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Can Dietary Changes Help My Eczema Symptoms?

The foods you eat don’t cause eczema. They also can’t cure this incredibly itchy skin condition. But changing your diet can make a difference in your symptoms, whether or not you have a food allergy or sensitivity. 

The biggest challenge is determining which of the many possible triggers (food and others) affect your eczema. That’s why you should consult with Theresa Durchhalter, DO, FAAD, at Allure Dermatology before making drastic dietary changes.

Dr. Durchhalter and our team have helped many patients discover their triggers and create a plan that improves their skin and supports their overall health. Here’s what you need to know about eczema and food.

Discover eczema triggers

Eczema comes and goes, with periods of clear skin alternating with sudden flare-ups of dry, itchy, inflamed skin, rashes, and scaly patches. 

Flare-ups often occur in response to an environmental or internal trigger. You could have one of many possible eczema triggers, but some of the most common include:

Dry skin causes an eczema flare-up in virtually everyone, no matter what other triggers they might have. Dry, itchy skin and scratching damage the skin barrier, which makes your symptoms flare up.

Learn about eczema and food

Nearly one-third of people with eczema have a food allergy. If you’re in this group, there’s a good chance your eczema flares in response to the food causing your allergy. Having a food sensitivity can also serve as a trigger.

You also need to know this: You can have a food allergy or sensitivity that doesn’t affect your eczema. We help you navigate the complex relationship between food and skin symptoms.

Avoid food triggers

If your eczema seems to flare up after eating certain foods, we carefully evaluate your medical and food history, treat your eczema, and may recommend allergy testing. 

While eggs, milk, peanuts, wheat, and soy account for most eczema-associated allergies, they’re not the only possibility. Allergy testing identifies the culprit.  

The primary treatment for a food allergy is eliminating the allergen from your diet. That change may also improve your eczema symptoms if they’re related to your allergy.

Food sensitivities are often caused by lactose (a sugar in milk and dairy products), gluten (a protein in wheat, rye, and barley), and histamine. Cheese, pineapples, bananas, and red wine represent a few histamine-containing foods.

Depending on the suspected substance, we may run tests or use an elimination diet to diagnose an intolerance. People with food sensitivities may be able to eat small amounts of the problematic foods, or they may need to avoid them.

Follow an anti-inflammatory diet

Foods have the power to increase or decrease inflammation throughout your body. Because eczema is an inflammatory condition, following an anti-inflammatory diet may dramatically improve your skin and reduce flare-ups, whether or not you have an allergy or sensitivity.

To get the most from an anti-inflammatory diet, you should cut down on foods that cause inflammation while adding foods to your daily diet that fight inflammation.

Foods to avoid include:

Healthy foods that inhibit inflammation include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and fatty fish, such as salmon, Atlantic mackerel, trout, and canned light tuna. Lean protein from skinless poultry is also a good choice.

This list includes a few examples of foods that are great for fighting inflammation:

Unsaturated fats are also an essential part of an anti-inflammatory diet. In addition to olive oil, healthy fats come from sources like nuts, seeds, corn, and sunflower oil.

The basics of an anti-inflammatory diet may sound familiar because they’re essentially the same as the recommendations for a healthy, well-balanced diet. The Mediterranean diet is an anti-inflammatory diet that’s easy to follow because it includes a wide variety of foods.

Seeking treatment for eczema helps reduce future flare-ups. Call Allure Dermatology today or connect online to request a consultation.

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