Someone with eczema might use home remedies or natural treatments to soothe their skin. They might use creams, natural products, and dietary changes to manage or prevent eczema flares.
In wintertime, people usually have a harder time with their symptoms. So they may use aloe vera gel or coconut oil for moisturizing dry skin and preventing inflammation and infection.
1. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel is made from the leaves of the aloe plant. People have used aloe for a long time to treat many different things. One common use is to soothe eczema, which can happen to people. In 2015, a team of scientists looked at aloe vera and found that it has these properties:
- It can relieve pain
- It helps wounds heal faster
- It can reduce inflammation
The antibacterial and antimicrobial effects of aloe can prevent skin infections. If your skin is dry or cracked, this can cause an infection to happen. The wound-healing properties will soothe the broken skin and promote healing.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for many conditions. These include skin conditions like eczema. The National Eczema Association says that apple cider vinegar could help. But they want people to use caution because this can damage soft tissue. There is not any research to show if it helps with eczema symptoms, but there are many reasons why it might help:
- Apple cider vinegar has acids that can kill off bacteria and viruses
- It contains acetic acid, which may help the skin to heal and reduce redness
- It also has malic acid, which may reduce itching or inflammation
Balancing the skin’s acidity levels
Vinegar is very acidic. If you have skin problems, it might be less acidic than others’ skin. This means that your skin’s defences are weaker. You can use diluted apple cider vinegar to counter your skin’s acidity, but be careful because vinegar can cause burns if it isn’t diluted enough. Some soaps and detergents are alkaline (not acidic). They will make your (acidic) skin more alkaline, which leaves it vulnerable to being damaged and causing eczema flares when you wash with them.
Studies have found that apple cider vinegar may fight bacteria, including Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. When you put apple cider vinegar on your skin, it can help keep broken skin from becoming infected.
How to use it
Always dilute apple cider vinegar before applying it to the skin. Undiluted apple cider vinegar can cause chemical burns or other injuries. People can use the vinegar in wet wraps or baths, which is available in most supermarkets and health stores.
To do a wet wrap using apple cider vinegar:
- Mix 1 cup of warm water with 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
- Apply the solution to cotton or gauze.
- Cover in clean cotton fabric.
- Put on for 3 hours
To take an apple cider vinegar bath:
- Add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to a warm bath.
- Soak for 15–20 minutes.
- Rinse the body thoroughly.
- Moisturize within several minutes of leaving the bath.
3. Bleach in The bath
There is research that suggests that bleach baths can improve eczema symptoms. Bleach can kill the bacteria on the surface of your skin, which includes S. aureus, which causes staph infections. This may restore your skin’s microbiome, too.
A review from 2015 found that bleach baths could reduce the need for topical corticosteroid or antibiotic treatments. Still, other research found no benefits of those bleach baths compared to regular baths.
How to use it
To make a bleach bath for eczema, use regular-strength (6% strength) bleach. To do this:
- Add half a cup of bleach to the water as it is filling the tub.
- Soak in the bathtub for 5–10 minutes.
- Rinse your body with warm water and pat dry.
- Moisturize right after drying off.
Use lukewarm water not to make your skin dry out. After drying, put some moisturizer on. If you feel any discomfort or irritation, try a different type of bath. You should also not use bleach if you have asthma or breathing problems because of the strong fumes that come with it.
4. Colloidal Oatmeal
Colloidal oatmeal, also known as Avena sativa, is made from oats that have been ground and boiled to extract the substance that makes your skin better.
A 2015 study reports that colloidal oatmeal lotion has good things in it called antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. This makes the skin on your body healthier. In a randomized controlled trial, a colloidal oatmeal moisturizer improved the health of someone’s skin more than if they had used a moisturizer without colloidal oatmeal in it.
How to use it
You can put powdered colloidal oatmeal in a warm bath. Only use products that say they have oats as the only ingredient and avoid any fragrances or other products. You can buy purified colloidal oatmeal from health stores or online.
You can also buy lotions and creams that contain them. It is safe for all ages, but people who are allergic to oats should avoid it. People who are allergic to gluten should be careful since sometimes oats are processed with wheat.
Skin with eczema needs extra moisture because it can’t make its own. People with skin problems need to bathe often but not too much. They should use warm or cool water and soap that is made for their skin problem.
But sometimes, they shouldn’t bathe so that the condition doesn’t worsen and they don’t dry out their skin more than necessary.
This can happen when:
- the water is too hot or cold; you use the wrong soap
- you don’t moisturize after.
- It would help if you bathed children once or twice a week.
NEA recommends that adults:
- bathe or shower at least once a day.
- Use lukewarm water.
- Limit bathing to 10-15 minutes, and avoid scrubbing the skin.
- Use gentle cleansers instead of soaps. It is best if you try different types of medicinal baths, such as those with baking soda, vinegar or oatmeal–especially if you have skin problems like dryness, acne or eczema.
After you bathe, make sure to moisturize the skin right away. You can pat it dry with a towel and then apply an oil-based moisturizer. This will help keep water in your skin from evaporating.
After washing your hands, make sure to moisturize them too. Eczema flares can happen if you don’t use a moisturizer on them right after they’ve been washed or dried.
6. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is good for your skin. It can add moisture to dry skin and eczema. And virgin coconut oil may make your skin healthy and protect it from inflammation.
A study shows that children who used virgin coconut oil for 8 weeks had better results than those who used mineral oil for their eczema.
How to use it
After you bathe, use cold-pressed virgin coconut oil on your skin. It is liquid at room temperature, and it is good for your skin. If you are allergic to coconuts, do not use this oil.
Honey is a natural antibacterial agent. People have used it to heal wounds for centuries. A review says that honey can help with wound healing and boosting immune system function. It can also help fight off infections.
Another review says that honey can be useful for treating skin problems like burns, wounds, and eczema because it moisturizes the skin and speeds up healing.
How to use it
If you have a cut or other wound, try putting some honey on it. Manuka honey products are perfect for wounds and skin care. You can find them in most drug stores and online.
8. Tea Tree Oil
Manufacturers make tea tree oil from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree. People use tea tree oil to help with skin problems. It helps with eczema and other things.
A review in 2013 found that it can reduce inflammation, kill bacteria, and help wounds heal faster. It also relieves dryness and itching on the skin, which can prevent infections.
How to use it
Before you apply essential oils to your skin, make sure to dilute them. Mix the oil with a carrier oil, and then put it on your skin. Some products include the diluted form of oils already in them.
9. Dietary Changes
Eczema is an inflammatory condition. That means the skin gets red and sore. Certain foods can cause or reduce inflammation in your body, so they might help make some changes to your diet.
Foods that are not very inflammatory include fish, leafy greens, beans and lentils, fruits with colour, veggies like carrots and potatoes, turmeric or cinnamon. Other foods which are more inflammatory include dairy (milk), eggs (chicken eggs), soy (soybeans), wheat (wheat berries). Try eating less of these foods for a while and keep track of what you eat in a food diary.
10. Gentle Soaps and Detergents
Detergents can make your skin sensitive because they are hard on the skin. When people have eczema, they need to be careful about the soaps that they use. Bar soaps can also be rough on your skin because of their alkalinity.
Try using a gentle cleanser and avoid cleansing products with rough particles for scrubbing or exfoliating. You should also switch to a more gentle laundry detergent if you suffer from eczema.
11. Avoid Strong Heat Sources
It might feel nice to sit next to a fireplace or near a furnace, but it can make your eczema symptoms worse. The hot, dry air can dehydrate the skin and make the itchiness worse. Get a humidifier during the winter months and keep away from fireplaces or furnaces.
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12. Wrap Up in Cold Weather
The cold, harsh winter wind can dry out your skin and make it hard to breathe. You should keep the skin covered when it is cold outside. And if you have eczema on your face, use a scarf on top of your mask so that you don’t scratch yourself too much.