You’ve probably heard word “eczema” a lot in various circumstances, but I bet that you actually know very little about it. However, if you have suddenly developed an intense itching, you might wonder – is this eczema? Read on to find out.
Eczema is a common skin condition that affects millions of people every year. However, children and babies are more likely to have eczema than adults. Studies estimate that about 10 % to 20 % of all newborns in the USA are affected by this disease and only 3 % of the adult population.
And sadly, there is no known cure.
If you happen to be in the unlucky group, you might be scratching your head what to do. And not only your head, if you get what I mean.
Doctors treat eczema with lotions and creams to keep your skin moist, but there are many effective home remedies for eczema. In some cases, they could be a better choice than chemical-based creams.
Let’s first answer some important question, for example, who can get eczema and why.
What causes eczema?
When most people use the word “eczema”, they usually mean any rash-like skin condition. When professionals use this word, they mean atopic dermatitis. (Dermatitis means inflammation, while atopic means predisposition to certain allergic diseases.) This is a skin condition that usually appears in infancy and childhood.
However, if you didn’t have eczema as a child, it doesn’t mean that you’re safe. Atopic dermatitis can also start in adulthood.
But what causes it, you ask? Sadly, doctors are not sure who the culprit behind the atopic eczema is. Most specialists believe that eczema appears due to a combination of factors:
Genetic. For example, if you had eczema as a child, it’s likely that your child will also develop it. If both parents happen to have an atopic disease like asthma or hay fever, the chances are greater.
Overreaction of the immune system to an irritant.
Defects in the skin barrier.
Common triggers that can lead to a flare-up of eczema include:
Dry skin. If your skin doesn’t retain enough moisture, it’s more susceptible to irritants.
Allergens such as pet hair, dust mites, mold, pollen.
Changes in the weather and the temperatures.
Certain foods, if you happen to have an allergy to them such as cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat.
Irritants. The most common ones are soap, shampoos, and detergents.
Change at the hormone levels during pregnancy or menstruation.
Coarse fabrics and materials like wool
Upper respiratory infections
Stress. Although it can’t directly cause eczema, it might make the symptoms worse.
By now, you might wonder: Is it contagious? If my friend has eczema, will I also get it? The answer is no – it’s not contagious, so don’t worry.
Signs and symptoms of eczema
If you think you have eczema or your child has a suspicious itching rash, it’s best to consult with your doctor and pediatrician. They usually can diagnose eczema just be looking at your skin.
The most common symptoms of eczema include:
Dry, thickened or scaly skin
However, the symptoms may vary, especially if we are talking about a child or an adult:
In a 2-3-month-old baby, the rash is usually located on the scalp and the cheeks. You can also observe bubbling, oozing, extreme itchiness, rubbing against the bedding to scratch the itch, trouble sleeping.
In children (two-year-old and older), the rash begins in the crease of the elbows or the knees, on the neck, wrists, and ankles. Over time, the skin might thicken and develop knots and scaly patches.
In adults, the rash again appears in the crease of the elbows, the knees, or the nape of the neck and it can lead to scaly skin, skin infections, and the worst – non-stop itching. Rubbing or scratching the irritated skin will only make the itching worse.
If you had eczema as a child, it might disappear when you grow older. However, some people continue to have episodes during their adulthood.
How to deal with eczema?
If your infant has atopic dermatitis, it’s only natural to wonder how to treat baby eczema. The most effective and simple way is to keep the skin hydrated and cool with lukewarm baths and moisturizers. Also, don’t use scented soap or other irritants. Bear in mind that the best lotion for eczema is the one with the highest oil content.
But what should you do if you’re the one with the rash and the itchiness? Don’t worry. Here are some efficient home remedies for eczema that will make your feel better.
1. Aloe Vera soothes itchiness
You might know aloe vera to be an excellent cure for sunburn. But it has numerous health benefits, and it’s also a perfect choice for relieving your eczema’s symptoms. Here’s why:
It has potent anti-inflammatory properties that reduce inflammation, redness, and itchiness
It’s considered a natural skin moisturizer, and it keeps the skin hydrated.
It prevents further skin irritations.
It boosts the immune system.
aloe vera leaves
vitamin E oil
Extract the gel from the aloe leaves.
Discard the green liquid. It’s toxic.
Add a few drops of vitamin E oil.
Apply to the affected skin.
Wait for it to dry.
Rinse with warm water.
Use twice a day for several weeks.
Alternatively, you can mix aloe vera and coconut oil.
1/3 cup of aloe vera
½ cup of coconut oil
A glass container.
Mix 1/3 cup of aloe vera, ½ cup of coconut oil and a few drops of essential oil in a bowl.
Use the whisker for 5 to 10 minutes to whisk the mixture.
Transfer the mixture to a glass container.
Store it in the refrigerator.
Apply the mixture on the affected skin.
Wait until your skin absorbs it.
After three weeks, make a new bath.
First, do a patch test to determine if aloe vera won’t further irritate your skin. Also, if you’re allergic to lilies, stay away from aloe vera.
For better results, it’s best to use fresh aloe leaves. Here’s a video how to extract the gel out of the leaves properly.
Avoid buying aloe vera gel. It has added chemicals, and they can worsen your condition.
2. Epsom salt bath removes toxins and promotes healing
Have you heard about balneotherapy? It’s an old technique which uses bathing as a treatment for various health conditions. But why would an Epsom bath be a good way to treat eczema? Well, Epsom salt:
relaxes the body;
has detoxicating properties;
has anti-inflammatory properties;
can have an antimicrobial effect which prevents overgrowth of fungus and bacteria
Here’s how to prepare an Epsom salt bath at home.
Bathtub with warm water
Baking soda or apple cider vinegar
Essential oil, for example, lavender oil or cypress oil
Add one to three cups of Epsom salt to your bath. You need around 450 grams for a regular tub.
Add 10-15 drops of essential oil.
Add two teaspoons of baking soda or apple cider vinegar
Soak in the bath for at least 20 minutes.
Pat your skin.
Apply moisturizer to keep your skin from getting dry.
Repeat up to three times a week.
For children use ½ - 1 cup of Epsom salt.
Avoid Epsom salt if you have diabetes, a heart condition or problems with your blood pressure. Use with caution if you have kidney problems. If your kidneys aren’t working, magnesium will build in the organism.
Also, consume plenty of water before the bath to avoid dehydration.
3. Coconut oil has potent antioxidant properties
Coconut oil is among the most popular and efficient remedies for combating eczema. Why is that, you ask? Well, there are numerous reasons:
It has antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial effects.
It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Applying coconut oil keeps your skin moist, soft, and elastic.
It soothes itchiness and reduces irritation.
Coconut oil is full of vitamin K and E, and other beneficial vitamins and mineral.
There are several ways to use coconut oil. The simplest one is:
Apply the coconut oil to the skin
Repeat several times a day.
Do it daily until you see an improvement.
Alternatively, you can drink some coconut oil.
two to four tablespoons of coconut oil
Swallow two to four tablespoons of coconut oil
If neither method appeals to you, you can take a bath with coconut oil. Here’s how to do it:
Add 3-5 tablespoons of coconut oil to your warm bath water.
Add several drops of essential oils.
Pat your skin gently or let it dry.
Use unrefined, cold-pressed coconut oil for better results.
Coconut oil rarely causes allergic reactions, but to be on the safe side do a patch test, especially if you are allergic to nuts.
Coconut oil is considered safe for children and babies.
4. Neem is a natural emollient
Neem, also known as Indian lily, is an old remedy for various skin conditions, including eczema. Neem has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial effect. In other words, it’s effective for combating inflammation, pain, and dryness.
Moreover, neem oil is also an excellent source of fatty oils and vitamin E that moistures your skin. That’s why neem is often recommended as a natural emollient.
Here’s how to use it to get instant relief from the pain and discomfort of eczema.
mortar and pestle
Grind the neem leaves.
Grind the turmeric root.
Measure one tablespoon of neem leaves and one tablespoon of turmeric root.
Add them to the bowl.
Add one tablespoon of sesame oil.
Make a paste.
Apply to the affected skin.
Wait for the paste to dry.
Rinse with warm water
Alternatively, you can add neem oil to your bath. But don’t use neem oil without diluting it, since it’s too strong and may irritate your skin further.
5. Honey is excellent for itching
You’re probably thinking –“No way! How can honey be good for eczema?”
The truth is that honey is an old remedy for wounds. And there is a good reason for that. Honey has antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties. It promotes healing, moisturizes the skin, and reduces itchiness. For better results, use Manuka honey.
Wash your hands.
Pat them dry.
Apply a layer of honey on the problematic skin.
You may cover it with a bandage, but it’s not obligatory.
Wait 20-30 minutes.
Rinse off with cool water.
Pat the area dry.
Repeat three times a day.
Honey is not recommended for children under eight months. Also, raw honey may contain toxic botulism bacteria. Use with caution.
How to prevent eczema?
Since genetics play such a significant role when it comes to eczema, it’s not up to us whether or not we get the disease. But if we had an episode, is there a way to prevent further flare-ups? Yes, there is. Just follow these simple tips:
Use moisturizers regularly to prevent dry skin.
Avoid wearing rough materials like wool.
Stay away from harsh detergents, solvents, and soaps or wear gloves.
Keep an eye on foods that can cause allergies.
Try to avoid sudden temperature changes and overheating or sweating.
Try to reduce stress.
Use fragrance-free products.
Avoid cigarette smoke.
So, what do you think about these home remedies? Do you find them effective or you have found your own unique remedy for eczema? Tell us what you think in the comments and don’t forget to like and share these amazing home remedies for eczema with your friend and family!