12 Natural Remedies for Eczema
Eczema is a skin condition that affects over 30 million Americans. If your skin is red, dry, scaly, or extremely itchy in places, you may have eczema. Eczema usually appears in young children. Research shows that 65 percent of cases of eczema occur before children experience their first birthday! 90 percent of those affected have their first case of eczema before they turn 5 years old.
Although most outbreaks of eczema occur at a young age, they truly can happen at any age. Eczema can come and go throughout a person’s life, so having safe, natural, and effective solutions to this skin condition is amazing. Read on for eczema risk factors, causes, and symptoms, as well as 12 natural remedies for eczema!
Eczema Risk Factors, Causes, and Symptoms
Eczema impacts different people in different ways. Research has yet to find one single cause of eczema, but it has identified several common causes of flare ups.
Risk Factors for Eczema
- Family history of eczema, hay fever, or asthma
- Young age
- Healthcare worker
- Living in a dry climate
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Low vitamin D levels
Causes of Eczema
At this point in time, the medical community hasn’t pinned down one single cause of eczema. They have, however, identified several causes of what may lead to eczema outbreaks.
- Dry skin
- Sensitive skin that cracks open
- Certain environmental conditions
- Food allergies
- Severe stress
- Sudden temperature changes
- Immune system dysfunction
Symptoms of Eczema
Eczema symptoms can be very mild, or extremely severe. They can even change from one flare up to another. Common symptoms of eczema include, but are not limited to:
- Small, raised bumps appearing on the skin that may develop a crust and ooze liquid
- Thick, dry, scaly patches of skin that cracks open
- Red, brown, or grayish patches of skin on various parts and folds of the body
- Skin that is sensitive and swollen from scratching
- A recurring rash that is extremely itchy
Eczema Treatment: 12 Ways to Naturally Find Relief
Unfortunately, at this moment in time, there is no known cure for eczema. However, there are several remedies available that can alleviate its symptoms. Here are 12 ways you can naturally treat an eczema flare up:
1. Phototherapy/Light Therapy
The National Eczema Association states that phototherapy helps calm inflammation, reduces itching, increases vitamin D production, and fights bacteria on the skin. By getting just 10-15 minutes each day of sun exposure, you can naturally provide relief and healing for an eczema flare up.
Dry skin is both a cause and a symptom of eczema. Using an all natural moisturizing such as coconut oil can help keep skin in tip top shape. Coconut oil also is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial. It can provide itch relief and speed healing.
3. Vitamin D
Research shows that a vitamin D deficiency may be one of the causes of eczema. One of the best ways to increase the body’s vitamin D levels is to get outside in the sunshine. You can also eat a diet rich in vitamin D foods such as fish, eggs, and dairy. If you aren’t catching enough sunlight and your diet is lacking in vitamin D rich foods, try taking a supplement. Make sure it is high quality!
4. Dead Sea Salt Baths
For thousands of years, the Dead Sea has been renowned for its healing powers. By taking a bath with salt from the Dead Sea, you can improve your skin’s hydration levels, reduce inflammation, relieve redness, and have smoother skin. Keep the bath water just warm enough to prevent a chill, and be sure to pat the skin dry when finished.
5. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is known for its ability to calm the mind as well as soothe the skin. That makes it the perfect oil for treating eczema. It has been proven to reduce the symptoms often associated with eczema, while also providing some much needed stress relief and sleep for those dealing with a flare up.
6. Cool, Wet Compress
Many people find relief from their eczema by applying a cool, wet compress to the impacted area. Some mothers swear by the old trick of applying damp socks to their children’s feet before bed, if their feet experience a flare up, in order to treat it! If the eczema patch is oozing, refrain from using this method, as the wet compress may increase the risk of infection.
7. Homemade Eczema Cream
Prescription or store bought eczema creams can be incredibly expensive. Try this recipe for a homemade eczema cream that you can keep on hand for any time eczema rears its ugly head.
- 1/2 cup raw shea butter
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 tbsp local honey
- 30 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops melaleuca essential oil
- Melt the shea butter and coconut oil until they are combined
- Add the honey and stir
- Add lavender and melaleuca essential oils
- Let the ingredients cool only slightly, then place them in your mixer and mix until it has a frothy appearance and develops into a lotion-like consistency (typically 10+ minutes)
- Store in an airtight container either at room temp or in the fridge
Omega-3 fatty acids have incredible health benefits. A team of researchers from Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that when fish is introduced into the diet of babies by the age of 9 months, and eaten each week, the risk of developing eczema is greatly reduced. Loading up on foods full of omega-3s during an eczema flare up can also help treat it. The omega-3s will strengthen the immune system while speeding up recovery.
Studies show that probiotics can help not only treat eczema, but even prevent it in infants and young kids! Research shows that mothers who take probiotics during pregnancy and while breastfeeding may help prevent eczema for their kids. Should you experience an eczema outbreak, taking a quality probiotic will help keep the gut healthy, and therefore the rest of your immune system. This will help treat the eczema flare up from the inside out!
10. Licorice Extract
Licorice extract can help treat eczema when applied topically. Try mixing a few drops of this extract to some coconut oil and applying it directly to the impacted area. Studies show it reduces itching and helps soothe the area.
11. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a powerful nutrient. Research shows that taking just 400IU of vitamin E each day can help reduce inflammation in the body. Applying vitamin E to the rash topically can also help relieve the itch, and protect against scarring.
12. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities. During an eczema outbreak, gently apply alcohol free witch hazel to the eczema directly. This will help promote healing. If the rash has started to ooze, witch hazel can also help dry it up, without over-drying the area.