Junk, Canned, Instant, Long-Lasting & Highly Processed Food

Chips, dips, canned foods, microwave dinners, chocolate spread, colas, instant anything, long-lasting anything…these foods contain lots of top contact allergens like dyes, flavors (which are related to fragrance), consumable substances from the compositae family, propylene glycol, and parabens, sulfites, benzoates, and other preservatives. Due to the equipment in which they’re processed and how they’re packaged, canned goods and processed foods can contain nickel. Aspartame might need to be avoided by people who have patch tested positive to formaldehyde and its releasers. Contact with these foods can result in reactions around the mouth as well as on your fingers from handling them. Eating a food with your contact allergens can also cause systemic contact dermatitis.

To find out if and how you are sensitive to ingredients in these foods, ask your allergist and dermatologist. Food allergies and skin allergies don’t always correlate. In food allergies, type B cells are involved, and the allergy is determined by a prick, scratch, or blood test. In skin allergies, type T cells are involved and the allergy is determined by a patch test.

These foods are bad for your health on many, many levels. They are cheap because they tend to be made with high-calorie, nutrient-poor ingredients and packed with artificial flavors that mask their poor flavor. They can contain harmful substances like trans fats (some FDAs allow the statement “trans fat-free” as long as the package contains less than <0.5 grams per serving — but this small amount does add up quickly), too much sugar and salt, and chemicals for preservation. They tend to not be processed well in the body and can build up. They also tend to addictive.

Note: organic, minimally-processed or raw foods are better for your overall health but this does not automatically mean that they cannot contain your contact allergens. Many natural foods and substances are top contact allergens, including mango, lemon, lime, orange, cinnamon, mint, and honey. For your health, choose organic and minimally-processed whenever possible…but if you have sensitive skin, be guided by the results of your patch test.

If you have a history of sensitive skin, don’t guess: random trial and error can cause more damage. Ask your dermatologist about a patch test.

To shop our selection of hypoallergenic products, visit vmvhypoallergenics.com. Need help? Ask us in the comments section below, or for more privacy (such as when asking us to customize recommendations for you based on your patch test results) contact us by email, or drop us a private message on Facebook.

For more:

On the prevalence of skin allergies, see Skin Allergies Are More Common Than Ever and One In Four Is Allergic to Common Skin Care And Cosmetic Ingredients.

To learn more about the VH-Rating System and hypoallergenicity, click here.

Main References: 

Regularly published reports on the most common allergens by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group and European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (based on over 28,000 patch test results, combined), plus other studies. Remember, we are all individuals — just because an ingredient is not on the most common allergen lists does not mean you cannot be sensitive to it, or that it will not become an allergen. These references, being based on so many patch test results, are a good basis but it is always best to get a patch test yourself.

1. Warshaw, E.M., Maibach, H.I., Taylor, J.S., et al. North American contact dermatitis group patch test results: 2011-2012. Dermatitis. 2015; 26: 49-59

2. W Uter et al. The European Baseline Series in 10 European Countries, 2005/2006–Results of the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (ESSCA). Contact Dermatitis 61 (1), 31-38.7 2009

3. Wetter, DA et al. Results of patch testing to personal care product allergens in a standard series and a supplemental cosmetic series: An analysis of 945 patients from the Mayo Clinic Contact Dermatitis Group, 2000-2007. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Nov;63(5):789-98.

4. Verallo-Rowell VM. The validated hypoallergenic cosmetics rating system: its 30-year evolution and effect on the prevalence of cosmetic reactions. Dermatitis 2011 Apr; 22(2):80-97

5. Ruby Pawankar et al. World Health Organization. White Book on Allergy 2011-2012 Executive Summary.

6. Misery L et al. Sensitive skin in the American population: prevalence, clinical data, and role of the dermatologist. Int J Dermatol. 2011 Aug;50(8):961-7.

7. Warshaw EM1, Maibach HI, Taylor JS, Sasseville D, DeKoven JG, Zirwas MJ, Fransway AF, Mathias CG, Zug KA, DeLeo VA, Fowler JF Jr, Marks JG, Pratt MD, Storrs FJ, Belsito DV. North American contact dermatitis group patch test results: 2011-2012.Dermatitis. 2015 Jan-Feb;26(1):49-59.

8. Warshaw, E et al. Allergic patch test reactions associated with cosmetics: Retrospective analysis of cross-sectional data from the North American Contact Dermatitis Group, 2001-2004. J AmAcadDermatol 2009;60:23-38. 

9. Foliaki S et al. Antibiotic use in infancy and symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema in children 6 and 7 years old: International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood Phase III. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Nov;124(5):982-9.

10. Kei EF et al. Role of the gut microbiota in defining human health. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2010 Apr; 8(4): 435–454.

11. Thavagnanam S et al. A meta-analysis of the association between Caesarean section and childhood asthma. Clin Exp Allergy. 2008;38(4):629–633.

12. Marks JG, Belsito DV, DeLeo VA, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch-test results, 1998 to 2000. Am J Contact Dermat. 2003;14(2):59-62.

13. Warshaw EM, Belsito DV, Taylor JS, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch test results: 2009 to 2010. Dermatitis. 2013;24(2):50-99.

14. Katta R, Schlichte M. Diet and dermatitis: food triggers. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014;7(3):30–36.

15. Warshaw EM, Botto N, Zug, K, et al. Contact Dermatitis Associated With Food: Retrospective Cross-Sectional Analysis of North American Contact Dermatitis Group Data, 2001 – 2004. Dermatitis. 2008;19(5):252-260.

16. Lampel, H, Silvestri, D. Systemic Contact Dermatitis: Current Challenges and Emerging Treatments. Curr Treat Options Allergy 1, 348–357 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40521-014-0029-6.

Want more great information on contact dermatitis? Check out the American Contact Dermatitis SocietyDermnet New Zealand, and your country’s contact dermatitis association.

DrVR LVB 8rDF Bertotto8106e 5May2014 20191023Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)



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