Eczema is a chronic skin disorder with itching rashes, which are red, dry, scaly or leathery. Skin blisters may occur and these may be oozing or crusting. Eczema is also known as atopic eczema, atopic dermatitis, and infantile eczema. However, while it is an uncomfortable condition, there are some natural therapies that can help.
There are several lifestyle changes that you can make which may lessen the effect of eczema. Avoid things that aggravate the symptoms. These include allergens and skin irritants. Allergens include pollen, dust mites, and animal dander. Skin irritants include wool, synthetic fibres, soaps and detergents, perfumes, cosmetics, lanolin, certain chemicals such as chlorine, cigarette smoke, dust, and sand. Be careful not to rub or scratch the affected areas, and ensure that the skin is protected from rough clothing and irritants. Keep the environment at a comfortable temperature, with stable levels of humidity.
Dry skin makes the problem worse so avoid taking hot baths or showers. Wash the body as quickly as possible to lessen the amount of time spent in the water. Use a gentle soap, or better still, a non-soap cleanser. Gently pat the skin dry and moisturise well.
Certain foods may cause eczema to flare up. Such foods include peanuts, milk, soy, fish, and eggs. Foods that are high in saturated fats or trans fatty acids may cause inflammation, as may foods high in sugar, or that have otherwise been highly processed. Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids in order to help reduce inflammation in the skin. Supplements that may prove helpful include:
There are herbal medicines that may be useful in the treatment and management of eczema. These include:
There are several homoeopathic remedies that may be useful for eczema. Some include:
Massage with or without essential oils is helpful for improving dry, scaly skin lesions. It can also help to reduce redness and other symptoms. The massage should be performed in between flare ups. Exercise may also be helpful as it is thought to improve emotions and relieve stress. Avoid it during the worst stages of an outbreak, however.
Climatotherapy is the use of sunlight and water as therapy. Dead Sea salts are known for their healing properties and are used by many eczema sufferers. Combined with sitting in the sun for short sessions, this may successfully help eczema.
Eczema flare-ups have been associated with periods of anxiety and stress, so it stands to reason that reducing stress can also lead to eczema improving. Relaxation techniques such as meditation can be very helpful, and biofeedback has proven to be particularly useful.