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Eczema Treatments


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.

Lifestyle and Eczema

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.

Nutrition and Dietary Supplements for Eczema

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:

  • Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) – is an omega-6 fatty acid that can help with relieving symptoms such as itching, redness, and scaling.  
  • Probiotics – these are good bacteria that inhabit the intestines and protect against the growth of “bad” bacteria.  Studies have shown that mothers that took probiotics while pregnant and during breastfeeding were less likely to have eczema in the first two years of life.
  • Sulfur – is abundant in keratin, a protein that strengthens nails, hair and skin.  Sulfur baths or other forms of sulfur applied directly to the skin can benefit eczema.
  • Zinc – eczema is a symptom of zinc deficiency.

Herbal Medicine for Eczema

There are herbal medicines that may be useful in the treatment and management of eczema.  These include:

  • Evening Primrose Oil – this is used to relieve the itchiness associated with eczema.
  • Lavender – eczema can be worsened by stress – using lavender for its relaxing effects can thus be helpful.
  • Burdock Root – is topically applied for skin inflammation.
  • German Chamomile – may reduce inflammation and speed wound healing.
  • Goldenrod – is applied topically for wound healing and also has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Red Clover – has anti-inflammatory properties and has been used as an ointment for eczema.
  • Roman Chamomile – may help to ease the discomfort associated with eczema.

Homoeopathy for Eczema

There are several homoeopathic remedies that may be useful for eczema.  Some include:

  • Calendula – this is applied to the skin, particularly if it is inflamed.  It is good for soothing the skin.
  • Sulfur – this is for redness, burning, itching, and hot skin that tends to worsen with washing and scratching.
  • Urtica Urens – is for large, red rashes that itch and burn intensely.
  • Rhus Toxicodendron – this is a remedy for inflamed skin that results from direct contact with an irritating substance.

Massage and Physical Therapy for Eczema

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.

Mind/Body Medicine and 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.


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