8 Sep 2015

Publication: Oats and goat's milk - Case studies on becoming allergic to food via skin products

L-R: Dr Sara Prickett, Prof Robyn O'Hehir and Prof Jenny
Rolland.
Goat milk first, now oats are revealed by Monash allergy researchers to be allergenic ingredients in skin care products.

"Food is meant to be eaten, not rubbed into inflamed skin," said Professor Robyn O'Hehir, Director of Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Medicine at The Alfred and Monash University, on publication of her article in 2014 which demonstrated both clinical and laboratory evidence of a link between topical application of cosmetics and the development of food allergy to goat's milk.


Prof O'Hehir and her group have recently published another case study, this time on a woman who used creams and products containing oatmeal, and who experienced a life-threatening allergic reaction on eating oat-containing food.  The study was published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

Professor Robyn O'Hehir said many creams – even for the treatment of dry skin or eczema – are advertised as ‘natural’ products.

“Surprisingly, some of these products contain foods which are known to cause allergy,” Prof O’Hehir said. “Goat’s milk, cow’s milk, nut oils and oats are common ingredients in ‘natural’ cosmetics. While unlikely to be a problem for most people, repeated application of these to broken or eczematous skin may lead to a severe allergic reaction when the food is next eaten. Our 2014 study was the first to demonstrate both clinical and laboratory evidence of a link between topical application of cosmetics and the development of food allergy. This new study adds extra evidence to the argument for skin care preparations to be bland and to avoid agents capable of sensitisation, especially foods.”

Reference: Radhakrishna N, Prickett S, Phan T, Rolland JM, Puy R, O'Hehir RE. Anaphylaxis to oats after cutaneous sensitization by oatmeal in skin products used for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2015 Aug 14. pii: S2213-2198(15)00386-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2015.07.005. [Epub ahead of print, 1st page pdf only available]

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