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Foods to Avoid If You Have Eczema

author image Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell
Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell is a broadcast journalist who began writing professionally in 1980. Her writing focuses on parenting and health, and has appeared in “Spirituality & Health Magazine" and “Essential Wellness.” Hellesvig-Gaskell has worked with autistic children at the Fraser School in Minneapolis and as a child care assistant for toddlers and preschoolers at the International School of Minnesota, Eden Prairie.
Foods to Avoid If You Have Eczema
A woman reading the food label on a packaged item in the grocery store. Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images/Monkey Business/Getty Images

The Mayo Clinic defines atopic dermatitis (eczema) as a chronic, itchy inflammation of the skin that may be associated with hay fever or asthma. It frequently develops behind the knees and on your arms. Although eczema is commonly seen in children and infants, the condition can also develop in adulthood. says approximately one in 10 people worldwide will be affected by eczema during their lifetimes. Eczema sufferers should pay especially close attention to their diets since certain foods are known to exacerbate the skin disorder.

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Some fruits, especially more acidic ones, are known to set off outbreaks of eczema. These fruits include oranges, tomatoes, lemons and strawberries.

Other Foods

Foods that cause common food allergies are also implicated in triggering and aggravating eczema. Some of the common food items linked to an allergic response to eczema include dairy products (especially cow’s milk and eggs) soy, nuts, wheat and shellfish.Your doctor can test for food allergies by pricking the skin with an extract of the food substance and monitoring the skin's response.


Food additives and preservatives can also cause eczema. These are likely found in prepackaged and processed foods and include tartrazine (lemon yellow azo dye, used in food coloring), sodium benzoate, sodium glutamate (salt) and sulfites (fruit preservative). MSG (monosodium glutamate, used as a food additive to enhance flavor) may also trigger or worsen eczema.

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