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
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
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
Nearly half of the 45 participants had
a complete or significant improvement in their condition that
could be traced to the dietary changes.
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.
of the American Academy of Dermatology September 2001;45:377-381