Eczema: What Foods to Avoid for Optimal Skin Health

Eczema is a common skin condition that affects 31.6 million people in the United States. It is characterized by dry, red, itchy skin that can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. While there is no cure for eczema, there are ways to manage the symptoms and reduce flare-ups. One of the most effective ways to do this is to avoid certain foods that can trigger an outbreak.

Added artificial sugars, trans fats, processed meat, red meat, refined carbohydrates, and dairy products can all cause inflammation in the body and make eczema worse. Nickel is another ingredient known to stimulate the symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema. Peanuts, milk, soy, wheat, fish and eggs are the most common culprits when it comes to food allergies and eczema. Since children need a complete diet, it's important to talk to a pediatrician or dermatologist before eliminating any foods from their diet.

They can test for problem foods and help you determine which ones should be avoided. Eating fatty fish such as salmon and herring can help reduce symptoms since they contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory. Taking an omega-3 supplement may also be beneficial. An anti-inflammatory diet is one way to manage eczema symptoms.

This type of diet limits dairy, whole grains, red meat, flour and sugar but emphasizes vegetables and fish. Going vegan or maintaining an almost plant-based diet is also a good option for those with eczema. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity in addition to eczema, eliminating gluten from your diet may help improve your skin condition. In general, it's recommended to eat at least 250 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily, preferably from food sources.

Foods that contain properties that can help decrease eczema outbreaks include fatty fish such as salmon and herring, fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Paying close attention to how your diet affects your eczema can help you identify which foods should be avoided or limited in order to reduce flare-ups. Research suggests that a baby may be less likely to develop eczema if his mother takes probiotics and avoids drinking cow's milk during pregnancy. The Ayurvedic diet is similar to the Mediterranean diet in that it focuses on unprocessed foods and includes fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Babies who exclusively breastfeed during the first three months of life are also less likely to develop eczema. Eating certain foods doesn't seem to cause eczema, although it can trigger an outbreak if you already have the condition.

Knowing your body and which foods work best for you individually is key when it comes to managing your symptoms. If you eliminate a large food group such as products that contain wheat, talk to your doctor about supplements to ensure that no essential vitamins and minerals are lost. Nobody wants dry, red, itchy skin but with the right dietary changes you can minimize the problems of allergies and eczema.

Riya Hutchings
Riya Hutchings

On a quest to combat Contact Dermatitis!