According to the National Eczema Association, eczema affects approximately 31.6 million Americans, over 10 percent of the population. Any one of these individuals can attest to the irritation, itchiness and redness associated with the condition. Many struggle to find relief in store-bought skin care products, which can sometimes worsen symptoms. Fortunately, there are natural remedies you can try that help your skin replenish vital moisture and nutrients.
Here are five at-home eczema remedies consisting of all-natural plant extracts and essential oils. If you currently take prescribed medications for your symptoms, check with your dermatologist before attempting any home treatments.
1. Sunflower Oil
Applying sunflower oil to the skin can boost the skin’s barrier function. It has anti-inflammatory properties and aids the skin by retaining moisture. National Eczema Association recommends you apply sunflower oil to adult skin twice a day. One of those times should be recently after bathing while you skin is still wet.
Those who have a known allergy to sunflower seeds should avoid using sunflower oil.
2. Evening Primrose
Though studies have shown mixed results, many eczema patients claim that evening primrose has anti-inflammatory properties when ingested. The plant extract contains beneficial omega-6 fatty acids, which are believed to help reduce chronic inflammation resulting from systemic diseases such as atopic dermatitis. Typically, evening primrose is available as an oral supplement.
3. Coconut Oil
Researchers are learning more about the restorative, natural skin care properties of coconut and other plant-based oils each year. They have discovered that coconut oil contains fatty acids known to promote faster wound healing and reduce chances of infection. For those with eczema symptoms, coconut oil can reduce the severity of flare-ups and act as a moisturizer, reducing dryness. It is also effective against staph bacteria, which can cause infection in open sores.
Apply coconut oil as needed in affected areas along with your normal moisturizer. Be sure to use wet-processed virgin coconut oil, which has greater anti-inflammatory properties than refined oil (which is used for cooking).
4. Colloidal Oatmeal Cream
Made from ground oats, colloidal oatmeal reduces irritation, inflammation and itchiness. Available as a topical cream or soluble powder, it is a common moisturizing treatment for dry skin, scaling and flaking. Colloidal oatmeal contains phenols that promote antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity in the body, reducing the swelling and redness associated with eczema.
You can find colloidal oatmeal in cream form, which you can use as your daily moisturizer. Powdered colloidal oatmeal is also available for more serious flares. Dissolve into a warm bath and soak for 10 to 15 minutes. This will help soften your skin, reducing flakes and irritation.
5. Relaxation and Stress Relief
In a survey by the National Eczema Association, 30 percent of those diagnosed with eczema have a history of anxiety and depression. Researchers have also established a measurable link between mental health and skin disease. While you should always seek a qualified mental health diagnosis from a psychiatrist, you can practice stress management and relaxation techniques to reduce symptoms:
- Focused breathing
- Sound and aroma therapy
It is believed that lower stress levels reduce the frequency and severity of atopic dermatitis flare-ups. In addition to your routine skin care treatments, you can help your body control your symptoms through regular meditation and relaxation practices.
Though there are no cures for eczema, home remedies can relieve many of the symptoms. However, if symptoms persist or worsen, you should consult a dermatologist. To learn more information about the condition and to seek treatment, call 609-443-4500 or schedule an appointment online at Windsor Dermatology today.