The uncomfortable symptoms of eczema, characterized by itchy, dry skin on the body, especially the arms and legs, can be challenging to control. Stress, food allergies and sweating only seem to exacerbate the condition, so managing these triggers is the first line of defense in managing one’s eczema. There are a variety of underlying problems that are shown to contribute to eczema including low levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, a condition known as hypochlorhydria; “leaky gut syndrome,” in which the intestines become porous and allow particles of food to enter the bloodstream, contributing to allergic reactions; and coming into contact with perfumes, cosmetics, creams and plants such as poison ivy. If the skin is left in contact with the trigger, the eczema will likely worsen and spread.
Treating you eczema at home with natural products is a great way to eliminate the uncomfortable symptoms that go hand-in-hand with eczema. Store-bought remedies can be expensive and worsen the uncomfortable side effects. Here are some ways to control the itching, cracking and flaking, naturally:
Borage Oil and Flaxseed Oil
Borage and flaxseed oils are rich in essential fatty acids, meaning that they must be obtained from one’s diet. Borage oil is particularly hydrating for the skin. An omega-6 fatty acid, borage oil is excellent to help the skin maintain hydration. Flaxseed oil is an omega-3 fatty acid that works to quell inflammation that can often lead to skin redness, blotchiness and itchiness. Both of these essential fatty acids work to hydrate dry, cracked skin from the inside, out. 1-2 tablespoons per day of raw borage and flaxseed oil mixed into smoothies or salad dressings is a great way to combat eczema.
Non-Dairy Probiotics and Fermented Foods
Reestablishing healthy intestinal flora is essential to eliminate symptoms of “leaky gut syndrome.” Intestinal health is intricately linked to allergies, a common eczema trigger. By eliminating sugars and refined starches from the diet to destroy bad bacteria and working to repopulate good bacteria with probiotics and fermented foods, eczema symptoms may begin to dissipate. Since dairy is a common allergen and eczema trigger, yogurt should be avoided as a source of probiotics. Non-dairy fermented foods such as raw sauerkraut, kombucha, miso and coconut kefir are great choices to increase the good bacteria in your intestinal tract. Eat these foods daily for best results.
Coconuts are one of the lowest allergen foods and their oil supplies incredible hydrating, antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal powers when applied topically or when eaten. For topical use, coconut oil is easily absorbed into the skin and works to eliminate bacterial infections from forming in areas of the skin where eczema is present. Rub 1-2 teaspoons on the affected area, twice daily. Look for organic coconut oil that is made without solvents, deodorizers or additives.
Helping to reduce puffiness around the eyes is only one of the unique ways cucumber can help save your skin. For another topical use, grate an organic cucumber and squeeze out the juice into a separate bowl, discarding the solid flesh (or use it in a salad). Apply the cucumber juice to the affected area with an organic cotton ball. This works to soothe any irritation and itchiness, while calming redness and inflammation.
Fresh Aloe Vera Gel
Keeping an aloe vera plant in the house can work wonders for not only eczema, but all skin irritations, including cuts and burns. Squeeze out the clear inner fillet of the aloe vera leaf and apply directly to the skin to help sooth irritation and promote healing. When mixed with liquid vitamin E, it creates an even more powerful topical ointment for eczema sufferers. Try to avoid synthetic vitamin E as this can cause additional irritation when applied to the skin.
Carrot Baby Food
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a pre-cursor to vitamin A that is essential for skin health. Apply a thin layer of the baby carrot food to the irritated areas and let sit for half an hour. Gently wipe off with a warm cloth.
Home remedies are economical, effective and all natural ways to help control eczema. By knowing exactly what you put on your skin, you can avoid the risk of exacerbating your eczema symptoms further. A good rule of thumb: If you cannot eat it, do not put it on your skin!