Many people with eczema, or atopic dermatitis, also have food allergies. But some people without diagnosed food allergies notice they experience flare-ups of their eczema after they eat certain foods; this may be a food sensitivity rather than an allergy.
It’s worth paying careful attention to how your diet affects your eczema in case it might help to avoid specific foods. One caveat: before you completely eliminate any foods from your diet, consult with your doctor. He or she can help you determine what steps to take when safely cutting out different food products.
1. Cow’s Milk
Cow’s milk is one of the most commonly cited culprits of eczema flare-ups in children. Experts caution, however, that parents shouldn’t just routinely eliminate milk or milk-based products from their children’s diets. When dairy products are completely removed from a child’s diet, they may develop vitamin deficiencies and other issues. This kind of elimination diet should only be reserved for kids with severe eczema, and your child’s doctor will want to talk about the appropriate food substitutes to offer. Some good news: some children with a milk allergy do eventually outgrow it.
Eggs are another common trigger of eczema exacerbation in babies and young children. If you’re trying to avoid them, it may be easy enough to avoid scrambled or fried eggs, but be vigilant about dishes like bread and other baked goods that may contain eggs. Keep in mind it might only need to be a short-term avoidance strategy; as with milk allergies, some children with egg allergies also outgrow them, too.
It’s very common for people with eczema to be allergic to peanuts. If you have a child who seems to have developed allergic symptoms, including eczema flare-ups, after eating peanuts, peanut butter, or any other food containing peanuts, you may want to consider allergy testing.
Allergies to soy are also linked to eczema, and some people believe foods containing soy make their eczema a little worse. If you want to avoid soy, start reading labels carefully, because soy can show up in a number of unexpected food products, like tea and even chocolate.
Some people believe that gluten or wheat can contribute to an eczema flare. Gluten lurks in tons of foods, even some surprising ones like gummy candies, soups, and sauces, as anyone with a sensitivity can probably tell you. If you suspect gluten might be exacerbating your eczema, start looking for the “gluten-free” label on packaged foods, or closely scan the ingredients list before you partake.
Here’s the interesting thing about fish: some experts note that certain types of fish, including salmon, sardines, and herring, are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can fight inflammation in your body. But others warn fish are on the list of foods that commonly cause allergic reactions. You may want to be cautious until you know how your body reacts.
7. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are juicy, delicious, and contain high amounts of vitamin C.. Unfortunately, they also contain an allergen called Balsam of Peru (also known as Myroxylon pereirae), which can be problematic for some people with eczema.
Like citrus fruits, tomatoes can potentially irritate some people with eczema. While they may not actually trigger an allergic response, they can cause some people to experience eczema flare-ups.
9. Canned Foods
If you suffer from a type of eczema called dyshidrotic eczema, you may be sensitive to nickel. If that’s the case, eating foods containing nickel can exacerbate symptoms, like the small blisters that may appear on your feet and hands. Nickel can be found in a number of foods, including wheat, legumes, oat, rye, chocolate, and cocoa. But since many manufacturers use nickel in the production of cans for food preservation, nickel can also show up in those canned foods.
Medical reference: CNN Health