Eczema can result in a variety of painful skin conditions. It causes dry and scaly skin, itchy rashes and painful blisters. There are many hereditary and environmental factors that might lead to the development of eczema, but the cause itself is not completely understood.
While there isn't a surefire cause for eczema, there are steps that you can take to treat flare ups. In addition to lifestyle considerations, your healthcare provider might prescribe treatment for your eczema. One type of treatment may be UVB home phototherapy, which uses narrowband ultraviolet light therapy to decrease the local immune system in the skin. Small light treatment devices are available for at-home use. These devices are portable and hand-held, and when combined with oral medications and topical treatments, phototherapy may help achieve faster results. Modern phototherapy solutions are available for fast and convenient treatment. These options can connect with your smartphone so that you can ensure that you are getting your prescribed amount of light therapy every time.
Another thing to consider when you have eczema is your diet. Food allergies have been linked to eczema, although there is no “cure-all eczema diet” that works for everyone. There are, however, some frequent findings.
While diet itself does not cause eczema, the following six foods might be making your eczema worse:
There’s evidence that having eczema makes babies six times more likely to have an egg allergy. It’s no surprise, then, that such a food might be a problem for some adults with eczema.
Eliminating eggs from your diet can be a challenge, as they are used in many ways. They are folded into baked goods, whisked into salad dressings and used as a binding agent in many recipes, like chicken tenders or meatloaf. Fortunately, If you learn that eggs do make your eczema worse, there are plenty of egg substitutes on the market.
Cow’s milk is another common allergen in young children that some people swear makes their eczema worse. An elimination diet—overseen by your doctor, of course—can help you determine whether cow’s milk is triggering your eczema.
If you decide to remove cow’s milk from your diet, there are tons of substitute products on the market. Choose from soy milk, almond milk, oat milk and more.
There are some people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity who also have eczema. Some of these people report that one of the several advantages to eliminating gluten from their diet is improved skin.
Gluten is a group of proteins found in many products made from cereal grains, like bread, pasta, crackers, cookies, and cakes. Many products are naturally gluten-free though, like rice and oats. Gluten-free foods are extremely popular, and there is a pretty good chance your favorite pizza parlor offers a gluten-free crust. Just ask!
From edamame to tofu, some people with eczema find that soy-based products make their condition worse. Soy is often a surprise ingredient in products like granola bars and cereals, too, so you’ll want to make sure to read labels carefully if you are trying to avoid it.
Nuts, another common allergen, may make some people’s skin conditions worse. Nuts can be hidden in salad dressings, sauces, baked goods, and breads, so you’ll need to be careful when ordering at restaurants and coffee shops. Because they are such a common allergen, well-managed kitchens should be able to tell you right away if nuts have been used in a recipe.
Finally, some people find that eating fish or shellfish exacerbates eczema flare-ups. While avoiding fish is generally simple, shellfish is sometimes used to make stocks, broths and sauces. You may find your favorite pork ramen, for example, calls for a shrimp-based broth.
If you suspect food is making your eczema first, don’t hesitate to call your dermatologist to discuss possible solutions. A healthy diet, along with treatment options like phototherapy can go a long way in reducing the negative side effects of eczema.
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