“Food is meant to be eaten, not rubbed into inflamed skin,” said Professor Robyn O’Hehir, Director of Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Medicine at The Alfred and Monash University.
Following a study in 2014, which demonstrated both clinical and laboratory evidence of a link between topical application of cosmetics and the development of food allergy to goat’s milk, Professor O’Hehir and her group have published another case study on allergic reactions.
The latest case study focuses on a woman who used creams and products containing oatmeal, and who experienced a life-threatening allergic reaction on eating oat-containing food. The study was published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.
Professor O’Hehir said many creams – even for the treatment of dry skin or eczema – are advertised as ‘natural’ products.
“Surprisingly, some of these products contain foods which are known to cause allergy. Goat’s milk, cow’s milk, nut oils and oats are common ingredients in ‘natural’ cosmetics. While unlikely to be a problem for most people, repeated application of these to broken or eczematous skin may lead to a severe allergic reaction when the food is next eaten,” Professor O’Hehir said.
Previous studies have suggested a link between wheat in soap, oats in skin care products and peanut oil in moisturisers to the development of food allergies.
“This new study adds extra evidence to the argument for skin care preparations to be bland and to avoid agents capable of sensitisation, especially foods,” Professor O’Hehir said.
“Our strong message to all patients, especially those with eczema is to choose and use bland skin care products, avoiding those that contain foods. If there is a question regarding possible food allergies then we recommend consulting with a primary care physician or food allergist.”