Let’s talk about eczema.
Let’s really talk about it though, because many people who have eczema spend a lot of time hiding it and using counterproductive methods to treat it. It’s a very sensitive subject (no pun intended) for many reasons and can be stressful to get under control—especially if you’ve been dealing with it since birth or for a long time.
The good news is it’s treatable without investing a ton of money to find comfort. With a little diligence, patience, and these tips, you can soothe eczema away until it’s barely detectable. But first a disclaimer:
I am not a physician, nor should this be considered as medical advice. These are simply my suggestions based on my research and knowledge of natural and holistic ingredients for remedies to heal the mind, body, and soul.
What is eczema?
As defined by WebMD.com, eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis) is a medical condition that causes the skin to become inflamed or irritated. It affects about 10-20% of infants and about three percent of American adults and children. Most infants who develop the condition outgrow it by their 10th birthday, while some people continue to have symptoms on and off throughout life. If you have eczema or have a child with eczema, you know the symptoms are easy to spot. Eczema can appear anywhere on the body and is almost always a severe itch that turns into a dry, scaly rash. Depending on your complexion, it can go from an aggravated red color to a dark patch that discolors the pigmentation of the affected area.
The key thing to note here is eczema is simply inflammation. This means the body and skin are reacting adversely to something. This is how even people who aren’t born with eczema can develop sporadic spots of eczema. If you can pinpoint the cause (or causes) of the inflammation, you’re halfway to treatment.
Many people choose to go to a dermatologist to seek treatment for their eczema. Dermatologists typically prescribe a specific brand of topical cream to treat the symptoms, which is fine for immediate relief. The problem, though, is simply applying a cream to the area is a band-aid for a deeper issue. To truly treat the problem, you have to figure out what the cause is.
Here are a few known culprits and some homeopathic remedies that go beyond just treating the symptoms.
Check your diet.
Yes, this is first on the list. It’s the number one cause of many of our health challenges and the hardest thing for us to alter. The truth is, many of the foods we eat like cheese and dairy can cause inflammation in different parts of the body. Especially if you know you are allergic to dairy products, your eczema could be your body’s way of responding to the dairy you eat. Start swapping dairy products for non-dairy alternatives and see if that makes a difference. Other common foods that eczema reacts to include fried foods, junk foods, and sugary drinks.
This is also true for mothers of infants with eczema. If you are breastfeeding and your baby has eczema, the cause could be somewhere in your diet.
Check your clothes.
Fabric types and laundry detergent are common causes of eczema that we frequently overlook. In today’s GMO-driven world, synthetic fabric often contains chemicals that can irritate our skin to the point of eczema. Most laundry detergents contain fragrances that may smell great on your clothes but are irritating for your skin.
As I’ve said in other blog posts, added fragrances in our soaps and other body products can be harsh on our skin. Take notice if you’ve recently switched brands. Consider switching to a brand with more sensitive ingredients and less artificial fragrances.
Check your water intake.
This cannot be stressed enough. Your temple needs to be hydrated from within to reflect glowing, supple skin on the outside. Eczema is characterized by dry skin, so hydration for the whole body is essential. Our bodies are largely made of water and water helps to flush out unwanted toxins.
As a rule of thumb, we should all aim to drink half our body weight in fluid ounces of water. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim to drink 75 fluid ounces of water a day. Consuming fresh fruits, vegetable juices, and herbal teas are other beneficial ways to increase your daily water intake as well.
Moisturize on the outside, too.
And don’t just moisturize with any old thing! If you have eczema your body deserves special care. The best and safest way to moisturize your skin is with plant oils & butters. You just have to find which one works best for you. Some good pure ones to start with are olive oil, evening primrose oil, neem oil, or jojoba oil. A beneficial plant oil easily penetrates the skin without clogging pores. Keeping the skin moisturized helps to combat dryness and brittleness. Infused herbal oils such as calendula are highly effective. Apply a moisturizing body butter or oil after baths and showers.
Check your stress.
I know it may be hard to believe, but stress is just not good for you. Not only does it affect you emotionally, but physically as well. Reflect on the stressors in your life, be it your job, home life, or the people around you, and figure out how to better manage them or let it go. A common reaction to stress for those with eczema is inflammation & itching. Find practices that you enjoy doing daily that help relieve stress. Meditation, yoga, exercise, writing, or simply taking a break can work wonders. Avoid negative vibes and align yourself with what eases your mind. Be mindful that peace is found within. Adjust that inner imbalance so that it reflects in your outer world.
Herbal remedies for eczema
One of my favorite herbs! It is very gentle and soothing for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. The flower is often infused into an oil, salve, or soap (in my case) to speed the healing of rashes. Calendula is antiseptic, cleansing, & detoxifying for the skin. Infuse the flower for at least two weeks in healing oils such as olive, sunflower, or avocado oil.
Oatmeal is skin softening, moisturizing, & a natural cleanser. Simply add oats to your bath water or use in an oatmeal soap. When it comes to soap be certain to check the ingredients too many solvents and detergents listed is no bueno. The simpler, the better.
Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera gel is the epitome of simple skin care. It can be applied directly to the skin from the leaf or bottle, whatever is convenient for you. Massage the gel into affected areas for its cooling and cleansing properties. The gel also makes for a great moisturizer and skin cell regenerator.
Also known as wild clover, red clover is renowned for treating skin conditions. It helps to nourish and cool the blood and skin. Cooling is important for inflammation. Red Clover can be wild-harvested, in places where it grows abundantly. Be cautious of areas sprayed with pesticides or by roadsides. As with calendula, red clover can be infused in oil and made into a salve for rashes. Combine red clover, calendula, rose petals, nettle, and comfrey to make a healing warm compress for affected areas.
Burdock and dandelion
These two work better as a pair when it comes to eczema and purifying the blood. Together, these herbs detox and tone the liver, which filters blood. This stimulates the release of waste products from the blood. As mentioned above blood toxicity can be a trigger for flare-ups. Cleaner blood equals healthy skin. Burdock & Dandelion tea can be drunk 1-3 times daily for the desired effect.
Don’t hide or simply treat your eczema. Heal your skin from the inside out. Purchase these all-natural products especially for eczema to reveal happy, healthy skin.