Q. Can cutting out dairy help with my Eczema?
Eczema is a non-infectious, inflammatory skin condition. It often comes in bouts, with genetic predisposition, environmental allergens, temperature, stress and food all possible aggravates.
Nutritionists agree that there’s a potential link between consumption of dairy products and skin conditions. This doesn’t mean that everyone with eczema has an allergy to dairy, but there is a chance you may see some benefits from eliminating it.
In order to digest lactose (the sugar found in milk), our body must produce the enzyme lactase. As humans, we lose all traces of this enzyme from the age of two. Many people are labelled as having milk allergies but, in reality, we’re all lactose intolerant to some degree.
One theory suggests that because the body develops antibodies to milk, consuming it creates an immune response that presents as eczema lesions. Worsening of the skin can be immediate – reddening 1 hour after consuming dairy, or delayed; 6-24 hours after milk’s ingested. It’s therefore really useful to keep a food diary.
The only reliable treatment for dairy allergies is to completely avoid dairy products including; milk, cheese, butter, margarine, yoghurt, cream and ice cream. If you’re worried about getting enough calcium, seaweed, watercress, parsley and figs are fantastic plant alternatives.
About our expert
Hanna Sillitoe is a juice advocate and vegetarian food writer. After 20 years struggling with psoriasis and eczema, she healed naturally using fresh, green juices and an alkaline focused, plant-powered diet. This lifestyle change was the catalyst for a huge transformation in her skin, body and mind. She loves inspiring healthy meals which are as beautiful to look at as they are delicious. Her recipes are skin-friendly, plant-based, gluten and dairy-free, alkaline and as tasty as they are beneficial to your health.