Canadian TV host Melissa Grelo gives update on skin health, shares flareup triggers

The Toronto-native says she finally feels "a lot more in control" over skin issues she's been facing since last year.

Canadian TV host Melissa Grelo shared a third update on the health journey she's been on since September 2022. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images)
Canadian TV host Melissa Grelo shared a third update on the health journey she's been on since September 2022. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images)

Melissa Grelo is getting candid about her health.

The moderator of "The Social," 45, shared a third update about her skin journey in an Instagram Reel posted on Wednesday, letting fans know that "a lot has happened" since her last update on March 3.

In the clip, Grelo noted that she was nearing the end of her low-FODMAP, low-histamine diet, which she adopted to help eliminate an abnormal growth found in her gut earlier this year.

"I have been, over time, able to start to really narrow down some of the triggers that were contributing to these flareups in my skin, because an angry gut would potentially mean angry skin flareups," she shared, adding that one of those identified triggers includes chocolate.

"It's one that I can almost guarantee every time that if I have some kind of chocolate, within the 30 to 90 minutes after, I know I'm going to have an issue."

During the video, she noted she was feeling "so itchy" because before filming, she decided to eat a small amount of dark chocolate with almonds as a test.

"The other trigger has been caffeine," she continued, adding that like alcohol, it's something she's planning to reconsider consuming in her life. "I know my gut doesn't like caffeine at all — it just doesn't like it. It is acidic, it just causes all kinds of problems for me."

While on her special diet, she recalled cutting out caffeine was difficult but her gut felt more "happy."

Her "last frontier" includes avocados and strawberries, which she called "superfoods" that she loves to eat, but they're high in histamine. She added that she hasn't re-introduced them into her diet, but she plans to soon and expects to share another update.

Grelo continued to share two developments she's taking on, including adding meat back into her diet after cutting it out from her life since she was 16-years-old. Moreover, she's planning to stop taking birth control, which she's been taking for nearly three decades and only briefly stopped to conceive her nine-year-old daughter.

On top of that, Grelo shared that she's "cranking up" her water intake to improve her skin and gut health. She's also continuing to take daily antihistamines and expects to be on them for years.

"Generally speaking, I know better what is going to flareup my skin. Stress is going to flare it up, chocolate is going to flare it up, caffeine is going to flare it up," she said, adding that overdoing it on dairy — which she usually never consumes heavily — would also cause issues.

Grelo shared with fans that she now knows some of the food triggers that have been causing issues with her skin. (Photo by Angel Marchini/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Grelo shared with fans that she now knows some of the food triggers that have been causing issues with her skin. (Photo by Angel Marchini/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Fans showed their appreciation for Grelo being so candid about her health, with many sharing their own health stories.

"Thank you so much for being so honest and open about your condition. It really helps and yes, I too have had issues with IBS and certain foods also trigger the symptoms," one person shared. "I've done self-help, but what you're saying is exactly the same thing. ... I'm finding the older I'm getting, my gut can't handle what it used to."

"I have the same issue and I knew chocolate was an issue, but didn't want to believe it. I also need to change my diet," someone else penned. "No coffee, no chocolates and that's my life."

"I needed to hear this. I've been suffering with chronic idiopathic urticaria for four years. My dermatologist is struggling with me," a fan chimed in.

"This is awesome. I've had major hive flareups since last April as well, and was hoping coffee wasn't a culprit. Thanks for the info on all of this," another added.

On the Feb. 22 episode of "The Social," Grelo shared that she had been dealing with a myriad of skin issues — including itchiness, rashes and hives — since September. Following that episode, Grelo said in an Instagram Live posted on Feb. 24 that she received numerous replies from people resonating with her message and saying they also deal with those issues.

Summarizing the start of her journey, Grelo began saying the issues began shortly after she returned home to Toronto after a couple of trips. One day while driving, she had to remove a pair of tight sneakers she was wearing because the soles of her feet became extremely itchy.

"I look down and my feet were really, really red," the Canadian TV personality shared. "From that day forward, funny things started to happen. Anytime something tight, like my bra straps or the waist of jeans, anything that was rubbing my skin was getting really red and really hot and really itchy."

After itching those spots, she said the marks from her fingernails itching her skin would start rising like hives.

"It had looked like a wild cat had attacked me. ... It was like, 'What the heck?'" she noted.

"This started to happen with a lot of frequency and it freaked me out because clearly, something was happening inside my body."

After visiting her doctor, Grelo said she was sent for bloodwork to rule out any potential serious health issues. However, those results came back clear. Grelo's doctor had also ruled out menopause since she's been taking birth control since she was 16-years-old, which has likely balanced out her hormones.

Then, Grelo was sent to see a specialist and after waiting for months, she was prescribed an antihistamine, a drug used to treat conditions like rhinitis, colds and influenza.

Upon seeing the allergist in January, Grelo said she was diagnosed with dermatographia, a condition — also called skin writing — that causes raised marks when the skin is scratched.

Some other concerns she had included breast implant illness, but she has been considering removing her implants and expects to later this year.

Grelo added that all of her health care practitioners have told her they've seen an "unprecedented" amount of similar skin issues over the past few years. But since she's already have COVID-19 and four vaccines against the, she doesn't necessarily worry about that as a possible issue.

In a second update posted on March 3, she said a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO, test she was awaiting came back positive, showing she had an abnormal growth in her gut. While it doesn't necessarily mean that's the cause behind her skin issues, she said being able to treat the problem will still hopefully improve her health.

Towards the end of her latest update, Grelo noted that her skin is overall better than before, and that while she still gets red, itchy spots on her skin, it's at least manageable.

Wrapping up her video, she urged people to advocate for themselves and seek help from a health care professional if they're dealing with similar issues. She also said she now feels "a lot more in control" and that her health care practitioners are "listening" to her concerns.

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