Does the daily diet affect eczema flare-ups?

(NC) -- A common belief is that what you eat influences all aspects of your health and wellness – but for eczema sufferers, the relationship is much more complex.

November is Eczema Awareness Month, and the Eczema Society of Canada (ESC) is working with Dr. Miriam Weinstein, a paediatric dermatologist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto. Dr. Weinstein will be discussing this topic as part of the ESC's annual “Life with Eczema” information sessions, this year held in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto.

“It is true that food allergies are more commonly found in people who suffer from eczema,” says Dr. Weinstein, “but the assumption that food allergies are a root cause of eczema isn't always the case. Not everyone with eczema has food allergies, and what you eat may not be the cause of a flare-up.”

Managing this skin condition through diet can be challenging since symptoms may take a few days to appear, making it difficult to isolate particular foods that may be causing a reaction. Further, when followed strictly in an attempt to prevent or reduce eczema flares, elimination diets can be costly, impractical and exhausting. Dr. Weinstein notes that patients may be putting themselves at risk for significant nutritional deficiencies or illness, depending on which foods are avoided or removed altogether.

In extreme cases, sufferers who use elimination diets may make the mistake of replacing recommended therapeutic interventions – such as a bathing and moisturizing regimen, or medical treatments – with these diets.

“While someone born with blonde hair is more likely to have blue eyes, one feature does not cause the other—they are genetic traits that more commonly occur together.  The same can be said of eczema and food allergies,” says Dr. Weinstein. “There is an overwhelming amount of information available at our fingertips, but it's important to review it with a critical eye. Trusted resources, like the Eczema Society of Canada, that are backed by medical advisors, provide credible and accurate information among a sea of myths.”

To see if an information session will be held in your community, or to learn more about the Eczema Society of Canada's online resources, visit