Early exposure to allergens via the skin may be responsible for food allergy

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Food allergies that produce an IgE mediated response are a growing concern particularly in children.

Around 6-8% of children are affected by food allergy.

Many allergies are outgrown but peanut allergy can become a lifelong problem for 1-2% of the population.

peanuts-background-texture_fkGvUPuOPeanut allergy is a major concern as it can produce a dangerous anaphylactic response (causing breathing difficulty) even with low exposure.

When an allergic reaction to a product occurs the first time that it is eaten, this indicates that a primary sensitization to the product has occurred previously. As most parents do not feed their babies or young infants peanuts, the question of where/when did this exposure occur of course arises.

Some research has shown that the immune system could have been initially triggered in utero or via breast milk (1, 2). Household use of

Eczema treatment involves many things.

Eczema treatment involves many things.

peanut is a risk factor for development of peanut allergy (3) and even household dust (where peanut antigens have been found (4), suggests that environmental exposure is possible. There is some evidence that the response to the peanut allergen occurred via the skin.

The peanut allergen (Ara h 1) is believed to trigger a skewing of the Th1 and Th2 antibodies whereby Th2 becomes elevated. Most people with

allergies have an excess of Th2. Babies are born with an excess of Th2 which normally balances itself with TH1 to produce a healthy immune response.

In a recent study (5) the skin of mice was exposed to peanut for 6 weeks. This produced sensitization of the skin which the researchers believed was due to a Th2- polarized response. This produced activation of both IgE and IgG basophil activities.

IStockBaby&Mother PictureThey concluded that,
“Our results with peanut allergen support the hypothesis that environmental exposure to peanut is an important risk factor for sensitization.”

Their findings were significant in explaining that non-oral household exposure to peanut is a risk factor for peanut allergy. The paper also discussed similar mechanisms of allergy development found with house dust mites, pollens and timothy grass whereby the skewing of Th2 can take place.

Eczema is a common allergic response that occurs in children. Eczema is also a Th2 response to an allergen that may have been eaten, touched or is airborne. All allergies are part of the atopy syndrome where there are allergy related health problems.  Find out more about Eczema Treatment  and Dermatitis Treatment



1. Sicherer SH, et al. Maternal consumption of peanut during pregnancy is associated with peanut sensitization in atopic infants. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010; 126(6):1191–1197.
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2. Frazier AL, Camargo CA Jr, Malspeis S, Willett WC, Young MC. Prospective study of peripregnancy consumption of peanuts or tree nuts by mothers and the risk of peanut or tree nut allergy in their offspring. JAMA Pediatr. 2014; 168(2):156–162.
View this article via: PubMed CrossRef

3. Fox AT, Sasieni P, du Toit G, Syed H, Lack G. Household peanut consumption as a risk factor for the development of peanut allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009; 123(2):417–423.
View this article via: PubMed CrossRef
4. • Trendelenburg V, Ahrens B, Wehrmann AK, Kalb B, Niggemann B, Beyer K. Peanut allergen in house dust of eating area and bed — a risk factor for peanut sensitization? Allergy. 2013; 68(11):1460–1462.

5) Skin exposure promotes a Th2-dependent sensitization to peanut allergens. Leticia Tordesillas1,2, Ritobrata Goswami1,2, Sara Benedé3, Galina Grishina1, David Dunkin1, Kirsi M. Järvinen4, Soheila J. Maleki5, Hugh A. Sampson1,2,6 and M. Cecilia Berin1,2,6,7

Smiling front shot with white dressWritten by Nurse, Naturopath and Formulation Chemist, Vivienne Savill

By |January 12th, 2015|Food for Healthy Skin|Comments Off on Early exposure to allergens via the skin may be responsible for food allergy

About the Author:

The founder of Healthy Skin Clinic is Nurse, Naturopath and Formulation Chemist, Vivienne Savill. Vivienne is passionate about helping people to optimize their health and promoting radiant, healthy skin, using natural treatments.