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Do restricted diets help with eczema?

Do restricted diets help with eczema? Very few children experience relief of their eczema through avoidance of foods in their diets. And in fact, avoiding food in children with eczema can cause real harm as they may actually develop food allergies to those same foods that you, that you take out of their diet or actually avoid giving them due to fear of food allergy.

The same rules apply to mothers who are breastfeeding infants with eczema as well. There are too many mothers out there that have gone through multiple elimination diets only to see their child's skin not improve or it improves temporarily and then gets worse again.

It's human nature to attribute any chronic changes to something that we eat in our diets. Most of us eat food throughout the day, and with eczema, it's going to wax and wane over time for reasons unrelated to the foods that we're eating. But, often times, people attribute, Oh, it must be because of something that they're eating, because you observe a child, eat something, you watch their eczema get worse later that day or the following day. More often than not this is coincidental, so strongly urge not seeking strict elimination diets, not unnecessarily removing food from the diet, and children with eczema and caution with anything you read online because there's a lot of bad information out there in regards to, quote unquote, eczema diets and things like that.

If you have any concerns, please seek evaluation from a board-certified allergist immunologist who can address all of your specific questions and concerns and really most importantly, help you find relief for your child with eczema.

Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema), Food Allergy
Answered by

David Stukus, MD, is a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Immunology, Director of the Food Allergy Treatment Center, and Associate Director of the Pediatric Allergy and Immunology Fellowship Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University College of Medicine. He is board certified in allergy/immunology and pediatrics.

Dr. Stukus has devoted his career to communicating evidence-based medicine and best clinical practice to colleagues, medical professionals of all backgrounds, patients, and the general public. In addition to providing clinical care for children with all types of allergic conditions, he participates in clinical research, quality improvement, patient advocacy, and medical education.

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