Are home remedies for eczema actually worthwhile?
Experts say absolutely! Although there are many aspects involved in managing your skin’s condition – including professional medical care, lifestyle habits, and long-term treatment – building your own at-home tool kit of go-to remedies can be critical to caring for your eczema.
So what really works and what doesn’t? Here are some of our top recommendations for home remedies that have been proven effective:
#1: Cool Compression
Why it Works: Knowing that eczema is an inflammatory condition, one of the best ways to restore balance to your body and your skin is with a cooling treatment. Not only will this help to quickly relieve minor symptoms such as itching or irritation, it can also help troubleshoot pain in the event of a flare-up.
How To: There are a handful of ways to implement cold therapy, so it really depends most on your preference. Wet wrapping with cool, clean, damp cloths is one way to calm the skin and provide it with some much needed hydration. Or you can simply apply a cold compress directly to areas of concern.
#2: Moisturizing Topicals
Why it Works: Because a very common factor in eczema outbreaks is dry skin, applying products that moisturize and hydrate the skin are key. Applying a lotion, cream, balm or body oil daily (or even several times per day!) can be a great preventative measure as these help to support your skin’s natural barrier. Or in the event of a flare-up, moisturizing can still be incredibly helpful in troubleshooting your symptoms.
How To: A number of ingredients have been shown to be effective for moisturizing eczema prone skin, but a few of our favorites include:
● Coconut Oil - Known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, coconut oil can help prevent infection while seriously soothing your skin.
● Safflower Oil - Rich in linoleic acid, which deeply nourishes the skin, safflower is a gentle, yet powerful skin moisturizer.
● Honey - Honey, or in particular Manuka honey is a humectant ingredient which can help draw water to the skin and keep moisture loss in check.
● Calendula - A botanical extract from the calendula flower, this ingredient can be found in many sensitive skin moisturizers for targeting symptoms of inflammation.
#3: Soothing Soak
Why it Works: Another traditional remedy that actually works, could be as simple as a soak in the bath. Combining cold or lukewarm water with the right anti-inflammatory additives allows you to reap the benefits of a little cold therapy, calming ingredients, and replenishing hydration all in one.
How To: For best results from your bath, it’s a good idea to spend about 10-15 minutes soaking, and add a boost of ingredients known to soothe eczema. Some of the most popular choices include:
● Oatmeal - One of the best for relieving itchy or inflamed skin, colloidal oatmeal can be added to your bathwater, made into a paste, or applied as a topical ingredient. It’s natural, gentle, and works wonders.
● Bleach Solution - Although it seems controversial, experts suggest that about a ½ cup of household bleach can be safely added to your bath to reduce irritation and decrease bacteria. Just be sure to limit your time in the tub and avoid submerging completely to protect your eyes, nose, and mouth.
● Apple Cider Vinegar - If you don’t feel comfortable adding bleach, apple cider vinegar is also believed to have similar antibacterial benefits, and can be added to a bath. About 1-2 cups is the recommended amount.
#4: In-The-Moment Mindfulness
Why it Works: Knowing that external stressors can impact your body’s inflammatory response and contribute to eczema outbreaks, anything you can do to support your nervous system, is also worth incorporating into your self care routine. Over time and with consistency, mindfulness can help regulate internal health and lead to fewer flare-ups.
How To: What mindfulness means to you can be very flexible. For some, this could be as simple as taking a nap or meditating daily for a few minutes or more. For others, it could look like gentle movement, such as yoga or a light walk. If you have access to other tools such as getting a massage, talk therapy, acupressure, these are all great options. The real trick is finding practices you enjoy and making them a regular habit.