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Role of Diet in Dermatology

by Dr. Anagha Kumar at 13.Apr.2017 on Diet and Nutrition



There are a few diseases in which diet has a definitive role. This article stresses upon the importance of diet in dermatology.

Image: Role of Diet in Dermatology

The word diet is derived from the Greek word "dieta" which means 'way of life'. The role of diet in management of certain dermatological diseases is proven and in some diseases it probably plays a role.

  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis - Gluten free diet i.e, wheat, rye, barley has to be followed. High iodine diet (seafood, hight salt containing food items like pickle) has to be avoided. However, rice and corn are safe to consume. Dietary modification reduces the dose of medication required, invokes a feeling of wellbeing and reduces the risk of cancer development.
  • Atopic Dermatitis - Breast feeding is encouraged. Avoid cow's milk as it can damage the newborn's gut. Also probiotic supplements help strenghten the digestive system of the infant.
  • Acne - Food with high glycemic index like dairy products, sweets, refined food has to be cut down. Omega-3 PUFA (fish oil) can be therapeutic because of its antiinflammatory effects.
  • Psoriasis - Omega-3 fatty acid and antioxidant supplementation can improve symptoms. Tomatoes, lemon, gooseberries, guava, nuts are natural sources of antioxidants. Alcohol and gluten has to be avoided. Weight reduction should be encouraged in obese patients.
  • Pemphigus - Tannin containing beverages like tea and coffee should be avoided. Cases have been reported in which pemphigus was triggered or exacerbated on consuming onions, garlic, radish, berries, betel nut and beer.
  • Allergic contact dermatitis - Interestingly, certain foods can trigger allergic dermatitis on consumption. Bell peppers, cassava, avocado, banana and chestnut have been implicated in the same. 30% of the general population has also been shown to have allergy to latex found in some foods like banana.
  • Patients with urticaria have to identify the food allergen they are allergic to and avoid it.
  • Colouring agents, flavoring agents likes azo dyes, tartrazine and amaranth can cause allergies and fixed drug eruptions.
  • Phenylketonuria and tyrosinemia - Avoid the respective aminoacids. Protein intake is restricted. Excess intake of milk, egg, meat and aspartame used as artificial sweetener should be avoided.
  • Homocystinuria - Methionine restricted diet has to be followed. Avoid eggs, meat, dairy products.
  • Galactosemia - Galactose and lactose free diet is to be given i.e, breastfeeding should not be done. Calcium and vitamin supplementation has to be done.
  • Patients with trimethylaminuria can reduce their symptoms by consuming a low protein diet.
  • Antioxidants and beta-carotene containing food stuffs like carrots, pumpkin and green leafy vegetables are encouraged in patients with porphyria.
  • Rosacea - Hot beverages like coffee, tea can induce flushing. Also avoid spicy foods, wine and betel nut.
  • Vitamin-C deficiencies can cause various symptoms like hairfall, mouth ulcers, gum bleeding etc. Hence take vitamin C rich diet.

A balanced diet can help maintain healthy, disease free skin. Dietary management plays a significant role in managing certain skin disease.

Consult a dietician online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/dietician

Also read: Does acne itch?

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