How does diet impact eczema? Skin Care

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yogurt parfait breakfast
iStock/Eva-Katalin

Eczema is a pesky skin condition that's fairly common in babies. Sometimes foods -- including those a baby eats and those a breastfeeding mom eats and passes along -- can cause baby's eczema to flare up.

Common Allergens Can Cause Flare-Ups

"Some experts believe that removing common allergens -- dairy, peanuts, eggs, or certain fruits -- from a child or breastfeeding mom's diet may help control eczema symptoms, as they can be stressors." -- Dendy Engelman, MD, Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, New York, NY

Keeping a Food Journal Can Help

"If your dermatologist or pediatrician thinks certain foods might be the cause of your child's eczema flare-ups, he or she might ask you to keep a food diary or to abstain from that food for a while if you're breastfeeding. This can help narrow down the causes behind your child's symptoms. It's always important to eliminate one food at a time so you can be certain which change in diet made a difference in your child's skin." -- Joel Schlessinger, MD, board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor, New York, NY

Watch for Food Allergies

"My son is allergic to milk and five other foods. Eliminating his allergenic foods made a huge difference in his eczema, overall behavior, and health and made him a happier kid."

Dairy Could Be a Problem

"Log everything you eat (if you're breastfeeding) as well as what she eats. My daughter has food allergy–related eczema that became noticeable a few weeks after birth and just kept getting worse. It didn't look like classic eczema; it looked like ringworm at its worst, so it took a while for the doctor to diagnose. She was 15 months before we pinpointed the cause as a dairy allergy."

Sometimes, It's Not Food, It's Skin Products

"My daughter had severe eczema starting at 4 months, but diet never seemed to affect anything. We did have to cut out anything perfumed though -- certain lotions and soaps and oatmeal baths."

Acidic Foods Can Trigger Symptoms

"We've found that acidic foods really aggravate both of our kids -- especially tomato-based foods."

Diet Wasn't the Answer for Us

"My child's had eczema from birth and we've tried many things, including changing his diet. Nothing helped except for adding moisture. He has a cool-mist humidifier in his room in the winter and wears breathable clothing."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.