What Are The Best Natural Treatments For Eczema?



Persistent itchy skin can be the most irritating thing. Eczema is a condition that leaves your skin inflamed and hypersensitive, leaving scaly skin and redness that requires special treatment to eradicate it, affecting people of all ages. Atopic dermatitis is particularly common - starting in childhood - causing rashes to form in your knees or elbows (the scalp or knees on babies). Scratching your skin too much can expose it to diseases and infections.

As many treatments as there are for eczema, you may be left wondering what causes eczema to flare up after using some of them. Some medication can exacerbate eczema and lead to your skin being even drier than before. While Samatha Bugsith of  NSS Dermatology expert may recommend prescription medication to ease eczema,  she could point you to natural treatments you can try to help replenish your moisture and strengthen your skin in the soonest possible time. They have various benefits and can make the healing process more comforting for you. 

If you’ve already been taking prescription medication for eczema, consult with your dermatologist right away before trying any of these.

Evening Primrose Oil 

Coming from the evening primrose plant, this type of oil is used topically to help you soothe irritated or inflamed skin. It can be taken orally and contains Omega-6 fatty acids, as well as gamma-linolenic acid, both of which can help prevent inflammation across the body. 

 

Evening primrose oil has been used to treat inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, with many people reporting that it eases eczema symptoms over time. Studies about its effectiveness have been mixed throughout the year, however, so you should talk to your Bold City dermatologist about it before determining whether it’s a viable option. 

Coconut Oil 


 

Perhaps a better natural oil you can try as an alternative treatment for eczema is coconut oil. The National Eczema Association has pointed to coconut oil as an effective substance in preventing infection by reducing staph bacteria that develop on the skin.

 

This type of oil, extracted from coconut meat, contains antibacterial properties that make it effective as a natural moisturizer, helping to ease dry skin and rid of the patches that come with the inflammation caused by eczema. Those patches can expose the skin to possible infection. Virgin or cold-pressed coconut oil that is chemical-free is best recommended for your skin.

Colloidal Oatmeal 

Did you know that an oatmeal bath can help you ease the effects of eczema and other skin conditions? It might be a bit off-putting at first, but it’s an effective natural treatment to moisturize and replenish your body. A 2012 study on colloidal oatmeal found that it successfully soothes irritated skin and gives it an added layer of protection, given that it also acts as a buffer to help the skin maintain a healthy surface pH. 

 

Your oatmeal bath will include oatmeal and water. Colloidal oatmeal is made from finely-ground oats and is available both in powder and cream variations. The oatmeal will be suspended in water when you pour it and doesn’t sink to the bottom, so you get the most out of it. Add the oatmeal powder to lukewarm water in your bath, then soak for around 10-15 minutes to properly soften the rough, scaly skin. Once your bath has concluded, pat your skin delicately, then apply a thick layer of hypoallergenic moisturizer with high oil content to top it off.

Calendula Cream 

This is a herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to treat cuts and burns, and to ease skin inflammation. Lab studies have shown that it’s an effective natural remedy that can treat acne (particularly acne vulgaris) as well as rashes and psoriasis. However, it can also be used for eczema, though more study is needed regarding its effectiveness. It’s been found to help improve the flow of blood in inflamed and injured areas, hydrating skin and helping it to fight infection. 

 

Sunflower Oil 

A more common type of natural remedy, sunflower oil also hydrates skin, relieving irritation and inflammation to an extent. This oil is extracted from sunflower seeds and is used to protect the skin’s outer layer, which increases skin moisture and boosts the skin against bacteria. It can be applied directly to the skin without diluting it. The best time to apply it is following a bath when your skin is still damp. 

 

Acupuncture Techniques

While this may be considered a bit extreme, the use of acupuncture and acupressure techniques has helped to relieve itchy skin. The acupuncture process involves the use of fine needles that are inserted into specific points across the skin to transfer energy and improve energy flow. Acupressure, meanwhile, uses the fingers and hands to apply pressure, with preliminary research showing that acupressure can release itchy skin tied to eczema.

 

Simple Relaxation Techniques

One of the underlying factors that makes eczema so tough to eradicate? Stress. 

 

Stress a common trigger for eczema breakouts. It worsens inflammation and can be a determining factor in what causes eczema symptoms to flare up.

 

In addition to prescribing medications or other treatments, your Bold City dermatologist may advise you to try some relaxation techniques to ease that tension in your body that could potentially reduce the effects of eczema. Those relaxation techniques include, but are not limited to: 

 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy 

  • Deep breathing

  • Visualization 

  • Yoga

  • Tai Chi

  • Meditation 

 

Paying attention to your body in detail and how it responds to these techniques can work in conjunction with the remedies that you are taking to help ease medication and improve skincare. 

 

At NSS Dermatology, helping to treat eczema goes beyond the physical. It’s also about mental treatment, aligning you in the best way possible so you can consistently fight the effects of eczema and prevent future flare-ups. 
 

Samantha Busgith, FNP is a certified dermatologist. She specializes in medical dermatology as well as cancer diagnosis and treatment, among other things, and will help you along every step of the way to treating skin conditions such as this. Contact NSS Dermatology today to book your appointment.

Question: What Causes Eczema To Flare Up?

Eczema can result from a variety of causes and can be acute or chronic, or both.  The exact cause is unknown, but there is some belief that it is a combination of genes and certain triggers.  Some triggers include stress, cold weather, and excessive water exposure.  The genetic component is a belief that there is a defect in the gene that creates the protein filaggrin, which plays a role in maintaining the epidermis and its protective barrier.  Without this barrier, the skin is not able to retain moisture, therefore leading to the dry skin characteristic of eczema.  The dry skin causes the skin to break, become scaly, rough and tight, which leads to a breakdown of the skin barrier, and can cause infections.      

Some everyday products can also cause eczema to flare.  Contact allergens can include metals, fragrances, fabrics, dyes, etc.    

Question: How Long Does Eczema Last?

Eczema can be acute or chronic or both. 

Acute eczema presents as red and inflamed.  Subacute eczema presents with scaling and crusting in addition to inflammation.  Chronic eczema leads to a thickening of the affected skin and can also cause hyperpigmentation.   

Question: What Is The Difference Between Eczema and Psoriasis?

Eczema Is associated with an intense itch, causing individuals to itch, which then causes the rash.  It is called the itch rash cycle, or the itch that rashes. 

Sometimes psoriasis can itch, but it is usually feels more like a sting or burn. 

Eczema tends to be red and inflamed, and can be scaly and crusty, and chronic eczema can become lichenified.  Psoriasis plaques

Psoriasis is associated with red patches, but look more silvery and scaly, and raised, causing plaques characteristic of psoriasis.  

Eczema usually presents on flexural surfaces, for example the the inner elbows, behind the knees, neck, wrists, and ankles.  Psoriasis usually presents on extensor surfaces, for example the elbows, knees, and other areas including scalp, face, lower back, palms of hands, soles of feet, nails, skin folds.

While eczema and psoriasis can share some of the same triggers in some cases, psoriasis can be flared by vaccination, sunburn, scratches, and some medications. 

Eczema can start in babies, but psoriasis shows up later, usually between 15 to 35, but can show up at other ages.

Question: How To Treat Baby Eczema?

If eczema is triggered by a food allergy, then the allergen needs to be eliminated in order to improve the eczema. 

Topical medications should be applied directly after bath to hydrated skin, in order to lock in the moisture.  Wet wrap therapy is a highly effective treatment in children or babies, for severe and or refractory eczema.    

Once inflammation has been successfully managed with steroids or other medications, then a proactive regimen can be used.   

Topical corticosteroids are usually first line as anti-inflammatory, but be aware not to over apply or apply strong steroids to sensitive skin areas, in order to prevent adverse effects of steroid use such as skin atrophy.

Non steroids include calcineurin inhibitors tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, which are approved for treatment of eczema. 

Eczema tends to improve in the summer when the weather gets warmer and air becomes more humid.  It usually gets worse in the winter due to the drying out of the skin caused by colder weather. 

Narrowband UVB is another safe and effective treatment as an alternative to steroid use. 

Antihistamines can sometimes be used to relieve itch or pruritus. 

Question: How Long Does It Take For Coconut Oil To Treat Eczema?

There is some data on the use of coconut oil in the treatment of eczema as an emollient.  Coconut oil may have some antibacterial properties which can help in reducing the risk of infection.  As an emollient, it can help to relieve and moisturize dry skin associated with eczema, and may have some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.   



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