How to Relieve Eczema Naturally
Many eczema patients use some form of complementary or alternative therapies and, like me, there are people still looking for new and better treatment options. While there are also medical options, here we teach you how to relieve eczema naturally. From colloidal oatmeal to acupuncture, there are a variety of available natural remedies for eczema.
Conventional medicines are extremely helpful for eczema patients, but if they worked 100%, then you would not be here. For some people, making a few changes in their daily routine helps them overcome eczema flares. But the not-so-lucky ones are still out looking for the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
Medication is often prescribed if your skincare regimen does not control the itching and rash. Topical corticosteroids are the mainstay of treatment, followed by calcineurin inhibitors, such as pimecrolimus and tacrolimus (drugs used to prevent transplant rejections). These treatments can reduce inflammation and itching, but prolonged use may cause side effects.
Naturopathic medicine is a healthcare system that uses natural therapies to help the body heal itself. Natural treatments, such as nutritional and herbal supplements, are often used as complementary treatments to conventional medicine. Avoidance of allergens or triggers is important whether you are using conventional or natural treatment.
Do Natural Remedies Work?
While many natural remedies for eczema have not been proven to be effective in research trials, they can offer relief to certain symptoms of mild-to-moderate eczema in adults. Not all products labeled “natural” are safe or effective. Any advice or tips you get from outside sources must be reviewed with your clinician.
Patients with severe, difficult-to-control eczema may require potent prescription drugs or oral medications. You must consult a board-certified dermatologist to create a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Your Diet and Eczema
Having food allergies is the earliest manifestation of atopy. It is described as the genetic tendency to develop eczema and other allergic diseases. Seven food items, including cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, fish and soy, can cause adverse reactions in infants and children. On the other hand, the main food allergens in adults are peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.
Naturopathic practitioners suggest eliminating all major allergens from a patient’s diet, then slowly reintroducing them one at a time while monitoring for symptoms. There is no particular diet recommended for eczema but eating a balanced diet from natural and organic sources can improve symptoms.
Helpful Dietary Supplements
Promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut may be helpful for a variety of inflammatory diseases like eczema. However, it is not clear which organism or combination of organisms is most effective for eczema.
The use of vitamin D for atopic dermatitis has shown promising results in several small studies. Combining vitamin D with vitamin E increases the benefit in another small study. Topical vitamin B12 has shown compelling benefits in studies, but the effectiveness as creams or ointments requires further research.
Supplementation of long-chain omega 3 fatty acids may help in the prevention of allergic disorders, like eczema. Eating small, wild, fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, tuna and herring is the best way of incorporating this essential fatty acid into your diet.
Taking evening primrose oil and borage oil supplements have claimed to reduce the itching and intensity of eczema symptoms, but research studies have also showed otherwise. Both supplements failed to show benefits when compared to a placebo.
When it comes to the question of how to relieve eczema naturally, some people turn to herbal and other home remedies.
Applying coconut oil on the affected skin reduces the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, commonly found in abundance in the skin of eczema sufferers. Reducing staph also reduces the chance of infection.
Sunflower oil promotes the skin barrier function, which helps retain moisture and keeps bacteria away. It has anti-inflammatory properties that relieve itching and inflammation.
Root extracts from licorice have skin-soothing and antibacterial properties. It is often included in gel or cream preparations for eczema to help reduce itching, redness and inflammation.
Colloidal oatmeal is made by grinding oats into a fine powder. It is available commercially in cream and powder form and is often added to soaks and baths to protect eczema-prone skin.
Some research shows support for the use of Chinese herbal preparations for atopic dermatitis. However, some safety issues have also been raised, including increased liver and kidney damage. If you wish to take this approach, talk to your doctor first. It is advised that you take a list of the ingredients of the mixture prescribed to you.
A Mind and Body Approach
Stress is an important contributory factor in skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis. Research on childhood eczema has shown that less severe eczema symptoms are associated with more organized family structures. The authors concluded that more organized families are better at protecting children from stress, providing proper care and treatment compared to those who were not as organized.
Psychotherapeutic treatments for eczema mainly aim for the reduction of stress. Relaxation-type therapies have been successful in relieving eczema symptoms in children who are resistant to typical dermatologic treatments. Some techniques used for reducing stress and anxiety in eczema patients include hypnosis, biofeedback and meditation.
Acupuncture may help ease itching related to eczema by stimulating specific points (acupoints) in the body. Results from several studies showed that it has been effective in improving symptoms of mild to moderate eczema, particularly in controlling the itch.
What Works for Me?
I have tried different brands and preparations of emollients for my rashes, but the cheaper, multipurpose and more readily available petroleum jelly is my personal favorite. For intensely itchy flares, I still reach for my ever-reliable generic corticosteroid ointment.
I believe that one of the best approaches for managing this embarrassing and debilitating condition is to keep a positive outlook. It does take time, effort and creativity to be able to shift your thoughts and create an optimistic attitude, but every small step counts!
In the ongoing process of understanding how to relieve eczema naturally, education is an especially critical part of eczema management. Many treatments fail not because they do not work, but because of improper application and confusing information from healthcare providers. Always remember that treatment for eczema is directed at levels of control, not a cure. There is no one treatment that is universally effective for eczema. Combining different therapies tailored to your condition may provide optimal results.