Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition that can cause redness, itching, and inflammation. While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, some studies suggest that certain foods can make it worse, particularly in infants and children. The most common culprits are peanuts, milk, soy, wheat, fish, and eggs. If you suspect that your child's eczema is being triggered by food allergies, it's important to speak to a pediatrician or dermatologist before eliminating any foods from their diet. Inflammatory foods can also provoke an increase in symptoms.
These include added artificial sugars, trans fats, processed meat, red meat, refined carbohydrates, and dairy products. In addition, there are six foods that are known to trigger most food allergies that cause eczema outbreaks: nuts, cow's milk, chicken eggs, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Several studies have been conducted to investigate the relationship between diet and dermatitis. Research has established that for some patients with atopic dermatitis (AD), specific foods can lead to an exacerbation of dermatitis. In the case of systemic contact dermatitis (SCD), certain foods can also cause dermatitis. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) expert panel recommends avoiding specific food allergens in cases of documented food allergies concurrent with one or more atopic conditions, including AD, asthma, or eosinophilic esophagitis.
To determine which foods may be causing your eczema flare-ups, it's best to eliminate only one food at a time so that you don't limit your diet too much. Most of the foods and supplements that scientists have studied have not shown much promise for eczema relief. However, research continues. The proportion of patients with AD whose skin symptoms are related to food allergens has varied considerably in different studies. For the most accurate results, you will need to monitor the condition of your eczema for 48 hours after the food challenge. This is why the gold standard for diagnosis remains the double-blind, placebo-controlled dietary challenge.
Children should also be tested if they have experienced an immediate reaction after ingestion of a specific food. Preservatives that release formaldehyde and formaldehyde are commonly used in skin and hair care products but can also be found in some foods. Some people with eczema try to completely eliminate one or more foods from their diet such as eggs or cow's milk. This means that a food diary may be helpful while a food challenge may be necessary to confirm the allergy. Therefore researchers have studied whether atopy patch (APT) tests with food allergens may be useful in late eczematous reactions. Friends and patients suffering from eczema have asked me many times if food is a possible trigger.