Top 7 Worst Foods for Eczema: What to Avoid for a Healthier Skin

Top 7 Worst Foods for Eczema: What to Avoid for a Healthier Skin

Managing eczema involves navigating through dietary triggers to identify what might cause skin flare-ups.

Here's a detailed look at seven common foods and food groups known to aggravate eczema, why they might be harmful, and healthier alternatives to consider incorporating into your diet.

1. Sugar

Why It's Bad: Consuming high amounts of sugar can lead to an inflammatory response in the body, exacerbating eczema symptoms. Sugar triggers a spike in insulin and pro-inflammatory cytokine release, which can worsen inflammation and irritation in eczema-prone skin.

What to Eat Instead: Focus on natural, low-glycemic sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit, which do not spike blood sugar levels. Incorporating a diet rich in whole foods like vegetables and lean proteins can also help stabilize blood sugar and reduce inflammation.

Extra Tip: Check nutrition labels carefully, as many processed foods include hidden sugars listed as corn syrup, fructose, or sucrose.

2. Dairy Products

Why They're Bad: Dairy products can be problematic for eczema sufferers due to the presence of lactose and proteins such as casein and whey, which some individuals find inflammatory. The body's response to these proteins can trigger eczema flare-ups, particularly in those with a dairy intolerance or allergy.

What to Eat Instead: Non-dairy alternatives like almond milk, coconut yogurt, and vegan cheeses are excellent substitutes that are less likely to cause skin irritation. These products are typically free from the inflammatory proteins found in cow's milk.

Extra Tip: When choosing non-dairy alternatives, opt for unsweetened versions to avoid added sugars, which could also exacerbate eczema.

3. Gluten-Containing Grains

Why They're Bad: Gluten, found in wheat, barley, and rye, can cause inflammation in individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, potentially triggering eczema flare-ups. The immune response elicited by gluten can lead to gastrointestinal distress and systemic inflammation, impacting skin health.

What to Eat Instead: Gluten-free grains like quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth are safe alternatives that do not trigger the inflammatory response associated with gluten. These grains also offer additional nutrients beneficial for overall health and skin condition.

Extra Tip: Be vigilant about cross-contamination if you're highly sensitive to gluten, as even trace amounts can cause reactions.

4. Eggs

Why They're Bad: Eggs, particularly the whites, contain proteins that some people's immune systems may recognize as invaders, triggering an inflammatory response that can exacerbate eczema.

What to Eat Instead: For those who react to eggs, alternatives like flaxseed or chia seed mixtures (one tablespoon mixed with three tablespoons of water, left to sit for 15 minutes, equals one egg) can work well in baking. Avocado and banana can also serve as good binders in recipes.

Extra Tip: Conduct an elimination diet under the guidance of a healthcare professional to determine if eggs are a trigger for your eczema.

5. Citrus Fruits

Why They're Bad: The high acidity and natural chemicals in citrus fruits can irritate the skin and trigger eczema in susceptible individuals. These fruits are rich in salicylates and histamines, which can exacerbate symptoms.

What to Eat Instead: Apples, pears, and bananas are generally safer fruit choices for people with eczema, as they are lower in acid and less likely to cause skin irritation.

Extra Tip: Monitor your skin's reaction to different fruits, as sensitivities can vary widely from person to person

6. Shellfish

Why They're Bad: Shellfish such as shrimp, crabs, and lobsters are high in iodine and allergenic proteins that can trigger eczema symptoms in sensitive individuals. Iodine can aggravate existing skin conditions, causing further inflammation and discomfort.

What to Eat Instead: Opt for other types of protein like grass-fed beef or legumes, which are nutritious and generally safer for eczema sufferers.

Extra Tip: If you suspect a seafood allergy is contributing to your eczema, consult an allergist for testing and personalized advice.

7. Peanuts

Why They're Bad: Peanuts are one of the most common allergens and can trigger severe allergic reactions, including eczema flare-ups. Their protein structure can provoke an immune system response leading to skin inflammation.

What to Eat Instead: Tree nuts like almonds and walnuts are often safer options, though it's important to ensure you're not allergic to these as well. Seeds like sunflower or pumpkin seeds are excellent alternatives.

Extra Tip: Always introduce new foods gradually and under medical supervision if you have a history of severe allergies


Knowing which foods make your eczema flare up is key to controlling it.

Avoiding these 7 possibly problematic foods and choosing other, kinder foods can really help reduce your skin problems.

Everyone is different, so see which foods are bad for you and change your diet to suit your needs.

To help manage your eczema even better, take a look at Jolicare's products, which helps to repair dry, itchy and sensitive skin.

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