Eczema is a fairly common condition that many people from all around the globe experience. Essentially, it occurs when your skin’s protective barrier weakens, leading to moisture escaping from your skin and bacteria entering it. This causes patches of skin to become inflamed, itchy, cracked and rough. In more extreme cases, blisters may also occur. Eczema flares are more common during the winter season or during periods of high stress.
Unfortunately, causes for this condition have yet to be characterized. Currently, the most widely accepted theory is that people with an overactive immune system are more at risk of developing this condition.
While many medications are available for eczema, they come with a host of side effects. Therefore, using natural products that help alleviate symptoms and better manage their condition is a great solution.
In this article, we’ll cover four techniques using natural products proven to improve skin dryness, inflammation and itchiness. The best part is that may already have most of these products at home!
#1: Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera gel is an incredibly versatile product and can treat several skin conditions from dryness to rashes to sunburn. Additionally, it is also an excellent remedy for eczema. Due to its ability to rehydrate skin, it helps improve skin dryness and reduce eczema.
Additionally, aloe vera gel has antibacterial, antimicrobial, immune system-boosting and wound healing properties. The dry, cracked skin caused by eczema is prone to infection – and aloe vera gel helps prevent that. Its ability to heal wounds also aids in managing eczema and reducing its symptoms.
Apply aloe vera once or twice a day to the affected area(s) to quickly notice improvements in your skin quality. Be sure to check the ingredients of each brand before making your purchase as many aloe vera gels have preservatives, alcohol, fragrances and colours. These additives can cause your eczema to get worse by further drying and irritating your skin.
#2: Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another versatile product useful to treat a whole host of conditions and improve one’s overall health. Due to its high levels of acidity, it helps treat eczema flares as people with eczema tend to have low levels of skin acidity. Additionally, many soaps and detergents are alkaline and can cause eczema flares or worsen an existing flare.
Apple cider vinegar is also known to have antibacterial properties and can help keep affected skin safe from bacterial infections. However, it is highly acidic when undiluted, so it is extremely important to dilute it before applying it. Otherwise, you could damage your skin tissue, develop a chemical burn and even worsen your eczema flare!
To use apple cider vinegar to effectively treat asthma, add one tablespoon to a cup of warm water. Then, apply the solution to a piece of gauze and place it over your eczema flare. Cover this with a piece of clean cotton fabric and let it soak for 3 hours before washing the area thoroughly. Do this once a day and soon enough, your eczema flare will become a lot better!
#3: Coconut oil
Coconut oil is chock full of healthy fatty acids that help rehydrate skin. It’s perfect for both those who have eczema and those who have generally dry skin. It’s the best alternative to moisturizers, which often have additives causing your skin to become drier in the long run, whereas coconut oil is an entirely natural product.
Coconut oil also acts as a barrier for your skin to prevent moisture from escaping or bacteria from penetrating it. It counteracts the effect of inflammation on your skin to help reduce the severity of eczema flares and could even get rid of the flare altogether!
Ideally, you should aim to use virgin coconut oil. That type of coconut oil has been proven to be most effective in managing eczema’s symptoms. You can use it as many times as you want per day – the general rule of thumb is to apply it after every shower as well as right before bed so your body has plenty of time to soak it up as you sleep. You should also apply it whenever your eczema flare feels particularly itchy or dry.
#4: Use wet wraps
For those who have extra-sensitive skin or many allergies, even natural products can trigger or cause their eczema flares to become worse. Wet wraps are the perfect solution to this problem, as all you need is a clean cotton cloth and clean water!
Although natural products like the ones mentioned above aid in rehydrating your skin, water itself is a great hydrator. While wet wraps certainly do not have any antibacterial or antimicrobial properties to prevent bacteria from penetrating the affected area(s), using them appropriately can help prevent this to some degree.
To use wet wraps in the most effective manner, be sure to take a shower first. If you use moisturizer, do that as well. Then, wrap a damp cloth or gauze around your eczema flares. Wear clothes that cover these wrapped areas to ensure maximum absorption of the water by your skin. For example, if you have eczema flares on your arms, wear a long-sleeved shirt. It’s best to do this overnight so your skin has sufficient time to absorb all the water from the wrap. Do this every night and your skin will rehydrate and freshen up in no time!
Although there is no natural cure for eczema, it can certainly be managed with the use of natural remedies. While pharmaceutical products do provide symptom relief, they should only be used in cases of extreme eczema so as to avoid all the side effects that go hand-in-hand with them. Hopefully, the above four remedies help you reduce your eczema flares and relieve your symptoms! And if you are looking for more natural alternatives to cosmetic products in general, take a look at the Safe Cosmetics database, and to our Natural beauty guide.