My son is now 1 and has been suffering from eczema for quite some time. I have tried all the lotions, creams, and prescription medications but it only relieves it temporarily. I need ideas on more natural remedies that may be more beneficial for my son.
After receiving numerous queries regarding eczema, I am now dedicating a page to Eczema. Please take the following notes as in the spirit it is intended. I am not a Qualified Dermatologist or Doctor. I can only speak from my own personal Eczema experience. If you have not yet consulted with your own Doctor about a skin condition that is currently affecting you, I would strongly advise that you seek his or her advice before trying other avenues. For example, your skin condition/eczema may be a symptom of some other underlying condition. Over the years my tolerance to my skin sensitivities has decreased considerably, which in turn has led to extreme aggressive bouts of eczema. But, within the last year I have found that by being disciplined and following the below steps has helped me to cope with my very dry skin/Eczema condition. A big thank you to my husband, Nick, who helped me with words of encouragement and support – and also for helping me to program this wonderful site, whereby hopefully, other like-minded individuals will find relief in the beautiful products we support.
Some helpful tips for Eczema:
1. If you are currently experiencing infected eczema, treat your eczema with the steroid treatment prescribed to you by your Doctor. Desperation usually gets the better of us in the end (it did with me). I tried many alternative remedies, but the only sure way forward was medical intervention. But saying that, it’s one thing getting rid of eczema temporarily, but being rid of it for good was another matter entirely. Hence, my aim was to use the steroid treatment cream for the last and final time! When your skin is inflamed, itching and bleeding, steroids seem to be the only hope and relief on offer for eczema these days.
2. Once the infection has cleared up (bleeding/weeping and general ‘rawness’) heavily moisturise your skin with natural skincare (after cleansing your skin). Keep moisturising even if large clumps of skin fall off. Constantly reapply creams/butters as eczema areas begin to dry. It is best to use products containing plenty of Essential Fatty Acids, for example body butters etc. Note: If you use any new products on your skin whilst it is in an inflamed or in an infectious state, it may create new sensitivities for you, regardless of whether the products are natural or otherwise (more specifically products containing more essential oils and herbal extracts – it is best to opt for a more basic ingredient cream/butter). Whilst constantly applying heavy thick butters to your skin, you may want to wear some old clothes for a while; the aim here is to keep your skin at optimum moisture levels. Your good clothes will become spoilt. This part of the process took me about half a week to complete. I was at the time signed off sick from work, so, back then I could take every day as it came. This is an important fact to mention, if you have worries about your work, book a couple of weeks off, so that you can focus on healing your eczema. Perhaps you have a hectic family life; maybe some kind caring individual could baby-sit for a while? There is nothing worse than worries flying around your mind. Worrying, just made my eczema states more aggressive.
3. Are you still having trouble in trying to stop the itch? This is why eczema keeps coming back/becomes re-infected, it’s that unbearable urge to rip your skin off, that unbearable burning itch that you just can’t leave alone. Whilst at the stage of heavily moisturising your flaky skin, try hay fever tablets (please check with your Doctor first). When the skin starts to peel in clumps it can feel like a heavy sticky clay cracking facemask, and that can keep the itch going. The hay fever tablets were excellent for ridding the horrible urge to scratch. They worked (for me), because after the initial 7/8 hours were complete the urge to scratch came back. I must say that the only hay fever tablets that stopped the itching was Benedryl Plus. I tried the normal Benedryl, but experienced no itch relief. But please do check with your Doctor before taking hay fever tablets as they may affect whatever condition may be underlying the Eczema (if there is one). Even though the eczema itch may have stopped, keep topping up your moisture levels, this is vital. Only stop moisturising when you have stopped the hay fever medication course and your skin no longer itches without the aid of hay fever medication. However, do keep your former eczema skin well moisturised. The paranoia of eczema returning does get better, eventually, and the day that you can leave your skin free of any lotions and potions is very liberating indeed!
4. A little sunlight was very beneficial for eczema. After heavily moisturising the very dry and flaky skin (with no infection) I sat in the garden for about 10 minutes, after 3:45pm, to avoid burning. Of course, if weather permitting. Sunlight is needed for our skin to formulate Vitamin D.
5. Have you heard of Essential Fatty Acids? These are thought to be precursors for the hormones that look after your skin and reproductive systems. They can also assist in regulating hormone fluctuations. Unfortunately, by the time you’ve noticed that you do lack EFAs, it can take up to 6 months to get your levels back to normal. Hair and skin are always the first to be compromised when your system is running below normal. Whilst trying to increase your EFAs by eating the correct foods (avocados, nuts & seeds – Hemp being the best source) it might also be a good idea to take supplements for increased effectiveness? Such as Vitamin C (Ester C), Magnesium, Zinc and Vitamin B Complex. I found that these were excellent for trying to assist skin disorders. PLEASE NOTE: Essential Fatty Acid Oils should be COLD PRESSED only. Do not purchase anything but. I personally switched brand earlier this year and bought by mistake an Oil that was NOT COLD-PRESSED. The quality is inferior as all the goodness and nutrition has been killed off by excess heat!!!! My skin started to become more sensitised and reacted. I switched back to COLD-PRESSED and noticed almost an immediate difference with my skin health).
6. NO ALCOHOL ALLOWED! Well, at least until you have the Eczema under control. I personally found that when I drank alcohol, this made the itching burn so much worse. This is due to the alcohol leaching precious nutrients from your body.
7. Eat plenty of ‘rainbow food’, these are vegetables and fruits of all colours, this will ensure that you ingest all the beneficial enzymes available for your bodily functions, best to make them Organic too.
8. Ensure that you receive plenty of rest, sleep is a wonderful rejuvenator; perhaps skip those nights out until you have the Eczema fully under control?
9. SOAP – only use soap that is handmade – with plenty of natural vegetable glycerine, a good oily/fatted soap is best. Avoid Sodium Lauryl Sulphates at all costs. This is a known skin sensitiser/irritant which is found in most, if not all commercial mainstream products. When using SLS on your skin (and backed up through my own personal experience) the natural acid mantle can be seriously disrupted. Of course it does depend on how much SLS is in a product, avoid commercial bubble baths, they WILL strip your natural oils, as they do tend to contain more SLS than say for example, a shampoo. Skin needs to retain a nice natural water resistant base to defend itself from invading microbes, etc. The sebum and sweat combine nicely to form this healthy acid mantle (which is also a mild anti-bactericide too). Hence, more sensitive skins will be prone to the chance of experiencing skin disorders/problems when using SLS products, such as eczema. Unfortunately, for some, the need to remove all trace of natural oil from the skin whilst showering and bathing is the only way one feels clean. Over washing can seriously damage your skin. Since using less harsh detergents my skin’s ability to heal itself has become far more efficient. Also avoiding products with petro-chemical derived emollients has also resulted in far fewer rashes & spots. Using harsh detergents means that the skin has to over compensate from an offensive attack. The skin starts to produce more and more oil (sebum) as a form of protection. Pores can become clogged and infected, resulting in spots for some. For me, the balance was constantly being tipped up until I stopped stripping my skin’s natural defence and plastering it with cling-film type petrochemical skincare. Of course, when choosing natural skincare, you still need to be aware that all base oils have differing characteristics; some are more suited to mature/dry skins whereas other base oils are more suited to more sensitive/combination type skins. But saying that, all the products on this site specify the skin type it was created for. If your skin suffers with excess oil (and is not sensitive) this skincare might help? But, do watch your skin in this respect, as oily over-production is a sure sign of an imbalance, which could lead to sensitivities for the future.
10. After moisturising your skin heavily, whether with natural or otherwise, your skin can become clogged, especially after using so many body butters, etc. Your skin needs to breathe. Too much on your skin can also lead to that hot burning eczema itch. You now need to achieve a nice balance between using moisturisers/creams/oils/butters and a very mild and gentle soap at bath/shower time. When the eczema is at it’s most intense, a bath is the last thing you want. Perhaps showering might be a good option? Don’t soak the affected skin for longer than is necessary. Simply Soaps Calendula & Lavender is an excellent bar of soap, it can help to achieve this balance. Very mild and effective for clearing the excess oily build-up whilst respecting my natural pH balance/acid mantle. But since my own Eczema experience, we have introduced many more wonderful/skin nourishing soaps.
11. There is nothing better when you have been suffering eczema for long periods of time, to finally have a wonderful exfoliating session when your eczema is finally under control! I can now exfoliate my skin on a regular basis, about once a week is right for me. I would only suggest trying to exfoliate once your skin has gone back to normal – ensuring that about a month has passed with a good track record of healthy skin even before attempting to exfoliate. Once you have finished exfoliating, ensure that you seal the fresh bare layers of skin with a natural good moisturising lotion/cream/oil containing plenty of Essential Fatty Acids, to ensure you nourish and protect your skin.
12. Exercise on a regular basis and keep drinking plenty of water. The constant flow of fresh new liquid releases toxins from your system, sluggish lymph is able to move along far more efficiently when you exercise. Both will enable you to experience far more balance within your system.
13. Look into the type of detergent you use to wash your clothes, washing powders/liquids are usually the main source of skin discomfort/increase of eczema episodes.
14. I know it’s easier said than done, but do try and take some time to relax. I found that yoga & meditating was an excellent aid in helping me keep calm in times of stress.
My main eczema skin allergy triggers are Petroleum & SLS based products. These ingredients can be found in perfume/fragrances, and in most, if not all mainstream skincare and hair care products. The affects of petro-chemical derived ingredients suffocate the sensitive skin’s ability to breathe; the petro-chemical based skincare acts like a cling-film wrap, this is the best way to describe the skin’s inability to breathe. Hence, the skin becomes hot and itchy, and can then lead to eczema.
Of course, everyone’s triggers are most certainly different. Some triggers are from natural products, such as Vitamin E and essential oils.
I wish you luck in trying to overcome your skin condition.