The Telegraph has reported that scientists from Kings College London have found that children with eczema were six times more likely to be sensitive to six foods that commonly cause allergies.
The more severe the skin condition, which is caused by inflammation resulting in a rash and cracked skin, the more sensitive the children were found to be.
It is thought that by damaging the barrier created by the skin, eczema exposes the immune system beneath the skin to particles of food that it would not normally encounter.
This is particular interesting as food allergies are thought to be triggered by internal factors rather than external as Dr Carsten Flohr, a dermatologist who led the study explained: We thought that food allergies are triggered from the inside out, but our work shows that in some children it could be from the outside in, via the skin.
“The skin barrier plays a crucial role in protecting us from allergens in our environment, and we can see here that when that barrier is compromised, especially in eczema, it seems to leave the skin’s immune cells exposed to these allergens.
“It opens up the possibility that if we can repair the skin barrier and prevent eczema effectively then we might also be able to reduce the risk of food allergies.”
Around one in five children suffer from eczema and almost one in twelve children suffer from a food allergy.
The findings from this study are published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.