Natural Remedies for Eczema
Eczema seems to be a rapidly growing problem in our society today.
It is the question I get asked most about and I can see the frustration and trauma this skin condition causes for families. Many people are interested in natural remedies and a permanent solution, rather than taking antihistamines, antibiotics or steroids.
I am not an expert in this field by any means, but I have collated some information from my Facebook community. Some of our natural, new age mums have kindly shared what has worked for them. I hope this resource will serve as a go-to guide for you. I have also asked Michelle Vogrinec from Gaia Skin Naturals to share her eczema story as well.
So, what is eczema?
“Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a recurring, non-infectious, inflammatory skin condition. The skin becomes red, dry, itchy and scaly, and in severe cases, may weep, bleed and crust over, causing the sufferer much discomfort. Sometimes the skin may become infected. The condition can also flare and subside for no apparent reason.” Eczema Association of Australasia
What causes eczema?
No-one seems to know the exact cause, but it does appear to flare up from stress, allergies and intolerances or you may have an inherited family tendency. Other things may irritate the condition like the weather, animal hair, pollen and grasses and chemicals.
It seems to be a commonly held belief that eczema results from an imbalance somewhere in your body. These are some suggestions other mums have used successfully to correct that imbalance:
♥ Testing. Get tested for allergies or intolerance. Gluten, dairy, soy, eggs and some salicylates and amines seem to be common culprits.
♥ Rebalance. Try natural therapies like naturopathy, acupuncture, chiropractor, kinesiology, EFT and homeopathy.
♥ Probiotics. Many of you mentioned that probiotics was one of the best remedies and first stops. I like this one from Changing Habits because it is wheat and dairy free.
♥ Clean Eating. Avoid chemicals, additives and processed foods.
♥ Zinc. Increase zinc in the diet in the form of supplements or zinc-rich foods.
♥ Apple Cider Vinegar. Add ACV to the diet as it contains enzymes that aid digestion.
♥ The Eczema Diet by Karen Fischer. “The Eczema Diet includes all the facts and scientific research, as well as itch-busting treatments that offer immediate relief combined with a tried-and-tested diet – developed by nutritionist Karen Fischer over the past ten years through her work with eczema patients – that really gets results” Get in online here.
These remedies shared by natural, new age mums help to manage the symptoms of eczema.
♥ Avoid anything that contain sulphates, perfumes and alcohol.
♥ Keep the area well moisturized.
♥ Don’t have long, hot baths or showers as these are drying.
♥ Oats in the bath are very soothing on the skin.
♥ Coconut oil. Bathing in it and also applying to the skin. Get a good quality coconut oil though.
♥ Apple Cider Vinegar. Diluted and applied with an organic cotton ball or pad.
♥ Aloe Vera Gel. The sap or gel from a fresh plant is best.
♥ Organic shea butter.
♥ Wet wrapping. It’s An Itchy Little World has some great tips on how to do this.
♥ Chamomile. You can use tea bags, steep and then make a warm (not hot) compress and let it sit on the affected area for 10 minutes.
♥ Homeopathic Remedies. Nicole at Puraforce Remedies has an eczema cream and eczema drops. Both can be ordered through the website and selecting 1xprescribed cream and 1xprescribed remedy. In the additional comments when you check out write the person’s age and eczema cream and eczema drops and Nicole will be dispense them.
♥ Swimming in the ocean.
♥ Have a completely chemical and synthetic fragrance free home.
Michelle Vogrinec from Gaia Skin Naturals actually started her hugely successful business because of eczema! Have a read of her experience.
My personal experience with eczema is centered around my oldest child (who is just about to turn 14). He developed eczema when he was just 8 weeks old. The majority of the skin care products made his eczema worse, even the natural ones.
After being told cortisone was my only option by all manner of ‘specialists’, I started to look into how I could find alternative options. We lived on an organic product farm at the time and I started making up herbal baths with chamomile and lavender flowers, which helped a little bit.
Working with my naturopath, who is a vega tester, she was able to identify majority of the things that were causing his eczema. They included chemicals in every day skin care products (soap, artificial fragrance, a lot of foaming agents and preservatives) as well as dust mites and mould. It took around 8 months to work through products in our home that could be a problem and eliminate them. In the interim, I studied skin physiology, aromatherapy and what natural ingredients would be of benefit and what ingredients would actually cause flare ups.
I then started making my own skin care and after several potions, some successful and some not, I found some combinations which worked well and I managed to keep his eczema under control. This lead to the commercial creation of GAIA Natural Baby!
Eczema can be managed and kept under control. My tips on managing eczema:
· Find out what causes or flares the eczema and avoid.
· If you need help with this, try a vega testing naturopath or an allergist over a dermatologist who seems to just want to put cortisone on the skin rather than help find the cause.
· Moisturising is key for managing eczema (it helps restore the skin’s barrier which is damaged for people with eczema). Choose a product high in organic oils that are rich in essential fatty acids, which your skin needs to create adequate barrier functions.
· Get a good skin care routine in place – bath, moisturise and soothe/protect.
· Watch your laundry liquids – stick to mild gels (not powders that don’t break down and leave a residue in the clothes) and don’t use fabric softener.
· Find what works and stick to it!
Michelle is kind enough to send out free samples of her Gaia products so you can try them out yourself. Just email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “NNAM Free Samples” in the subject line and include name and postal address in the email so she can send you out the samples.
These are the Gaia products Michelle recommends for eczema:
Hair & Body Wash and Sleeptime Bath – both pH balanced, soap and sulphate free cleansers with organic oils to prevent dryness.
Baby Moisturiser with organic shea butter, evening primrose and rosehip oils (all skin loving oils) to keep skin hydrated.
Skin Soothing Lotion is a thick cream containing beeswax, zinc, castor oil and organic calendula and chamomile extracts to protect and providing soothing relief.
Eczema seems to be a very individual condition with no one solution. Keep persevering and trying different things until you hit upon what works for you. I think the main message I keep hearing from mums is that both internal and external remedies are needed, as well as lots of patience!
I hope some of these ideas help you out. Please comment on this post if you have some more thoughts or experiences with eczema – the more ideas the better!!