Living with eczema has probably made you go back and forth looking for answers on how to control this common condition many times.
Searching for relief from dry, red and itchy skin has probably even made you try a variety of products. Unfortunately, some of these might have left your skin feeling even drier and more irritated than ever before.
Prescription medications are often given as a solution for eczema, but besides that, there are many options you can try at home to help with your symptoms.
Here are seven natural remedies for eczema.
What Is Eczema And What Causes It?
Before you begin reading I would like to give an explanation on what eczema is so you can have the needed information that will help you decide and try out some of the natural remedies I am about to mention in this post.
Eczema is a skin condition from which many people suffer and it is a sequence of inflammatory changes triggered by the skin’s intolerance to a sensitizer.
This is a non-contagious condition that can be reduced with treatments, though the skin will always be sensitive and prone to flare-ups and requires special care and attention.
People that suffer from eczema normally experience a red rash that is most often followed by almost unbearable itchiness.
Depending on the severity of the condition, this can frequently result in blisters or “weeping” of the cracked skin.
There are two types of eczema:
- endogenous – which is caused by an internal stimulus through the bloodstream.
- exogenous – this type is caused by external contact with an irritant to which the skin is intolerant or allergic. You might have heard of this condition being referred to as contact dermatitis.
Exogenous eczema or contact dermatitis can often be caused by cosmetics, detergents, soaps, nickel, dyes or rubber.
If the irritant that causes this type of eczema is known, then avoiding this particular substance will effect a cure.
Eczema can affect anyone. It can occur in childhood and it is often associated with a family of hay fever and asthma or it can be a purely congenital condition. This form of eczema is commonly referred to as atopic.
It can also affect adults and it often appears on the face, ears, chest, nape of the neck and other areas with less underlying flesh such as the back, elbows, and knees.
So how can this condition be controlled in order to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms?
1. Avocado Oil
Avocado oil can be included in the diet or regularly applied on the skin as a topical treatment and this can supplement the levels of fatty acids in the skin.
Avocado oil is known to be packed with antioxidants that will help to heal the dry, inflamed and scaly skin associated with eczema.
Cold pressed and unrefined avocado oil is the best possible option for irritated and inflamed skin.
However, you should always be careful and approach this condition with adequate care, so doing a patch test on a small area of the skin first is recommended to ensure that the oil does not trigger or aggravate the already existing symptoms.
2. Sunflower Seed Oil
Sunflower seed oil can stimulate the natural ceramide production of our bodies. Ceramides are fats that support and reinforce the natural skin barrier of our skin.
This natural oil also contains anti-inflammatory properties, which will be beneficial for you if you are suffering from eczema acquired by a primary irritant that caused the inflammation on your skin.
Sunflower seed oil will nourish and hydrate your skin by keeping the moisture locked in and prevent bacteria from spreading.
A patch test on a small area of the skin is recommended to ensure that the oil does not trigger or aggravate the already existing symptoms.
3. Tea Tree Oil
The benefits of using this particular oil derived from a plant called Melaleuca alternifolia in skincare are nearly endless.
Numerous studies have reported this oil as having antifungal, antibacterial and antiseptic properties which besides making it perfect to treat skin conditions like acne it can also be extremely useful in treating eczema.
Tea tree oil is effective in relieving and improving the symptoms of the initial inflammation, without adverse side effects other chemical alternatives might trigger.
Its anti-inflammatory properties will actively relieve the initial flare-ups that are the major cause for itching and discomfort.
Its powerful antibacterial and antiseptic properties will thoroughly clean the cracked and damaged protective layer of the skin and prevent it from becoming vulnerable to microbial agents and bacteria that can potentially cause further infections.
It is always recommended to dilute essential oils before using them directly on the skin. Mixing this powerful antiseptic with a carrier oil, such as almond or olive oil and then applying it on a small area of the skin to patch test is what you should always do to avoid aggravating irritation.
Honey is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent that has been widely used to heal wounds for centuries back.
Manuka honey, in particular, has been specially designed for wound care and skin application. It comes from New Zealand and it is made by bees pollinating the native manuka bush.
A honey ointment made from a mixture of honey and olive oil can relieve the unbearably itchy symptoms of the condition and prevent further infections.
This particular treatment although effective for adults, it may not be the most suitable option for infants and children.
Always patch test on a small area of the skin as honey is known as a potential allergen because it contains components such as bee pollen.
5. Protect Your Skin From Harsh Weather Conditions
Cold harsh weather, as well as strong heat sources, can further intensify your eczema symptoms by drying out and dehydrating your skin.
Keeping your skin covered when the temperatures are low is something you should consider doing to protect your skin from cracking.
Using a humidifier during dry winter months and avoiding getting too close to heaters and fireplaces will reduce the risk of aggravating the discomfort of itchiness and inflammation that comes with this condition.
6. Avoid Irritants Associated With Eczema Flare-Ups
Saying that eczema is a pesky condition is definitely an understatement, especially when you are suffering from constant, ongoing flare-ups.
Dietary changes and food allergens are amongst the commons causes of eczema. Your symptoms may improve if you consider eliminating certain foods that are known to aggravate eczema symptoms such as:
- milk and soy products
- gluten or wheat
- fast food items and junk food
You should also be on the watch out of certain spices such as vanilla and cinnamon.
Switching your diet to foods that are known as anti-inflammatory may help lessen and relieve eczema symptoms.
Salmon and fish oil contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and recommended to be taken daily. You may also consider taking on omega-3 supplements.
Gluten-free foods, soft cheeses, kefir, and yogurt are some of the foods considered to be rich in probiotics can help you to support a strong and healthy immune system.
Foods rich in vitamin C such as lemon, oranges, strawberries, and pineapples will also boost your immune system.
This will, in turn, reduce flare-ups and allergic reactions.
Using hot water while having a shower is bad news to your skin if you suffer from eczema as this will dry out and strip your skin from its natural oils and this can cause a severe inflammatory reaction that can lead to blisters and weeping.
Harsh soaps and body scrubs are not recommendable to be used if you are currently going through an eczema flare-up. Use gentler cleansers or body wash instead of drying soaps.
While scrubbing the skin is generally recommended in order to remove the dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, try avoiding the inflamed areas as much as you can.
Synthetic or man-made fibers include nylon, polyester, rubber, fiberglass are known irritants that can aggravate the symptoms of eczema so it is best to avoid them.
7. Live A Stress-Free Life
Emotional stress, depression, chronic lack of sleep or worry are linked with an outbreak and considered a common eczema trigger.
Our bodies respond to stress by increasing the production of stress hormones known as adrenaline and cortisol.
Whenever our body produces too much cortisol, this can suppress the immune system and it will react with causing an inflammatory response in the skin.
Stress can not only aggravate the already existing symptoms of eczema, but it can be the sole cause for this condition in adults that have never suffered from eczema before.
Learning to cope with stressful situations using relaxation techniques will help relieve eczema flare-ups.
Activities such as yoga and meditation can help reduce stress levels and therefore improve overall health.
Suffering from eczema can be quite difficult and overwhelming.
While severe eczema may require a doctor’s attention and a prescription of topical steroids, this condition can normally be greatly improved with a combination of self-care and the natural remedies I listed above.