Sugar Sensitivity: Itchy Skin
The term sugar sensitivity is a catch-all phrase for a number of medical situations. This sensitivity might be a food allergy or a physical reaction to increased blood sugar levels. If eating refined sugar products causes your skin to itch, the most likely scenario is an allergic reaction. Refined sugar may also be a trigger for a chronic skin conditions, such as eczema. Only your doctor can properly diagnose your situation and determine the basis for your sugar sensitivity and resulting itchy skin.
A food allergy is an abnormal reaction by the immune system to a food. When some substances enter or come in contact with the body, the immune system erroneously detects harm. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, true food allergies are not that common. What some people deem to be an allergy may actually be an intolerant to a food. Intolerance is not an immune system response. It is a difficulty digesting or processing a food type, such a sugar. Symptoms of a true food allergy include hives, swelling, itching skin or a skin rash. Some food allergies may trigger chronic skin conditions like eczema.
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes patches of extremely dry skin to itch, crack and blister. The exact origin of eczema is unknown; however, heredity may play a role. Irritants may trigger an eczema outbreak. Exposure to cigarette smoke, detergents, harsh weather or wool clothing may start to irritate skin. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends individuals diagnosed with eczema avoid food triggers as well, one of which may be refined sugar. It is possible sensitivity to sugar may cause an outbreak of eczema. You should see your doctor to determine if your itchy skin is actually eczema.
Your chronically dry skin may not have anything to do with how much sugar you eat. Dry skin can have many sources. Most dry skin comes from environmental factors. Exposure to hot or cold weather and changes in humidity can lead to lack of moisture on the skin surface. Other things to consider include excessive bathing, use of a lotion and exposure to harsh chemicals or detergents. All these factors may come together to dry skin and create itchy spots.
If you have itchy skin, it is vital that you discover why. The best way to do this is to see your doctor. Start keeping a journal of all the foods that you eat daily and make note of every time you have an outbreak. This will help you determine the correlation between food and your skin problem. Start applying a body lotion to your skin daily. Reduce the amount of time you spend bathing and use only lukewarm water. For skin that itches, apply an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to affected areas. If your journal notations show that sugar sensitivity may be an issue, cut all sugar products out of your diet and reduce the amount of carbohydrates you eat.
Scratching your skin will expose you to a potentially serious bacterial infection known as cellulitis. With cellulitis, bacteria invade the opening in the skin and infect the underlying tissue. Complications of cellulitis include a blood infection that can be potentially life-threatening. If your itchy skin shows sign of infection, such as red areas, swelling and discharge, see your doctor for treatment. Food allergies can also be potentially life-threatening. If after eating sugar you develop large raised areas of skin that itch, feel a tightening in your throat or have difficulty breathing, go to the emergency room or call 911. This may be an indication of a severe allergy that requires immediate medical assistance.
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