Have you ever wondered why, at certain times of the day, your eczema becomes particularly itchy and painful? Maybe you can’t figure out what’s triggering those flare-ups, but it could be your diet.
Eczema is a group of conditions that often cause itchy, dry skin that’s not only irritating but painful, too. Genetic factors can cause eczema for some people. Environmental factors like pet dander and soaps can also play a role. A weakened immune system resulting from a recent cold can even cause flare-ups.
But diet and certain foods present another trigger for eczema. Knowing what foods to avoid and what to eat can make a big difference in your well-being.
October is Eczema Awareness Month, so we’ve put together a list of the best and worst foods to help you prevent and ease eczema flare-ups.
Stay away from these foods
Food-sensitive skin reactions usually occur around six to 24 hours after you eat a certain type of food that doesn’t agree with your system. To figure out what foods are causing your flare-ups, we often recommend paying attention to the common foods known to aggravate eczema.
Foods that commonly trigger an eczema reaction include:
- Wheat and gluten
- Citrus fruits
- Dairy, including yogurt, cow’s milk, cheese, and butter
- Dried fruits
- Spices, such as cinnamon and vanilla
- Certain kinds of nuts
Before you ditch anything from your current diet, focus on each food type listed, one at a time, and keep an eye on your skin condition for about four to six weeks to determine if you are sensitive to that type of food. Keeping a food journal helps. If your symptoms seem to worsen after you add a food to your diet, avoid it in the future.
Soothe your skin with these foods
When it comes to soothing your itchy skin during eczema flare-ups, aim to fill your refrigerator with anti-inflammatory, omega-rich, alkalizing ingredients that can help ease your eczema from the inside out.
Flaxseed oil moisturizes your skin from within. A half-teaspoon of flaxseed oil a day gives you a hefty dose of omega-3s to soothe painful and itchy skin.
Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant and is particularly important for healthy skin. Add colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet, including apricots, carrots, peppers, and butternut squash.
Watercress leaves provide both anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties to relieve inflamed patches of skin. Boil the leaves for about 10 minutes to make a refreshing drink, or add them to sandwiches and salads.
Beets help your liver eliminate toxins and are said to improve collagen, giving your skin a boost.
Vitamin D is important for your immune system, especially when it comes to creating a healthy balance of microbiota and healthy bacteria, which impacts the health of your skin. Add fortified foods like fatty fishes such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, along with mushrooms for a healthy dose of vitamin D.
Pears are low in natural chemicals and ideal for their fiber content, which can reduce the risk of flare-ups. For a tasty and highly alkalizing juice, blend pears with carrots and beets.
Oats contain vitamin E, silica, zinc, and fiber — a killer combination for strong skin and fighting flare-ups.
Eczema is a complex condition
While dietary changes may help you control those itchy flare-ups, sometimes you need a little extra help. A combination of a clearly defined and healthy diet along with specialized medical care go a long way toward managing your symptoms.
We can help. Book a consultation with Dr. Megan Brelsford at Verum Cutis Dermatology today to discuss your treatment options.