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  • Writer's pictureCoach Patty, HealthSmart! Kids

Can Food Intolerance Trigger Eczema in Your Family? What You Should Know

A little girl scratching eczema on her arm

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Ever pondered how what we eat could be linked to eczema?

Let's delve into the intriguing connection between food allergies and this common skin condition.

While eczema seems to be more common in children, adults can develop eczema at any time in their lives. Some people experience flare-ups and periods of remission, while others may have continuous eczema for the rest of their lives. There is no cure for eczema, but it can be managed with various treatment options.

A lot of people find relief from the itching and redness of eczema by trying an elimination diet. This means taking out certain foods from your diet to see if it helps your body feel better. For many people with eczema, steering clear of certain trigger foods can really make a difference in how they feel.

What is a Food Intolerance and Can Food Intolerance Trigger Eczema?

When your body doesn't agree with certain foods, it's called a food intolerance. Food intolerance can cause different problems like bloating, gas, stomach pains, bowel changes, headaches, feeling really tired, or getting itchy rashes on the skin. Sometimes, these problems can show up hours or even days after eating the food that doesn't agree with you. If you think someone in your family might have a food intolerance, it's important to pay attention to what they're eating and how they feel to figure out which foods might be causing the trouble.

There's a phrase we say in holistic nutrition "If it's on the skin, it comes from within."

If your child has eczema, it's a good idea to think about whether there might be a link between their eczema and certain foods they eat. This is especially important if their eczema isn't getting better with the treatments they're already trying.

There are many different types of food intolerance, with two of the most common offenders being dairy and wheat or gluten.

Your child's pediatrician can order testing to identify food intolerances, or you may want to try an elimination diet to see if symptoms improve once the potential problems are removed from your child's diet.

Elimination Diets

An elimination diet is an effective method for figuring out which foods are triggering eczema symptoms. It involves removing potential triggers from the diet for as long as possible (typically 2 to 3 weeks is a minimum good timeframe), and then adding them back one at a time to see how the body reacts.

Some of the most common examples of food intolerance that can trigger eczema include cow’s milk, wheat and all gluten, eggs, peanuts, shellfish, soy, certain fruits(often citrus), and preservatives.

When you're trying to figure out which foods might be making your child's eczema worse, you might also think about adding some extra things to their diet that could help, like probiotics, fish oil, or vitamin B12 supplements. It's a good idea to chat with your doctor to see if giving these supplements to your child could be helpful.

Many parents notice that their child's eczema gets better within about two weeks of starting the diet. If you see that your child's eczema is getting better because of the diet, it's important to keep following it to keep seeing good results.

The best time to do an elimination diet may be when your child's eczema is in remission, as you’ll have a better idea of which foods are triggering their eczema.

A little girl choosing tomatoes in the produce section of the grocery store

Eczema and the Importance of Nutrition

Although there's no magic fix for eczema, there are lots of things you can try to help your child feel better. A diet with lots of healthy foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains can make a big difference in how their skin feels. Since eczema might happen when the body's defense system isn't as strong as it should be, it's important to make sure your child gets all the good nutrients they need from their food to keep them healthy.

Experts recommend that people with eczema follow a high-protein, low-simple carbohydrate diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, B vitamins, iron, zinc, and selenium. These nutrients can help improve the skin's appearance while reducing inflammation and irritation.

Potential Foods to be Avoided with Eczema

There’s no single food that is known to cause eczema, but some people with the condition find that certain foods trigger their symptoms. As mentioned, dairy products and eggs are high on the list, with peanuts, soy, fish, wheat, and some fruits and vegetables also being common triggers for eczema.

These foods contain natural compounds that can irritate your skin, causing your eczema symptoms to flare up.

If you find that certain foods trigger your child's eczema symptoms, you should have them avoid those foods as much as possible to reduce their symptoms. You don’t need to eliminate all food groups from your child's diet, but you can use an elimination diet to determine which foods are problematic for their eczema.

Summing Up

Eczema is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While there is no known cure, a healthy diet can reduce your eczema symptoms.

An elimination diet is a great way to find out which foods are causing your child's eczema. Along with eliminating the foods that may be contributing to their symptoms, focusing on a healthy diet free from unnecessary additives can go a long way to support your child's immune system and thus their overall skin health.

Another helpful tidbit: Parents I've worked with over the years swear by California Baby's Calendula Cream for topical eczema relief. Safe for babies and kids and effective even for adults, this organic skin treatment has been a long-time parent favorite.

Smiling faces of a group of kids all together

All blog content shared through HealthSmart! Kids is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. Always talk with your qualified health care provider for managing your health care needs.

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