Home Remedies for Eczema

One of the biggest helps in treating eczema is prevention, prevention, prevention. Daily maintenance will help protect yourself or your child against a flare-up.

Shower (or Bathe) Right

There is a lot of discussion as to whether frequent bathing will cause the skin to be drier or not. The general consensus among dermatologists is that bathing daily is okay and will help wash away any irritants, allergens, dirt, and germs.

However, it is very important that you keep the bathing or showering short, ideally less than ten minutes. Bath or shower water must not be too hot. This helps preserve the skin's natural oil barrier.

Also, pay attention to the cleanser you are using. It is best to stick to non-drying, simple, or non-soap cleansers with no fragrance. Immediately after bathing, apply moisturizing treatments while the skin is still slightly damp in order to lock in the moisture.

Watch Your Home Environment

It is important to optimize your home environment so that you do not inadvertently trigger eczema simply by being in your home. Eczema can be triggered by many things in your natural environment.

To avoid drying low humidity indoors, maintain a cool home where you are utilizing the heater as little as possible. A humidifier for the home, or even just the room you sleep in, can be helpful.

It is not clear yet if home dust mites and detergents are a factor in an eczema flare, but it can't hurt to try and reduce dust collection and use natural detergents with less fragrance and no dryer sheets.

Additives to the Bath

Whereas it may seem like a good idea to add oils, emollients, or other things to the bath, there is little statistical evidence that this is an effective technique to help get rid of eczema. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology do not support their use and the American Academy of Dermatology recommend against them. However, their use is advised by some international guidelines such as in Europe.

The decision to use bath additives is up to you to determine if you think it is helpful or not. Unfortunately, it has not been studied enough to strongly suggest one way or another.

Emollient Therapy

Regular use of emollients is the key to prevention of eczema and can be a large source of treatment during a flare.

When emollient use was studied in the first year of life of children, it was found that it is a simple, safe, and inexpensive intervention. Petrolatum (AKA Vaseline) was the most cost-effective emollient. Essentially, emollients create a barrier to keep moisture in and prevent the drying out of the skin.

The long-term efficacy of this treatment needs to be evaluated in larger studies, but this is definitely worth a try. You can create an emollient at home with most things that are oil based. One big point here is that you should always be choosing an ointment over a cream. They are much more effective.

Coconut Oil

This is often a favorite suggestion for home eczema remedies because it is true to the literature, is cheap, and very readily available. Coconut oil smells good. Large amounts may stain clothes, but only a small amount is needed to cover a good portion of skin.

Slather it on after a bath and lock the moisture in. You can get an organic coconut oil too.

Body Butter

If you want to get a little fancier, you can combine several at-home ingredients to optimize the chance of any of them helping. Recipes are easily found on the internet. Some good ones include shea butter, essential oils, mineral oils, and/or nut oils.

Lanolin

While this is not exactly a home-made remedy, you can use lanolin straight-up, which is easy to find in drug stores, or mix it with some other emollients. Lanolin is a wax secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals. Usually the marketed ones are from sheep. Lanolin is a common ingredient in many commercially available lotions and creams and is regularly used for skin healing.

Be aware, some people have a bad reaction to lanolin where it can actually irritate the skin.  

Chamomile

Chamomile is one of the oldest, widely used, and most well-documented medicinal plants in the world. In a study performed on people with a medium-degree of eczema, those who received a cream based on chamomile for two weeks showed a slightly greater degree of improvement than patients who received a 0.5% hydrocortisone cream.

Though researchers state that further research is needed to evaluate the usefulness of topical chamomile in managing eczema, it is a safe home remedy you can try. An easy way to administer is to simply boil chamomile tea, dip a clean towel into it, let it cool, then apply it to the areas of the skin that are irritated. Allow it to dry and do not wash it off. 

Rest and Relaxation

What better home remedy exists than sleep? Treat yourself to a massage or take a really good nap. Treatment of anxiety and stress may help to relieve eczema symptoms if they are exacerbated by daily stressors.

In reality, just one nap or massage won't heal you. You have to make it part of your daily routine and a real focus in your life. This may take an exploration of helpful ideas and everyone's mental needs are different. The key is making them a priority. 

Wet Wraps

Wet dressings, also known as wet wraps, can help soothe the skin. They may reduce itchiness and redness, help crusty areas to heal, and prevent bacteria from getting into the open irritated areas.

You can combine emollient treatment with the wet wraps, too. First, apply the emollient, then the wet layer, then a dry layer. For kids, you can even put them to sleep this way to create a moist environment for eczema to heal under. 

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