7 Natural Remedies for Eczema

Soothe your symptoms without a prescription

There is no cure for eczema. But several natural remedies can help manage the symptoms associated with the condition.

Here's a look at some of the best natural remedies for eczema.

Licorice root and powder
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Probiotics, or "good" bacteria, are live microbial organisms naturally found in the digestive tract. They are thought to control the growth of potentially harmful bacteria, influence immune function, and strengthen the digestive tract's protective barrier.

Studies suggest that babies at high risk for allergic disorders, such as eczema, have different types and numbers of bacteria in their digestive tracts than other babies. It is thought that probiotic supplements taken by pregnant women and children may reduce the occurrence of eczema in children.

For a review published in PLoS Medicine in 2018, researchers analyzed previously published studies on diet during pregnancy and infancy and the risk of allergic or autoimmune disease. They found evidence from 19 studies suggesting that maternal probiotic supplementation during late pregnancy and lactation may reduce the risk of eczema. Further research is needed.

In addition to the maternal use of probiotics, probiotic use by infants and children has also been explored to prevent and treat eczema. A study published in Pediatrics in 2017 examined daily supplementation with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG for the first six months of life in infants at high risk of asthma and eczema and found that supplementation does not appear to prevent eczema or asthma at two years of age.

In addition to the probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactobacillus fermentum VRI-033 PCC, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Bifidobacterium species have also been used.

Consult a qualified health professional before using probiotics to discuss whether they are appropriate for you or your child. Children with immune deficiencies should not take probiotics unless under a healthcare provider's supervision. Also, one study found increased allergic rhinoconjunctivitis at ages 5 to 10 years after perinatal probiotic use.

Topical Lotions, Creams, and Oil

In a research review published in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2017, researchers found that moisturizers showed some benefits in people with eczema. Specifically, moisturizers prolonged the time to flareups, reduced the number of flareups, and decreased the amount of topical corticosteroid medication needed for a similar reduction in severity.

The researchers also found that a cream containing the licorice-compound glycyrrhetinic acid was more effective at reducing eczema severity than a cream without the substance. Four studies in the review evaluated a urea cream, and participants reported more improvement with the urea cream than a cream without urea.

Consult your healthcare provider before using any topical applications. Some herbs, such as chamomile, should not be put on eczema in certain people. This is because they are known to cause allergic contact dermatitis.

Similarly, tea tree oil is often used as a natural remedy for eczema. However, according to a study in Contact Dermatitis, tea tree oil produces ascaridole when the oil is oxidized, which may cause allergic contact dermatitis.

In a German study, 72 people with moderately severe eczema used either a cream containing witch hazel extract, 0.5 percent hydrocortisone cream, or a placebo cream for 14 days. The hydrocortisone was found to be more effective than witch hazel. Witch hazel was not significantly more effective than the placebo cream.

According to a report published in Pediatric Dermatology, olive oil may exacerbate dry skin and eczema.

Gamma-Linolenic Acid (Evening Primrose Oil and Borage Oil)

Gamma-linolenic acids (GLA), such as evening primrose oil and borage oil, are a type of essential fatty acid. GLA is thought to correct deficiencies in skin lipids that can trigger inflammation, which is why it is used for eczema. However, clinical studies of GLA have generally found that it does not help with eczema.

For a review of previously published studies investigating the effectiveness of evening primrose oil or borage oil oral supplements, researchers examined 27 previously published studies and found that evening primrose oil or borage oil did not significantly improve eczema symptoms compared to placebo treatment. The researchers also noted potential risks associated with evening primrose supplements such as inflammation, thrombosis, immunosuppression, and increased risk of bleeding.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an emollient, which means it has a moisturizing effect when applied directly to the skin. Studies have found it to be helpful for treating mild to moderate eczema.

A small 2014 study looked at the effectiveness of coconut oil for treating eczema in patients between the ages of 1 and 13. It found that 47% of those who applied 5 ml of virgin coconut oil to the skin twice daily had moderate improvement in symptoms, and 46% had excellent improvements.  

Colloidal Oatmeal

Colloidal oatmeal is a finely ground oatmeal that is mixed with a liquid base. It is used as a topical skin treatment for various skin conditions. Colloidal oatmeal can also be an effective home remedy for eczema.

A 2020 study found that a colloidal oat cream was superior to a standard moisturizer in patients with eczema. The group that received a 1% colloidal oat cream reported a 51% improvement in the extent and severity of their eczema symptoms.

Vaseline (Petroleum Jelly)

Vaseline can be good for soothing eczema. It can help keep your skin moist and add a protective layer between your skin and external irritants.

Vaseline is made from mineral oil and natural waxes. It is safe to use even on sensitive skin. Because it can be greasy, many dermatologists recommend limiting the use of this natural remedy to the most severe eczema patches.


The use of natural honey as a treatment for eczema has not been well-studied. A few small studies have had mixed results. One 2014 study found no difference in symptom improvement between participants who used kanuka honey on their eczema lesions and those in a control group.

Another study, however, did find a significant improvement in the appearance of eczema lesions after manuka honey was applied for seven days.

Note that you should only use medical-grade honey to treat your eczema. Medical-grade honey has been processed to remove any potentially dangerous contaminants. 

A Word From Verywell

Due to a lack of supporting research, it's too soon to recommend any remedy as a treatment for eczema. Supplements haven't been tested for safety and due to the fact that dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label. And self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Also, keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get tips on using supplements, but if you're considering the use of any remedy, talk with your primary care provider first to be sure it's right for you.

13 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Cabana MD, Mckean M, Caughey AB, et al. Early probiotic supplementation for eczema and asthma prevention: a randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics. 2017;140(3). doi:10.1542/peds.2016-3000

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  6. Korting HC, Schäfer-korting M, Klövekorn W, Klövekorn G, Martin C, Laux P. Comparative efficacy of hamamelis distillate and hydrocortisone cream in atopic eczema. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1995;48(6):461-5. doi:10.1007/bf00194335

  7. Karagounis TK, Gittler JK, Rotemberg V, Morel KD. Use of "natural" oils for moisturization: Review of olive, coconut, and sunflower seed oil. Pediatr Dermatol. 2019;36(1):9-15. doi:10.1111/pde.13621

  8. Bamford JT, Ray S, Musekiwa A, Van gool C, Humphreys R, Ernst E. Oral evening primrose oil and borage oil for eczema. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;(4):CD004416. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004416.pub2

  9. Evangelista MT, Abad‐Casintahan F, Lopez‐Villafuerte L. The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double‐blind, clinical trial. Int J Dermatol. 2014;53(1):100-8.

  10. Capone K, Kirchner F, Klein SL, Tierney NK. Effects of colloidal oatmeal topical atopic dermatitis cream on skin microbiome and skin barrier properties. J Drugs Dermatol. 2020;19(5):524-531.  doi:10.36849/JDD.2020.4924

  11. National Eczema Association. Basic skin care for eczema: a dermatologist's review.

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  13. Alangari AA, Morris K, Lwaleed BA, et al. Honey is potentially effective in the treatment of atopic dermatitis: clinical and mechanistic studiesImmun Inflamm Dis. 2017;5(2):190-199. doi:10.1002/iid3.153

By Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.