People who are plagued with a skin condition called contact dermatitis may benefit from ridding their diets of foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes.
Individuals with contact dermatitis experience inflamed, red, itchy, scaly skin when they come in contact with substances they are allergic to.
In the study, the researchers asked patients who had previously been identified as having general food and fragrance allergies to eliminate various skin care products and perfumes as well as a variety of foods, spices and beverages.
Specifically, the 45 patients had allergies to a generic chemical found in many types of foods called balsam of Peru (BOP) and were also allergic to a mix of common chemicals used in fragrances. Allergies to BOP can be a red flag that a food allergy may be the cause, at least in part, for contact dermatitis.
After eliminating potential sources of irritation such as perfumes, colognes, skin care products and cleaners, patients who still did not see a reduction in symptoms were asked to eliminate foods that contain BOP-related chemicals.
Such foods include chocolate, citrus fruits, ice cream, cola and tomatoes -- in short dozens of foods that people most like to eat. Study participants also gave up flavorings including vanilla and cinnamon, and condiments such as ketchup and barbecue sauce.
After the elimination period, the patients were encouraged to start eating the foods again, one at a time every few days, in order to see which ones affected their skin condition.
Nearly half of the 45 participants had a complete or significant improvement in their condition that could be traced to the dietary changes.
Tomatoes, citrus and spices were the most commonly implicated foods.
While sticking to the stringent diet restrictions proved tough for some, those who succeeded saw improvements in their condition.
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology September 2001;45:377-381
It is interesting to note that only half of the participants noticed an improvement using this approach. I find that following the eating plan I developed seems to work in a far greater percentage of individuals for their skin rashes.
Typically I find wheat and gluten to be the main offenders.
However, I was not aware of the balsam of Peru additive and restricting foods with that if one has a rash that fails to respond to the eating plan would certainly seem reasonable.
I have also found that essential fatty acids supplementation with cod liver oil and evening primrose oil to be particularly effective. Dosages can be found on the second link below.