The reason why your skin flare-up after eating


Since the very early stage of my TSW, I've been noticing that my skin becomes more itchy and red after meals. Even right now as I'm typing, after having pasta for dinner, my face is itchy.
You may have the same experience, if you have eczema or are going through TSW / Protopic Withdrawal. 

When I first noticed this unpleasant phenomenon, I suspected that I must have been allergic to certain food, so took an allergy test.  Remembering every single thing I was flaring to was quite a task, because my skin seemed to flare up after eating pretty much any food, at random. However, my allergy test results came back with absolutely no allergy to food.  Because I was so convinced that eating made my skin worse, I took another test only to find the same result.
At this point, I recall my dermatologist - who firmly believed in the eczema-caused-by-allergy theory - was at a loss. He then modestly brightened up when he found out that I was allergic to dust and grass, at a very minor level.

Alright, I may have those allergies, but my skin flared up after my meals, not during dusting or  picnic!
So, why on earth does my skin get worse after eating?!

This has been my long time question that none of my docs could've ever answered.

Interestingly, I discovered the answer in my bookshelf. I recently reread a Japanese book called  "Atopic Dermatitis treatment for babies and children" written by Dr. Mitsuko and Kenji Sato. What I like about it is on the cover, it says "NO! to Topical Steroids".  You guessed it right - this is a book that explains TSW for babies and children.


The book has some colour pages with the most heart-breaking TSW progress pictures of babies and children.  Each of their journeys end with big smiles and beautiful, spotless skin.


Anyway, in this book there is the FAQ section, which I must have skipped the first time I read it.  Someone has asked the Dr. Satos the same question I was having for ages. The Dr. Satos' answer was that worsened skin after meals is not often caused by food allergies, and explained why it happened.  I would like to roughly translate the part here.

Q. It looks like the skin rash gets worse after eating...

A. ... The reason the skin rash worsened after eating can be simply explained by a common physiological response of human body.  When you have hot meals, your temperature goes up which triggers itchiness and scratches.  Even cold food gives you liquid which increases blood volume and causes more oozing leaked from blood vessels.  By simply eating, digestive organs become active and generate body heat which inevitably raise body temperature and, as a result, cause itchiness and redness.
Therefore, no matter how careful you are about what you eat, due to a very natural body response, your skin rash is more likely to become worse after eating.

However, quite obviously, this does not mean that you should fast with no food.  A balanced diet sends everything your body needs to heal your skin into your blood.  Even if eating may temporarily worsen your skin condition, it is far more important to give your body the power to heal. Wrong diet restriction can not only disturb your healing, but also be harmful to child patients.

It is a relief to know that it is a normal occurrence! I can stop worrying about the itch I'm having right now. 
I abbreviated the part where they explained why they believed that it wasn't an allergic response.  I will try to translate that part next time or so.

By the way, it's a gorgeous weather outside in London, 31℃ ! It's not very English at all!

Happy healing ! x

Comments

  1. Good post tommy.
    I actually started a thread on that exact topic in the forum. Now i know why.

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  2. good article!
    I told MrsSato that you had written about herbook inyourBLOG.
    Im sure, she will be glad! Thank you.

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  3. This is so fascinating!! Thank you so much for posting this information. It really makes sense now! It's really inspiring to hear that all of those babies ended up happy and healthy.

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  4. Great post, thank you very much! xxx

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  5. Thank you all for your kind comments.

    - Lisa, I'm glad the post was useful to you :)

    - Aiko-san, ohh I hope she doesn't mind me translating without her permission!

    - Shiro Ninja, my pleasure! If those babies can go through TSW, there is no reason we adults cannot!

    - Miss Kitty Fantastico, aww thank you I'm glad you liked it!

    Love to you all xxx

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  6. Very informative! I always think that milk Or eating cereals makes me itch, eating sweets etc. But Dr. Rappaport Said it has nothing to do with the food you eat Or diet fads. I Also don't have food allergies

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  7. Hi tommy do you know how I can get a copy of this book? My baby is going through tsw

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  8. Hi Itchy Mithcy, yeah for me it's cooked meat. And I used to react to some strange things like pineapples and noodles!

    Hello Jane, I'm sorry to hear that your baby is having to go through TSW. You can get a copy from Amazon Japan. But it's written in Japanese, which is a shame as I think a book like this should be translated and made available to more readers. If you are still interested, or have a friend who can read Japanese for you, let me know so that I can send you the URL.

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  9. Hi Tommy, thank you! Please send me the URL as I have a few friends who can read Japanese :)

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    1. Hi Jane, that's good! Here is the URL for the amazon product page of the book. http://goo.gl/A4DzB2 I found this book easy enough to read with lots of useful information. Hope it helps your baby. x

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  10. Tommy, your blog is always full of great information. Thanks for taking the time to translate.

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    1. Hi Sandra, thank you for your kind words! I'm glad you found my blog useful:)

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  11. Thank you Tommy for the URL and for your blog! Can I just ask, did all the babies get better by just cessation of steroids? Does the book give any other advice?

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    1. As long as I read the book, it sounds like those babies got better just by withdrawing from TS and moisturisers. The book doesn't mention what their success rate is, but does say that most of babies outgrow eczema before they reach adulthood anyway. Also, the book is full of advice for mums and babies and covers all corners of TSW. I found it useful even for an adult eczema patient like myself.

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  12. Thanks for sharing. I experience the exact same thing. Hot foods are worse for me, as well as caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and I swear milk. But I can still feel itchy after a salad as well. Good info. Thanks again.

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    1. Hi Jason, thanks for your kind comment. Ah it reminded me that caffeine and alcohol did make my skin worse too! x

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  13. Thank you for the information. Are there any recommended foods that can help the skin heal faster?

    Jay

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    1. Hello Jay, thank you for your comment. From my personal experience, I found that no specific food fastened the healing process. But I do think that having enough protein is essential during TSW, as we need protein to constantly create new layer of skin. Dr. Sato says balanced diet is important for healing. Hope this helps x

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  14. Appreciate it! This a great web site

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Glad you found it useful.

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  15. Thanks intended for providing such awesome articles.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words :)

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  16. Just simply wished to express I'm ecstatic that i stumbled on your website!

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  17. Thanks a lot! It is an superb web site.

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  18. Hi Tommy I'm a walking piece of roast pork, and I just stumbled upon your site, and love it! I'm oozing and will try to stop the moisturiser and see how it goes! My first reaction is to search whether Dr Satos have written an adult version, but it seems to be out of print?
    http://www.amazon.co.jp/%E6%82%A3%E8%80%85%E3%81%AB%E5%AD%A6%E3%82%93%E3%81%A0%E6%88%90%E4%BA%BA%E5%9E%8B%E3%82%A2%E3%83%88%E3%83%94%E3%83%BC%E6%B2%BB%E7%99%82%E2%80%95%E8%84%B1%E3%82%B9%E3%83%86%E3%83%AD%E3%82%A4%E3%83%89%E3%83%BB%E8%84%B1%E4%BF%9D%E6%B9%BF%E7%99%82%E6%B3%95-%E4%BD%90%E8%97%A4-%E5%81%A5%E4%BA%8C/dp/4806805807/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1393220235&sr=8-3&keywords=%E4%BD%90%E8%97%A4%E5%81%A5%E4%BA%8C

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    1. Hello Dead Cat, thank you for your comment! I'm glad you liked my blog :) The book of Dr. Sato should still be in print. In fact, he'll be releasing an updated version of the book soon. I have a copy of the book and is useful although it's very technical. If you can read Japanese, it's definitely worth taking a look. If not, he's planning to release an English version in the future. :)

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  19. This is such an informative post. I think it's better if you indulge with anti-aging foods for great looking skin?

    -shruti

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  20. Hi Tommy,

    Warmest greeting from Indonesia. Love your blog! My only son of 14 year-old was first diagnosed of atopic dermatities more than 3 years ago. To my regret, I have misused potent topical steroid (that was originally prescribed by the doctor) on him by self-medication for the first 2 years; so much so that, I strongly believed, at some point he suffered a steroid-induced psychological disorder (depression and anxiety) that eventually made him dropped out of school.

    In despiration, we sought help from hospital and also a reknown dematologist in my country to get him non-steroid medication particularly a drug called Acitretin that I incidentally read about in a medical publication. It turned out that Acitretin had still not got clearance from Indonesian medical authority.

    The dermatologist sugested some biologic drugs which I immediately declined for its cost and especially its equally undesired side-effect. The hospital, in the other hand, scheduled him for photo therapy regimen. But, when he was about to get his first photo-therapy session, a senior doctor at the hospital re-examined him and prescribed some kind of drug to ease my son condition that, at the time, was so bad (around 60% of his body) since he was about a month without topical steroid.

    I was not aware that the drug called prednison was in fact also a steroid drug. I was in the impression that the hospital had understood my intention of finding non-steroid drug for my son. So, when he was on it, the skin condition healed as if a miracle. When the dosage was eventually reduced after about a month, the eczema got even worse than before. Eventually, another senior doctor at the hospital gave him an injection. The incident was so fast that I did not have the chance to digest the fact that the injection was also a steroid drug.

    The result was horrific. While the skin condition had not improved, my son psychological condition was devastated. For about four months after the injection, he had been developing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He was so paranoid to his own skin peel that he demanded multiple showers, changes of clothings, and re-bedding every single night.

    At that point, I decided that I had enough of hospital and doctors. My son has been out of any medical medication for about 8 months now. Psychologically, his condition has improved significantly. We have been on natural path by trying various alternative treatments from herbal to BJ's formula of Vit D3 + ibuprofen regimen that I learnt from internet.

    The skin condition is still bad now with large oozing patch lesions on his hands and feet as well as scattered bumpy lesions throughout his body. But we notice some improvements now and then. We haven't been able to determine which alternative medication works so we keep on trying new things.

    Accidentally, I stumble upon your blog and start learning about this TSW thing. I have looked into ITSAN and I reckon the erratic skin condition is to be expected from steroid withdrawal and only time can truly heal the skin condition.

    My question to you is related to this post about worsening skin condition after eating. There are many sugestion on the internet on natural healing trough diet but I haven't been able to pin point what food effect my son condition. As a matter of fact, there are various and often conflicting diet list out there that make us even more confused on what to eat and what to avoid. Particularly to the dreadful oozing, have you come across any information on foods that exacerbate it and foods that can help the condition?

    BTW, my son has no food allergy (by allergic test result).

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    1. Hello Honai House of Papuan Design, thank you very much for your comment. I can truly relate to your son's experience and your feeling too. It must have been frustrating and surely worrying as a parent.

      Regarding your questions, I believe that no diet restriction is necessary since your son hasn't got any food allergy. Make sure to have a balanced diet and have protein which creates skin. I tried many different diet therapies myself, and none of them really made any difference to my skin. You don't need to be too sensitive to food in my opinion. However, since your son sounds like oozing quite a lot, it is recommended to restrict water. No more than 1200 - 1500ml a day. (If your son sweat a lot, he can have more water than this.)

      I must tell you that my advice above actually come from the book of Dr. Kenji Sato who is a Japanese TSW doctor. (So it's not just my personal opinion.)

      I sincerely hope your son heal both physically and psychologically. It may take some time, but since he's 14 he would probably heal quicker than me. I wish you both the best and steady healing.

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  21. Hi Tommy,

    Stumbled upon your blog in one of my dark moments trying to find ways to help my toddler suffering from TSW due to a short 3 weeks use of a strong steroid Neoderm.

    Anyway, thank you and please keep writing. It brings me hope, especially all those translated articles and news from the TSW doctors from Japan.

    Take care, and God bless.

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