Eczema And Diet: The Top 8 Food Triggers
Did you know that October is National Eczema Awareness Month? To celebrate, The Eczema Company has collaborated with Kyle Dine to create The Eczema Song in support of all the amazing, strong children who dont let eczema define them.
Watch, smile, and be inspired! Then continue reading to learn about the eczema and diet connection, including the top 8 foods that trigger an itchy outbreak. Avoidance of these foods has a very good chance of greatly improving eczema and diet-related problems in your home. This strategy provides relief while you work long-term to improve the overall gut environment and immunity. Hopefully, you will be able to successfully reintroduce these foods at a later time.
Working To Eliminate All The Potential Allergens
Foods containing higher amounts of nickel include: soy, leafy greens, sprouts, peas, leeks, beans, soy, pineapple, raspberry, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, marzipan, nuts, chocolate, bran, oats, millet, whole grains, whole wheat, unpolished brown rice, lentils, shellfish and more. When I received the list of high-nickel foods, I felt so overwhelmed: it was all the food that I regularly ate.
My amazing and supportive spouse, Stevie, took the list and began creating a new list that included all the foods I could still eat that were also lower in nickel. Since soy is found in practically all processed foods, Stevie began cooking all of our meals from scratch and reading the ingredient labels for all processed foods. After a month of strictly avoiding higher nickel foods my eczema symptoms nearly disappeared.
A naturally-occurring heavy metal, nickel is found everywhere. Nickel is in our air, soil and water. Some foods absorb and retain more or less nickel depending on how and where the foods are grown. Also, the majority of all stainless steel contains nickel. We stopped eating canned goods. After learning that nickel from stainless steel cookware can leach into our food when heated, we slowly replaced all of our cookware with cast iron, glass and ceramic options.
At the encouragement of Stevie, in 2013, I started sharing my experience on my own website. I love connecting and learning from others who also live with eczema and nickel allergies.
Cleaning And Personal Care Products
Experiment with using different laundry detergents, cleaning products, etc., to see if that may help. Some people with eczema are sensitive to substances found in these products. Take a look at conventional products, but also so-called natural products because these can be disease triggers as well. Avoiding a suspected substance for a period of time can give you an idea of whether it might be triggering your symptoms.
Start by staying away from scented products. You might want to experiment with products labeled hypoallergenic, which may be less likely to trigger symptoms.
Generally, fewer ingredients are a good sign. Some people also experiment with homemade products, or simple baking soda and vinegar rinses.
In general, once you have identified a triggering substance, youll know to avoid it in the future.
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Eczema And Food Allergies
Research shows that babies with eczema are at highest risk of developing food allergies. New guidelines from the NIH on baby food allergen introduction are specifically focused on infants with eczema as this risk group needs food allergen introduction, and in turn, early allergen introduction the most.
All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your babys health.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your infant has severe eczema, check with your infants healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.
Detergents Soaps And Shampoos
When you wash your body or your clothes, think gentle. Choose laundry detergent made for babies or sensitive skin, like fragrance-free types. Use only the amount suggested. If needed, rinse them twice. Skip fabric softeners and scented dryer sheets. For showers, pick a non-soap cleanser that is mild and fragrance-free. Shampoos are also available in clear, pH neutral, fragrance-free versions.
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Triggers Of Eczema Flare
- Soaps. Never use bubble bath. It can cause a major flare-up.
- Pollens. Keep your child from lying on the grass during grass pollen season.
- Animals. Avoid any animals that make the rash worse.
- Foods. If certain foods cause severe itching , avoid them.
- Wool. Avoid wool fibers and clothes made of other scratchy, rough materials.
- Dry Air. Use a humidifier if the air in your home is dry.
- Herpes Virus Infection . Keep your child away from anyone with fever blisters . The herpes virus can cause a serious skin infection in children with eczema.
- Eczema is not caused by laundry soap you use to wash clothing.
Q : How Does Eczema Affect People Of Different Ages
Eczema is a chronic health problem that affects people of all ages, but is most common in babies :
- Infantile eczema occurs in around 20% of children under two years of age, and usually starts in the first six months of life. Infantile eczema usually improves significantly between the ages of two to five years.
- Childhood eczema may follow infantile eczema, or start from two to four years of age. Rashes and dryness are usually found in the creases of the elbows, behind the knees, across the ankles and may also involve the face, ears and neck. This form of eczema usually improves with age.
- Adult eczema is similar to that of older children with areas of very dry, itchy, reddened skin at the elbow creases, wrists, neck, ankles and behind the knees. It can cause rough, hard and thickened skin, which may also have weeping areas. Although eczema tends to improve in midlife, and is unusual in elderly people, it can occur at any age.
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Signs Of An Infection
Areas of skin affected by eczema can become infected. Signs of an infection can include:
- your eczema getting a lot worse
- fluid oozing from the skin
- a yellow crust on the skin surface or small yellowish-white spots appearing in the eczema
- the skin becoming swollen and sore
- a high temperature and generally feeling unwell
See your GP as soon as possible if you think your or your child’s skin may have become infected.
Whats The Difference Between Dermatitis And Psoriasis
Psoriasis and dermatitis can appear similar. Both cause patches of red skin. However, in psoriasis, the scales are thick and the edges of those scales are well-defined.
Discuss with your healthcare provider your questions about which type of skin condition you have. You can have more than one skin condition at a time. Treatments for one may not work for the other.
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What Questions Might My Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose Eczema
The conversation with your healthcare provider will need to cover a lot of information. Be sure to be specific about your symptoms.
- Where is your eczema located?
- What have you used to try to treat your eczema?
- What medical conditions do you have? Allergies? Asthma?
- Is there a history of eczema in your family?
- How long have you had symptoms of eczema?
- Do you take hot showers?
- Is there anything that makes your symptoms worse?
- Have you noticed that something triggers or worsens your eczema? Soaps? Detergents? Cigarette smoke?
- Is there so much itchiness that you have trouble sleeping? Working? Living your normal life?
How Is Eczema Diagnosed
There is no specific test used to diagnose eczema. A doctor will look at the rash and ask about your symptoms and past health, as well as your family’s health. If you or your family members have any atopic conditions, that’s an important clue.
The doctor will want to rule out other conditions that can cause skin inflammation. The doctor might recommend that you see a dermatologist or an allergist.
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What Can Trigger Eczema
Individual trigger factors vary from person to person and often you will find you have more than one trigger factor that can cause a flare of your eczema. Some trigger factors may be easy to identify whilst others may not be so easy to work out. If you suspect something in the environment may be a trigger factor keeping a symptom diary can be helpful to work out patterns of exposure and signs and symptoms. This can be useful when speaking to your health care professional to identify potential triggers.
Southern Cross Medical Library
The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
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What Can I Expect If Ive Been Diagnosed With Eczema
Nearly half of children with eczema will outgrow the condition or experience great improvement by the time they reach puberty. Others will continue to have some form of the disease. For adults with eczema, the disease can be generally well-managed with good skin care and treatment, although flare-ups of symptoms can occur throughout life.
Causes Of Eczema In Babies
Although the cause of eczema isnt completely understood, up to 10 percent of babies and toddlers have it. If you have a family history of eczema, asthma or hay fever, your baby may be more likely to develop it. Eczema in adults may not look the same in a child, which is why identifying symptoms and triggers is important to protect your babys skin. Triggers of eczema in babies may include
- Many soaps, disinfectants and fragrances can make eczema worse for your babys skin.
- Common products that may cause flare-ups include detergents and dryer sheets, bubble baths and some shampoos, disinfectants such as chlorine, dyes and coarse fabrics such as wool and other rough materials.
- Typical allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, pollen and mold can cause itchy, inflamed skin. Eczema is not an allergic reaction to a substance, but allergens or irritants in the environment can trigger it.
- Make your home an allergy-free zone by vacuuming and wet dusting frequently and keeping soft toys to a minimum and washing them often.Groom pets regularly.
- Extremes in temperature and humidity may trigger an eczema flare-up.
- Environmental triggers include very hot or very cold temperatures, high or low humidity, cigarette smoke and pollution.
- Keep your babys bedroom temperature between 68°F and 72°F and maintain even humidity in your home.
- Use a humidifier if the air in your home is dry.
Abnormal or sensitive skin
Herpes virus infection
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The Itchy Dozen Worst Foods For Eczema
People are often surprised to find the Itchy Dozen includes some of the so-called ‘good’ foods for eczema. I know the Itchy Dozen contradicts some popular beliefs published in online blogs. However, according to Australian research conducted over the past thirty years, these foods could be the reason your skin is dry, flaky and incredibly itchy .
I’ve seen this information help hundreds of so called ‘hopeless’ cases of eczema. People who have had eczema for 20, 30 or 40 years and more, who thought they were stuck with eczema for life, are seeing their eczema clear up for the first time. It can really change lives but it requires a change in beliefs about healthy eating. This quote sums it up:
“One man’s medicine is another man’s sleepless night itching.”
So a food that is good for an eczema-free person, such as avocado, could trigger a bout of maddening itching in another person.
Not counting allergy foods , here are the surprising foods and beverages most likely to give you itchy eczema …
1. Dairy products
Dairy products, including cows milk, yoghurt, butter and cheese, are the second most common allergy food seen in eczema sufferers .
- Yoghurt is particularly bad for eczema as it often contains added sugar, fruit flavourings, amines and a natural colour called Annatto which can trigger eczema.
Calcium deficiency can cause eczema
If you are itchy, one heaped scoop of Skin Friend PM mixed into water or food will quickly calm down the itch.
How Do You Prevent Dyshidrotic Eczema
For the most part, it’s not possible to prevent dyshidrotic eczema . If there are known triggers, avoid them. Consistent and proper skin care with moisturizing may help keep skin healthy and minimize flares.
Consultation with an allergist may be helpful if triggers are due to allergies to nickel, cobalt, or chromium salts.
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Peanuts And Other Nuts
Peanuts are probably one of the most commonly referenced foods when it comes to a discussion about allergens. A peanut allergy can be serious and even life-threatening.
When someone develops a peanut allergy, the allergy tends to be with them for life. Precautions include diligently reading labels, carefully avoiding certain foods, and steering clear of restaurants. You might even have heard announcements on public transport asking passengers to avoid consuming nuts because somebody with a serious allergy is on board.
According to Graham Roberts, MD, a pediatric allergist at King’s College London, more than twenty percent of very young eczema patients below the age of 12 months, already present an allergy to peanuts.
The study involved 640 infants aged 4-11 months with eczema and the results presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology revealed:
- 23% of infants were sensitive to peanuts
- 22% were sensitive to sesame seeds
- 16% were sensitive to brazil nuts
- 20% were sensitive to hazelnuts
- 21% were sensitive to cashews
- 14% were sensitive to almonds
Q 1: Where Can More Information Be Obtained
Nip Allergies in the Bub
Patient support organisations : www.allergy.org.au/patients/patient-support-organisations
ASCIA is the peak professional body of clinical immunology/allergy specialists in Australia and New Zealand
ASCIA resources are based on published literature and expert review, however, they are not intended to replace medical advice. The content of ASCIA resources is not influenced by any commercial organisations.
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When To Speak With A Doctor
A person should see their doctor if they suspect they have a skin infection. This is particularly true when the infection develops in an area where their eczema tends to flare up.
If a person has noticed their eczema has worsened or is no longer responding to their usual treatment, they may benefit from speaking with a doctor or dermatologist.
A dermatologist can help a person identify the type of eczema they have and prescribe treatments that may be more effective. They can also refer someone for diagnostic tests, such as allergy testing, if necessary.
If a rash appears suddenly, spreads quickly, or shows signs of infection, see a doctor as soon as possible.
What Foods Should I Eat Or Avoid To Reduce My Risk Of Eczema
The connection between eczema and food allergies is unclear. If you have food allergies, then one of the reasons why you must avoid that food is that it may cause or worsen dermatitis. Examples of common allergies include peanuts, dairy, eggs, sugar, alcohol and gluten. Pay attention to what you eat. If your eczema flares up after you eat a certain food, then you might have an allergy to it.
If you dont have a food allergy then there are no foods, including chicken, that will cause or worsen your eczema.
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Why Does It Happen
There are multiple causes of eczema. Some studies show that eczema is due to a defect in skin barrier. More specifically, there is a deficiency of ceramide, a fatty acid that plays a role in the skin barrier. Products containing ceramide can be helpful. Another cause of eczema is due to an excessive immune response that is involved in the inflammatory response.
Q : How Can Itch Be Controlled
The following actions may reduce itch, to help control the scratch and itch cycle of eczema:
- Keep skin well moisturised every day.
- Use cold compresses and wet dressings/wraps, as directed.
- Consider using non-sedating antihistamines, especially if there are hives . Sedating antihistamines are generally not recommended and should not be used in young children without specialist supervision.
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Top Ten Trigger Foods For Eczema
As you know, we skin sufferers all differ slightly in our triggers and the things that have a tendency to exacerbate and flare our conditions. I’ve included the foods below that I consider our top ten triggers for eczema according to scientific research and my experience in speaking with thousands of eczema sufferers. It’s important however to consider personal experience when it comes to diet correlations, and this is where keeping a food journal can prove invaluable.
What Are Disease Flares
The immune problems causing atopic dermatitis arent completely understood. But its known that various environmental conditions , may worsen the skins inflammation. This can lead to something called a disease flare, in which symptoms get worse temporarily. For example, an area of skin that had been previously without symptoms might become red and itchy.
However, its important to know that eczema is caused by a complex combination of factors: You are likely to still sometimes have symptoms even if you address all your potential triggers. However severe your disease is, knowing and reducing your triggers may help improve it.
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