Is your skin rash from mold exposure?
It’s entirely possible.
In one study, more than 50% of those exposed to mold experienced a skin rash or other skin symptoms. Another found that mold was connected to a number of allergic and respiratory effects -including skin rashes.
As well, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recognized that mold can cause a variety of negative health effects. The strange symptoms you’ve been experiencing – nasal congestion, throat irritation, eye irritation, and skin rashes – they’re not in your head. Mold where you live or work is the cause.
I think it’s safe to say that mold can cause skin issues and may be the cause of your strange rash.
You can get a skin rash from mold in your house
The air inside your home is full of all sorts of pollens, dust, fungi, and molds. These contaminants make their way from the outdoors through open doors, windows, and vents. It’s completely normal.
But what your shouldn’t have in your home is dampness. The World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that dampness is a reliable and consistent indicator of adverse health effects.
And dampness in a building causes mold growth.
Dampness is the one thing that aggravates skin rashes and the air quality in your home.
Don’t assume that your home is safe! The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 50% of all buildings in the United States are water damaged. That includes both residential and commercial buildings.
Your eyes and nose are not the most reliable way to tell if there is water damage in a building. All too often, dampness and the resulting mold growth occurs in areas you can’t see. This includes parts of your home like attics, crawl spaces, or HVAC systems.
To accurately find out whether your home has water damage, you need specialized testing. I go into detail about how to accurately test your home for mold here.
How mold can affect your skin (and other body systems)
The symptoms connected to mold illness are a mile long. And if you include the condition known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) the list grows longer still. CIRS is a common cause of complex, poorly understood medical conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
Here are some of the symptoms to be caused by mold:
- Nasal congestion
- Throat irritation
- Eye irritation
- Skin rashes or irritation
Mold and the skin – gut connection
Do you know what the treatment for severe acne is?
Your doctor will often prescribe antibiotics, like tetracycline, as the first line of treatment. Antibiotics affect your gut, which is strongly connected to the health of your skin.
In the early ’90s and ’00s, people with moderate to severe acne were prescribed Accutane. And boy did it work well at clearing up acne. But it had an intense side effect… Accutane was strongly associated with causing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Another gut and skin connection is leaky gut. Patients with acne can have elevated levels of something called lipopolysaccharides (LPS). LPS is a common marker used to determine if you have a leaky gut.
Celiac disease affects the small intestine. However, it can appear as a skin condition known as dermatitis herpetiformis (DH). In fact, more than 10% of celiac disease shows up as a skin issue. In DH, patients will often have zero symptoms commonly associated with celiac disease – bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, etc. Instead, the most common symptom is an incredibly itchy rash on your skin.
How mold exposure causes rashes
As you can see, you don’t need to touch an allergen to develop a skin rash. Yes, if you brush up against poison ivy, you’re going to get a rash on your skin. But you don’t need to touch mold to get a rash.
Instead, skin rashes from mold will often result from an internal infection. You may not even know you’ve had a mold exposure. You may just experience a skin rash and not know where it came from.
If you’re dealing with an unexplained skin rash, follow these two steps:
- Test your home for mold
- Make an appointment with an allergist to test for a mold allergy
If you are allergic to mold, a skin prick test measuring your IgE immune system response will likely test positive. Other immune system tests like IgG and IgM can also point in the direction of a mold allergy.
What to do if you think mold is causing your skin rashes?
Regardless of what your mold symptom(s) may be, the first step in treatment is to remove yourself from the water-damaged building. Test your home and your workplace to determine if either building has been water-damaged. I go into the details of how to properly test for mold in this blog post.
For 75% of the population, the simple act of removing yourself from the moldy environment will improve your skin rashes. The other 25% of the population possesses a specific gene – more info on moldy genes here – that prevents their body’s from expelling the mold toxins.
Those of you with the moldy genes will need a far more involved treatment plan to alleviate your skin rashes. Working with a mold-literate practitioner will be absolutely essential!
Now, I want to hear from you!
What effect did mold have on your skin?
Leave your answers in the comments section below!