Are there particular food requirements in cases of eczema-prone skin?
Atopic-prone skin, also called atopic dermatitis, affects one child in five.1, but atopic doesn’t mean atypical. If the signs of this eczema are unpleasant (redness, itching sensations, dryness, etc.), they are not rare, nor contagious to other children, and not irreversible.
Written in partnership with Dr. Clarence De BELILOVSKY, dermatologist & member of the Mustela experts' circle.
Edczema-prone skin and allergies: what diet and which ingredients suit babies?
Eczema-prone skin and food allergies are not automatically linked. If eczema-prone skin occurs, in particular, when the dry skin is in contact with allergens, there is not necessarily a link, since food is consumed (see our file on eczema-prone skin). However, it can happen: some foods can irritate the skin on contact. When food is swallowed, contact with the mouth or lips – especially when your baby is learning to eat by himself – could trigger the immune system and generate a flare-up.
The real issue is to determine whether eczema-prone skin is directly linked to food intolerance or a food-specific allergy – that is to say, whether a carrot allergy, for instance, will lead to a flare-up if your baby eats some carrots.
There are many differing opinions; here’s what we can say for the moment1 :
- If your baby has eczema-prone skin, it is because he has an atopic tendency. This means that his immune system responds excessively where allergens are concerned. This could just as well be explained as conjunctivitis, strong hay fever or asthma, which are other possible manifestations of atopy in addition to eczema and food allergies.
According to his atopic sensitivity, the same person can be subject to one or more manifestations without any link between them. Your child might thus be allergic to carrots but not be affected by eczema-prone skin when he makes a feast of them. The reaction to this food will manifest itself differently (vomiting, diarrhea, etc.).
- When eczema-prone skin is particularly severe, it may be directly linked to a food allergy.
Eczema, skin reactions and skin redness: be careful with the most highly-allergenic foods
If you have any doubts, visit your general physician, who will advise you to consult a dermatologist and/or an allergist, according to the symptoms. Once you have the results, the doctor in question will decide if an “eviction diet” is necessary to exclude some ingredients in your baby’s food. The most common allergens are:
- Nuts and seeds
- Egg whites
- Fish, shellfish, mollusks
More important, according to your baby’s age and dietary variety, the physician will tell you how to replace these foods in order to maintain the equivalent nutritional value, so that you can continue to offer your child tasty menus!