How to Treat Eczema Naturally
Eczema can affect people of all ages and can cause quite a bit of misery. Doctors often prescribe a steroidal cream. For many people, using steroids has many side effects and doesn't always work very well. The good news is that there are other things you can do to ease the itching, dryness and skin changes. Implementing a few natural remedies may make a significant difference in how your skin looks and feels. If your skin doesn't respond to natural treatments or gets worse, consider seeing your doctor.
Treating Eczema Through Lifestyle Changes
Track your lifestyle triggers. Triggers are different for everyone. One person can be sensitive to wool while another is sensitive to a chemical in perfume. Since we don't really know what causes an individual to have a flare-up of their eczema, you will have to try to figure these out. You can try a variation of a food diary by writing down the products you use and see what happens when you eliminate one.
It may take a bit of work to figure out what affects you, so many people just go all-natural and all-organic. Then they begin to add back products to see if the new products affect their eczema.
Wear non-irritating clothing. Wear loose clothing wherever possible and avoid items made from itchy, scratchy fabrics like wool. Smooth-textured clothing made from cotton, silk and bamboo are the least irritating on your skin. Also be wary of your washing detergent. It may be leaving a slight residue on your clothes that's contributing to eczema flare-ups. Try using a natural washing powder, or simply switch to a different biological brand.
When exercising, wear proper sports clothing designed to keep your skin cool. This will prevent you from sweating excessively, which can aggravate eczema
Choose non-irritating soaps and shampoos. Irritants like soaps and detergents, shampoos, dishwashing liquids, disinfectants and any product with added perfumes can irritate your skin. Try using natural vegetable based soaps and cleaning agents instead.
Avoid any products containing sodium lauryl sulfate and parabens. These are commonly found in hygiene products and are known to irritate and dry the skin. Sodium lauryl sulfate also breaks down your skin's natural proteins, making skin more vulnerable to outside contaminants. Medical studies have linked parabens to endocrine disruption, cancer, and reproductive problems
Use a humidifier. Dry air in your bedroom and home can exacerbate skin conditions such as eczema, causing the skin to become dehydrated and flaky. You can remedy this situation by investing in an air humidifier which will add moisture to the air and to your skin. Portable home humidifiers, along with humidifiers you can attach to a furnace, are easily available and can be found in a range of styles and price ranges.
How to Treat Eczema Naturally
It is also possible to humidify the air in a room without buying a humidifier. House plants naturally increase the amount of moisture in the air through a process known as transpiration. The Boston Fern is a popular natural humidifier
Keep your house clean and avoid allergens. Allergy causing agents like dust mites, pet dander, seasonal pollens, molds and dandruff are all eczema triggers. Use a vacuum cleaner with a good filter and vacuum often.
Try to avoid bacteria, fungi and viruses. People that are obviously sick should also be avoided, since this could be contributing to your eczema.
Minimize stress. Eczema and other skin conditions have been strongly linked to stress, both psychological and physical, so taking some time out to work on stress-relief can be extremely beneficial. Try to do whatever relaxes you: visualization techniques, hypnotherapy, meditation, yoga, listening to music, or painting.
Set aside time for yourself every day to relax and unwind. While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, stress has been shown to make eczema worse.
Bathe less frequently, using warm water (not too cold or too hot). Bathing too often can actually strip moisture from the skin and make eczema worse. Try to limit your baths and showers to every 1 to 2 days if possible. Avoid steamy or cold showers and limit each session to 15 to 20 minutes, tops. Use a clean, dry towel to gently pat yourself dry.
Make sure to moisturize after the shower, preferably while your skin is still damp as this locks in more moisture. Use moisturizers with no additives and which are based on coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter, avocado or castor oil. Be aware that while these oils tend to be better tolerated by people with eczema, everyone is different and you may have to experiment to find what works best for you.
Try not to stay in the tub for too long. Sometimes the water can wither your skin. You do not want your eczema to be disturbed, since disturbed skin results in higher chance of the eczema to itch.
Treating Eczema Through Topical Supplements
Use aloe vera. Use aloe from the actual plant, rather than purchasing an aloe product. Snap off a leaf and squeeze out the clear, gel-like substance. Smear this gel over the skin effected by eczema and leave to soak in. You can store the leaf in the refrigerator for multiple uses. Pure aloe vera is not associated with any negative side effects when used topically, so it is safe to use as often as necessary.
The gel-like sap from the Aloe vera plant has been used for thousands of years as a moisturizing and anti-inflammatory treatment. Many people have found it effective in the treatment of eczema, as it soothes itching and moisturizes the dry, flaky skin.
Apply calendula lotion. You can apply calendula liberally all over your skin, since there are no known side effects when applied topically, or you can mix it with aloe vera gel before rubbing over the skin. Calendula is a marigold-like flower whose extract is commonly used in skin lotions and salves to reduce pain and inflammation.
Many calendula products, such as soaps, oils, lotions, salves and creams can be found at health food stores. These products are preferable to those found in drug stores, since they usually contain a higher percentage of pure calendula and less potentially irritating ingredients.
Use oats. Fill an old cotton sock or nylon knee-high sock with organic steel-rolled oats and tie it over the tap of your bathtub, letting the water run through the oats. Oats contain anti-inflammatory and anti-itching compounds that can be very soothing.
Try oatmeal paste. All you have to do is just mix some oatmeal and water together until it forms a paste. Then apply it directly to your eczema!
Stinging nettle also works the same way and can be used just like oats in the tub. It's believed that they act to interrupt the body's pain and itch signals.
Make a chamomile compress. Chamomile is a popular natural treatment for eczema, as it is said to soothe itchiness and calm inflammation. You can make chamomile tea by brewing dried chamomile flowers in boiling water for approximately 15 minutes. Strain the flowers and allow the tea to cool slightly. Then, make a warm compress by soaking a clean cloth in the chamomile, wringing out the excess moisture. Press it against the affected skin for 10-15 minutes.
You can also massage the oils directly onto the skin or add a few drops to a warm bath. But be aware that some people develop on allergic reaction to chamomile, so you may want to test it on a small patch of skin before using.
Use organic coconut oil. Organic cold pressed virgin coconut oil is often used as a moisturizer which many eczema sufferers claim to be far more effective than expensive store bought creams. It can be found in health food stores, online and in select supermarkets. Apply the oil (which looks like a solid but quickly melts) on eczema patches all over the body and allow the oil to sink in.
Cold pressed means that the oil was processed at temperatures below 116 degrees, allowing all of the oil's nutrients, enzymes and minerals to be preserved.
Try sweet almond oil. Sweet almond oil is often used in the treatment of eczema as it contains ursolic and oleic acids, which are believed to reduce inflammation and help repair the skin. It can be applied liberally all over the body as a moisturizer, or it can be spread all over the skin before baths and showers, creating a barrier that protects the skin from the drying effects of hot water.
Try some lemon. Just cut the lemon in half and put that baby right on your eczema. You should see some changes. Expect a burning sensation. It only burns when you scratch it. It burns because the lemon is removing the inflammation trapped under your skin. The burning mostly occurs when you have broken skin on the eczema.