This 1 Cupboard Staple Could Be Making Your Eczema Worse

<span class="copyright">Kinga Krzeminska via Getty Images</span>
Kinga Krzeminska via Getty Images

Atopic dermatitis is “one of the most common forms of eczema, a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, dry and cracked,” the NHS says.

Their site says that the condition may be genetic and that common triggers can include irritants like soaps, certain materials, hormonal changes, weather, and infections.

But a recent study suggests that another factor might belong on that list, too ― the research, published in JAMA Dermatology, looked into the amount of salt in the urine of 216,000 participants and compared it to atopic dermatitis rates.


And it looks like a high-salt diet can be associated with a higher likelihood of atopic dermatitis (AD).

10,839 of the participants in the study already had been diagnosed with AD.

“A 1g higher estimated 24-hour urine sodium [salt] excretion was associated with an 11% higher odds of AD diagnosis, 16% higher odds of active AD, and 11% higher odds of increasing AD severity,” the paper reads.

That means that not only did people with more salt in their wee have a higher chance of having atopic dermatitis, but their condition tended to be more severe, too.

The researchers also referenced a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey which found that a 1g increase in the amount of salt people eat was associated with a 22% higher risk of AD ― though this study only measured salt intake via questionnaire.

Why would salt affect my skin so much?

Speaking to Healthline, M.D. Katrina Abuabara, associate professor of dermatology at the University of California and co-author of the study, said: “It is hypothesised that sodium is stored in the skin to prevent water loss and may help prevent infection. However, it can also activate cells in the immune system, triggering some inflammatory pathways and removing the ‘brakes’ from others.”

She added, “One study has examined this process specifically in atopic dermatitis, but more research is needed to understand the impact of sodium on atopic dermatitis and other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.”

The paper itself ends, ” These findings suggest that restriction of dietary sodium intake may be a cost-effective and low-risk intervention for AD.” And the NHS says you shouldn’t exceed 6g of salt a day, no matter what.

Sigh... it’s a bad news day for me, personally, I have to say.