Maybe its eczema

By J. Bergman, MD, FRCPC and D. R. Thomas, MD, FRCPC

Foods, Nutrition and Eczema - Is There a Link?

Eczema refers to several different conditions where the skin is red, irritated and can sometimes cause small bumps or blisters to form. It is more likely for you to develop atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema, if you have family members who also have this condition. Atopic dermatitis typically starts before the age of 2 years and frequently resolves in older children and adults. You can learn on

Signs and symptoms

  • Itching must be present
  • Dry skin is always present
  • Location of the rash
  • For infants, the face is usually involved, but the diaper area and underarms are clear. The arms and legs are often affected because of rubbing against surfaces from crawling.
  • For children 4-10 years of age, rash is most likely found at the bends of the elbows, behind the knees, backs of the wrists and ankles, sides of the neck and earlobes.
  • Red and scaly rash is usually seen
  • Infection is very common

What can make it worse?

  • Soap, bubble bath, detergents, fabric softeners and products containing perfume
  • Bathing too often, especially if you don't use a moisturizer after
  • Sweating can make you feel itchy
  • Any skin infection can cause eczema
  • Allergies to certain foods, such as eggs, milk, nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy
  • Triggers in the environment, such as house dust mites and pet dander

What you can do to help?

  1. Use a mild cleanser
  2. Moisturize often
  3. Use in-shower moisturizing products
  4. Medicines applied to the skin, such as hydrocortisone
  5. Cool bath
  6. Use perfume free products
  7. Antihistamines
  8. Avoid foods that you are allergic to
  9. Avoid triggers in the environment

Mild Cleansers

  • Use mild soap or nonsoap cleansers like Spectrojel®, Spectroderm®, Cetaphil®, and plain white Dove®
  • Use ointments (ask your pharmacist for available brands)

For more skin care information click on


Moisturize regularly, especially within 2-5 minutes after bathing and when your skin is wet. Use thick creams (butter or greasy like) such as Vaseline® Petroleum Jelly, Aquaphor® ointment, Creamy Vaseline®, 25% water in Hydrophilic Petrolatum, Aqueous cream, Aveeno® cream, unscented cold cream, Eucerin® cream, Cetaphil® cream, Cliniderm® cream). Also helpful are in-shower moisturizing products such as Olay Ribbons®.

Medical treatments are available from your doctor that can help control and even prevent your eczema from getting worse. For more information, please visit

About SkinCareGuide:
The SkinCareGuide Network of dermatology-related websites was founded by a prestigious group of international dermatologists. It provides comprehensive information for patients and physicians about the skin, its care and various skin conditions and treatments. All content is reviewed by an independent Board of Medical Advisors to ensure that the information is accurate, unbiased and up-to-date. This information is not intended to replace a consultation with your own physician.

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