Dermatitis Herpetiformis | Allergy

Dermatitis Herpetiformis

by Allergy Guy

Dermatitis herpetiformis is a form of eczema caused by gluten.

It is frequently misdiagnosed.  Some dermatologists as if eczema is a disease, not a symptom.  They treat the symptoms (the rash) rather than the underlying cause.

Powerful drugs often do make the rash go away, but they have unpleasant and health-degrading side effects.


The answer is a change in diet.  Your doctor may know little if anything about this (I’m particularly suspicious of dermatologists, but this may be unfair).  You will find at least part of the answerer here.

Dermatitis herpetiformis was first noticed by Dr. Louis Duhring in 1884.  It was not until 1967 that the connection was made between this skin condition and gluten intolerance (celiac disease). 

Given that doctors have been slow to recognize and look for celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis can easily be missed, especially as it may be the only symptom of a gluten intolerance.  In fact, some people may have the skin condition, without having any disturbance in their gut.

The condition involves the immune system, so to some extent, you could consider it a kind of gluten allergy, although this view is my own, not scientifically tested, and is not defined as an allergy according to some people’s very strict definition of an allergy.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis Cause

Duhring’s disease is an autoimmune reaction triggered by gluten in your diet.  This means that your immune system sees gluten as an invader, and in fighting the gluten, your immune system also attacks your own body.

The IgA antibodies are produced in the lining of the gut.  The IgA binds to the gluten, producing a relatively large glob.  This gets absorbed into the bloodstream.  Because it is relatively large, it clogs small blood vessels in the skin. 

This IgA/gluten clog attracts white blood cells which try and attack the clog.  They release chemicals that cause the rash.

If this is happening in the skin, you can well imagine that it can easily occur elsewhere in the body. 

Treating the symptoms rather than the cause is likely to result in severe health problems elsewhere in the body, which seem unconnected to a skin rash.

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