese. Although the woman suffered from eczema and seasonal asthma throughout her life, she had no history of reactions to food. But after conducting tests to track down the problem ingredient, doctors found that she was allergic to goat’s milk.

Further investigation revealed that the woman frequently used a moisturizer containing goat’s milk to soothe her eczema, although she stopped using it when her condition worsened. Rubbing the cream into inflamed skin, however, presumably sensitized her. When she ingested goat cheese, it triggered a reaction that escalated within minutes, requiring emergency treatment with epinephrine.

The researchers believe that this is the first direct evidence that humans can become sensitized to a food allergen by exposure through the skin. However, previous studies suggest that people with eczema have developed food allergies after using soaps and oils that contain wheat, oat, peanut and goat’s milk. The authors advise eczema patients to avoid skin care products and cosmetics that contain food ingredients.

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