Eczema is a skin condition caused by many different things, including external factors like stress, cold weather, or environmental triggers. It's also been linked to food and drink sensitivities.
Food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances can all be a trigger for eczema flare-ups in some people. For example, if you have a food allergy to eggs, cooking with egg yolks or eating items containing them could cause your skin condition to worsen.
In the same way, sensitive reactions to foods like peanuts and nuts may also lead to increased eczema symptoms due to contact dermatitis (a type of eczema caused by contact with certain things).
Lastly, intolerance issues involving dairy products are often linked back to eczematous rashes. They contain traces of cow's milk protein found in many everyday foods such as bread, pizzas, cakes, and ice cream.
Eczema sufferers are often advised to avoid certain foods with various ingredients known to cause reactions in some people.
What Is Eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition that tends to flare up in response to food allergies, cold weather, stress, or skin irritation.
Symptoms may vary from person to person depending on the severity of eczema and the type it is. For example, atopic dermatitis sufferers may experience dryness and scaling of their skin, while nonatopic eczema sufferers could have a rash rather than just patches of dry skin.
Doctors often advise sufferers to avoid certain foods with ingredients known to trigger some people's reactions with the elimination diet. Typically, those who've been diagnosed as food allergic, but not all eczema suffers, will need this drastic measure.
Symptoms of Eczema
Food allergies are common in eczema suffers, though not all people with the condition have this problem. Eczema is a chronic skin disease that's caused by an overreaction to something in the body. When someone has eczema, their immune system goes haywire in response to a trigger and then releases histamine, which leads to inflammation.
This inflammatory reaction can happen anywhere on the body but often occurs on dry or sensitive skin, like atopic eczema sufferers. Some symptoms of eczema include:
- cracked, peeling skin (dermatitis)
- sore bumps with pus (pustules)
Since food allergies are so common in people who have eczema, it may not be necessary for everyone with this condition to follow an elimination diet when trying out what triggers their reactions if they don't experience any relief after going dairy-free. This could work well for those who are lactose intolerant.
Eczema symptoms are often worse when sufferers eat certain foods or experience changes in weather conditions like cold temperatures or stress. These things may make their itchiness, redness, dry patches of skin, cracking around fingernails from continual scratching (in some cases), inflammation of veins under the skin's surface known as purpura hemorrhagica, and cracked skin around the nose and mouth worse.
Certain physical effects on sufferers can be avoided or relief sought by eating certain foods like fresh fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants.
Some eczema sufferers may also find that a low-sugar diet can help relieve their symptoms as well though this is more relevant to those who have psoriasis than eczema. Hence, it's important to consult with your dermatologist before changing up your food intake too drastically.
Eczema and Food Allergies
While eczema and food allergies can't be equated to one another, some sufferers might suffer from eczema triggered by the foods they're allergic to.
Patients with eczema should be aware of their allergies before attempting any treatment, as some foods that cause reactions in other people may not affect them.
A variety of allergens can trigger eczema symptoms, such as gluten, dairy products, soy-based products, and nuts--but a person's specific allergy triggers might differ depending on their immune system response.
Foods That Cause Eczema Symptoms
A few potential food allergy triggers include peanut butter (found in many processed foods), eggs, shellfish, or fish containing scallops; wheat/gluten; soy; milk; sugar, alcohol, tree nuts like almonds, walnuts or cashews, and peanuts.
In a food allergy reaction to certain foods, eczema sufferers need to avoid that particular food to prevent future outbreaks.
Eczema flare-ups are not only frustrating due to their itchiness. Still, they can also be accompanied by other symptoms such as a stuffy nose, coughs, and sore throat--all indicators that an individual might have developed allergies or sensitivities towards different foods.
The best way for those who have eczema is to avoid these known triggers and their allergens--but this may not always be possible or feasible with all of a person's lifestyle factors in place.
Suppose an elimination diet does turn out to help a sufferer reduce or eliminate his/her symptoms. In that case, it should continue on that path until he/she has reached remission (defined as having no active signs of disease).
The elimination diet can be done in stages, with the first stage being a stringent diet of only pureed foods for at least two weeks.
This could take up to five years, but patients are urged not to abandon treatment before it takes effect because research shows that most eczema sufferers will relapse if they stop the elimination diet.
Doctors can diagnose eczema based on a person's history and conduct blood tests that show an increased level of the antibodies eosinophils or IgE.
In addition, dermatologists can examine skin cells under microscopes to determine if they have eczema--which looks like blisters with little scales over them.
Skin biopsies are usually only done when other treatments for eczema don't work because it is invasive and should be avoided unless necessary.
Even though there's no cure for eczema, there are many treatments that may help ease symptoms.
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