Sometimes, food can worsen an eczema rash, prompting caregivers to exclude some items from their babies’ diets to help soothe their skin. Knowing which foods to avoid for babies with eczema may help manage symptoms and flares.
However, it is important for parents and caregivers to consult with a pediatrician before eliminating certain items from their child’s diet. This is because strict elimination diets can put children
This article reviews foods that may exacerbate eczema symptoms in babies and toddlers, whether some foods may help with symptoms, and when to consult a doctor.
The condition often starts at an early age, appearing during the first 12 months for an estimated 60% of people.
Dietary choices do not cause eczema. Common eczema triggers include skin irritants such as soaps and detergents or environmental factors including dust mites and dampness.
However, some children may experience worsening eczema symptoms from certain foods due to co-occurring food allergies.
Eggs can often trigger an allergic reaction, particularly in children with eczema.
A 2015 study found that infants with eczema were
Infants with AD may be reactive to eggs as early as
However, cow’s milk protein allergy (CMA) is the
Older research from 2013 found that almost
Soy is a common ingredient in infant formulas. Many parents and caregivers use it when children are allergic or intolerant to cow’s milk.
Soy allergy symptoms include:
- shortness of breath
Fish and shellfish may worsen eczema symptoms for some people with AD.
A 2020 study found that 13% of adults with AD also have fish allergies. The rate of shrimp allergy was lower at 6%. The fish and shrimp allergies worsen the AD symptoms in some people.
Conversely, a 2021 review article that examined some studies found that introducing fish early into an infant’s diet may actually protect against the development of allergic diseases. However, this research is not conclusive.
If caregivers are considering introducing fish to a baby with AD, they should discuss it with a pediatrician, particularly if there is a history of fish or seafood allergy in the family.
Usually, fish allergy symptoms in the general population are mainly gastrointestinal and include vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, people may experience anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening.
However, some people also develop hives and skin itching.
Infants with eczema are more likely to be sensitive to peanuts.
Common peanut allergy reactions include hives, with more serious symptoms including:
- facial swelling
- shortness of breath
The AAD notes that research suggests feeding peanut-containing foods to infants may prevent peanut allergies.
However, parents and caregivers of children with AD should not attempt this without consulting an allergist since they may already have peanut allergies.
Medical supervision can ensure caregivers understand the appropriate precautions to take.
However, celiac disease is uncommon in the first year of life, and most children with AD will not have celiac disease.
Parents of infants with AD, particularly with a family history of celiac disease, wheat allergy, or other allergic conditions, should discuss the introduction of wheat with a pediatrician.
The six most common tree nut allergies in both children and adults are:
Around half of children allergic to one kind of tree nut will also react to a second type. Most children with tree nut allergies do not outgrow them.
Atopic conditions such as eczema may be associated with a
It is not clear whether certain foods benefit eczema.
However, exclusively chest or breastfeeding an infant for the first 4–6 months and then introducing a variety of solid foods may have a protective effect against the development of AD and other allergic conditions.
It is not clear how long the effect lasts.
Parents and caregivers who want to try an elimination diet for their child should speak with their doctor first.
They should also consult a doctor if the child:
Diet may not cause eczema, but certain foods can worsen flares for some people. Eliminating those foods can reduce the itch and discomfort of an eczema rash.
Proper nutrition is crucial for optimal growth and development in the early years of a person’s life. Parents and caregivers wishing to eliminate potential eczema triggers from their child’s diet should speak with their pediatrician first.