Eczema: Natural home remedies and treatment
Natural eczema home remedies and treatment will help you strengthen your skin barrier, filling in those gaps, knowing the possible eczema triggers and help overcome them…
Eczema or atopic dermatitis is the chronic inflammation of the skin, which expresses itself in number of ways with its signs and symptoms varies from person to person. But in general most of affected patients have dry, itchy, inflamed, highly sensitive skin with some may have dark discoloration, flakes, rashes, blistering, peeling and oozing.
Eczema can affect people of all ages
The exact cause of atopic dermatitis is unknown, but some evidence is there to support its genetic origin. Eczema does not discriminate. The condition may go from remission to exacerbation or flare-ups, which can be induced by certain triggers like chemical irritants, pollution, microorganisms, temperature changes, food allergies, material of clothing, hormonal imbalance and/or stress.
Generally, people suffering from eczema have itchy skin, which gets relieved by constant scratching. While scratching may provide temporary benefit, it stimulates the release of histamine, resulting in more itching. Moreover, it damages skin further and may pose risk for bacterial invasion into the skin.
Current treatments for Eczema
Current treatment for eczema ranges from topical steroids, immunosuppressant, phototherapy and other over-the-counter creams. But a survey published in Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft found that more than 40% of polled individuals were dissatisfied with the current trend of treatment and found it ineffective, expensive and not safe for long-term use.
Natural Home remedies and treatment for Eczema
Keeping all this in mind natural therapies, treatments and preventions are gaining momentum to ease itching, scratching, dryness and other symptoms of Eczema. Try these following home remedies before seeking a dermatologist.
1. Check your lifestyle!
1. Wear cool, non-irritant loose cloths.
2. Liberal usage of moisturiser: Try to keep your skin moist throughout the day.
3. Recognising lifestyle triggers: Identify what triggers eczema flare-ups and reduce exposure to them.
4. Try to avoid scratching, you may trim your nails or cover the affected area if you can’t resist scratching.
5. Consider wet press: By covering the itchy skin with bandages you can protect the skin and prevent it from scratching.
6. Consider using humidifier, as dry air can irritate sensitive skin and exacerbate itching and flaking by dehydrating it.
7. Try to use mild soaps and shampoos: Use vegetable based natural soaps and shampoos NOT containing sodium laurel sulphate, silicon or parabens.
8. Reduce stress both physical as well as psychological, as it can worsen eczema’s symptoms. Acknowledge stressors and try to manage-eliminate them. Practice yoga, meditation and/or simple breathing exercises.
2. Dietary Modifications
As we know that in our gut balance is maintained between the beneficial microbes and pathogenic microbes. When this balance is lost, pathogenic microbes can damage gut lining, leading to leaky gut syndrome. In this condition undigested food, pathogens, toxins can enter into blood stream and can cause far reaching consequences – eczema is one of them.
The dietary program of eczema focuses on introduction of foods, which can heal gut lining, increase beneficial gut microbes (probiotics and fermented foods) and foods that can contains histamine lowering nutrients.
Foods to include for natural home treatment and remedies…
1. Probiotics: These are the live beneficial bacteria that can maintain balance of gut flora. A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2003 showed effectiveness of lactobacillus bacterium in preventing as well as reducing severity of eczema.
2. Bone broth: It has high gelatin and amino acid glycine content, which is very soothing to the gut lining and helps to repair it. For making bone broth try to select high quality grass fed cattle, pastured poultry or wild caught fish. Those having concerns with making and consuming bone broth can take gelatin supplements instead.
3. Banana: Bananas contain histamine lowering nutrients i.e. magnesium and vitamin c, which can help reduce the itchiness, inflammation and dryness of the skin.
4. Oatmeal and eggs: Both of them are loaded with zinc, which is an important mineral to reduce eczema flare-ups.
5. Green onions: Green Onions contain histamine lowering nutrients and anti-inflammatory nutrient quercetin, which is a key nutrient for maintaining healthy skin. Other foods rich in quercetin are apples, berries, citrus fruits and broccoli.
6. Buckwheat: Buckwheat is rich in quercetin and is a good gluten free alternative, as gluten rich diet is supposed to trigger eczema.
7. Fatty fish: Try to include fatty fish like salmon, halibut in your diet as these re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help preventing eczema flare-ups and makes skin moist and supple.
8. Seeds and nuts: Try including variety of nuts and seeds in your diet, and in particular flax seed and chia seeds which is rich in omega 3s.
9. Potato: Rich source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium, potatoes is an alkalizing food, which helps to regulate skin pH.
10. Sprouts and other fermented foods: Helps to maintain balance in intestinal flora and are in general alkalizing foods.
Foods to exclude for natural eczema home treatment and remedies…
1. Highly processed foods: Get rid of all the highly processed foods from your kitchen. Simpest option is to check the labels while purchasing your grocery.
2. Milk and milk products: According to National Eczema Association, cow’s milk is supposed to be the most potent dietary trigger for eczema, which can aggravate its symptoms as it is quite acidic and has lots of chemicals in it. Try to exclude it for 2-3 weeks and see if any noticeable difference you perceive.
3. Gluten rich Diet: Gluten rich food including wheat is also believed to aggravate eczema. Exclude bread, pasta, and gluten rich cereals.
4. Soy products: Try to eliminate if soy seems to aggravate your condition.
Supplements for natural home treatment and remedies for eczema
1. Vitamin A, D and E: Vitamin A and E helps to maintain skin hydration, improves texture and protects skin from free radicals. Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and antimicrobial role. It not only reduces pro-inflammatory immune factor’s production but also boost immune system.
Vitamin A, D and E helps to reduce colonization of candida, a pathogen promoting chronic eczema. Also, it stimulates production of cathelicidins, which are anti- microbial compounds released in body to remove pathogens causing eczema.
2. Omega-3 fatty acids: Known for its anti- inflammatory properties, omega 3 can protect the lining of intestinal mucosa, preventing harmful bacteria from entering blood stream thus reducing hypersensitivity reactions started by the immune system.
3. Gamma linolenic acid: An essential fatty acid, Gamma linolenic acid is present in evening prime rose oil, hemp oil and borage oil. It helps to reduce inflammation, correct lipid balance in skin, improve skin barrier function and keeps the skin moist and soft.
4. Coconut oil: Consider using organic cold pressed oil like virgin coconut oil for topical application, as it is regarded as an effective moisturizer. Apply directly on the affected skin and allow it to sink in to reap best healthful benefits.
According to a study published in journal Dermatitis, 2008 Virgin coconut oil can be useful in proactive treatment to reduce colonization of many bacteria, fungi and viruses.
5. Aloe vera: The most important properties of aloe vera are its ability to moisturize the skin and act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Aloe Vera helps to hydrate the skin, helps in removal of unwanted dead skin and aids in penetrating ability of the skin.
Moreover, due to its anti-inflammatory properties aloe vera helps to reduce pain, discomfort and aids in wound healing and immune system restoration, Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, 2010.
6. Oatmeal: Oatmeal contains phenols like avenanthramides, which exhibit antioxidant, anti- inflammatory and anti-irritant properties. You can choose from Oatmeal formulations that range from various bath treatments, body washes, soaps, lotions and creams OR you can simply adopt bath remedy, wherein 10cc of oatmeal should be sprinkle directly under running water.
Soak your full body except head and neck into the water for 15-20 minutes. It gently cleanses the skin and helps to make it smooth and soft.
According to a study published in Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, natural colloidal oatmeal can restore cutaneous barrier and can decrease use of corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors in eczema.
7. Vitamin E oil: Vitamin E possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties when used topically. Break the capsules and apply the oil directly on the affected area
8. Chamomile Brew: It is used to reduce itching and inflammation. Mix fresh dried herbs with boiling water and steep it for 15 minutes to make a brew, which can be applied to affected area for 20 minutes. It can be used for more than once daily in acute exacerbations.
9. Essential oils: During acute exacerbations of eczema, inflammatory responses start at otherwise healthy tissue as well. Many proteins and enzymes like COX-2 are held responsible for such flare-ups.
According to a study published in The Journal of Lipid Research, 2010 found 6 essential oils that can effectively reduce COX-2 levels. These essential oils are: Thyme, Clove, Rose, Eucalyptus, Fennel and Chamomile Oil.
You have to mix 1-2 drops of essential oils to the carrier oil like Coconut oil, Almond oil or Jojoba oil.
10. Calendula lotion: It is made by extracting oil from a marigold like flower, and is used to reduce pain and inflammation. Calendula can be obtained by formulations like soaps, creams, oil salves and lotions, which are available at most of the drug stores.
11. Sweet Almond oil: It contains ursolic and oleic acid, which are used to reduce inflammation and helps to repair the skin. As it is hypoallergic to skin, sweet almond oil can be applied all over it before bath and protects skin from excessive dryness.
12. Lemon: Apply lemon on affected area, it may hurt if the skin is broken and inflamed but that is totally normal. Lemon’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory property helps you to get rid of dry, scaly and swollen skin.
13. Turmeric: According to a study published in Journal of Drugs in Dermatology 2010 turmeric has been beneficial in skin care owing to its anti-oxidant properties. Curcumin present in turmeric helps in wound healing, reducing inflammation, and improving skin circulation.
14. Bleach Bath: Bleach Bath helps to decrease bacterial growth on skin and thus reduces infections. Mix ½ cup of bleaching powder to the bathtub. Soak in the tub for 10 minutes, and can be used 2-3 times a day.
15. Vinegar bath: Vinegar has anti-microbial properties and can be used as wet dressing. Mix 1 cup of vinegar to the bathtub and soak yourself for 10-15 minutes.
16. Salt bath: An article published in the International Journal of Dermatology found that “Skin roughness and redness of the skin as a marker for inflammation were significantly reduced after bathing in the salt solution. This demonstrates that bathing in salt solution was well tolerated, improved skin barrier function, enhanced stratum corneum hydration, and reduced skin roughness and inflammation”.
17. Baking Soda Bath: You can make a paste of baking soda with water or can simply add into your bathtub to get relief from itching.
18. Eczema Scrubs: These natural scrubs helps to remove dry, flaky, dead skin while maintaining skin hydration. They help to reduce skin inflammation, gives relief from itching, control bacterial colonization, and helps to heal sores. You can choose from sugar scrubs to sea salts scrubs. But be sure that the scrub you purchase should be pH balanced and free from parabens.
19. Honey: Honey possesses antiseptic and antibiotic properties. Honey contains 18 amino acids and many vitamins and minerals and helps in wound healing and moisturizing the skin. Honey can also be used alone or mixed with sugar to gently exfoliate dead skin cells.
20. Epsom salt: Epsom Salt can act as anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, detox, exfoliate and cleansing agent. Epsom salt removes dead cells and prevents pores clogging and also improves skin barrier recovery.
You can add 1-3 cups of Epsom salt to your bath. Along with Epsom salt you can add baking soda and essential oils as well. Soak yourself in water for about 20 minutes to gain maximum benefits. Do not forget to moisturize your skin after the bath.