Most of us are familiar with eczema. Whether we have it or not, we know about the icky symptoms of red, irritated and inflamed skin that just wants to be itched. We also know about allergies and that if we are allergic to something, it can cause our skin to react badly. Just thinking about those rashes and hives makes us feel itchy! But have you ever thought about the idea that what you eat could actually bring on an eczema flare-up? Thinking about that, is there a link between dairy and eczema?
It’s Hard To Escape Dairy
Dairy seems to be one of those food groups that you just can’t get away from. Whether it’s eating indulgent ice creams on the beach in summer or having a latte to keep you awake at work, it can be tricky to have a diet with no dairy. But why should we have to? There are pills to help with lactose intolerance these days so avoiding dairy isn’t really necessary, right? Not entirely the case unfortunately if you suffer from eczema.
Some people can have a version of an allergy-come-food-intolerance that can cause eczema to flare up on their skin.1 It’s a hard link to diagnose because allergies can cause anything from watery eyes or a small rash to being life threatening. Food intolerance, on the other hand, usually means that a person has a hard time digesting a certain food which usually ends up with them feeling bloated, having stomach pain or diarrhea. (We’ve all been there!) Having an eczema flare-up because of something you ate falls kind of in the middle in that it’s not exactly an intolerance but it’s also not a full on allergy.
Dairy is one of these food groups that seem to make some people’s eczema get worse while for others, it has been helpful. That’s confusing, isn’t it?
While dairy can be a trigger for skin irritation and eczema, some fermented dairy products have been found to help improve symptoms of eczema because of the probiotics they contain.1 They help to balance the bacteria in the gut which supports our immune system and fights inflammation of the organs, our skin being one of them. This means that eating foods like yogurt and kefir could benefit eczema sufferers. There seems to be a clear link between eczema and the probiotics that fermented dairy can provide to our bodies.
How Can I Figure It Out?
If it’s food that’s aggravating your eczema, it can often be hard to pinpoint exactly what caused it since food can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days before it can start to show its signs on your skin.2
If you have eczema and you might be thinking it’s related to something you’re eating, a good idea is to keep a food journal and write down what you eat for a few weeks. (Yes, even those cheeky treats in between that no one is supposed to know about!) If you have an eczema flare-up, then you can try to trace back to what you’ve eaten in the past few days and see if there is a pattern over time.
As always, if you have any concerns, it’s always best to go see a dermatologist to get to the bottom of it but if you suspect dairy as your skin’s enemy, it’s worth eliminating non-fermented dairy products for a short period to see if your skin improves.
It also goes without saying that eliminating certain food products isn’t enough to heal your skin. Always make sure that you are using effective moisturizers to treat and help heal your eczema flare-ups and that they don’t have any hidden ingredients that you might be allergic or intolerant to. The last thing you need is something to make your eczema worse.
Skin MD Natural is an effective shielding lotion that is perfect for eczema prone skin and is completely dairy, nut, soy and gluten free so your skin is in safe hands. A moisture barrier cream like Skin MD Natural is proven to be more effective than conventional lotions for healing dry or irritated skin.
If you’re planning to eliminate dairy to help get rid of your eczema, don’t worry. There are plenty of dairy-free ice creams to be had so all hope is not lost!