Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a condition where patches of skin become incredibly itchy, cracked, and sore. This can be very uncomfortable and may make you feel self-conscious if the eczema is particularly severe.
Atopic dermatitis is caused by genetic, immune, and environmental factors. The red and itchy patches are a result of inflammation, which happens if your immune system over-reacts to the environment.
Common factors that can cause eczema can include irritants such as certain soaps, shampoos, detergents, and cleaning products. Other common causes are allergens such as dust, mites, pollen and mold, as well as extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. Reactions to food more often being dairy products, eggs, soy, and nuts can even cause eczema. Hormones can also play a role in causing eczema, as hormonal cycles can effect whether or not atopic dermatitis occurs. Stress may cause an increase of severity in atopic dermatitis, but it isn’t a cause. You should consult a dermatologist or medical professional if you’re unsure if you have eczema.
Natural Treatments for Eczema
There are many natural remedies that can be used to help with the symptoms of eczema. Using these remedies should help provide relief from the itching and moisturize the skin. You should speak with a dermatologist to discuss the best treatment options for your eczema and whether alternative therapies are a right course of treatment for you.
Coconut oil is one of best remedies for eczema. Topical virgin coconut oil is a natural moisturizer that may be able to help with dry skin from atopic dermatitis. Coconut oil also has anti-bacterial properties that may help eliminate staph bacteria on the skin, which can prevent infection. Because coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory, this may help reduce the pain associated with eczema symptoms.
To use coconut oil as an eczema treatment, you should take a small amount of coconut oil and rub it between your hands to get it to liquify. Then, apply the oil to the affected area twice a day. This should help with any inflammation and dryness you may be experiencing.
Sunflower Seed Oil
Sunflower oil can help moisturize the skin, and has anti inflammatory properties that may help reduce symptoms for people with eczema. Sunflower oil helps the body produce ceramide, which helps with the skin's barrier function. Maintaining a good skin barrier is important as it helps prevent us from getting skin infections.
The moisturizing properties of sunflower oil can help with scaly skin, and the anti-inflammatory effects may reduce itching and pain that can cause you to scratch at the area.
To use sunflower seed oil as a home remedy, apply the oil to slightly damp skin twice a day. You should do this until your symptoms ease. You can continue this application before a flare-up to manage symptoms.
Aloe vera is another of the best alternative treatments for eczema patients. Aloe vera is gentle and has soothing properties, and helps to moisturize your skin. Because it's a natural antimicrobial and promotes wound healing, aloe vera is ideally suited for treating painful eczema rashes.
Research has shown that aloe vera helps to heal broken patches of skin, rebuilding the skin's protective barrier against bacteria that can cause infection. You can combine aloe vera with other eczema treatments or natural remedies on this list to help relieve your eczema symptoms. You should use aloe vera gel directly on your skin and re-apply twice a day until your symptoms reduce.
Apple Cider Vinegar
You probably already have it in your cupboards, so you'll be happy to know that apple cider vinegar has shown promise in treating the symptoms of eczema. Apple cider vinegar has the ability to balance your skin's ph level, helping maintain the health of the skin's protective barrier. pH levels in products such as soaps and detergents can differ from our skins, causing an eczema flare up. By using apple cider vinegar to rebalance your skin's pH, you can help reduce your symptoms and prevent future eczema flares.
You should add one cup of apple cider vinegar to a warm bath and soak for fifteen to twenty minutes. This can help with the inflammation caused by eczema. If you have sensitive skin, be careful when using apple cider vinegar to treat your eczema. Apple cider can irritate the skin if applied directly, so be sure to dilute it in water or a carrier oil if needed.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial and can help with skin inflammation caused by eczema. Most of us know it for its haircare benefits, but research has shown that tea tree oil can help relieve itchy skin in people with severe eczema. The anti-inflammatory properties of this oil may assist with reducing redness and irritation.
Tea tree oil shouldn't be used directly on the skin. If you use tea tree oil to treat your eczema, you should add it to a carrier oil such as olive oil, mineral oil, or coconut oil to prevent skin irritation.
To use tea tree oil as a treatment for moderate atopic dermatitis, you should add tea tree oil to a carrier oil, then massage it into the skin. Leave this for fifteen to twenty minutes, then rinse off. Repeat once a day until symptoms are relieved.
Olive oil has the ability to soothe and moisturize irritated skin. This can benefit people with eczema as it should relieve dry, itchy skin. Olive oil has been found to reduce redness in the skin, and reduce shedding of the skin too, making it a good treatment for eczema symptoms.
People with eczema can use olive oil on its own, or can add essential oils to obtain additional benefits from the additional oils' anti-inflammatory or anti bacterial properties. You should apply olive oil to the affected area and leave on for ten to fifteen minutes before rinsing off. Repeat this daily until you see an improvement in your symptoms.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil can help fight inflammation that may cause eczema symptoms. Primrose oil can be taken orally. You'll also find it in some lotions and beauty products that are designed to help with eczema.
Some studies have shown that evening primrose oil might not be effective in treating eczema, so take this one with a pinch of salt - more research needs to be done to determine this oil's effectiveness.
Supplements such as vitamin D can be very effective for helping with eczema. Research shows that vitamin D is effective in treating moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis, or eczema in children. Vitamin D helps with inflammation, especially in winter months when eczema can worsen due to below-freezing temperatures.
To use vitamin D as a remedy for eczema, it's easiest to take vitamin D orally. If you're unsure, you should consult with a healthcare provider to make sure you're using a high-quality supplement. Be sure to should take vitamin D as advised on the packaging.
Colloidal oatmeal isn't just a breakfast food - it can also help people with eczema deal with dry and irritated skin. The oatmeal can soothe skin and provide relief from itching. Research has found that colloidal oatmeal can also help protect the skin's barrier and maintain a healthy skin pH. This can help reduce redness and inflammation caused by irritation from certain chemical-based skincare products.
To use colloidal oatmeal as a remedy for eczema, it's best to make a colloidal oatmeal bath. Draw a lukewarm bath and add a cup of colloidal oatmeal to the water. Soak in the water for 10 to 20 minutes and rinse off with warm water afterward.
As a natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent, honey is another pantry staple that may help treat eczema. Honey can help the immune system to fight off infections that may occur from the splitting of your skin. Honey has also shown promise in moisturizing the skin and speeding up the healing process.
You should apply honey directly to the affected area and leave it for fifteen to twenty minutes. Rinse it off afterwards. You can repeat this twice a day until your symptoms have subsided.
The National Eczema Association suggests the use of wet wrap therapy for eczema. Research has shown that wet wraps can help moisturize the skin and calm any irritation.
After applying medication to your affected area, you should wet some gauze and wrap it around the skin. Next, apply a dry layer of gauze on top. Leave this for several hours or overnight to achieve the best results. You can apply a wet wrap on top of topical medication or a moisturizer such as aloe vera.
If the natural remedies on this list don't work, it's wise to should seek professional medical advice from a dermatologist, who may be able to prescribe a topical corticosteroid or ointment. Taking steps to protect and maintain your skin barrier function can help prevent atopic dermatitis.