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Study is the first to link natural moisturizer to food allergies

By Simon Pitman+

24-Jul-2014
Last updated on 24-Jul-2014 at 12:13 GMT

Study is the first to link natural moisturizer to food allergies

Research conducted into natural ingredients in products targeting dry skin has demonstrated evidence of a link between the topical application and the subsequent development of food allergies.

The research was headed by Professor Robyn O’Hehir, director of Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Medicine at the University of Monash in Australia, who set out to test the theory on a range of creams containing different types of natural ingredients.

The research was triggered after a series of reports citing individuals who had used natural skin care products, only to go on to develop potentially life-threatening allergic reactions.

Food ingredients in cosmetics can induce allergies

Published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the research highlights the particular documented incidence of a 55-year old woman who suffered a life-threatening reaction after eating goat’s cheese.

The researchers state that the link to the allergic reaction was provided after it was discovered that the woman had been repeatedly applying a moisturizer that contained goat’s milk.

In the journal article, Professor O’Hehir says that the research conducted by her team shows that many natural based cosmetic products targeting dry skin, and even conditions such as eczema, are marketed as being natural products.

Dry skin is more susceptible

"Surprisingly, some of these products contain foods which are known to cause allergy," Professor O'Hehir said. "Goat's milk, cow's milk, nut oils and oats are common ingredients in 'natural' cosmetics."

What the research team deduced is that many individuals with dry skin conditions, also suffer from broken skin or open wounds, which means that the chances of a food allergy developing are greatly enhanced.

"To ensure allergies don't develop, if you have eczema, it's important to use skin care that is bland and avoid agents capable of sensitization, especially food," said Professor O’Hehir.

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