EczemaEczema and Diet

Let's Talk About Eczema and Diet

When it comes to this skin condition and nutrition, it isn't as simple as eat this, not that. But knowing the correlation between certain foods and the complex disease can help take a bite out of the itch.

    Our Pro PanelEczema and Diet

    We went to some of the nation's top experts in eczema and diet to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Emma Guttman, M.D., Ph.D.

    Emma Guttman, M.D., Ph.D.Director of the Center for Excellence in Eczema

    Mount Sinai Hospital
    New York, NY
    Dawn Marie R. Davis, M.D.

    Dawn Marie R. Davis, M.D.Professor of Dermatology and Pediatrics Division Chair, Clinical Dermatology

    Mayo Clinic
    Rochester, MN
    JiaDe Yu, M.D. headshot.

    JiaDe Yu, M.D.Director

    MGH Contact Dermatitis and Occupational Dermatitis Clinic at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School
    Boston, MA

    Frequently Asked QuestionsEczema and Diet

    Can breastfeeding help prevent eczema?

    Some good research shows exclusively breastfeeding during the first three months of life may reduce the incidence of eczema in children. Scientists believe this might be because breast milk contains compounds such as α-tocopherol, β-tocopherol, and prolactin, which all help reduce inflammation, increase immune function, and decrease sensitivity of infants.

    Is eczema caused by food allergies?

    According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, half of patients with moderate to severe eczema also suffer from food allergies. But it's not that eczema is caused by any type of allergy; rather it is believed that eczema develops first, making the person more susceptible to a food allergy. Food allergies can also serve as a trigger for an eczema flare.

    Shouldn’t all children with eczema just be tested for food allergies?

    No. A high rate of false positive results can lead to misdiagnosis and unnecessary food avoidance. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends that only children under five with moderate to severe eczema should be tested for a food allergy if they experience symptoms right after eating a specific food. They also recommend testing if eczema is unresponsive to traditional treatment.

    Are there any dietary supplements that can help fight eczema?

    There have been some studies that show mothers who took specific strains of probiotic supplements two months before delivery and during the first two months of breastfeeding reduced eczema development in high-risk infants. But researchers say more studies are needed to determine recommendations, so talk to your doctor before taking any kind of supplement.

    Jennifer Tzeses

    Jennifer Tzeses

    Jennifer Tzeses is a writer and content strategist specializing in health, beauty, psychology and lifestyle.