If you’re taking medications or any other medical treatment for managing the symptoms of eczema and it is not giving you the relief then you may try the natural treatments or home remedies that help in easing the itchiness, dryness and other skin changes. Fortunately, implementing a few natural treatments of eczema can significantly make a difference in managing its symptoms.
Eczema is a common term used for a set of chronic skin conditions that are caused by swelling. Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most collective form of eczema and so it is termed as the “itch that rashes”. Generally, the term “eczema” is customarily used to refer atopic dermatitis. The term “atopic” means an allergy that is typically genetic and the term “dermatitis” means a soreness or inflammation of the skin.
In today’s article, we highlight some of the most effective natural remedies to treat eczema and it mainly includes treating eczema through lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, and topical supplements/remedies.
How can eczema be naturally treated?
You can manage the symptoms or flare-ups of eczema naturally with the help of different methods such as by making some simple changes in your lifestyle and diet and using some topical supplements. Let’s see in detail how you can treat eczema with the help of these natural treatments.
Eczema treatment through lifestyle modifications:
Track your lifestyle eczema triggers: The eczema triggers are not the same for every individual. For instance, if one patient can be sensitive to wool then another patient is sensitive to the chemicals used in a perfume. In the beginning, you don’t know what actually causes the flare-ups of eczema so you need to figure out the actual causes. You can do this by noting down the list of food products that what happens when you use certain products and when you eliminate certain ones.
Use non-irritating clothing: Wear loose clothes as much as possible. Avoid clothing that is made of itchy, scratchy fabrics such as wool. Try wearing the smooth-textured clothing that is made of silk, cotton, and bamboo because these are less irritating on the skin. Likewise, be cautious of your laundry detergent. Washing detergent can leave a slight residue on your clothes that can contribute to the eczema flare-ups. It is better to use a natural washing powder or you can change your detergent brand.
Use non-irritating soaps & shampoos: Irritants that include soaps, shampoos, laundry detergents, dishwashing liquids, sanitizers and any product having added perfumes can cause skin irritation. So, it is better to use natural soaps that are vegetable-based and cleaning agents.
Use an air humidifier: The dry air in your room and home can aggravate the skin conditions like eczema while causing dehydration and flakiness to the skin. Luckily, you can solve this problem by buying an air humidifier that adds the moisture to the air and also to your skin. Portable home humidifiers and those humidifiers that can be attached to a furnace – these all are easily available and found in a variety of styles and different price ranges.
Keep home clean and avoid the allergens: The agents that cause allergies such as dust mites, seasonal pollens, pet dander, molds, and dandruff are entirely eczema triggers. To cope up with this situation, use a vacuum cleaner that has a good filter and cleans your home often.
Reduce stress: As the stress, both psychological and physical can strongly affect eczema and other skin conditions so it is really beneficial if you take some time out to work on the stress relief techniques that include visualization techniques, meditation, yoga, hypnotherapy, painting, listening to music, etc.
Lessen bathing by using warm water (not too hot or too cold): If you bathe too often then this can remove the moisture from your skin and makes eczema even worse. Try to limit the baths and showers to every 1-2 days with each session to only 15-20 minutes, if possible. Avoid cold or steamy showers.
Eczema treatment through topical supplements/remedies:
Apply Aloe Vera gel: It is best to use the aloe from the real plant, rather than purchasing any aloe product. Detach the leaf, cut it and squeeze out the clear, gel-like material. Apply this gel on eczema affected skin and leave it for some time to soak in. You can also store the leaf in the refrigerator for other uses. Pure Aloe Vera gel has no side effects when it is used topically so you can safely use it whenever needed.
The gel-like substance from the Aloe Vera plant has been used for many years as a moisturizer and an anti-inflammatory agent. It has been observed that the gel is very effective in the treatment of eczema because it soothes the itching and moisturizes the flaky, dry skin.
Apply calendula lotion: You can apply calendula lotion all over your skin because there are no known side effects when used topically or you can also mix it with the aloe vera gel before applying over the affected skin. Calendula is actually a marigold-like flower whose extract is usually used in the skin lotions and ointments to lessen the inflammation and pain.
Use oats: Fill any old cotton sock or a nylon knee-high sock with the organic steel-rolled oats and then tie it over the top of the bathtub, make sure that the water is running through the oats. Oats contain anti-itching and anti-inflammatory compounds that provide a soothing effect.
Use a chamomile compress: Chamomile is known to be the popular natural eczema treatment because it soothes the itchiness and calms the inflammation. To make a chamomile tea, brew dried chamomile flowers in boiling water for around 15 minutes. After that, strain the flowers and let the tea to cool a little bit. Now, to make a warm compress, soak a clean cloth in the chamomile tea and wring out the excess moisture. Press this warm compress against the affected skin for around 10-15 minutes.
Apply organic coconut oil: Cold pressed organic coconut oil is usually used as a moisturizer which many eczema patients claim to be very much effective than the costly store-bought creams. The oil is available at health food stores, online and in certain supermarkets. Apply the oil – normally looks like a solid but rapidly melts – on the affected eczema patches all over your body and let the oil to absorb.
Use sweet almond oil: This oil is usually used for treating eczema because it contains oleic and ursolic acids that are known to reduce the inflammation and help in repairing the skin. You can use sweet almond oil all over your body liberally as a moisturizer or apply all over your skin before taking shower or bath as it creates a barrier that gives protection to the skin from the drying effects of the hot water.
Try lemon: Simply, cut a lemon in half and put it right on your eczema affected area. You should notice some changes. You can also expect a burning sensation. It burns because the lemon is removing inflammation that is trapped under your skin. It burns mostly when you scratch the lemon and/or when you have broken skin on your eczema.
Eczema treatment through dietary changes:
Improve your diet: Avoid processed foods as much as you can. It is best to go for organic and natural as much as possible. Natural, organic diet includes fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and berries. Reduce red meat in your diet. Add the intake of sources of omega 3-oils (fish and leafy green veggies) because they keep the skin soft and moist.
Eradicate milk and dairy foods: Cow’s milk is considered to be one of the most common dietary triggers for eczema so it is better to remove it from your diet, on a temporary basis, to see if any improvement happens. Try to eliminate cow’s milk for at least 2 weeks and then see any difference. There are various creamy alternatives available – black coffee, sheep, goat and buffalo milk – that you can freely include in your diet.
Eliminate gluten-containing products: Wheat is also assumed to be a common dietary trigger for eczema. Eliminate gluten-containing products that include bread, cereals, pasta, and other carbohydrate-rich processed foods.
Follow the eliminating diet practice: Start this practice by making a diet diary. Write down everything that you eat in this diary and then see if there are some changes in your eczema symptoms after eating a certain food. Sometimes, you may notice any change right away or within a few hours. Maintain this practice every day. You should see some patterns or changes with particular foods. Then, eliminate those foods from your diet for a period of minimum 2 weeks or maximum 4-6 weeks and notice if there are any changes in your skin.
Take natural supplements: There are many dietary supplements that you can take to manage the symptoms of eczema. Some of the best supplements include:
- Fatty acids: They help in relieving the dry skin and reducing the inflammation. Use Omega-3s fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory.
- Vitamins A, D and E: These vitamins help the skin to preserve its hydration, enhance its texture, boost the collagen production and keep it away from free radicals.
- Gamma-linolenic acid: It is a type of fatty acid that is found in evening primrose oil, blackcurrant oil and borage oil. It has been observed that this oil helps in relieving the skin inflammation and correcting the balance of lipids in the skin.
- Zinc: It is an essential mineral that performs various functions in our body. Studies had shown mixed results but many eczema patients have reported that the skin condition improves while taking zinc.
The natural treatments for eczema greatly help in managing the symptoms. But, if you notice that your skin is not responding to the natural remedies or it is getting worse then consider seeing a professional dermatologist.