My Dirty Dozen Foods and their Eczema Connection

After years of work­ing with atop­ic dermatit­is or eczema (now offi­cially iden­ti­fied as Atopic Eczema/​Dermatitis Syndrome), here is my list of 12 foods that have the abil­ity to affect the skin:

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  1. Dairy
  2. Wheat and wheat glu­ten
  3. Eggs
  4. Soy
  5. Corn
  6. Tomatoes
  7. Citrus fruits
  8. Nuts (almonds, pecans, pea­nuts, tree nuts, mac­ad­amia nuts)
  9. Shellfish (shrimp, lob­ster)
  10. Mustard seed
  11. Sugar
  12. Chemicals — col­our­ings, food addit­ives, sta­bil­izers

Why these foods?

Foods 1 – 10 are actu­ally foods that can con­trib­ute to aller­gic reac­tions. These reac­tions can be slow (inflam­ma­tion, itch­ing, red­ness, uneven skin tex­tures, decreased mois­ture in the skin) over sev­er­al days to weeks, or they can be fast (hives, imme­di­ate itch­ing, swell­ing, pain).

Foods 11 and 12 are not essen­tial in our diet, but are a major part of pro­cessed foods. Excessive sug­ars lead to fungus growth that cre­ates rashes and inflam­ma­tion. Chemicals can be dif­fi­cult for the body to elim­in­ate as they are more “for­eign”.

How do you know which foods are the problem?

  1. Blood test­ing for aller­gies and intol­er­ances is pos­sible through many reput­able labor­at­or­ies such as Genova Diagnostics, Gamma Dynacare, and LifeLabs. Seeing your react­iv­ity on paper can be help­ful, and if you have mul­tiple foods that may irrit­ate your skin, it is import­ant to see not only how severe the reac­tion may or may not be, but foods to pri­or­it­ize.
  2. An elim­in­a­tion diet removes a sus­pec­ted food or foods that are sus­pec­ted cul­prits all at the same time, and then at a later time rein­tro­du­cing them to assess reac­tions both in your body and in blood work.
    This is can be dif­fi­cult to do, and it is also import­ant to men­tion that if not done prop­erly, I have seen people become nutri­ent defi­cient when they are not eat­ing the right nutri­ent pro­por­tions in their diet through­out this time. That being said, it can be a highly effect­ive tool to assess pos­sible food reac­tions.

Once you do determ­ine the best course of action and identi­fy which foods may be an issue, it can take up to 8 weeks to see changes in the skin bar­ri­er once a food trig­ger is removed. Sometimes your tis­sues are very dam­aged and need a great deal of TLC to get them back to health.

Try your best to be patient and remem­ber that this is all part of improv­ing your skin, little by little.

November is National Eczema month! I will be post­ing fre­quently on issues sur­round­ing eczema. Please feel free to share and com­ment with your thoughts; I would love to hear from you!

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