Also referred to as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a chronic condition in which areas of itchy, scaly red rash develops on the face, scalp, hands, elbows (the inside area), knees, ankles, and sometimes feet. It is characterized by intensely itching patches of scaly skin which gets worse when scratched (or even get infected), culminating in a kind of a vicious-cycle. Some cases may also result in oozing blisters that later dry and crust over. On a good note though, there are many home remedies for eczema itching and dryness that have been to offer relief.
Exposure to certain substances e.g. soaps, detergents, dust mites, metals, animal dander etc. can trigger eczema and dry weather or climate, temperature changes, stress, and prolonged exposure to water (especially hot water) have been shown to make the condition more serious. For some people, eczema occur even without exposure to any known allergen.
Eczema results when exposure to the above substances trigger a reaction in the body immune system similar to that which causes allergies.
It is more common in infants and children but may as well affect adults. People with family history of eczema and allergic conditions the likes of hay fever and asthma are genetically predisposed to the condition.
Although difficult to resist the urge, scratching the skin only makes the condition worse and may increases the risk of secondary infection as well as scarring (formation of eczema scars).
Is Eczema Curable?
The question arises, Can eczema be cured? Well, according to the US National Eczema Association, eczema is not yet fully understood and no cure is known to fully get rid of the condition but the conventional treatments incorporating at-home self-care measures and prescription medications where necessary helps to alleviate the symptoms in most patients.
Best Home remedies for eczema
From chronic itchy minor eczema rashes to severe eczema breakouts with oozing blisters, there is hope. Simple home intervention measures can help to get rid of the symptoms and treat the condition.
And as you will soon find out, most rely on simple, cost-effective ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry or can acquire readily at your local convenience store, health food store, or drugstore.
The following are some of the best home remedies for eczema that have been found to help the itching, dryness, and inflammation associated with the condition:
Magnesium Baths and Oral Magnesium Intake
The itchy, dry, and scaly skin that is typical of eczema may be relieved adequately hydrating it. This would entail having a bath frequently to allow moisture to soak into the skin, followed by moisturizing with a good moisturizer. On the downside, however, soaking in water only makes the condition worse for some people. That is where magnesium baths come in handy for eczema sufferers.
To use this home remedy for eczema, simply add a cup of magnesium flakes to your bath water. According to an article published in the Wellness Mama website also, adding a couple tablespoons or so of Himalayan salt could also help to get rid of eczema symptoms.
Oral Intake of Magnesium for Eczema
In addition to magnesium baths, taking magnesium oil orally can also help to treat eczema. As a matter of fact, taking a combination of topical and oral treatment with magnesium (flakes and oil) is likely to get things going faster.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a dilute-bleach bath also comes in handy in treating eczema at home. It helps to reduce the amount of bacteria on the skin and thus curb infections.
Here is how to use bleach baths for skin healing:
Fill a bath tub with warm water. For this home remedy for eczema, we are assuming you have the standard 40 gallon (151 liter bath tub); if not, adjust the ingredients proportions accordingly.
Pour in ½ cup of household bleach into the water.
Soak in the water for 10 minutes from the neck down (keep your head above water).
After ten minutes, hop into the shower to rinse your skin, then pat it dry before applying your favorite moisturizer.
Repeat 2 to 3 times each week, and no more than that.
Apply Anti-Itch Cream or Lotion
You can also use over-the-counter anti-itch creams to get rid of eczema itching. A 1% hydrocortisone cream is recommended for this purpose but keep in mind the relief it offers is only temporary.
Simply apply it to the affected area of skin before applying your regular moisturizer. Once the itching has significantly been reduced you may then reduce the frequency of use to avoid flare-ups.
Other than prescription creams, you may as well use to calamine lotion to reduce the itching associated with eczema.
Moisturize, Moisturize and Moisturize Some More
Regular moisturizing with a good quality moisturizer also ranks among the best home remedies for eczema outbreak on the face, hands and any other part of the skin. Ideally, you should moisturize your skin not less than 2 times each day.
For best results, the Mayo Clinic suggests applying your moisturizer on your skin immediately after getting out of a shower or bath. This helps to retain the moisture inside the skin. You will in particular want to ensure that your hands, arms, back, the sides of your body, and the legs are well tended to.
The healing properties of baking soda, thanks to its pH balancing and mild anti-inflammation action, also makes it handy for the healing of eczema.
How to use baking soda for eczema home treatment:
To warm bathing water, sprinkle a tablespoon or two of baking soda
Soak in the water for 10-15 minutes
Pat your skin dry and finish off by moisturizing it. If you want, you may apply a medicated cream or lotion first before applying the moisturizer.
More Tips for Effective Home Treatment of Eczema
We have looked at some of the best home remedies for eczema but your home treatment regime should not just stop there. Below are some simple but effective measures that will help you treat eczema itching and inflammation more effectively at home:
Avoid scratching the affected area: With eczema, the urge to scratch your face, hands etc. is real but that will not only make the condition worse but also increase risk of secondary infections and scars formation. You will find keeping your nails short and wearing gloves handy at night.
Apply cool compresses: Cool, wet compresses (that is washcloths dipped in water) and bandages also helps to not only relief the itching and inflammation but also keep the affected area protected.
Opt for mild soaps: Harsh soaps, especially those with perfumes and dyes, are often irritating to the skin and should be a no-no for anyone suffering from eczema. Instead, go for gentle soaps such as dove and even then, ensure that you rinse your skin completely after using the soap.
Get a humidifier: Hot and dry air indoors can worsen the itching and make the skin even more inflamed and flaky. A humidifier can help to add moisture into your living environment and prevent this dry or hot-air effect.
Choose appropriate clothing: Some rough fabrics such as wool may further irritate the eczema-affected skin and make the condition worse. Instead, choose clothes that are made of cool, smooth textured fabrics such as silk and cotton. Check also that your clothes are not too tight-fitting or “sweat-inducing” epically in hot weather.
Manage stress: stress and anxiety can make eczema worse. Acknowledge stress and any other emotional disorder and seek ways to manage it. You may find stress-fighting exercises such as taking a deep breath, yoga, and meditation among others helpful, but if necessary, seek professional help.
Natural Remedies for Eczema
For those who prefer natural remedies, below are a few considerations you may want to work with:
Coconut Oil for Eczema Treatment
Coconut oil is simple one amazing ingredient with a great array of beneficial uses at home ranging from skin care to hair and teeth care among others.
What you perhaps didn’t know is that coconut oil is as well a great natural remedy for eczema and will aid in getting rid of the itch and mild pain caused by the condition if applied topically to the skin. That is assuming that you are not allergic or intolerant to the oil.
Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids and has antibacterial properties and it is claimed that it is absorbed readily into the skin where it fills the intercellular spaces that allow moisture loss leading to that chronic dryness that is typical of eczema. And because it is very gently, it is arguably among the best natural remedies for baby eczema and adult eczema alike.
It can also be used internally for the purpose.
Below is a guideline on how to use coconut oil as a natural eczema remedy:
Pour a little coconut oil into the palm of your hands and rub it well until it is well spread in your palms. Apply a thin layer of the oil on the affected areas of your face, hands, etc. Repeat 2 to 3 times daily until you achieved the desired results. Coconut lotion bars are also great and are particularly well suited for those with coconut oil sensitivity.
You will also want to consider:
Use extra virgin coconut oil for cooking purposes instead of the regular cooking oil. This will not only aid in the healing of eczema but also get you into the path of healthy eating.
You cannot talk about natural cures for eczema and single out jojoba oil. This waxy substance is rich in fatty acids and fatty alcohols which makes it greatly nourishing and moisturizing to the skin.
It is claimed that the structure of jojoba oil is the one closest to that of sebum (the skin oil that helps to keep it hydrated) and because it is easily and deeply absorbed into the skin into the skin, it gets to work pretty quickly.
Here is how to use jojoba oil to treat eczema naturally:
Pour some jojoba oil into the clean palms of your hands.
Apply a thin film to the eczema inflicted areas of the skin and massage it gently as the oil gets absorbed.
Repeat the process 3 times each day and that eczema itch and inflammation will soon be relieved.
Honey is another amazing natural eczema treatment and some people will swear to its effectiveness. To start with, honey has mild anti-inflammatory properties which helps to reduce the inflammation that usually accompany eczema. Secondly, it has natural antimicrobial properties which curbs and prevents secondary infections.
Couple all this with its humectant properties (ability to draw water to the areas of the skin where it is applied) and you have the making for a great natural remedy for eczema. Organic honey or manuka honey is particularly good for the purpose.
Of concern however is the tendency for honey to make the skin fell sticky. To overcome this limitation, simply apply it to the affected areas of the skin as opposed to all over the legs, arms, face name it.
Ensure that your hands are clean.
Pour a small amount of honey into the palm of your hands and then slather a thin film over the affected area of your face, hands, arms, etc.
Allow it 20-30 minutes to work in and then wash it off with cool water.
Repeat the process 3 times per day and that irritating eczema will clear soon be “cured” so to speak.
Eczema is most notable for its dry, scaly patches which often gets itchy and shea butter comes in handy in healing these symptoms. It has an abundance of non-saponifiable fatty acids – meaning that they cannot be converted to soap – which help to not only repair damaged skin cells but also curb the inflammation associated with eczema.
To make it even more effective, you will want to consider a combination natural treatment that adds in jojoba oil, coconut oil, and beeswax. In this case, beeswax is used simply as a thickening medium but is also serves a purpose in softening and protecting the skin.
1 tablespoon shea butter
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon beeswax
2 tablespoons jojoba oil
To a small pot, add the beeswax and jojoba oil.
Heat them gently until they melt, then pour in the coconut oil.
Continue heating gently while stirring until the ingredients blend smoothly.
Lower the heat and pour in the shea butter. Continue stirring over gentle heat until the shea butter has melted and blended in with the rest of the ingredients.
Now transfer the mixture into an air-tight container or jar and allow it time to cool before applying it over the affected areas of the face or skin.
Apply the mixture 1-2 times daily until you have achieved the desired results.
An oatmeal bath also goes a long way in moisturizing the skin and will offer natural relief to eczema inflicted skin. Oatmeal bath also does wonders to the itching associated with eczema but that is not all; oatmeal also contains anti-inflammatory properties which help to soothe the skin.
Below is a guideline on how to use oatmeal to heal eczema naturally:
Pour a cup of oatmeal into a muslin or cheesecloth and then tie the top part.
Now fill a bath halfway with water and then tie the oatmeal containing muslin or cheesecloth to the tip of the faucet before opening it to allow water to flow past the oatmeal. Continue until the bath tub is full. At that point, the water will appear milky. If you want, you can also squeeze the bag to increase the efficacy of the water in the bath tub.
Relax in the bathtub for 10 to 15 minutes and then get out.
Do not rinse your skin. Instead, pat it dry with a clean towel and then apply a moisturizer.
Repeat the process 1 to 2 times daily as needed.
Tip: Finely grounded oatmeal such as Aveeno will as well work fine if you don’t have or don’t want to use oatmeal in its natural form.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Eczema
Some people will also vouch to the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar for eczema natural treatment. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory which may help to soothe the skin. Using apple cider vinegar for this remedial purpose is as easy as adding it to bath water as explained below:
Pour a cup of apple cider vinegar to a bath tub of lukewarm water – not hot water as it may further irritate your skin.
Soak in the water for 15-20 minutes.
Finally pat your skin dry and apply a moisturizer.
Repeat frequently as needed, say twice a day, and the symptoms will clear in a short while.
Vitamins for Eczema
Several vitamins have been linked to effective treatment of eczema. Of these, vitamin D comes out strongly. Vitamin D supplementation is increasingly being touted to help relief eczema symptoms.
Topical application of vitamin E has also been touted to help treat eczema symptoms. Simply pop a vitamin E capsule on the affected area of the face or skin once or twice daily.
Herbal remedies for eczema
As you can see, the list of eczema natural cures is pretty big. But it doesn’t end there yet. There are many herbal remedies that can as well be used to treat eczema naturally at home including:
Turmeric has been found to be an effective herbal treatment for eczema. This is attributed to the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, which has been shown to have mild anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. And the best part, using turmeric is pretty easy; simply make a paste by mixing turmeric with water and then apply it to the affected areas of the skin.
Chamomile tea contains a substance known as a-bisabolol. This is a beneficial natural alcohol which helps to heal and soothe inflamed skin. This coupled with its natural antimicrobial properties makes for a great herbal cure for eczema.
It has also been shown to be effective at reducing itchiness. Here is how to use chamomile tea as a remedy for eczema:
Pour 4 tablespoons of dried chamomile into a muslin or cheesecloth.
Tie the muslin or cheesecloth to the faucet on a half-full bathtub and then allow water to run through it until the bathtub gets filled. After that you can squeeze it or even drop it into the bath.
Soak yourself in the bathtub for 15 minutes or so and then pat your skin dry
Finally apply moisturizer
Repeat the process two times daily and those symptoms of eczema will soon fade away.
Brew a pot of chamomile tea by steeping fresh dried chamomile leaves for 15 minutes. With the help of a cotton wool or sterile gauze, apple the tea to the areas of the skin affected by eczema. Rinse it off after 20 minutes or so. Repeat twice daily for the best results.
Aloe vera also makes for a great herbal cure for eczema, so to speak, thanks to its anti-inflammatory, soothing and skin healing properties.
Get a fresh aloe vera lead and squeeze its juice onto the eczema-affected area of the skin.
Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes and then rinse it off with cool water
Repeat the process frequently until you have achieved the desired results.
As you can see, there are way too many home remedies for eczema itch and dryness and you should not suffer or have to always go for over the counter antihistamines and other medications to relieve the symptoms.