In an article published by The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, we learn about a 55-year-old woman who experienced first-time anaphylaxis to goat cheese after weeks of using a moisturizer containing goat’s milk on her eczema-affected skin. She had never reacted to goat products before. The food allergy was confirmed by scientists when blood testing was performed.
This is not the first report of a skin product suspected of causing food allergies, but it is the first time that laboratory tests have been used to confirm that a skin cream was the cause of the sensitization.
Aside from goat’s milk, food-based ingredients in cosmetics can include nut oils, soy milk, cow’s milk and oats. Other sensitizing agents include lanolin (from sheep’s wool), fragrances, plant extracts and cinnamon extracts in toothpaste.
Because the United States and Canada do not conform to strict guidelines for cosmetic products, unlike packaged foods, there is reason for concern regarding labeling of allergenic ingredients.
The AAAAI notes that flavors, fragrances and trade secret ingredients do not currently have to be listed on cosmetics. Consequently, if you have food allergies, you should probably avoid food based skin products.
While it’s important for eczema sufferers to keep their skin well-hydrated, patients should take care if food-based moisturizers are being used. Use them only over intact skin, avoiding areas of inflammation. There are multiple moisturizers that do not contain food proteins that can be used on eczema.
The allergic form of eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is often related to other allergic illnesses including asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and food allergies. Infants and children who are known to be allergic to milk are more likely to have atopic dermatitis and other allergies. Infants with atopic dermatitis are more likely to have positive allergy tests to milk, as well as other food and environmental allergens such as dust mite and pet dander.
If you are an allergy sufferer with questions about using food based skin products, consult with your allergist or contact us. We’ve helped hundreds of patients understand and cope with food allergies, skin allergies and more.