There are many types of eczema, but the most common type is atopic eczema. Thought to be hereditary and triggered by allergens, atopic eczema is most common in children, but can reappear during adult years.
Unfortunately there is no cure, but often the key to determining what causes it to flare up and treating the symptoms is usually the course of action to take.
If you have eczema, your skin is most likely producing less fats and oils than it should be, and the ability to retain water is diminished. The space between cells widens since they aren’t plump with moisture, you begin to lose water from the dermis, and irritants and bacteria can enter easier. This is why things like soaps and detergents can worsen eczema, as they strip away what lipids your skin is producing, and it will breakdown faster than healthy skin would to become dry, inflamed, and sometimes cracked or blistered.
Natural home remedies for eczema
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil does a great job of sinking into the skin and filling in that intercellular space that’s opened up and caused you to lose moisture. It’s a lipid, of course, and fats and oils are what you need to prevent your skin from drying out and becoming more irritated.
Rinse your hands with water and pat them dry. Rub the coconut oil onto the affected areas, and let it dry. Apply throughout the day as needed.
While coconut oil is really fantastic, eczema is a highly individual condition, and not everybody finds success with it. If this is the case, or even if it isn’t, try jojoba oil. It isn’t actually an oil, but a liquid wax. It penetrates the skin deeply, and its molecular structure is the most similar of all the oils to that of our skins natural sebum (oil.)
Rinse your hands with water and pat them dry. Apply jojoba oil to the affected area, gently massaging it into your skin until it is at least partially absorbed. It is extremely rich and you don’t need a whole lot of it. Apply 3 times daily as needed.
3. A soothing butter recipe
-2 tablespoons shea butter
-2 tablespoons beeswax
-6 tablespoons of coconut oil
-4 tablespoons of jojoba oil
-Lavender essential oil (optional)
-Airtight tins or glass jars
Melt the beeswax and jojoba then add in the coconut oil and stir until it is fully melted. Add the shea butter, stirring it as it melts. Pour the mixture into airtight glass jars and, if using, add a drop or two of lavender essential oil and give it a little stir. Place the cover on and allow it to cool. Apply liberally to affected areas as needed.
4. Make changes to your diet and lifestyle
For long term relief, you’ll most likely have to make some long-term changes.
- Keep a little log book that tracks what you’re doing or what you are consuming when you have flare-ups or you notice the most discomfort.
- Track the date, as well as your diet and any foreign products that you may have used (e.g. detergent, new hand soap, medication etc.)
- Eventually you may see a pattern begin to emerge that allows you to get a better sense of what to avoid to manage it on a daily basis. Avoiding triggers and allergens is a solid approach that many folks find help their eczema.
Sometimes it is important to go back to the basics. A plain old oatmeal bath (rarely) hurts anyone, and it noticeably moisturizes and soothes the skin. Chemical constituents in oatmeal have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help relieve discomfort brought on by inflammation associated with eczema. It also seems to work a treat when it comes to reducing itchiness.
Get yourself around 1 cup of oatmeal and a cloth (cheesecloth or muslin works best) and of course a bathtub 🙂
Pour the oatmeal into some cheesecloth or muslin and tie it off securely into a little bundle. Tie an extra-long piece of material around the top. Fill the tub part way and then use the extra piece to hang the bag right below the faucet. Run the bath until it’s full and the water is milky and smooth. Soak for 10-15 minutes before getting out, patting gently dry with a lean towel, and applying your usual moisturizer. Feel free to just let the bag float in the water after the tub is filled-you can give it a squeeze now and then to get even more of the good stuff out.
6. Fish oil
Fish oil has been shown to help lessen the severity of some people’s eczema, particularly the itching. Research has shown that those with atopic eczema seem to have a lower rate of essential fatty acids breaking down into their metabolites, and lower rates of getting those fatty acids up into the skin cell membranes closer to the surface of the skin. N-6 and n-3 fatty acids are particularly important in maintaining normal skin function and, surprise surprise, fish oil is rich in both. Taking a daily dose can help your body produce more of the stuff you need on the inside, so you don’t have to worry so much about the outside.
Honey performs all the staple tasks needed to relieve symptoms of eczema. It’s anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, helps speed up the healing process of broken skin, and it’s a humectant (draws water to it.) The downside is that it can get sticky, so this is best when used over small areas, rather than slathered all up and down your legs and arms.
Rinse your hands and pat them dry. Apply a thin layer of honey over the affected area. You can cover it with a bandage to keep it from rubbing off on anything, but I personally prefer to “let it breathe.” Leave it on for 20-30 minutes then rinse off with cool water, pat dry, and reapply another thin layer of honey 3 times throughout the day.
Do you have eczema? What is your natural remedy or tip you can share?