10 Foods That Can Cause Eczema Flare-Ups & 10 That Help Prevent Them

10 Foods That Can Cause Eczema Flare-Ups & 10 That Help Prevent Them

Diet plays a large role in managing eczema symptoms—knowing which foods help or hurt inflammation can be the difference between calm skin and a flare-up. Here are 10 foods that can lead to unpleasant flare-ups and 10 that can help keep them away.

1. Eggs

Eggs are loaded with protein; while that’s normally a good thing, the high content can cause allergic reactions and exacerbate eczema symptoms. Though the flare-up severity ranges, eggs are one of the ultimate no-gos for many eczema sufferers. 

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2. Dairy Products

Of course, eggs are just the tip of the iceberg for high-protein foods. Common dairy items like milk, yogurt, and cheese have been known to irritate the skin thanks to their high protein content—the problems are only made worse if you also struggle with lactose intolerance.

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3. Soy

Though soy is often a sought-after meat alternative, products like tofu and soy milk may not be the safest choice for eczema patients. You should keep even farther away if you also have a soy allergy because these foods can not only worsen eczema but lead to additional reactions, too. 

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4. Cinnamon

Believe it or not, some spices lead to flare-ups. Cinnamon is a major culprit of exacerbated symptoms in some people because of its potential to cause allergic reactions. 

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5. Citrus Fruits

Highly acidic fruits like oranges, grapefruit, and lemons can aggravate eczema flare-ups. However, it isn’t just slices—irritants can also stem from cups of citrus juice, so it’s better to avoid these guys altogether if the acidity harms your skin. 

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6. Tomatoes

Depending on how sensitive your reactions are, tomatoes can be a huge eczema trigger. They contain more histamine than other fresh fruits, meaning imminent flare-ups in sensitive individuals. It also doesn’t help that they, too, are highly acidic. 

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7. Spicy Foods

Amid stomach upset and painful bathroom trips, another downside of spicy foods is their ability to worsen skin inflammation. Classic spicy foods like chili or hot peppers (and even curry) can sometimes cause flare-ups on account of the capsaicin, which is the compound responsible for all that heat. 

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8. Chocolate

Some unlucky individuals may experience allergic reactions from chocolate, including eczema outbreaks. Even though chocolate itself isn’t high in histamine, its caffeine and theobromine levels can increase our own histamine, which may then cause flare-ups. 

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9. Peanuts

Peanuts are a common and potentially deadly allergy—and they’re also known to cause eczema flare-ups. They can also lead to traditional allergic reactions like skin inflammation and rashes, so they’re best avoided if you have any sensitivities. 

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10. Shellfish

While we’re on the topic of common allergens, shellfish is another textbook allergy that not only causes skin inflammation but can also exacerbate eczema. This can include any fish like lobster, crab, and shrimp. 

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Now that we know which foods you may want to avoid, let’s look at a few that are far safer for most eczema patients. 


1. Salmon

Salmon and other fatty fish like mackerel and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which is the good kind of fat well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Indulging in these more often can keep inflamed skin at bay and help alleviate eczema symptoms. 

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2. Cherries

Flavonoids are the name of the game for fighting flare-ups, and they’re found in all kinds of healthy food—like cherries. Best of all, flavonoids are well-known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which help soothe eczema outbreaks. 

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3. Broccoli

Broccoli is a superfood full of flavonoids and vitamin C, both of which can help take care of flare-ups. This classic veggie also has plenty of vitamin K and antioxidants and this powerful combination of nutrients makes broccoli a strong contender in eczema defense. 

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4. Flaxseed

Fatty fish isn’t the only food chock full of omega-3 fatty acids—flaxseed is packed with them, so incorporating it into your diet can help ward off flare-ups. Even outside of eczema, flaxseed is also good for overall skin health.

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5. Apples

A main part of healthy skin is staying hydrated, and there are lots of ways to increase your water intake. In addition to drinking plenty of water, turn to foods high in water content like apples. On top of their water content, apples also have tons of flavonoids. 

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6. Carrots

Carrots have long been credited as good veggies for eyesight, however, they can also help with flare-ups. Including more in your diet may help with eczema symptoms thanks to carrots’ antioxidants. 

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7. Berries

Blueberries have all kinds of flavonoids while strawberries are rich in vitamin C—keeping either in your diet is not only part of a balanced diet, but can ward off eczema flare-ups in many sufferers. That said, speak with your doctor if you have severe eczema because berries may not be the best for everyone.

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8. Green Tea

Green tea is rich in anti-inflammatory properties, flavonoids, and antioxidants that can help eczema patients. A nice mugful can help keep inflammation away and promote overall skin health.

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9. Kale

Kale does wonders for your diet, but it also contributes to your skin’s health. It’s filled with flavonoids, vitamins, and nutrients that protect you from inflammation and can help scare away flare-ups.

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10. Beets

Beets can be a bit of a tossup with eczema patients; on the one hand, they’re rich in anti-inflammatory properties that can help skin. On the other hand, beets are also high in salicylates, which can worsen more severe symptoms. Speak with your physician about whether this route makes sense for you. 

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