Doctor answers your questions on eczema and food
Dermatologist, Dr. Mark Koh Jean Aan answers your questions on food recommendations, diets to observe and items to avoid when your kids have eczema. Read on to find out more...
Any food recommended for babies with symptoms? My child can only eat cod fish with rice and some fruits. Any foods to avoid? Any recommendations?
Food allergies have not been shown to play a major role in eczema. In fact, it has been shown to play a role only in young infants (< 1 yr old) with very severe eczema. Most infants and children are negative when tested for food allergies.
In fact, withholding many different foods has been shown to reduce the growth of children with eczema. Patients with real food allergies present with eye and lip swelling as well as wheals and hives.
Common foods that can produce this include eggs, nuts, fish and seafood. When weaning, always introduce foods slowly to detect any form of allergy. If you do suspect a food allergy in your child, do have him reviewed by a paediatric allergist to determine if this is a real food allergy.
In order to prevent eczema in my child, must I observe a strict diet when I am breastfeeding him? If so, what are the kinds of food I should avoid?
Observing a strict diet during pregnancy or breastfeeding has not been shown to prevent eczema in babies who may be predisposed to developing eczema (e.g. if parents have eczema). In fact, early use of moisturisers has been shown to reduce the risk and severity of eczema in these babies.
Do they agree that one cause of the rising case of eczema being due to the food we eat nowadays (preservative, pesticides, artificial coloring, flavoring)? As I know, eczema is caused by malfunctioned immune system. The additives in the food we eat today could affect our immune system and hence cause eczema (or other form of allergy)—is this true?
No, there is no current evidence to prove that the food we eat increases the risk of eczema. Yes, eczema is indeed caused by an over-functioning immune system. However, dry skin is also a major cause of eczema and treatments for eczema involve treating the skin barrier as well as decreasing the activity of the immune system.
Can eczema be healed?
Currently, eczema cannot be cured but with good skin care and proper treatment, it can be controlled. Most patients who are well-controlled can have normal quality of life.
Click here for Dr. Mark Koh’s answers about the creams for eczema relief. He also explains complications that may arise when using steroid creams on children, infants or babies. Dr. Koh also recommends effective non-steroid creams that are available in the market.
Click here for Dr. Mark Koh’s answers on what can provide eczema relief. Parents try all sorts of remedies for that relentless itch–does seawater, goat’s milk or organic cotton work?
Click here to read Dr. Koh's answers to a mother’s questions about eczema, swimming, creams and bath cleansers. Does swimming help eczema?
Dr. Mark Koh Jean Aan
Changi General Hospital, Dept of Dermatology
Visiting Consultant Paediatric Dermatologist
KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital, Paediatric Dermatology Service