What is Eczema? Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a term used to describe a cluster of medical conditions that lead to the skin becoming inflamed or irritated. These conditions vary from person to person and manifest in many forms.
In mild cases, the skin is generally dry, discolored, scaly and itchy. In more serious cases, there may be crusting and bleeding. As a result of constant scratching, the skin splits and bleeds leaving it open to infection.
Although everyone is susceptible to eczema, it is mainly seen in children. Those who get healed of the condition during their childhood may see a recurrence later on in their lives.
Only a person who has experienced eczema can understand how vicious the “itch-scratch” cycle can be. It has the capacity to cause nearly unbearable discomfort. Having eczema simply means that either your skin has diminished ability to retain water or it is not producing sufficient levels of fats and oils. The lack of moisture causes the space between cells to widen leading to loss of water from the dermis.
What are the natural remedies for Eczema?
The following natural remedies will help strengthen your skin’s barrier, help retain moisture and also focus on addressing the itching and inflammation.
Aloe Vera and vitamin E-Pure Aloe Vera is one of the top natural skin soothers. It helps condition and hydrate dry skin. Vitamin E has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are useful in relieving eczema.
Detoxification - Toxins are everywhere and cannot be avoided. We can only try as much as possible to avoid them and clean the insides of our bodies through detoxification. Taking plenty of water and herbal tea is one way of aiding the process of detoxification.
Fish oil - Fish oil helps reduce the severity of eczema and has proved to be very helpful especially in alleviating the itching. Fish oil is rich in N-6 and N-3 fatty acids both of which help maintain normal skin function. Whether you take it in capsule or liquid form, remember to follow the dosage on the packaging. You may also mix with some orange juice to take away the odour.
Soothing butter - Butter is great for soothing dry and itchy skin. Most of the healing benefits of butter come from its fatty acids such as oleic and stearic that are very useful when it comes to repairing, healing, and softening damaged skin. It also helps reduce inflammation which is a big part of eczema.
Turmeric spice - A number of studies have shown that this spice helps reduce inflammation in some skin conditions. Turmeric contains an antioxidant called curcumin which naturalizes free radicals in skin and reduces wound-healing time. A tablespoon of turmeric everyday will help achieve these benefits. Its subtle, citrusy flavour works nicely in rice, vegetables and other home cooked meals.
Bath “recipes”- Adding some mineral or vegetable oil to warm bath water will help soothe and moisturize dry skin. Another great remedy is adding a little olive oil and some milk to your bath water. An oatmeal bath is also known to soothe itchiness.
Coconut oil - Coconut oil sinks into the skin and fills up that intercellular space that causes moisture loss. Coconut is a lipid which makes it great for preventing your skin from dryness and irritation. Simply rub it on your skin to maximize on its benefits.
Apple cider vinegar - In addition to being a great disinfectant, apple cider vinegar is also a wonderful solution for soothing skin inflammation as well as burns. Using a cotton ball, apply it directly to the scaly areas. If the skin as cracked, do not apply as the vinegar will irritate the area.
Vitamins and minerals - Many of us are deficient in Vitamin D3, B12, zinc and magnesium. Getting sufficient amounts of these important nutrients strengthens your immune system and keeps it strong. Vitamin C and E also help in protecting intestinal cells from free radical and oxidative stress in additional to having antibiotic qualities. Avoid junk food as it depletes these nutrients.
Stress management - Too much stress leads to health issues. Stress may not necessarily be the cause of eczema but it may cause a flare-up or slow the process of healing eczema. Ways to keep your stress under control include sufficient sleep and exercise.
How can we prevent eczema flare-ups?
It is possible to prevent eczema outbreaks or at least lessen their severity. Here are some tips:
- Avoid wool and other scratchy materials
- Moisturize frequently
- Stay away from harsh soaps or detergents
- Avoid overheating or too much sweating
- Protect yourself from sudden changes in humidity or temperature.