If you’re among the 31.6 million women, men, and children in the United States who have some form of eczema, you’ve probably already tried and discarded many solutions in your quest for relief. Even if you find a drug or remedy that works, you may worry about its long-term effects, especially if your child has eczema.
Luckily, plenty of natural remedies and habits help your dry and itchy skin, too. These DIY approaches have the added benefit of allowing yourself time for self-care. Your emotions affect your skin, too, so taking time out to indulge in home recipes that help your eczema can pay off doubly.
At the Allergy and Asthma Institute, our specialist, Lakshmi Reddy, MD, diagnoses and treats eczema at our office in North Atlanta, Georgia. Following are some home remedies she recommends to keep your skin comfortable and strong in between visits.
Hot baths may feel relaxing, but they’re terribly drying for your skin, especially if you have eczema. Although you may not associate lukewarm baths with luxury, they not only are better for your skin, but they actually feel more welcoming. And what could be more relaxing than that?
As you fill your bath, add ingredients that soothe, moisturize, and support your skin. Choices include:
You can also create soothing pastes of baking soda or oatmeal to apply directly to itchy skin. Be sure not to soak for more than 15 minutes. Water dries your skin if you soak for too long. Pat yourself damp with a soft towel, then rub in a soothing moisturizer or emollient cream to seal in the moisture.
As with baths, the secret to an eczema-friendly shower is keeping it quick and keeping it lukewarm. Bathing daily is important when you have eczema, because it helps wash away bacteria and debris that may irritate your skin.
Always use gentle cleansers that are free from harsh chemicals or fragrances. Wash gently and avoid the use of scrubbing tools or rough washcloths.
Within three minutes of emerging from your bath or shower, you need to seal in the moisture with a cream or oil. Patting with a towel so your skin remains damp is important so the cream or oil can seal the moisture in.
The three-minute rule is important, too: Wait too long before “sealing” with a moisturizer, and your skin can become even drier than before. After sealing, be sure you’re thoroughly dry before getting dressed.
Some items you stock in your kitchen or bathroom are readily transformed into eczema remedies. Try the following spot-treatment poultices:
Trusty old ACV balances the bases and acids in your skin and also kills off troubling bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Just mix one tablespoon ACV with one cup of warm water, then soak cotton or gauze in the solution. Apply to rash. Wrap the poultice in clean cotton and leave it in place for three hours.
All honeys — especially raw honeys — are antibacterial and so good for sensitive, eczema-damaged skin. But honey also helps heal rashes, wounds, and abrasions even as it boosts immune function. Manuka honey is especially powerful. Simply dab the sweet treat on your trouble spots.
Like honey, tea tree oil is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. It’s too potent to apply straight to your skin, so be sure to mix it with plenty of sweet almond or other gentle oil. Then dab or gently rub into your skin.
Staying calm, centered, and strong helps your entire body function better, including your outermost organ (i.e. your skin). Manage stress with deep breathing, meditation, and exercise.
Avoid intense workouts when you’re in the midst of a flare; your body doesn’t need the extra stress. And always be sure to get plenty of sleep. Your immune system removes toxins and repairs damaged cells during sleep.
Other ways to keep your system calm and running smoothly without eczema flares is to try supportive alternative therapies, such as acupuncture or massage.
If you don’t have time for DIY, or if you need more help than you can find in your kitchen or bath, contact Allergy and Asthma Institute today for eczema treatment. Phone our friendly staff at 678-615-7878. Or, at your convenience, book an appointment online.