Food allergies affect 32 million people across America, impacting 8% of children and 10% of adults.
And yes, itchy skin is one of the potential outcomes: it’s estimated that there are approximately 170 food types that trigger allergic reactions, with skin rashes and itchy skin being one of the most common symptoms of food allergies.
Throughout this post, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about:
- The link between food allergies and itchy skin
- The most common food allergies and their symptoms
- How best to treat an itchy skin rash caused by food allergies
Keep reading to learn whether your irritated skin could be linked to your diet and how to tackle your symptoms from the inside out!
What Causes A Food Allergy?
Food is an essential part of life, so why do certain foods trigger allergy symptoms that may even be life-threatening?
Food allergies are caused when the body’s immune system mistakenly identifies specific food proteins as threatening. This triggers an overactive defensive response. As a result, several chemicals are released into the body, including histamine, which accounts for your food allergy symptoms.
Who Is Most Affected By Food Allergies?
People with eczema or asthma may also be more likely to develop food allergies, with each health condition forming part of the ‘atopic triad.’ Those with a family history of food allergies may also be more at risk.
Which Foods Trigger An Allergic Reaction?
For some people, even just touching certain foods could be enough to trigger an adverse reaction, as is the case with contact dermatitis.
Oral allergy syndrome causes an itchy throat after eating raw fruits or vegetables, which tomatoes, citrus, and certain spices may trigger.
According to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, eight core foods account for 90% of all food allergies worldwide.
So, let’s take a look at the main allergy culprits…
It is estimated that 0.5% of the world’s population is impacted by a soy allergy, with the body’s immune system triggering an allergic reaction in response to a protein found within soybeans.
One of the most common symptoms of soy allergies is atopic dermatitis, a form of eczema characterized by scaly, itchy skin patches across the body, particularly behind the knees, on the eyes of the elbows, and across the face, hands, and feet.
Other more adverse reactions to soy may include:
- Stomach cramps
- An itchy mouth or tongue swelling
- Difficulty breathing, including wheezing
Peanut And Tree Nut Allergies
A peanut allergy is not only common, it can also be very dangerous – particularly if you already have asthma or a weakened immune system.
Scientists don’t fully understand why peanuts can cause such severe allergic reactions. However, it has something to do with the fact that peanut proteins can’t be easily destroyed in the gut.
For people with this food allergy, even a tiny amount of peanuts can trigger itchy skin rashes.
Other symptoms include:
- Swelling around the tongue and mouth
- Digestive issues
- Severe symptoms include respiratory problems, which may be life-threatening
Aside from peanuts, it is also common for people to experience allergic reactions when consuming tree nuts such as cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts. It’s estimated that 4.9% of the world’s population lives with a tree nut allergy, which commonly causes itching of the skin and mouth.
Shellfish and Finned Fish Allergy
If shellfish tend to cause you trouble, it’s likely because your immune system is trying to defend you against tropomyosin – a protein typically found in seafood with a hard shell exterior, such as shrimps, crabs, squid, and oysters.
In mild cases, a shellfish allergy may prompt an outbreak of hives – an itchy skin rash characterized by patches of raised, irritated skin or welts. On lighter skin tones, these patches may appear red, while on darker skin tones, they may appear brown, grey, or purplish.
In severe cases, shellfish may trigger:
- Drops in blood pressure
- Life-threatening respiratory issues
Allergic reactions to finned fish may be triggered by exposure to cod, salmon, catfish, etc., again prompting hives.
Wheat is undoubtedly one of the most prevalent ingredients within the American diet today, found not only in bread, pasta, couscous, or crackers but also mixed into soups, ice cream, and even beers.
Wheat allergies are triggered in response to specific proteins found within the wheat grain, including gluten.
Again, wheat allergies commonly trigger skin irritation, contributing to cases of atopic dermatitis and exasperating asthma symptoms.
There’s nothing like dunking a chewy cookie into a cold glass of milk, but for many people, this everyday household staple is more trouble than it’s worth.
In fact, the whey and casein found within cow’s milk can lead to many adverse reactions, including itchy skin and stomach cramps.
In the case of a severe allergic reaction, cow’s milk may cause:
- Swelling of the lips and tongue
Typically, the part of the egg that causes a problem is the proteins found within egg whites, which can lead to hives, irritated skin, digestive problems, and vomiting.
How To Treat Food Allergies That Cause Itchy Skin?
As we’ve seen, the world’s most common food allergies tend to trigger an itchy skin rash. If you’re struggling with intense itching, skin dryness, blisters, or scaling right now, we’ve got some tips and tricks to help you soothe your skin irritation.
Getting The Right Diagnosis
One of the best ways to tackle rashes caused by food allergies is to solve the problem at its source. In this case, that might mean speaking to an allergist or doctor to get a skin prick test. They can help you determine which foods within your diet are causing your problems.
Typically, food allergy treatment methods include being asked to keep a food diary to identify your triggers and eliminating allergens from your diet to allow your digestive problems and immune system time to recover.
Use a Natural Moisturizer
Whether you’re coping with hives, eczema, or sensitive skin, the Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream is your one-stop shop for healing all skin rashes. This oil-based balm provides a uniquely soft, buttery texture that your skin will adore, harnessing manuka honey’s potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to calm even the most severe symptoms.
Take an Oatmeal Bath
For intensive, full-body relief from irritated skin, try this Conqueror Oatmeal Bath for Eczema. Made from colloidal oatmeal, a rich source of beta-glucans, it helps fight skin sensitivity and diminish visible redness. This soothing mixture of dead sea salt, vitamin C, coconut milk powder, and sodium bicarbonate also offers deep antiseptic and detoxifying benefits to fight the risk of skin infection.
Heal Your Food Allergy Symptoms Today
Follow these tips to help you understand where your itchy rash might be coming from and how best to go about soothing your skin today.