Today you are in for a treat(ment) because I have compiled a complete list of 200... yes you heard right - 200 eczema treatments!
If you have been suffering from eczema for a while you are probably already aware that there is no shortage of treatment options available.
Everyone you meet seems to have some advice on 'x' that worked for their friend's second cousin's, baby's pet gold fish.
After you read this, you will most likely have heard of ‘x’, which makes the aforementioned conversation much easier to get out of. You can thank me later!
The internet is also littered with treatments options and people pushing their 'miracle cures'. Some work, others can cause more harm than good.
But all eczema treatment options have one thing in common - they are spread far and wide across the wide expanse of the internet.
I have spent countless hours to consolidate them all in one place - Ta Da!
What I want to offer is every possible natural or non-drug based solution that I could find which someone, at some point, has found worked for them.
Many are conventional, others are a bit out there, but they are all here for your reading pleasure.
Note: I realize this is quite a read, so I have also made it available as an eBook for easy reference. The eBook also includes a few cool features such as a checklist and areas to track your progress. You can Download the 49 page eBook Free.
Please note: Every body is different and people will react differently to certain treatments. Please consult your doctor and do your research prior to starting anything new.
Applying a lotion to the skin can provide an immediate response, and it makes sense that diet is the first line of defence. But where do supplements fit in?
Supplements are often looked over when it comes to eczema treatment methods. They can be confusing and expensive and how do we know if they even work!
If you understand the difference between eating steamed broccoli and stuffing yourself at the dessert bar, then you can appreciate the importance of nutrients; thus, the importance of supplements.
Getting enough essential nutrients into your system may sound easy enough through diet, however due to nutrient mal-absorption issues such as Leaky Gut Syndrome (common for eczema sufferers) and even poor quality farming methods, the body may not be receiving exactly what it needs to heal its eczema. (I go into more detail about this in my Eczema eBook coming soon)
This is why supplements can fill the gap, quite literally. They can help rebuild the gut, while flooding your body with additional vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and good fats that your body and skin need to rebuild healthier and stronger cells.
- Bluegreen algae: Containing chlorophyll which is an exceptional wound healer and detoxifier, as well as active enzymes, Vitamin B and carotenoids which provide strong antioxidant properties.
- Coconut oil: Taken either internally or used topically, coconut oil has been known as a wonder product, helping relieve many ailments including eczema with its antifungal, antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
- Cod liver oil: Rich in essential fatty acids and also containing beneficial Vitamin D and Vitamin A, cod liver oil has been known to help people who are suffering from eczema and other skin related illnesses.
- Colloidal silver: If you are experiencing infections in the body or on the skin and are opposed to the nasty side effects of antibiotics; colloidal silver is a gentler alternative. Colloidal silver works by disabling the enzyme needed for single-celled organisms to reproduce, in turn stopping the spread of infection and allowing the body’s own immune response a better chance of eliminating the issue.
- Evening primrose oil: Evening primrose oil is also high in essential fatty acids and has been shown to help relieve the symptoms of inflammation, itching and fluid retention.
- Fish oil: Shown to help lessen the severity of certain eczema cases by relieving the itch, fish oil is found in capsules and comes from various types of fish including krill and cod liver. Rich in essential fatty acids, it helps enrich the cell membrane and maintain normal skin function.
- Flaxseed oil/Linseed oil: Flaxseed oil is packed with essential fatty acids which help inflammation, assist in cell health and contributes to many more important body processes.
- Glutathione: Eczema is also said to operate as an autoimmune skin disease, whereby the immune system is on overdrive and so attacks healthy cells. Glutathione works by regulating the immune system, actually preventing immune cells from attacking and destroying healthy cells as well as reducing oxidative stress which can lead to eczema.
- Green barley grass: Containing a powerful antioxidant which can remove heavy metals and radiation from the body, as well as vitamins, minerals, protein, enzymes and chlorophyll which is an exceptional wound healer and detoxifier.
- Gumbi Gumbi: Also known as Gumby Gumby, this plant contains an array of eczema healing benefits including antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties as well as immune boosting and antioxidant value.
- Hempseed oil: Contains beneficial essential fatty acids for healthy cells, detoxification and hormone balancing. Hempseed oil contains no psychoactive components unlike cannabis and its addition to the diet has been known to help many eczema sufferers with their condition.
- Liver cleanse: This type of supplement can be found in many forms, but sourcing a good quality, herbal liver cleansing supplement will help support your liver while it processes the (usually) overload of toxins burdening the system. Especially helpful when undergoing a detox or trying to heal from eczema.
- L-glutamine: To heal the gut lining where leaky gut is a suspected cause of eczema, it is recommended to take 3000mg daily which will also help digestive issues like gas, bloating or heartburn.
- Neem caps: Extremely high in antioxidants and a known analgesic and anti-inflammatory plant; neem can be taken internally as leaf caps or oil.
- Olive oil: When taken internally, olive oil has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant traits and the best part is this oil is a staple in most kitchens.
- Paw Paw/Papaya leaf: Papaya is well known for its health benefits, especially for eczema conditions. The leaf however is a lesser known remedy, which comes in either powder form or juice which is said to help relax the inflammation caused by eczema. Papaya leaf also contains carpaine; a known treatment for expelling intestinal worms.
- Probiotics: Probiotics are one of the most important supplements you can give your body, eczema or not. They help stabilise and heal the gut from digestion issues and leaky gut whilst forming part of our immune defence and helping us stay free of parasite overload. Probiotics are one of the first tools in many eczema-fighting tool kits.
- Supergreens: If you are not getting enough of the necessary green leafy vegetables that you should, Supergreens is a perfect way to supplement these nutrients. Jam packed with essential vitamins and minerals, this powder will introduce cell nourishing nutrition into your body, helping support an already fragile system.
- Vitamin B: There are many B Vitamins which play important roles in our body functions. B3, B5, B6, B7 and B12. They are all necessary for our health and the health structure of our skin. A diet high in B vitamins includes animal products and fortified cereal grains.
- Vitamin C: Also known as Ascorbic Acid; Vitamin C is packed with eczema supporting benefits. It has an antihistamine action in the body, is a powerful antioxidant and helps strengthen the immune system.
- Vitamin E: The antioxidant and immune booting effects of Vitamin E are renowned for benefiting eczema and asthma sufferers. Among its multitude of bodily uses, Vitamin E is among one of the more popular eczema treatments.
- Vitamin D: Our bodies were designed to turn sunlight into Vitamin D, a nutrient responsible for many actions including immune function and inflammation control. With the fear mongering campaigns to stop any sunlight from touching our skin, vitamin D deficiencies are common in many people suffering from eczema.
- Zinc: Required for an abundance of the body’s functions; zinc deficiency is very common among eczema sufferers. Even a slight deficiency can have negative effects on the immune system, infection fighting capacity and eczema.
The connection between the degradation of dietary lifestyles and our ever growing population of eczema sufferers is not a coincidence. Thankfully due to our evolutionary advancement we are able to eat cleaner food, easier. However the abuse of this technological advancement means we are sold poorer quality food at a discounted rate. I want to put a spotlight on diet here as a huge role in eczema recovery.
For atopic dermatitis sufferers, diet is the most important thing one can do for the body in order to heal.
Eczema is deeply linked to a nutritional problem. As with many illnesses today, diet is the catalyst for sickness and health which is why the first thing you should do to begin healing your eczema is to correct the diet and improve the digestive system.
Apples: Containing an array of nutritional benefits for the eczema sufferer, apples offer detoxification, blood cleansing, bile stimulation, vitamins, minerals, quercetin and phytochemicals.
- Almonds: A good source of protein, essential fatty acids, phytosterols, fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Almonds provide a stack of health benefits for those suffering from eczema and TSW. Those with nut allergies should avoid.
- Artichoke: Full of fibre, antioxidants while having anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties and promoting liver health.
- Avocado: Avocado delivers nourishing essential fatty acids necessary for good health as well as vitamins, minerals, folate, fibre and more potassium than bananas. Keep in mind that avocados host moderate histamines and are one of the highest sources of amines and salicylates in the food kingdom.
- Banana: Contains pectin, Vitamin B6, potassium, creates serotonin (the happy hormone) in the brain, help digestion and beneficial gut flora, reduces swelling and has negligible salicylate content.
- Beetroot: Nutritiously loaded with vitamins, minerals, folic acid, protein, antioxidants, carbohydrates and fiber, beetroot is low on histamine and cleansing for the system.
- Berries: Containing many beneficial vitamins and minerals, as well as dietary fibre and quercetin which are an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory bioflavonoid. Avoid if citrus, histamine or salicylates are an issue.
- Broccoli: Containing the all-important Omega 3’s and a whopping amount of Vitamin A (45.6% DV per cup) and Vitamin C, broccoli is one of those foods which should be on the menu for anyone who wants to improve their inflammation and increase their antioxidants. Limit your broccoli intake if you have food sensitivities to salicylates, amines and msg.
- Buckwheat: To be clear, this is not a grain and no way related to wheat. It does not contain gluten but what it does contain is quercetin which is known to help lower histamine and provide an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
- Carrots: Not only good for your eyesight, but also advocated as a vegetable which is good for helping heal eczema due to its high nutrition content, Vitamin C and beta-carotene content which also offers wonderful antioxidant value.
- Cherries: The compounds cyanidin and quercetin found in fresh cherries have strong antioxidant, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory responses in the system. As a delicious snack, cherries are a fruit that most people can tolerate.
- Chia seeds: Rich in the healing benefits of Omega 3’s, jam packed with digestion clearing fibre as well as protein and phosphorous, chia seeds are a super food for eczema.
- Cucumber: Rich in antioxidants, Vitamin A and anti-inflammatory properties, cucumber is an immune boosting food. It is a member of the nightshade family, however seems to have less reports of nightshade type reactions.
- Fish Roe: Much like its salmon counterpart, fish roe is high on the list of eczema healing benefits of essential fatty acids, helping reduce inflammation and nourishing the skin to prevent further break outs. The richest sources of Omega 3’s found in fish roe came from Lumpsucker, Hake and Salmon.
- Flax seed/Linseed: Also produced as oil, the humble flaxseed contains a generous amount of Omega 3’s as well as protein and fibre. Flaxseeds help strengthen the immune system and detoxify the digestion. Also containing many other beneficial nutrients, flaxseeds are a superfood.
- Garlic: An excellent source of Zinc, Vitamin B6, Manganese and Vitamin C as well as many others; garlic is a staple immune boosting food for many people, including those with eczema. It is antifungal, helps with digestive disorders and can even come to the rescue for diabetics with its blood sugar regulating abilities.
- Grapes with seeds: Containing potent antioxidants, especially in the seeds, grapes offer superior anti-inflammatory properties as well as flavonoids which can help inhibit allergic reactions. Limit your grape intake if you have food sensitivities to salicylates, amines and msg.
- Green beans: Low in natural aggravators, beans are high in fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals and folic acids which assists in the development of new cells.
- Hemp seed: Offering the perfect ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids, hemp seeds are considered ‘pre-digested’ which means they offer an immediate supply of nutrient dense benefits directly to your cells. Detoxifying, immune boosting, full of fibre and vital nutrients such as Vitamin A, Calcium, Manganese, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, Sulphur, Phosphorous and Zinc.
- Kale: Great in juices and stir-fry’s, kale is loaded with antioxidants, nutrition and also contains quercetin and beta-carotene which is a strong immune booster. Limit your kale intake if you have food sensitivities to salicylates, amines and msg.
- Leek: Low on histamine and salicylates, leek has wonderful antifungal, anti-viral, antibacterial and antioxidant effects as well as flavonoids which have an antihistamine reaction in the body.
- Lemons: Packed with Vitamin C along with other vitamins and minerals, lemons are naturally antiseptic and provide a great way to boost the immune system.
- Paw paw/Papaya flesh:This low sugar fruit contains both lycopene; the most powerful antioxidant measured in foods and an enzyme called Papain, which helps digestion and skin cell regeneration. Immune strengthening, anti-inflammatory and full of vitamins and minerals, papaya is consistently utilized as an important part of eczema treatment protocol.
- Paw paw/Papaya seeds: Yet another use from this medicinal plant, papaya seeds are rich in caricin which is effective at killing certain parasites when ingested. Additional to this, papaya seeds can be crushed and applied to the skin to help reduce the itch.
- Pear: Containing valuable vitamins and minerals and more pectin (soluble fibre) than apples. When peeled, pear is negligible on histamines so makes a good fruit for those who are sensitive.
- Potato: The humble potato is good for the eczema skin because of its alkalizing effects as well as its Vitamin C, protein, fibre, calcium, magnesium and potassium content. Potatoes are negligible for histamines and salicylates; a double win. Avoid if sensitive to nightshades.
- Radish: Containing riboflavin, fiber, magnesium, Vitamin B6 and many other skin beneficial nutrients, radish is a good low histamine vegetable to incorporate into the diet.
- Salmon: For those who do not suffer allergies or intolerances to fish, salmon is a strongly recommended food as it contains essential fatty acids Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s as well as Vitamin D, zinc, protein and carotenoids which can help heal eczema. Consume only in moderate quantities.
- Sauerkraut: This fermented food is a natural probiotic which can help revitalise the good bacteria within the digestive system.
- Sweet potato: A delicious food which is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. Offering significant antioxidant properties due to the high Vitamin C, beta-carotene content and unique root proteins. Baked and eaten with the skin on can provide significant beneficial fibre to help digestion.
- Spinach: High in beta-carotene, zinc, quercetin, protein, vitamins and minerals; spinach is a healthy and antioxidant fuelled food source for the eczema sufferer. Moderate to high in salicylates and histamines however.
- Sprouts: Including alfalfa, mung beans, pumpkin, sesame, mustard and sunflower; sprouts are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and active enzymes. Extremely alkalizing for the system, sprouts can provide many healing benefits to the eczema prone skin.
- Walnuts: For those without nut allergies, walnuts offer some great benefits for the skin including antioxidants, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, plant sterols and fibre.
- Watercress: Used by Hippocrates himself, watercress comes with blood cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties which can help treat inflamed eczema.
THINGS TO AVOID
This is a very brief look at some of the common causes for inflammation and worsening of eczema or topical steroid withdrawal symptoms. These substances are known triggers not only for eczema, but also many other avoidable ailments in today’s world which is why it is necessary to understand the link between what you put in your mouth and the health you live with every day. Obviously these will not apply to everyone so as always, seek the advice of a medical professional before making changes to your diet.
Alcohol: The negative effects that alcohol can have on the body are vast and can be particularly worse for people with inflammatory skin conditions. What alcohol does to the body is leach important nutrients and hydration which the body needs to keep the skin healthy. It can also lead to a weakened immune system, liver overload and inflammation when sugary or wheat (gluten) based drinks are taken.
- Bath chemicals:
This includes bubble bath solution, soaps and even the detergent which some baths are cleaned with. Chemicals are a known irritant to eczema so switching out the bubbles for oil or one of the salts listed in the bathing section will do your broken skin a favor.
- Coffee: Conventional coffee is almost always contaminated with mycotoxins which are a damaging substance that ends up in your body causing all manner of problems, including weakening the immune system and inflammation. If you know you are not sensitive to caffeine, source a coffee free from these toxins.
- Dairy: This is a common trigger for skin conditions for a number of reasons. In a nutshell however, dairy cannot be digested properly by humans, causing issues and imbalances in the body and also because a hormone present in dairy causes inflammation and is frequently linked to eczema.
- Eggs: Eggs are great if you can tolerate them, however egg allergies are very common and cause a flood of histamines in the system which leads to worsening symptoms of inflammation.
- Gluten: Found commonly in processed foods and originating mainly from wheat, gluten can create inflammation in our digestive tracts which then weakens the immune system and this can happen even without having celiac disease. Eliminating wheat from the diet can be a massive step to inflammation recovery.
- Nightshades: These include tomatoes, eggplant (aubergine), paprika, goji berries, capsicum and cucumber. For people with autoimmune diseases such as eczema, or for those sensitive to this family, may find worsening of their skin and guts due to the natural pesticides found in these plants. The chemical can play havoc with the intestinal walls and has been linked to causing Leaky Gut Syndrome.
- Processed foods: In general, processed foods contain ‘other’ non-food ingredients like preservatives, dyes, chemicals and artificial ‘x’ and ‘y’ which are common causes of eczema in many people. Additionally, they are usually laden with sugar and devoid of proper nutrition which your body needs to heal. Rule of thumb; if you can’t pronounce the name on the ingredients list, don’t eat it. Even better, if it is processed, don’t eat it! Stick to whole nutritious foods instead.
- Soy: Soy will disrupt the mineral absorption in the gut, cause digestive issues, releases saponins which can lead to Leaky Gut Syndrome, disrupts hormones and much more. Not all is lost on soy however because the process of fermentation will actually remove the chemicals responsible for the above and leave you with some much healthier soy options such as miso and tempeh.
- Sugar: That is, processed sugars. Sugar from fruit is usually fine in small amounts, unless there are underlying issues present. Processed sugars are a huge trigger for skin conditions as they suppress the immune system, raise insulin in the body which creates inflammation. This then breaks down the collagen and elastin in your skin causing worsening skin conditions.
- Yeast: Yeast sensitivity effects approximately a third of the population and the result is eczema like flare ups to the skin. Found in many consumables such as fermented liquids (beer, cider, soy sauce etc), B Vitamins, certain berries, aged meats, mushrooms, jams, peanuts, vinegar and so on.
HERBS & SPICES
To add more delicious inflammation fighting foods to your diet, throw in some of these tasty and oh so healthy natural anti-inflammatory, nutrient packed foods!
Cilantro (Coriander): Containing vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C, calcium, thiamine, magnesium, niacin, sodium and iron; cilantro can help strengthen the immune system structure. Also containing flavonoids, antioxidants, phytonutrients, micronutrients and an analgesic to help reduce pain, this herb can provide a delicious benefit for eczema sufferers.
- Ginger: Rich in anti-inflammatory properties, introducing raw ginger into the diet can help reduce redness and irritation. Can be taken on its own or introduced to juice and smoothies for added eczema fighting benefits.
- Oregano: This little herb contains one of the highest amounts of antioxidants in the plant kingdom, AND it grows like a weed on our lawns. Offering essential nutrients to help support the body and when it is turned into oil, provides anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-parasitic benefits. Can also be used topically.
- Parsley: This herb has the ability to inhibit histamines in the body caused by the over active immune system which can decrease inflammatory responses such as eczema. Parsley is also rich in nutrient value and digestion settling actions.
- Turmeric: Turmeric offers an exceptionally strong anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antibacterial capacity due to its active ingredient Curcumin. Studies have shown that turmeric actively helps with wound healing, skin blood circulation and a decrease in inflammation which is why many topical steroid withdrawal and eczema sufferers keep turmeric as a staple part of their diet.
Some of these may make sense, some may surprise you, but overall I hope they stay in your mind so you can make the best choices when shopping for your fluids.
Almond milk: A substitute to the common eczema trigger, dairy; almond milk contains Vitamins A, D and E as well as essential fatty acids and is also high in calcium and fibre. This produces an immune boosting milk that protects the body’s cells and tissues from damage. Not for people with nut allergies, almond milk is best home-made for the cleanest and most nutritious end product.
- Aloe vera juice: Known to help the body purify while providing support and balance to the intestinal flora and stabilizing the digestive tract. Aloe vera is also a natural antibiotic and antibacterial which helps control pathogens in the gut while delivering loads of essential nutrients and eczema fighting benefits to the body.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Alkalizes the body, controls yeast, is immune boosting and contains essential vitamins and minerals including pectin, beta-carotene antioxidant and magnesium. It is detoxifying with inflammation relieving properties and can be taken orally (diluted of course), in the bath or as a topical application. Be aware that some vinegar can contain yeasts.
- Breast milk: Yes, you’re reading it right! Also shown to be beneficial when applied topically to eczema, breast milk is a powerhouse of eczema healing nutrients including Vitamin D, DHA, proteins, amino acids, minerals and more. Providing the mother has not consumed any of the typical eczema triggering foods such as eggs, dairy, nuts, seafood etc. breast milk is safe.
- Bone broths: Made from the bones and tissues of a chicken or cow, a broth contains gut repairing amino acid glycine, minerals and gelatin which can be extremely healing to the body and skin and is recommended on certain skin and gut repairing diets.
- Coconut kerif: Helping treat the gut ecology, coconut kefir is a fermented food which can help restore the balance of this immune producing and gut restoring ecosystem.
- Juice - fresh: Best made from certified organic fruits and vegetables to limit the intake of chemicals. Juices are packed to the hilt with nutrition whilst enabling the digestive tract to rest, which is especially helpful to people with digestion related eczema.
- Kombucha: Ensuring to introduce kombucha slowly, this fermented drink can help eczema by replenishing the intestinal flora, providing a plethora of eczema healing benefits.
- Liquorice tea: A naturally sweet tea which helps the liver detox and provides anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
- Miso: Yet another cultured (fermented) food; miso is full of beneficial bacteria which can help revitalize the working system within the digestive tract, thus helping strengthen the immune and skin systems.
- Oolong tea: A common tea in Chinese kitchens, Oolong tea was said to reduce the itch in just one week in a study conducted in Japan.
- Tulsi tea: A gut supporting herbal tea, Tulsi tea can help fight free radicals and provide the eczema skin with much needed antioxidant support.
- Water: Does this one seem a little too obvious? Well for some people it seems they still need reminding. The skin of the eczema sufferer has a barrier which loses moisture and because of this, the skin is in desperate need of hydration at the cellular level. We are made up of approximately 80% water, which means we require it for every part of our body’s health, including skin health. Bottoms up!
The skin is an amazing organ which tells us a lot about what’s going on inside the body.Often inflammation or skin diseases such as eczema are an expression of something else happening deep within, with one expression of this due to an overloaded toxic system.The body has its own built-in detoxification system, and it is a very good one. However the onslaught of more and more environmental pollutants, diet, illness and medications invading our bodies, the system can begin to struggle to keep up with the work and will send the excess to the largest organ of detoxification; the skin.This can result in symptoms of inflammation and eczema which is why many eczema sufferers have turned to methods of detoxification to help alleviate their eczema. Not only is detoxification a good way to help remove the toxic burden on the body, but also to stimulate better cell production, heal and strengthen the digestive tract and improve the immune system.There are varying degrees of detoxing diets, ranging in difficulty and intake from eating certain foods, eating only one type of food to eating no food at all. All have their own merits.
Apple diet: This is just a 3 day diet which requires you eat only apples. The pectin component comes with an array of health benefits including antioxidants and digestion improvement. This diet is said to help restore alkalinity and help restore vitality and in some cases, help their eczema.
- Lemon fast: Also referred to as the Master Cleanse or Lemonade Diet. This process involves fasting with nothing but lemon juice mixed with cayenne pepper and maple syrup in water over a minimum of 10 days. Said to be extremely detoxing, good for losing weight and restorative for the body.
- Liver cleanse: Eczema is said by some to be a symptom of a poorly functioning (over worked) liver. The method of detoxing the liver is then suggested to resolve blockages and bring about a smoothly functioning liver and for some, improved eczema.
- Water fast: The fast of fasts; the water fast can go anywhere from 3 days up to 30 and sometimes more. By giving the digestive system a complete break from having to constantly process food and nutrients, the body goes into a state of repair and is said to heal many ailments, including eczema.
Bathing can either bring a world of pain or a sought after respite to the eczema and topical steroid withdrawal sufferer. Their broken and sore skin demands nothing less than a soothing and regenerating experience so you must do your best to provide the right product in order to bring the relief it so needs. Here are some options which many people have found works to ease this often chronic condition.
Baking soda: This flexible product is deeply cleansing for the skin with its antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties. Baking soda Can be soothing while it reduces inflammation, however very alkaline, the skin may become pH imbalanced.
- Bentonite clay: A very detoxing product that when added to bath water will help draw out and dry any wet and oozing eczema, as well as heavy metals. Bentonite clay is also antibacterial and soothing, it can bring relief to the itch quickly.
- Bleach bath: A very quick way of killing off bacteria and bringing relief to infected eczema, although can dry out and exacerbate eczema prone skin if used too often. Bleach baths are alkaline and when the skin is naturally more acidic in order to kill bacteria, this can cause further imbalance to already fragile skin. Bleach is also a known irritant.
- Body brushes / scrubbers: Great for stimulating circulation, moving the lymphatic system along and helping remove the build-up of often thick layers of dead skin associated with shedding and dry eczema.
- Chamomile tea bath: Said to be soothing to the skin, chamomile baths can help reduce inflammation and tame the itch as well as ward off germs with its antimicrobial effects.
- Chickweed: This herb is considered a weed in some areas and offers an effective anti-pruritic agent which helps control the itch.
- Dead Sea salt: Only derived from the Dead Sea, these salts carry many beneficial minerals into the body while killing aggravating bacteria, reducing inflammation and holding moisture into the already moisture depleted skin.
- Epsom salt: Already found in many homes; Epsom Salt baths are known to help reduce inflammation, relax muscles, kill off bacteria, retain moisture in the skin and deliver beneficial magnesium sulphate to the body.
- Oatmeal bath: Oatmeal baths are non-drying, pH balancing, gentle and soothing to the skin with mild anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
- Pine tar: Can be purchased as a soap bar or liquid, pine tar contains antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has been used for a century to help reduce and soothe the itch and is even said to help slow the rapid growth of skin cells responsible for the sometimes chronic shedding of eczema.
- Reduce bathing: Most town water supplies are often full of drying minerals and chemicals used for killing off bacteria. This is wonderful for having clean water, however it can cause further drying out of the already moisture deficient skin.
- Swap shower for bath: Some people find relief when they swap out their showers for the bath tub. This could possibly be due to the bombarding effects of the shower water hitting the skin, so making this change may help decrease the loss of oils from the skin, lessening the drying effects of bathing.
- Turn the temperature down: Heat is a known aggravator for eczema and topical steroid withdrawal symptoms. By adjusting the temperature settings to only take a warm bath or shower, you can help reduce the redness and inflammation caused by such heat.
- Vinegar bath: Antibacterial and antifungal whilst staying in the acidic pH range, vinegar baths keep the skin in the territory it needs to work as an effective bacteria fighting organ. Vinegar baths also deliver a range of nutrients and antioxidants into the body for added health and eczema benefits.
When bathing, it is important to remember that by using soaps and shampoos, you are going to strip the skin of its natural sebum which keeps the skin hydrated. The skin barrier is already losing this important oil and most soap and detergents will also cause aggravation to the already sensitive epidermis. Many people with severe eczema or topical steroid withdrawal actually stop using soaps altogether in the effort to lessen irritation and improve the inflammation and hydration. That said, we still need to clean ‘certain areas’ which is why I wanted to provide the list below as some of the more gentle and natural soaps and shampoos.
All Natural Emily liquid soap: In my search for gentle soaps I came across this one which showed positive results for skin complaints including that of eczema and what’s more, it is soap free and all naturally derived.
- Neem oil soap/shampoo: Best made with no less than 20% cold pressed, organic neem oil; this product can provide anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and analgesic properties to sore, angry skin.
- Taoist soap: All natural, handmade soap; the Taoist soap can be used on the skin and scalp and is said to work wonders on not only bringing down inflammation, but also on the scalp to help regrow hair. This is particularly interesting for those experiencing hair loss during topical steroid withdrawal.
Many people suffering from eczema or topical steroid withdrawal struggle to find a lotion that does not irritate their skin, provides relief and aides overall improvement. As everyone is different, so too are the lotions which work for them. This is why I have provided a comprehensive list to inspire you not to give up the search. I have included store bought options as well as home remedies that can be made up yourself. NOTE: Side effects are not listed here so it is important to research any of these treatments before attempting to try them yourself. Any of these lotions has the potential to cause irritation and exacerbation of underlying allergies. Care and thorough research is always advised.
Aloe vera: Aloe vera is a medicinal plant known for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties as well as its capacity to heal the skin whilst providing an array of nutrition to the body.
- Aveeno cream: Contains petroleum jelly and colloidal oatmeal, which is known for its soothing effect on eczema. Also contains many other ingredients worth investigating.
- Bees wax: Said to offer extreme moisturising whilst acting as a non-pore clogging and antibacterial application.
- Burts Bees sensitive night cream: Containing eczema beneficial zinc oxide, Shea butter and aloe juice. It also contains a range of other non-natural ingredients so read the ingredients list carefully.
- Calamine lotion: Analgesic (treats pain), antipruritic (anti-itch) and contains healing zinc oxide.
- Cocoa butter: Moisturising and contains beneficial vitamins including the very healing Vitamin E. Always shop for the most pure product you can find.
- Corn starch: Found in most kitchens, corn starch has been known to provide a home remedy treatment for eczema by mixing with oil and applying directly to the skin.
- Manuka honey: Used directly and also found in many eczema products, Manuka honey provides antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activity. Honey also helps to speed up the healing process of damaged skin, its acts as a humectant (will draw water to it) and offers moisturising and moisture-locking effects for the skin.
- Organic mango butter: Moisturising and helpful in healing burns, mango butter can offer healing benefits to otherwise sore and broken skin.
- Phytosterols: Added to a cream or oil, phytosterols offer skin repairing benefits, as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-itch benefits. Also helps regulate the turnover of cells, assisting the chronic shedding eczema.
- Propolis cream: The propolis resin contains essential oils, waxes and bioflavonoids which provides antioxidants and is used for the treatment of inflammatory conditions. Beware of products containing irritating parabens.
- Shea butter: Used for centuries by the people of West Africa, Shea butter is rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids to provide moisture to the dry skin, an antioxidant boost and UV protection.
- Sudo cream: This barrier cream contains the healing benefits of zinc oxide, along with lanolin and benzyl alcohol which helps kill off bacteria. Please check the ingredient list and use with care, as some people may react negatively to this product.
- Vaseline: Vaseline is classed as hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic (does not block pores) while forming a barrier to lock in moisture and protect against outside allergens.
- Vegetable glycerine: Not to be confused with normal glycerine, vegetable glycerine is a humectant which draws in water, helping keep the skin hydrated.
- Vitamin C creams or powder: Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C delivers strong (scientifically backed) collagen formation capacity, necessary to heal skin and keep it youthful. Vitamin C is a very potent skin healer.
- Zinc cream: A natural antibiotic and antibacterial mineral with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Oils on the skin are a great way to help protect and seal the skin, locking in that crucial moisture which is so quickly lost by a poor skin barrier. Many people use oils on their skin daily, if their skin can tolerate it, and also applied after bathing to replace what the water strips away. NOTE: Side effects and contradictions are not listed here so it is important to research any of these treatments before attempting to try them yourself. Any of these oils has the potential to cause irritation and exacerbation of underlying allergies. Care and thorough research is always advised.
Almond oil: The ursolic acid content has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Also contains oleic acid (Omega 9), Vitamin A, E and B as well as antioxidants providing skin repairing, moisturising and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Apricot kernel oil: Rich in fatty acids and amygdalin as well as Vitamins A, C and E and is readily absorbed by the skin, giving a softening and moisturising appeal while leaving less oiliness afterwards.
- Argan oil: Vitamin E, Sterols and Polyphenols provide effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant protection for the eczema weary skin.
- Avocado oil: With its delivery of essential fatty acids, lecithin, Vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E, avocado oil has been effective in treating symptoms of eczema.
- Borage seed oil: Classed as a non-irritating oil that contains gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which is an essential fatty acid which converts into a compound called prostaglandin which when low, can cause the skin to lose moisture. GLA is also a known anti-inflammatory.
- Calendula oil: Calendula oil contains many beneficial constituents such as flavonoids which are known to relieve inflammation, carotenoids, saponins which serve as an antioxidant and musilage known for its soothing effects. Said to be anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic and antimicrobial.
- Camellia seed oil: Stimulate collagen and preventing its breakdown, camellia seed oil is rapidly absorbed into the deep layers of the skin, delivering nutrients such as Vitamin A, B and E, Omega 9’s and the antioxidant Polyphenols. Also said to help protect the skin from environmental allergens and even UV rays.
- Carrot seed essential oil: Stimulates the renewal process of the skin as well as offering protection from harmful UV rays.
- Castor oil: One of the better known oils for home remedy uses, castor oil is known to help heal the skin and provide an anti-inflammatory factor due to the ricinoleic acid content. The natural emollient action means it helps moisturise the skin and stimulate the elastin and collagen capacity which can help heal eczema.
- Chamomile oil: Antibacterial, antibiotic, analgesic, antifungal and a powerful anti-inflammatory, this soothing oil is said to bring relief to many an eczema covered skin.
- Coconut oil: Containing antioxidants, antimicrobial, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. It is moisturising while preventing moisture from escaping and helping protect and restore the outer parts of the skin.
- Cucumber seed oil: The high phytosterol content of cucumber seed oil is said to encourage healthy skin cell regeneration and strengthen the lipid barrier which is the fat layer of the skin that retains hydration. Full of beneficial fatty acids, rich in Vitamin C and B1, is detoxing to the pores and works as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic emollient.
- Cumin seed oil: Also known as Black Seed Oil or Nigella Sativa, contains therapeutic zinc, magnesium, potassium, calcium as well as Vitamins A, B and C. It is antifungal as well as antibacterial and also contains anti-inflammatory properties.
- Emu oil: Derived from the fat of the emu, this oil has an anti-inflammatory element and has been known to help rebuild the skin tissue and speed recovery.
- Evening primrose oil: Made up of essential fatty acids, can provide an anti-inflammatory response when taken internally.
- Grape seed oil: Full of beneficial antioxidants including flavinoids, phytochemicals and essential fatty acids as well as being non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging), anti-inflammatory, wound healing and said to be non-irritating.
- Hazelnut oil: Known for its astringent qualities, using on oozing and wet eczema skin promotes drying of these uncomfortably moist areas.
- Hemp seed oil: The hemp seed contains a rich source of essential fatty acids which can benefit the skin when ingested as well as applied topically by penetrating deep into the skin to help reduce and prevent inflammation.
- Jojoba oil: Non-greasy and non-comedogenic (not pore clogging) is deeply moisturising and well absorbed by the dry and open skin of eczema.
- Kukui nut oil: Originating from Hawaii, this highly penetrating oil also contains Omega 3’s, which provide anti-inflammatory properties and provides moisture to dry eczema skin.
- Lavender: Another essential oil which is known for its anti-inflammatory action as well as its ability to decrease pain and lock in moisture.
- Marjoram: This essential oil is said to help inflammation, irritation and the discomfort of eczema.
- Olive oil: It has an antioxidant effect on the body, is anti-carcinogenic due to the squalene content and contains some very beneficial nutrients. Applied topically it penetrates deep into the epidermis, nourishing dry and flaky skin.
- Peach kernel oil: Suitable for sensitive dry skin, peach kernel oil has itch-relieving benefits due to the non-greasy formula containing Vitamins A and E, as well as beneficial antioxidants to reduce damage from free radicals.
- Perilla seed oil: Rosmarinic acid found in perilla seed oil produces an antihistamine quality, with the addition of vitamins, essential fatty acids as well as anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial properties, making it a great eczema treatment.
- Pomegranate seed oil: Rich in antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids with strong anti-inflammatory effects, pomegranate seed oil can calm the redness, inflammation and itchiness as well as helping restore the moisture loss associated with eczema.
- Red Clover salve: This oil works by helping eliminate the itch through its anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties. Also containing flavonoids and phenolic glycosides, red clover salve can bring some benefits to eczema sufferers.
- Red raspberry seed oil: This fixed oil contains a perfect ratio of essential fatty acids as well as Vitamin E and A, creating an antioxidant and skin nurturing product.
- Rosehip oil: The packed advantages of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids in this light weight oil is known as a very gentle. It also helps heal and protect dry, aging and eczema covered skin.
- Rosemary oil: Said to help stimulate and soothe the eczema prone skin to help speed up healing, all while offering relaxing and pain-reducing benefits.
- Safflower oil: The high LA/OA (linoleic acid and oleic acid) content of safflower oil is said to reduce the severity of eczema due to their skin hydrating and skin barrier repairing benefits.
- Sea buckthorn oil: Derived from the Sea Buckthorn berry, this oil is high in antioxidants, beta-carotene and are a source of beneficial Omega 3’, vitamins and minerals.
- Sesame oil: Promoting healing and itch relief, sesame oil contains the benefits of both Vitamins A and E as well as antibacterial properties.
- Sunflower seed oil: Containing approximately 60% linoleic acid, high amounts of Vitamins A, C, D and E, anti-inflammatory properties, peptides and ceramides, the nutrient rich content is very moisturising and restorative to the skin. Not to be confused with cooking sunflower oil!
- Sweet orange essential oil: Supports collagen formation which helps the skin heal, and offering astringent and antibacterial properties to help keep the eczema skin clean and sealed.
- Tamanu oil: This tree only yields a small amount of oil every year, making this treatment very expensive. Tamanu oil is an effective wound healer, anti-inflammatory and certain acids create an antimicrobial response.
- Tea tree oil: Also referred to as Melaleuca oil, is known for its antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic qualities. This plant is used to help clean out and dry up oozing and wet eczema symptoms. However due to its strength, it needs to be diluted and used with caution as it can also cause irritation to certain individuals.
- Thyme: An essential oil with a range of benefits from antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory to help reduce the redness and itch of eczema.
- Vitamin E oil: Anti-inflammatory and offering powerful antioxidant and immune boosting benefits. When combined with Vitamin C, creates natural sun protection.
- Walnut oil: Providing phytonutrients, melatonin, Omega 3’s, melatonin, antioxidants and antibacterial benefits, walnut oil can help heal inflammatory skin conditions.
- Wheat germ oil: Extremely high in Vitamin E, making it a strong antioxidant, great for dry eczema and aging skin. Providing soothing properties, wheat germ oil also contains Vitamins A, B and D as well as proteins and lecithin.
There are many other options for someone suffering from eczema which can be extremely effective and still work to heal your body in the gentlest way possible.
Exercise: By moving the lymphatic system and sweating, the eczema skin can benefit by this heavily detoxing effect and subsequent unburdening of unwanted substances. Exercise also helps reduce stress in the system and can also help individuals achieve better sleep.
- Heal Lite therapy: Using special LED lights is incredibly healing for the deepest layers of the skin working to mend. It produces healing collagen and stimulates recovery.
- Reduce stress: Some types of eczema are caused by stress and many types of eczema can be worsened by stress. As obvious as this may sound, reducing stress in your life is important not only to your eczema but also your overall well being.
- Salt therapy: Just as salt baths and ocean swims can be beneficial in killing bacteria, reducing inflammation and prompting the skin to retain moisture, salt therapy sessions or a unit in your home works in the same manner to also help balance pH, regenerate the skin and benefit circulation and respiration.
- Sleep: When you have poor sleeping habits, the body actually produces a substance which is responsible for inflammation. This is crucial for the eczema or TSW individual, so ensure you find a way of getting a full night sleep every night to help reduce the severity of these conditions.
- Sun: Lay in the sun and take a sun bath! The healing benefits of direct sunlight are underestimated in today’s society and replaced by fear. Sunlight provides some very crucial healing properties as it affects us on a cellular level, stimulating the immune system, protecting the skin from infection, viruses and bacteria and much more. Obviously, caution is advised especially when prone to sunburn.
- Swim: Either in the ocean or in a pool, the salt/chlorine will kill off the bacteria which sits on and in the broken skin, causing further itch and inflammation.
- UVB light therapy: Narrow band UVB is the most common type of phototherapy for eczema, with very successful reports of itch reduction and anti-inflammatory effect. It also increases vitamin D production and the bacteria fighting capacity of the skin.
There is no doubt that we are in need of alternative therapies in today’s world, as conventional medical treatments in most instances of eczema, never treat the root cause. Often people will continue using strong and health destroying steroids for a lifetime with either no change to their actual condition or even worsening the condition.
Acupuncture: The Chinese have been using this method for millennia to help treat many illnesses, including eczema. Long term efficacy is not yet known.
- Chinese medicine: The use of Chinese herbal medicine in the form of ingestible, tinctures or creams for the skin or solutions for the bath should be administered by a qualified and reputable practitioner.
- Hair mineral analysis: Sending a sample of hair away to be tested can help identify a picture of the individual’s nutritional imbalances as well as any pathogenic or toxic load on the body which could be the cause or trigger of eczema.
- Homeopathy: Using medicines mainly from plants and minerals, homeopathy aims to find the correct medicine and combination that your body needs to heal.
- Hypnosis: In the event that the eczema is purely psychologically induced (not for the likes of atopic dermatitis), then hypnosis is one therapy which could be used to help break this mental cycle.
- Kinesiology: This treatment concentrates on finding allergies and intolerances to substances through the applied testing of the relationship between muscle weakness and the substance being tested.
- Naturopathy: There are many types of treatments, information and support which a Naturopath can provide including dietary, allergy and intolerance identification, remedies and establishing what is going on within the body.
Contact with tight or scratchy clothing can be an unnecessary trigger for already irritated skin. Wearing clothing which keeps you comfortable and sometimes protects you from yourself is going to go a long way in your skin recovery.
Bamboo or cotton fabric clothing: Wearing synthetic or woollen fabrics can cause major irritation to eczema, so switching to a product which is gentle on the skin is important. Even if it is just the clothing worn ‘under’ everything thing else, as long as the eczema isn’t touching irritating fabric, this can make a world of difference to the itch factor.
- Cotton gloves: Babies and adults have both used these to help save the skin from the onslaught of their nails attacking the skin (knowingly and unknowingly) during the day and at night. Keeping the hands behind a pair of non-irritating gloves can prevent further scratching damage.
- Cotton tights: Great for babies and children at night just in case their cotton gloves fall off, cotton tights are the next line of defence between the damaged eczema and wayward scratching fingernails.
- Wraps: When babies are scratching their eczema, it can be almost impossible to stop them. This is where wraps come in to help as they disable their ability to continue the itch-scratch cycle.
- Wet wraps: Used on adults and children, wet wraps are essentially a wet dressing which is applied to the eczema, sometimes with a topical agent on the skin such as zinc, which is said to provide a cooling and anti-itch response.
Soaps and chemicals are a major trigger for the eczema prone skin, so eliminating as many sources of irritants as possible is super important. One such potential hides in the laundry.
Fabric softener: If you can avoid using it, don’t! Many people have found a big change to their baby’s eczema after they stop using fabric softeners.
- Laundry detergent: Making the switch to a laundry detergent which states it is hypoallergenic, free of any dyes, irritating residues, fragrances or any other nasties can make a big difference to sensitive eczema skin.
The irritation of inflamed skin tends to hit a person hard during the evening hours and one such reason is due to the extremely common dust mite allergy. It is important to take steps to remove as much allergen from the bedroom as possible to enable the best chance for proper well rested sleep.
Dust mite mattress protector: To seal away the harmful dust mite causing allergens which are known to cause irritation to many eczema sufferers.
- Dust mite pillow protectors: The pillow is one of the main places for dust mites, so using a protective casing may go a long way to warding off the dreaded night time itch.
- Dust mite quilt / duvet protector: Often overlooked as bedding that needs protection, dust mites will set up camp in your quilt and need to be locked away from sensitive and allergy prone eczema skin.
- Washing: Because many people with eczema suffer allergies to dust mites, it is important to keep the amount of potential surrounding allergens to a minimum. This is why it is important to wash bedding once a week in hot water in no less than 50 degrees centigrade. This will kill and eliminate dust mites.
Many people who suffer from eczema also suffer from allergies and people experiencing topical steroid withdrawal will find they suddenly become allergic to EVERYTHING. This is why it is important to reduce the amount of allergens you are surrounded by. Below I have a few solutions to some of the most common allergens and irritants in the environment; weather related causes, dust mites, pet dander, mould and other airborne allergen and chemicals.
Air conditioner with HEPA filter: More expensive to run than an air purifier or a dehumidifier, however can control the temperature of the room. Air conditioners can deliver dry cool air to help keep the eczema covered skin at a comfortable level.
- Air purifier with HEPA filter: Great for people with dust mite allergies, which seems to be most people with eczema. An air filter is fairly low energy consumption and helps filter out dust mite allergens, mould spores, animal irritants as well as harmful airborne chemicals such as VOC’s and fumes.
- Dehumidifier: The humidity and sweat producing moisture in the air can be a big cause of eczema flares during summer, especially in more tropical climates. A lot of times the actual temperature is comfortable, however the humidity is irritating and itch causing. In the home a dehumidifier will help take the moisture from the air without affecting the temperature of the air. Because mould spores and dust mites thrive in warmer and more humid environments, a dehumidifier will help keep these allergens to a minimum.
- Humidifier: Best for the dryer cooler months when the skin of the eczema sufferer becomes susceptible to flaking, dryness and cracking due to the lack of humidity. When moisturisers or topical agents are causing too much irritation, a humidifier can bridge the gap.
- Vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter: Necessary for anyone who is living with animals and suffers from allergies to dust mites. A HEPA filter vacuum cleaner will help catch the micro particles which are invisible to the eye but cause a great deal of irritation and inflammation to unknowing eczema and allergy sufferers.
Water quality is just as important as air and food quality, which is why it pays to look at the condition of the water you drink and bathe in. Many town fed water supplies are heavy with drying mineral content and chemicals used to clean the water. This is wonderful for keeping our water free from bacteria, but it plays havoc with already defunct skin barriers.To see the sediment you are drinking and washing with, look at what is left after using a distiller – yuck! Help take the load off your body and skin by giving yourself the gift of better quality water.
Shower head filter: If you want to avoid the drying effects of chlorine and fluoride, then investing in a good quality shower head will help take some of the chemicals off of your delicate skin.
- Water distiller: These machines remove EVERYTHING except absolutely pure, soft water to hydrate and nourish all of your cells. Nature intended us to drink pure rain water and so the distiller brings this purity into the home. This set up will require the use of electricity and filters at approximately 1lt per hour; however the purity is beyond any other method.
- Water filter: A good quality water filter that doesn’t require electricity to run will provide water with the majority of contaminants and chemicals removed, leaving you with clean and tasty drinking water for the whole family.
- Water filter jug: Not quite the purity of distilled water or filtered on the large scale, however for quick, convenient and cheap drinking water, a water jug will filter small amounts of water quickly.
Had I known about the extensiveness of eczema treatment methods years ago, I probably wouldn’t have spent the last few decades using dangerous topical steroids and suffering from what I thought was untreatable eczema.
Congratulations for making it all the way to the end of a my 9,000 word post!
If you liked this list, found something that I missed, or have tried some of these eczema treatments please be sure to leave a comment below.
I highly recommend you check out all of the resources I used to help me through my eczema and TSW journey.
Happy Healing! Mel
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DISCLAIMER: The information presented throughout this post is provided to those suffering from eczema and Topical Steroid Withdrawal. It is not and should not be relied upon as medical advice. Any medical questions or concerns should be addressed with a healthcare professional. Never avoid or delay seeking medical advice or disregard medical advice based upon information provided on this document or website. The publisher of this document is not responsible for any errors or omissions in any content herein. By reading this document, you agree that the publisher is not responsible for health implications relating to any information presented in this document.
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