Grover's Disease Diet: Top Foods to Avoid for Better Skin Health

on Apr 10, 2023| Modified on Mar 30, 2024

Grover's disease, also known as transient acantholytic dermatosis, is an increasingly common skin condition that predominantly affects middle-aged and elderly individuals. It is characterized by small, itchy, red bumps on the torso, upper arms, and thighs.

Although the exact cause of Grover's disease is not well understood, certain factors such as heat, sweating, and friction have been identified as potential triggers 1. Some studies also suggest that dietary factors may play a role in managing this condition 2

This article will discuss the foods individuals with Grover's disease should avoid to better manage their symptoms.

Foods to Avoid for Grover's Disease Management

1. Processed Foods and Refined Sugars

Processed foods and refined sugars can lead to increased inflammation in the body, which may exacerbate symptoms of Grover's disease. High sugar levels in the diet can increase insulin production, leading to inflammation and skin irritation. 3 To minimize flare-ups, avoid consuming excessive amounts of processed foods and refined sugars.

2. Dairy Products

Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, contain proteins like casein and whey, which can trigger allergic reactions or cause inflammation in susceptible individuals. 4 Although no direct link between dairy consumption and Grover's disease has been established, reducing or eliminating dairy products from your diet may help minimize flare-ups.

3. Gluten-Containing Foods

Some people may experience gluten sensitivity or intolerance, leading to increased inflammation and exacerbating skin conditions like Grover's disease. 5 While gluten has not been directly linked to Grover's disease, avoiding gluten-containing foods such as wheat, barley, and rye may help alleviate symptoms for those sensitive to gluten.

4. Alcohol

Alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration, which may worsen the symptoms of Grover's disease. Dehydration can cause the skin to become dry and irritated, making itchiness and discomfort more severe. 6  Limiting or avoiding alcohol intake may help manage symptoms and prevent flare-ups.

5. Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase sweating and cause skin irritation in some individuals. 7 Since sweating has been identified as a trigger for Grover's disease, reducing or eliminating caffeine consumption may help minimize flare-ups.

6. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods can raise body temperature and cause sweating, which may exacerbate symptoms of Grover's disease. 8 Limiting or avoiding spicy foods may help manage symptoms and prevent flare-ups.


While there is no definitive cure for Grover's disease, avoiding certain foods may help manage symptoms and prevent flare-ups. Focus on a balanced, anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to support overall skin health.

Continue reading below to learn the dietary changes that helped Earth Clinic readers with Grover's Disease symptoms, and let us know what helped you!


  1. Parsons JM. Transient acantholytic dermatosis (Grover's disease): a global perspective. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1996 Nov;35(5 Pt 1):653-66;
  2. Diotallevi F, Campanati A, Martina E, Radi G, Paolinelli M, Marani A, Molinelli E, Candelora M, Taus M, Galeazzi T, Nicolai A, Offidani A. The Role of Nutrition in Immune-Mediated, Inflammatory Skin Disease: A Narrative Review. Nutrients. 2022 Jan 29;14(3):591. 
  3. Danby FW. Nutrition and aging skin: sugar and glycation. Clin Dermatol. 2010 Jul-Aug;28(4):409-11. 
  4. Osterballe M, Hansen TK, Mortz CG, Høst A, Bindslev-Jensen C. The prevalence of food hypersensitivity in an unselected population of children and adults. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2005 Nov;16(7):567-73. 
  5. Humbert P, Pelletier F, Dreno B, Puzenat E, Aubin F. Gluten intolerance and skin diseases. Eur J Dermatol. 2006 Jan-Feb;16(1):4-11. PMID: 16436335.
  6. Liu SW, Lien MH, Fenske NA. The effects of alcohol and drug abuse on the skin. Clin Dermatol. 2010 Jul-Aug;28(4):391-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2010.03.024. PMID: 20620755.
  7. Kwon RW, Park JS, Lee HG, Park JI, Choo EA, Lee SJ, Lee JB. Coffee intake may promote sudomotor function activation via the contribution of caffeine. Front Nutr. 2022 Dec 8;9:1051828.
  8. Katta R, Schlichte M. Diet and Dermatitis: Food Triggers. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014 Mar;7(3):30-6. 

8 User Reviews

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Posted by Melinda (Bend) on 01/14/2021

I was diagnosed with Grover's Disease at 50. Was going through menopause at the time so it took a very long time to get it diagnosed. I was miserable. Mine falls on my lower back and torso.

Interestingly, it went away after 2 months or so and following a very strict Keto diet thought this was why it went away. I do not eat any sugar, gluten, wheat, or processed foods. I am now 56 and after going through an oral chelation therapy with my husband, ended up with this horrible GD rash. I had almost forgotten about it. I feel this is a herx reaction, but regardless, I have it and it has been very uncomfortable.

I am on my 2nd day of cilantro, which I blend with avocado, egg white protein, and ginger in the morning. I have ordered chlorella and will add that when I receive it. Will update on any improvement. I have coming today some collodial silver cream, so I will update on that too. Wishing everyone the best with their GD. What a pain in the butt.....

Dietary Changes
Posted by Pekka L. (Helsinki, Finland) on 08/04/2018 2 posts

I am a 70-year-old man.

I am interested in sport: tennis, golf, biking, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing.

Two years ago I got Grover's disease.

The whole body was a lot of itchy Grover's disease. I used a lot of hydrocortis and other oils. These were not helpful.

I stopped eating whole wheat. All the rash Grover's disease lost within two weeks. I tried twice to eat wheat, Grover's disease immediately came back. Now it's good to be, not Graves's disease.

I am happy when I found Grover's disease causes.

Now I live a happy athlete's life, not Grover's disease, not wheat.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Grain-free (Toronto, On) on 01/30/2018

I honestly didn't think it was possible, but Grover's, which I have had for years (especially on my abdomen), has completely cleared up over the past 10 days. NO MORE DEBILITATING ITCH, no more raided bumps, no more discomfort, no more embarrassment. I eliminated grains from my diet (began a Paleo way of eating, but still eating some dairy) and almost immediately my condition improved. I also began using a diaper rash cream for the itch and thought it may have contributed to my improved condition, but while it dealt with the itch the Grover's was still there. The last few days, I stopped using the cream and the Grover's hasn't reappeared. I highly recommend trying to give up grains. No grains = no Grover's (for me). Just had to share.

Replied by Kaifa


Thank you so much for your post. Did you include eliminating rice as well in the excluded 'grains' list which cleared up your Grover's disease? Thanks for sharing and your help.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Karen D (Memphis, Tn) on 01/18/2018

Re a gluten-free diet for Grover's Disease--

As I have come to learn it isn't the wheat as much as it is the YEAST in the breads, cakes, pasta etc. to include alcoholic beverages and fermented foods such as pickles, sauerkraut, Kombucha, even vinegar-based salad dressings which I love.

I eliminated gluten from my diet 2 years ago which I thought was the answer. Yet I still had mild flare-ups especially in the winter and have now had to eliminate the fermented foods, vinegar, and red wine. This is working for me and the symptoms are reduced and I believe this will do it.

Coconut oil applied topically does remove the itching completely. I am hopeful that monitoring my diet will keep this under control. If it continues the next thing will be to have all of my mercury-laden amalgam fillings removed from my teeth.

Replied by Jennifer
(Savannah GA)

FYI I have no Amalgam fillings and have Grover's everywhere! For years it was pretty much isolated to my rib cage. It finally started going away and I decided to go to a tanning bed. After 3 sessions I had a color to my skin an Bam! I was itching worse than I ever have in my life before the bumps even showed up. EVERYWHERE.

(somewhere, europe)

Jennifer, we use coconut oil (the stuff that actually smells like coconut! ) on any itching.

(Decatur, Al)

Jennifer my Dermatologist says heat and sweating causes it so if you are tanning that is what started it back up. I use only self tanner now. Cocoa and Eve is a good one. Smells good too and stays in longer.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Donna C (Upstate Ny) on 03/01/2016

So I have been dx with Grovers since Nov 2015. Completely all over my body, scalp included. I have been to a Naturopathic doctor who has placed me on a strict anti-inflammatory diet (no gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, ....). Not working. Drugs from the doctor, not working. I called today because of a flare-up going on. Told me to use Coconut Oil, already doing it. Also trying pure oils, like lavender, sweet almond, to keep my skin moist. The pain of the itching ...I first put on Peppermint Oil, then medicated Gold Bond lotion with Menthol. It stops the itch for a bit. I am also tanning which was recommended by the doctor (do you believe it! ), it helped at first, but ...well you know. I wish there was more medical research being put into this rare skin disease.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Gina (Brighton, England) on 04/29/2015

Hi, I've had grovers on and off for four years! Nothing from doc has worked for me. So decided to look at my diet and found out that wheat and glutton can cause skin problems.. I have not had wheat or glutton for 3 weeks and it has completely disappeared.. I also used Camoline lotion. Which is fab for the itching! I'm over the moon as I had it on my chest.. So I recommend to u all to just try a wheat and glutton free diet..i saw a difference in a week.There are so many alternative food to choose from now.. Good luck fellow grovers Gina

Replied by Debi
(Ceres. California)

Hi Gina, I was diagnosed with Grovers Disease in December after a shave biopsy. I've been using a steroid cream which seems to work temporally. I never thought about changing my diet but after reading your comment I will definitely watch my wheat and gluten intake to see if it makes a difference. This condition is very annoying as I've had it since April of 2015.

Replied by Marsha

Biopsies to definable Grover's but gluten free does not work for me if I get stressed really cold or hot it gets worse steroid cream no good, yeast rx no good cream no good what to do?

Dietary Changes
Posted by Deborah (Hillsboro, Nh) on 11/18/2014


I suffered with Grover's Disease for over 1 year. The itch was the worse I have ever experienced and the scratch scars stayed with me through 2 summers.

The lessons were biopsy by a well respected dermatologist and the diagnosis was made . The treatment went from expensive light treatments (did nothing except burn my skin) to every lotion and ointment I could try. Nothing worked. My son, every night would rather up my back with eucerin and zinc oxide, just to scratch all night anyways .

I finally went to a naturalopath that suggested I test for ALL foods. This is not a skin test. It is a test that I bought, did at home and sent out to be tested. After a few weeks the results were back and I met with Marty (naturalopath).

I had allergic responses (extreme) to eggs, yeast and cane sugar. He also had me stop gluten.

In less than 2 weeks there was no rash, no itch...nothing.

Two years later, there is still nothing. I am still careful of my diet but I can have this or that in small amounts now and am OK.

I went back to the dermatologist and told him what I had found that worked and he did not want to hear about it .

I truly think that in the medical profession is no acceptable to have any cure for any issue if it does not involve pharmaceuticals or expensive medical testing .

It makes sense to me as our bodies are made to work and work well unless something we are doing is messing it up. Things such as life style, diet, stress, physical labor, obesity. We need to believe there are answers to medical problems that would be many times best left to common sense. So much more to say but not enough room. Please seek this option out. The test cost $300 out of my pocket. (I had already invested close to $1500 on light therapy) It was well worth it and I feel healthy and my skin has healed.

My very best to you.


Replied by Brenda
(Fayetteville, Ga)

How do I get one of these food allergy tests?

Replied by Kriss

Hi! I hope you see this. I'm a 45 year old female..I have been dealing with GD for over a year now…nothing has helped. Is there a website to order this test from? Thank you in advance!

Replied by Gary M.

Here is the information on a home blood spot IgG4 antibodies for food sensitivity test. The FoodSafe Basic Panel (code# 2052) tests for 94 of the most commonly eaten foods, plus a Candida Screen. If you order this test, the cost is around $215. It may be lower if ordered by your health provider. There is also FoodSafe Extended Panel that covers 189 foods at a higher cost.

Meridian Valley Lab
Tukwila, WA

Replied by Julia Smith
(Louisville, KY)

Regarding Grover's rash, and a naturopath's recommendation to test for all food related allergies, what was the name/brand of the $300 test that was used to determine food allergies? Thanks!

Replied by Tasi
(Sarasota, Fl)

Can u please tell us the name of the kit and where to buy it. Thanks

Dietary Changes
Posted by Jerry (Huntington Beach, Ca) on 07/17/2010

I have Grover's Disease, confirmed by a dermatologist and a pathology. My first major outbreak was in 2004, with subsequent major outbreaks in 2006 and 2007. I have discovered that the outbreaks are caused by ingestion of sulfites which I am apparently sensitive to. As you may know, sulfites are plentiful in all manner of food and drink, especially psckaged french fries and hash browns, out of season fruits and vegatables and unfortunately, wine and brandy. (and probably beer) I believe that many years of enjoying alcoholic beverages may have damaged my liver's ability to process sulfites. However, I have found that taking molybdenum has negated my problem with sulfites and I am no longer troubled by Grover's. I take one capsule per day (1,000 mcg). I have no trouble with wine and occasionally even have a few french fries. I don't know if sulfites cause Grover's outbreaks in anybody else but you might want to consider it.