Does Diet Really ‘Help’ for Children with Eczema?

About 30 percent of all cases of eczema in children, food may have an effect. However, there is only about 10 percent of all them that actually find foods as the trigger of the flare-up. This suggests that there is only a small number of kids with this chronic skin disorder are helped by lifestyle approach with diet – even though in those who are, other major treatments (such as a good skin care routine) are still required.

If diet does have an effect, how does it affect eczema?

There may be still no clearly answer for the question, however experts theorize some theories. Foods may affect the problem with one or some of the following ways:

Itching and scratching

In some children, the sensation of itching can get worse after consuming /eating some foods. This increases the urge of rubbing and scratching the affected skin which then can cause skin infection, inflammation, or damage.

All of these things eventually can worse the problem and make the affected skin become more & more itchy. The obvious signs that may appear after eating the trigger food are swelling, redness, or irritation

Immediate-hypersensitivity reaction to certain food

How fast the reaction to certain food to occur can vary! In the case when the reaction happens very fast, this is what we call as immediate-hypersensitivity. For this category, the reaction can be noticed very fast (about a few minutes to 2 hours after consuming the food).

The symptoms of the reaction may include skin redness, swelling, or rash. Sometime, itchy eyes, vomiting, sneezing, or abdominal pain may also occur.

Even in severe case, a condition medically called as ana-phylaxis may occur. Typically, it occurs very fast, followed with breathing problem, or may also cause loss of consciousness.


This is the opposite way of immediate-hypersensitivity. In other words, it is a condition of when the reaction (symptoms) occurs slower than immediate-hypersensitivity.

Typically, the symptoms can be noticed about 2 to 24 hours after eating the food, but they may last longer than the symptoms of immediate-hypersensitivity.

The symptoms may last for several hours, or may be more. Increased sensation of itching, diarrhea, and abdominal pain are usually the most common symptoms.

Diet and eczema in children; what is the expectation?

Even in children with eczema that is related with food, dietary approach alone is not enough. Still, other common treatments such as using emollient and other good-skin care routines are needed.

In fact, eczema is rarely associated with diet alone. In many cases, the problem can be associated with many other factors. And this is the major reason of why finding specific foods that have an effect on the problem is not always easy.

So, you need to remember that diet is not the single treatment of the problem. But it can be a part of the treatment plan – though the effectiveness also can vary since not all cases are related to the diet.

If diet does have an effect on eczema of your child, you still need to apply topical treatments such as emollients or steroid creams.

However, for some children, diet may be so helpful to improve the problem and prevent the flare-up. Sometime, it may make the symptoms or the flare-up of eczema easier to manage. It may also help improve sleep, reduce the urge of scratching and redness.

image_illustration123And if you find that diet is really helpful for eczema of your child, you should be able to cope with cooking different meals for your child and family. Moreover, you should also be smart in dealing with the habit of your child. For instance, if your children have favorite food that has an effect on the problem, find another substitute so thus they can manage their eczema better.

How difficult diet change is to cope with will depend on how many foods you need to remove. Even many times, the age of your child also can affect the level of the difficulty.

Which kids are most helped with dietary approach?

A study showed that some children with eczema (atopic eczema, the most common type) may digest and absorb differently. This may be one of the answers for why some children have a condition what we call as food allergies.

The dietary approach is usually most helpful for children who actually find that their eczema is related to food that they eat.

In general, the following factors can increase the risk of developing eczema that can be influenced by diet:

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