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The Eczema Elimination Diet

Yiwen Lu, MS, RD, CPT
December 9, 2023
December 11, 2023

Eczema can be an irritating and persistent skin condition and finding relief is often a top priority. One approach that is gaining attention is the eczema elimination diet, a method that involves tweaking your diet to identify and eliminate potential trigger foods that may be worsening your symptoms. In this article, we'll delve into the eczema elimination diet, how it works, and whether it could be a game-changer in managing your eczema symptoms.

Understanding Eczema

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a condition that can affect individuals of all ages, characterized by inflamed, itchy, and sometimes scaly skin. Allergens, irritants, stress, and dietary components, can trigger eczema flare-ups. Triggers can vary from person to person. While the exact cause is not completely clear, it's believed to be influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune system factors. 

The Eczema Elimination Diet

The eczema elimination diet is a systematic approach aimed at identifying and removing potential trigger foods that may exacerbate eczema symptoms. The primary goal is to pinpoint specific foods that might be contributing to your condition. Here's how it works:

  1. Elimination Phase: In the initial 2-3 weeks of the eczema elimination diet, you'll temporarily remove foods you suspect might be triggering your symptoms. Some common trigger foods might include nuts, corn, soy, dairy, citrus fruits, nightshade vegetables (ie eggplant, bell peppers, etc), wheat, gluten, pork, eggs, and seafood. If your symptoms persist after 2 to 3 weeks, consult a healthcare professional.
  2. Reintroduction Phase: Gradually reintroduce these foods one by one over 2-3 days while watching for symptoms like rashes, joint pain, headaches, fatigue, and digestive issues. If no symptoms occur, consider the food group safe. If they do, remove it. The entire process takes roughly 5-6 weeks and results in a personalized diet tailored to your unique triggers and needs.

Key Considerations

It's important to remember that the Eczema Elimination Diet is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Here are 4 things to keep in mind:

  1. Balanced Nutrition: Eliminating certain food groups can also incidentally result in nutrient depletion. . Before making any dietary changes, consult with a healthcare professional, such as an allergist or a registered dietitian. They can provide valuable guidance to ensure that you don't miss out on crucial nutrients during the elimination phase.
  2. Patience is Your Best Friend: The Eczema Elimination Diet is not a quick fix. Identifying trigger foods takes time, dedication, and patience. Dedicate ample time to both the elimination and reintroduction phases.  Taking your time during the Elimination Phase Is the key to reaching a personalized diet that suits your specific needs.
  3. Individual Variability: It's essential to recognize that eczema triggers can vary significantly from person to person. What worsens eczema in one individual may not affect another in the same way. Therefore, blindly following someone else's approach may not yield the same results. Tailor your diet to your own unique responses.
  4. Food Isn't Always the Cause: Lastly, keep in mind that food is not always the sole cause of eczema. While dietary changes may benefit some individuals, eczema can be influenced by a range of factors, including genetics, environmental conditions, and stress. As a result, the Eczema Elimination Diet should be viewed as just one component of a comprehensive eczema management plan, ideally developed in consultation with a healthcare professional.
  5. Consider an Anti-Inflammatory Diet: This dietary approach emphasizes foods that reduce inflammation, like fruits, vegetables, fatty fish, and whole grains, while avoiding or limiting processed and sugary foods. Similar to the Mediterranean Diet, it can be particularly helpful in managing eczema


The eczema elimination diet is a valuable strategy for pinpointing and eliminating foods that might worsen your eczema symptoms. However, it's crucial to work closely with a healthcare expert to ensure you maintain a balanced and nutritious diet. And, keep in mind that eczema is typically influenced by a multitude of factors. Therefore, taking a holistic approach to eczema management, which includes skincare, stress reduction, and medical treatment, is absolutely essential.

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