What makes you itch?
There are many reasons why you get the urge to itch ( Pruritus ) as it’s medically known. Anything from Fatigue, Depression,skin conditions even IBS can cause you to want to itch. Foods can also make you itch, This is a very well documented area in the medical field and we will cover some of the facts behind the science in this article and help you eliminate those trigger foods from your diet to stop that irresistible urge to scratch.
Reasons why I itch
One of the biggest reasons for your skin itching are conditions like Eczema, Athletes foot, Fungus infections, Psoriasis, Impetigo and allergies to chemicals and materials, to name just a few. Itchy skin conditions can be very difficult to live with, they affect our daily lives in so many ways and can lead to long-term illnesses like depression if not addressed.
The endless irresistible urge to itch and scratch can do to your skin more harm and can lead to more problems down the road. Infections are a big concern for anyone who suffers from eczema or other skin complaints, also your mental health from the constant itching can dramatically be affected, you can’t sleep, you’re worried about your physical appearance and you stop interacting with others and isolate yourself from mainstream society.
All these issues come from the simple irresistible urge to itch!
What’re the facts behind foods causing you to itch?
The first point of call if you have an irresistible urge to itch all the time, is to go see your GP, You need to find out if there are any underlying medical conditions affecting you before you focus on foods.
Any article or blog can offer advice and helpful tips, but always seek medical advice from your doctor first.
Over 40 studies are currently being carried out on eczema alone in the UK and even more in the US and there are many that focus on foods that make you itch. One such company is YorkTest Laboratories who have over 35 years of excellence in laboratory diagnostic testing, and are Europe’s leading provider of food and drink specific IgG antibody testing programmes. They are passionate about providing you with personalised information and support that can be used to help optimise your health and wellbeing.
They can provide a comprehensive food testing service for customers with actionable information to help optimise their diet and wellbeing.
They carried out a study of 89 people with different conditions that caused them to itch and by controlling their diet after identifying food triggers they saw an improvement across the board. The list below shows you the percentage that improved after eliminating trigger foods.
76% out of 89 people tested with eczema saw an improvement, That’s really encouraging that 76% of people had the urge to scratch was reduced just by cutting out certain foods. Just think of all the infections and flare-ups avoided by reducing the urge to itch.
|Main Condition Reported||% of people who reported a benefit|
e.g. Fatigue, Lethargy
e.g. IBS, Bloating etc
e.g. Asthma, Sinusitis, Rhinitis
e.g. Migraine, Headaches, ME
e.g. Eczema, Acne, Psoriasis
e.g. Arthritis, Joint Aches & Pains
e.g. Depression, Anxiety
We found FOOD ALLERGY TEST KITS available on Amazon at very reasonable prices ranging from £9.99 – £200 depending on the number of foods to be tested for. The one below seemed to fit the bill nicely, not too expensive and covers lots of different foods.
Food Detective CNS Intolerance Test
How will I know if I have eaten a trigger food?
Most people react to food allergies in different ways, it’s very specific to each person. Have you ever eaten hot foods like a curry and then you start to sweat and your head starts to itch? That’s your body reacting to the spicy food, it’s trying to protect you from harm. But some people don’t react to spicy foods in the same way. Like I said it’s very specific. Your body will let you know, trust me!
Having food allergies is no different, The body recognises the foods your allergic to and responds quickly. When you eat something you’re allergic to, your immune system responds to protect you. You could get anything from a mild skin rash or itchy eyes and itchy inflamed skin, or you could have an even bigger reaction that leaves you gasping for breath.
ANY REACTION THAT LEAVES YOU SHORT OF BREATH OR WITH A SWOLLEN MOUTH OR THROAT, LIPS SHOULD BE TREATED AS VERY SERIOUS AND YOU SHOULD SEEK MEDICAL ASSISTANCE STRAIGHT AWAY! CALL AN AMBULANCE IMMEDIATELY
When I was 8 years old it was the middle of a hot summer here in the UK ( Yes, we do get hot summers occasionally ) and I had eaten a Lime Green ice lolly. Within minutes my throat had swollen and I couldn’t breathe. I was rushed to the hospital and they gave me an anti-allergy injection and the swelling went down very quickly. They did tell me though if I hadn’t of gone to the hospital straight away I could have died! Ever since I cannot eat anything that’s Lime Green for the fear of another reaction. I should in hindsight have taken a allergy test to find out what happened rather than risk it happening again.
Your body is an amazing thing
It will react and warn you of anything that it thinks is trying to harm you. Learn to read your body and watch out for the tell-tale signs, some are small signs some are obvious and alarming.
Food Allergy Symptoms
An allergic reaction can happen within minutes of eating, or it may happen hours later.
Mild symptoms can be hard to tie to specific foods. You could get:
- Red, swollen, dry, or itchy skin or a rash
- Runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, or a slight, dry cough
- Itchy, watery, red eyes
- Itchy mouth or inside your ear
- Funny taste in your mouth
- Upset stomach, cramps, throwing up, or diarrhea
So, what foods should I avoid?
- Milk (mostly in children)
- Tree nuts, like walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, brazil nuts, and pecans.
- Wheat and other grains with gluten, including barley, rye, and oats.
- Fish (mostly in adults)
- Shellfish (mostly in adults)
- Sugar: Sugar causes your insulin levels to spike, which can result in inflammation.
Foods that are bad for eczema also called TRIGGER FOODS really can be very specific to each person. There’s no way of telling if one food will affect you and not others. That’s why it’s so important to get tested, or you may learn the hard way. On the other hand, foods that are good for you tend to be more relevant to most people. Below is a list of good food to eat that will help reduce eczema and itching and the reasons why.
What foods are good for eczema and my skin?
- ORANGES: Citrus is an excellent source of Vitamin C, making it the perfect addition to any diet to relieve dry, itchy skin.
- WALNUTS: When your skin is healthy form a protective barrier against the elements and irritants, however when the skin is damaged it’s normally due to a lack of natural oils. Walnuts contain a great deal of omega-3s, so eating more of them can supplement the lost natural oils necessary for nutrient and healthy skin.
- SWEET POTATO: They are packed full of Vitamin A which again is helpful for healthy skin
- BANANAS: High in potassium, they also contain histamine-lowering nutrients, magnesium and vitamin C.
- SEEDS: Full of essential fatty acids seeds can help ease eczema.
- OILY FISH: Fish are considered ‘superfoods’ and along with lowering blood pressure and being a good source of vitamin D, protein and some B vitamins
- BERRIES: They contain bioflavonoid which is beneficial for skin care.
- WATER: Drink as much water per day as you can, this replaces the lost moisture in your skin.
- FOODS CONTAINING ZINC: Foods like oysters, beans, turkey, crab, and lean beef are rich in zinc.
- FOODS CONTAINING PROBIOTICS: Probiotic foods, such as yogurt, contain live cultures that help support a strong immune system. This may help reduce flare-ups or allergic reactions.
Food is not the only thing that causes itching.
Habits to Avoid
These common habits are also possible reasons why your skin is so itchy and makes your skin take longer to heal.
1) Don’t ignore allergies, take them seriously.
Allergic reactions to certain substances, like cosmetics or fabrics, can cause itchy, irritated skin. It is important to be aware of your allergies and try to avoid contact with allergens as much as possible. Make sure you know what you’re allergic to by having a food test done.
Smoking is not only a bad habit but Nicotine is thought to prevent collagen production, drying skin from the inside out. Smoking is obviously detrimental to your lungs, but it also affects your teeth and skin as well.
3) The sun
Not using sunscreen lotion to protect your skin not only makes you more susceptible to itchy skin and sunburns, but it also increases your risk of developing skin cancer. Using a lotion of SPF 20 or higher every day can prevent itchy skin. Use sunscreen even when it is not sunny outside, as the harmful UV rays can still damage skin through the clouds.
4) Diet and Foods
Use the information above to cut out some of the bad TRIGGER FOODS that you have found to affect your body and replace some of them with the healthier options above. A diet that is heavy in saturated fats, salt, and sugar can lead to itchy skin, as well as breakouts. Make sure you incorporate lots of foods that are packed with vitamins A and C. They are very important to skin health because they support collagen production, so eating more carrots, citrus fruit, and low-fat dairy can help nourish skin. Essential fatty acids are also wonderful for skin health, so try to eat more avocados and salmon and other oily fish.
5) Hot showers
Long, hot showers feel amazing, but they are very harsh and can significantly dry out skin. Taking shorter showers with lukewarm water. The same can be said for washing your hands too often can also cause itchy, dry skin.
6) Not drinking enough water
Dehydration is a primary cause of itchy skin, so it is essential to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep skin healthy and nourished.
Stress can cause the body to release a histamine, This causes itching, flare-ups, and rashes. It is very important to try and reduce stress as much as possible in your life to help avoid other damaging symptoms related to stress. There are different ways to relieve stress try: MEDITATION, YOGA, SPORTS, MUSIC and the most important one TAKING! Sharing your problems is one of the most important ways of releasing stress. This website is dedicated to helping others with eczema by sharing your experiences to let others know they’re not alone in this battle to beat eczema.
We also have a FACEBOOK group which is perfect for talking to others in similar situations.
8) Chemicals and Irritants:
Using harsh chemicals or unknown products on your body can cause itching and flare-ups. If you unsure about a product then DON’T USE IT! Only use natural and organic products that you know are made from natural and harmless ingredients. Homemade products can be very helpful for eczema.
Check this video out from Youtube and have a go at making some ECZEMA SOAP for yourself.
If you don’t want to make your own we have found some safe and natural products on AMAZON listed below.
We hope you find out what foods you’re allergic too if any! You might be lucky and not be allergic to any foods in which case you will need to investigate further why your skin itches. It may simply be the condition you have, In which case you need to focus your attention on not aspirating your condition with irritants and chemicals and trying to find a cream or product that helps your condition.
Whatever you do going forward, We here at OurEczemaStory.com wish you all the very best and hope you find relief from your itchy condition.
Remember! SHARING IS CARING and if you would like to be one of the amazing people who write a blog for our website and shares their experience to help others please email us direct [email protected] or CLICK HERE for more details.