How to Treat Eczema Naturally

Have you ever wondered how to treat eczema? If you’ve ever been afflicted with this skin condition, you know how irritating and uncomfortable it can be. I’ve seen the effects of eczema up close and personal through one of the students in my kindergarten class.

Little Reggie (name has been changed to protect privacy) came to class each day with terrible welts and patches on his skin. After lunch, he’d itch and itch and no matter how many times I’d tell him to stop, he kept on itching. He’d cry too as the welts were painful, made worse by all the scratching he was doing. It broke my heart to see him in pain and it made me wonder…just what are the causes of eczema and how can it be treated naturally?

how to treat eczema

Eczema ranges in severity.

 What is Eczema?

 

Before we jump into the causes, just what exactly is eczema? Here is a simple definition from Dr. Melissa Conrad Stoppler:

 

“Eczema is a term for different types of skin inflammation (dermatitis). The symptoms of eczema commonly include itchy, reddened, dry skin.”

 

So basically, any form of rash can be considered eczema. It can range in severity from just a small patch of itchy rash to large areas of the body.

The most common areas of the body affected by eczema are the face, neck, and the insides of the elbows, knees, and ankles. Most everyone has experienced a skin rash at one time or another in their life that eventually goes away, but persistent rashes and skin lesions are considered chronic eczema.

 

 

What Causes Eczema?

 

Experts say eczema is hereditary, and that it’s more common among members of the same family. Others claim it’s caused by environmental or dietary factors. I tend to agree with the latter viewpoint as I’ve seen this up close.

My student had many food allergies and although his mother tried very hard to keep him away from certain foods, this was not always possible. When he returned from the lunch period, his itching was much worse and I tend to think it was because he ate the wrong foods at lunch. We’ll get more into the eczema/nutrition connection in a bit.

Some doctors say eczema is an outward reflection of inflammation within the body and is a result of a weakened immune system. Factors within the body which trigger eczema include poor nutrition and a body full of toxins.

The symptoms can also be worsened by environmental factors, such as when personal care products, detergents, and clothing come into close contact with the skin. I think most people develop some sort of rash when using conventional personal care products, because these types of toxic ingredients are harmful to both the skin and the inner body when they get absorbed.

When people get a rash or allergic reaction, they tend to not make the connection between the irritation and their skin products. In the past, I would get constant rashes under my arms from the deodorant I used and I never thought it was from my deodorant.

Much of the cases of eczema I believe can be completely avoided by switching to natural or organic skin products.

 

So what are the options in treating eczema and can it be cured?

 

There are different approaches to treating eczema, including both pharmaceutical and natural methods. An approach I would not recommend is to use medicated creams and prescription drugs. Such “remedies” only mask the symptoms, without seeking to treat the underlying causes. Both over the counter and RX drugs also come with a host of side effects you may encounter and it’s just not worth the risk.

 

So if medicated creams and drugs are out, what to do when you have an outbreak?

Here’s a few healthier options for topical relief:

 

  • Apply a natural, soothing lotion, such as Calamine (a great one is Cal-Al by Aubrey Organics, which combines calamine and aloe) or a cream/gel containing calendula, which is an anti-inflammatory

 

  • Use a healing balm such as Sweet Blessed Bee Magic, Badger Balm, or Hawaiian Healing Salve by Lanikai

 

  • If you are sensitive to cremes with essential oils, use plain old organic, virgin coconut oil – it’s incredibly healing in so many ways

If you are afflicted with eczema, there are a few things you need to avoid such as:

 

  • Over-bathing (when you do bathe, take short showers/baths in warm, not hot water)

 

  • Allergic foods (some examples of allergic foods include wheat, dairy, corn, and rice)

 

  • Scratching (I know, it’s hard not to!)

 

  • Excess sweating (it makes the itching worse)

 

  • Irritants, such as skin lotions, perfumes, and soaps)

 

The Eczema/Nutrition Connection

 

Even though I find some validity in the eczema/heredity link, I think the biggest factor with the potential to make it worse is diet. Reggie himself proved how his eczema worsened after he ate wheat and drank dairy at lunch. For me, I notice an increase in skin redness and itchiness if I eat a food I know I shouldn’t. If you know you’re sensitive to wheat, gluten, dairy, or other foods, it’s best to avoid those foods at all costs.

In addition, people’s eczema’s symptoms are worsened simply by a poor diet. If your diet is full of packaged, processed foods, your eczema will be worse, guaranteed. The best diet for someone with skin irritation is to eat whole foods, such as organic fruits, vegetables, and grass-fed meats, along with sources of healthy fats, such as coconut oil, fish, and nuts. The consumption of healthy fats is critical. The Eczema Natural Healing site says,

 

“…it has been scientifically proven through clinical research that individuals with eczema appear to have deficiencies in essential fatty acids.”

 

You may want to check out the book, The Skin Cure Diet: Heal Eczema From the Inside Out, available on Amazon.com.

 

In addition, those afflicted with eczema most likely have a buildup of toxins in their bodies, which may include pollutants, heavy metals, pesticides, and drugs. The best defense against this is to do a thorough detoxification program, which may include juicing whole fruits and vegetables. One herbal detox program I’ve used in the past is made by Dr. Natura, which is a high quality brand only available online. It really works!

 

In summary, the best option on how to treat eczema is to look internally. Eat healthily and do a detox program and you should see improvements. If outbreaks still occur, you can use a natural cream which will provide immediate relief.

 

Now, I want to hear from you.

 

Have you been afflicted with this uncomfortable disorder before? If so, what treatment options did you choose? Do you feel as though eczema is more of a hereditary disorder, an environmental one, or one of nutritional deficiency?

 

Stay natural…stay beautiful…go green!

 

 

Robin started her career as an educator of children and has now become an educator for adults everywhere who want to know the truth about what they put into their bodies through the skin. She is passionate about educating people to make better health and beauty choices.
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  • http://www.everyueveryme.com maria

    Ever since high school, I noticed that periodically, the skin around my nose, on each side would redden, itch then dry and flake. I thought it was because of the harsh winters in Romania, as it started during the cold season. But after a few years of on and offs I realized it was eczema. I started having it on my scalp as well, especially on my front, close to the hair line.

    Now I sometimes get it on my arms, small, round patches of red skin that dries, leaving the skin discoloured. I don’t think they are related, because I know how I got it on my arms. A few years ago, when I was young and stupid, I started going to the sun bad…and I picked it up from there. My arms got to the stage where they were covered in proper wounds. No medicated cream worked. I went to a Chinese herbal shop and thank God…they found the cure. I was in tears of pain and itchiness.

    Not until a few months ago, it ever occurred to me it could be from dairy or gluten also. I am still not sure which one, but I know for sure it is related. I only use organic body soaps, not so much of a lotion person, and I switched to natural washing liquids. I am still getting it…so it must be the food.

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Hi Maria,

    Thanks for commenting! I’m so sorry you’ve encountered eczema throughout your life. I agree with your conclusion. It must be some sort of food sensitivity and until you discover what that is, you will have eczema. There are some effective food allergy tests you can order online. I get itchy patches sometimes too…and I think it’s because I’m still ingesting something I shouldn’t be! I need to get food allergy tests done too…but they can be a bit pricey. Even so, they are so important to have done!

    -Robin

  • http://www.everyueveryme.com maria

    Hey Robin,

    good idea. will look for some allergy tests online. Hopefully I will finally be able to know what triggers it. for some reason, I think it is related to my thyroiditis.
    maria´s last blog post ..Vitality Gathering II

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Maria,

    Glad I could help! Many people don’t realize that food allergy testing can be their savior!

    -Robin

  • http://www.kirstieinthekitch.com Kirstie

    Hi Robin! Thank you so much for doing this post on eczema, when I stumbled upon it my face lit up! I have suffered with eczema ever since I was a child. I remember going to the doctor and he would always prescribe me a steroid to topically apply to where the eczema was breaking out (hands, inside elbows, and neck). I now know that steroids are a HUGE no, no! For the last couple of years my eczema was pretty mild and not very bothersome up until October of 2011. I was eating horrible processed junk and not taking care of my body. I had a terrible breakout of eczema all over my hands to the point where I was disabled of even using my hands. It was one of the worst things I have ever endured. My best friend is in her second year of school to become a holistic nutritionist and right away she suggested that it was a toxin overload in my body that was causing this horrible breakout. I then realized that I had to do something about what I was putting into my body because I was not taking care of myself! That was the turning point in my life and when I became much more health conscious. I took dairy out of my diet for a couple of months and noticed a huge difference. I also completely stopped eating meat except for fish. I’m trying to become absolutely gluten-free but have not reached that point. Transition in diet takes a while but the little steps I have been taking have helped a whole lot! I now use coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil to moisturize, both organic. I am definitely interested in looking into that Dr. Natura cleanse you mentioned, I think I could really benefit from it! Thanks again Robin! So happy we have connected I am looking forward to more of your blog posts and tweets! xoxoxo

  • http://toxicbeautyblog.com/how-to-treat-eczema/how-to-treat-eczema-naturally/ Krystal

    Hi Robin. i have has eczema since i was young, and now i am 15, i still have it too! but only on my arms.. i tried using Aloe Vera Vit E cream and Burnoil, but it did not improve my skin problem. i eat healthily everyday, but my skin is not improving. I am surprised that the cause of my eczema is due to the yeast in the bread, as i eat bread almost every morning for breakfast. And sometimes for snacks. I really hope that this recommended measure will work, as this is the first measure that i am trying, despite the many articles that i have read online. I too have tried not to scratch, and have even tied my hands when i sleep, as i scratch quite bad unconsciously, however, when i wake up, the itch is just irresistable! What do you recommend that I should do? :(
    Krystal´s last blog post ..Best Hair Oil- Review & Giveaway

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Hi Krystal,

    I definitely think that removing bread and even all grains (anything gluten-containing) will help your skin tremendously! I also think you should utilize coconut oil on your skin and even take it internally since it’s anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties will help you tremendously. I hope these strategies work for you! Keep me posted!

    -Robin

  • Amanda

    There is a great professional hair system for people who suffer skin conditions, such as eczema. It’s called Soothe Plus by Organic Color Systems. The system consists of a shampoo, conditioner, and a treatment spray, and are formulated to provide a soothing and calming effect. The products are packed full of botanicals, certified organic and natural ingredients, and are extremely mild and fragrance free. I have heard nothing but excellent feedback about this system, and highly recommend it.

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Hi Amanda,

    Thanks for the tip! I actually use Organic Color Systems as my haircolor….I have looked at the shampoos and conditioners at my salon and was not impressed with the ingredients. I will have to check into Soothe Plus next time I go to get my highlights done!

    -Robin

  • holly

    I was diagnosed celiac two years ago and I eat gluten free, but I still get eczema sometimes. My lifesaver has been Cetaphil Restoraderm wash & lotion, it’s excellent!

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Hi Holly,

    I’m glad you’ve found some relief…but are you aware that some of the ingredients in Cetaphil are not so natural? Here are the ingredients according to their website:

    Water, glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, pentylene glycol, Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), sorbitol, cyclopentasiloxane, cetearyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, tocopheryl acetate, hydroxypalmitoyl sphinganine, niacinamide, allantoin, panthenol, arginine, disodium ethylene dicocamide PEG-15 disulfate, glyceryl stearate citrate, sodium PCA, ceteareth-20, sodium polyacrylate, caprylyl glycol, citric acid, dimethiconol, disodium EDTA, sodium hyaluronate, cetyl alcohol.

    If you want more info, Skin Deep has rated this product…it rates as a 3, which is a low to moderate risk, but I’d still stick to something with a rating of 0!


    http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/product/406922/Cetaphil_Restoraderm_Skin_Restoring_Body_Lotion/

  • http://www.bebeautysmart.com/ Bebeautysmart (Dina)

    I am sooo happy to read this post, because NO ONE believes me that the main reason what causes eczema is the diet, especially white sugar, milk, dairy porducts and body washes with SLS!

    So thank you, thank you, thank your for posting it, I am planning to do a post about eczema as well, because I am an eczema sufferer too.

    I don’t use sugar, I don’t eat food with sugar, I avoid dairy products (especially milk) , I use unrefined shea butter and I use natural body wash. The result: no eczema.

    And one more important thing: I have to use a shower filter , because the water caused me eczema too.
    Bebeautysmart (Dina)´s last blog post ..How to choose a good, natural moisturizer?

  • Linda

    I go with coconut oil and aloe vera. But I disagree on regular bathing. I cannot live to a fact that I can’t have a bath everyday. Though not always I go soak my hair, but I always clean my skin and after that I use moisturizers as we all know soap can take away moisture.
    Linda´s last blog post ..How to Effectively Remove Skin Moles

  • felicia

    hi, i am looking to see if i have eczema or if it is something else. i have little spots that seem to be red when they grow but then in ares where they are dormant i would say they turn brown but they never get raised or extremely flaky. i had none until I got pregnant with my first son and even then i only had them under my breasts. but since then theyspread to my arms so i tried selsumblue medicated someone told me to put it on like a lotion and sleep in it i was amazed it burned like crazy but within a week it was gone from under my breasts but since then i have got pregnant and i stopped eating hfcs, and preservatives and the like my husband tells me to go gluten free but i feel like i am changing everything and i had none before i was 24 now i’m 26 pregnant and i dont want to use a smelly cream that dyes my sheets and can potentially harm my child inside. but it has spread all over my body in all my sweat spots and even in places that don’t sweat so much i am feel super deppressed about how my body is changing and i want a cure for what ever this is. but i can’t afford the dermatologist what can i do?

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com/about?rel=author Natural Organics

    Hi Felicia,

    I am not a doctor, so I’m really unable to provide you medical advice. However, a wonderful remedy which may work for you and will not only benefit you and your baby is coconut oil (unless you’re allergic to coconut.) I would apply it wherever you have a problem and see what happens. It can’t hurt at all as it’s a completely natural substance. Just make sure you invest in virgin, organic coconut oil. I like this one from Amazon- it’s quite affordable and even more so if you get it under Subscribe and Save.

    Nature’s Way EfaGold. Organic, Pure Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 32-Ounce Jar

    I also know that using African Black Soap can help.

    I would also not discount what your husband is saying and would definitely give gluten up for a bit to see if that helps. Many people develop allergies to things they used to eat or use regularly. It can be a clue for leaky gut syndrome, where the lining of your gut has become permeable and allergens are leaking into your blood stream. It may be worth a Google for you.

    I hope you’re able to get this under control.

    -Robin