Diet in Dermatology

Diet has an important role to play in many skin disorders, and dermatologists are frequently faced with the difficulty of separating myth from fact when it comes to dietary advice for their patients. Patients in India are often anxious about what foods to consume, and what to avoid, in the hope that, no matter how impractical or difficult this may be, following this dictum will cure their disease. There are certain disorders where one or more components in food are central to the pathogenesis, e.g. dermatitis herpetiformis, wherein dietary restrictions constitute the cornerstone of treatment. A brief list, although not comprehensive, of other disorders where diet may have a role to play includes atopic dermatitis, acne vulgaris, psoriasis vulgaris, pemphigus, urticaria, pruritus, allergic contact dermatitis, fish odor syndrome, toxic oil syndrome, fixed drug eruption, genetic and metabolic disorders (phenylketonuria, tyrosinemia, homocystinuria, galactosemia, Refsum's disease, G6PD deficiency, xanthomas, gout and porphyria), nutritional deficiency disorders (kwashiorkar, marasmus, phrynoderma, pellagra, scurvy, acrodermatitis enteropathica, carotenemia and lycopenemia) and miscellaneous disorders such as vitiligo, aphthous ulcers, cutaneous vasculitis and telogen effluvium. From a practical point of view, it will be useful for the dermatologist to keep some dietary information handy to deal with the occasional patient who does not seem to respond in spite of the best, scientific and evidence-based therapy.

 

  • Atopic dermatitis is a strong precursor to food allergies
  • Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy
  • Triggering factors that exacerbate the pre-existing skin lesion
  • Food hypersensitivity
  • The relation of food to eczema

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