Eczema can definitely disrupt your life and be a huge inconvenience and annoyance. It can be painful, embarrassing and frustrating if you can’t figure out the cause. The important thing to remember here is that eczema is the symptom – not the condition. You’ve probably received many different pieces of advice from people you know or even doctors, recommending various prescription or OTC creams. However, an eczema cure is not one-size-cures-all, as everybody is different and may have eczema for completely different reasons. It may be tiring and aggravating, but it is important to find the source of your eczema, rather than just using medicated creams or receiving steroids to control it for the moment.
Examine Your Lifestyle
First and foremost, I’d advise you to get yourself checked for any allergies (food or otherwise) that could be causing the outbreaks. Allergies and gut problems are often the “hidden” culprits of skin disorders. I have taken probiotics and made dietary changes to heal various skin issues I’ve encountered over the past few years and have seen good improvement.
The main issue for me is combatting all the bad bacteria in my gut from countless courses of antibiotics throughout my childhood and teen years, and years of being on the birth control pill. I do this by replacing the bad bacteria with the good bacteria in probiotics. I’ve also swapped out traditional dairy with almond milk alternatives (with the exception of some pizza here and there!) as dairy consumption can wreak havoc on my skin and my GI tract.
I also believe it’s worth it to see if reducing stress through meditation and getting more sleep helps at all. Even if it doesn’t help your eczema -which can manifest as a reaction to high-stress situations- living a more stress-free life never hurt anyone, and it could heal other ailments that you may suffer from, like headaches, fatigue, irritability and issues of IBS. I love searching for podcasts or online videos for guided meditation. Finding a guide with a soothing voice is crucial however…if only Morgan Freeman would narrate one!
Watch What You’re Putting on Your Skin
You should then examine the products (skin care, bath products, hair care, sun protection, etc.) that you use – regardless of the frequency of use. To narrow down to the guilty culprit(s), try keeping a log of when new patches of eczema appear or when old areas resurface and what products you use each day to try and find a connection between products and flare-ups, and possibly the product you could have an allergy or intolerance to.
If you need symptom relief immediately, discontinue all the products that have chemical additives (think synthetic fragrances, dyes and parabens) and keep your skin care arsenal simple. As they say, if the ingredient list is straight-forward and full of ingredients derived from plants, rather than made in a plant, you’ve done well!
For topical treatments to heal or soothe eczema until you heal it from within, try using a gentle exfoliator (don’t be too rough!) followed with a moisturizing cream/body butter or oil. Coconut oil, the multi-tasking showoff that it is, can be applied directly to effected areas to heal dry eczema patches, and can also be added to foods and smoothies to benefit internally from the essential vitamins and fats it contains that in turn assist the immune system with fighting infection and inflammation. Adding drops of jojoba oil or argan oil to your moisturizer can also help to heal dry, scaly skin; pure aloe vera, shea butter and Manuka honey are other alternatives that can provide relief to inflammation and redness of particularly strong outbreaks of eczema, while adding moisture as well.
If your eczema outbreaks are on the inflamed/moist/blistering end of the spectrum, you could try applying apple cider vinegar diluted slightly with water directly to the skin. This will help to dry up blisters without exaggerating the dry, rough patches around them. I also recommend drying blisters using a cotton ball soaked in a Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and warm water solution.
Eczema can completely affect a person’s quality of life and it can be frustrating to try and cure yourself of it due to the fact that there are a wide array of potential culprits. Hopefully the following checklist will make your journey to an eczema-free life a little easier.
Eczema cure/heal checklist:
- Get tested for allergies – food and non-food
- Ask your doctor if it’s possible you have Candida overgrowth and if so, if you should start on a yeast-control diet
- Address diet in a more general way and try avoiding overly processed foods, food dyes, MSG, GMOs, and conventional produce (try organic instead)
- Discontinue use of all conventional products directly going on skin
- Try changing laundry detergents or making your own simple blend
- Wear light, breathable fabrics (like cotton) as much as possible
- Try taking a daily probiotic to combat the bad bacteria in your gut with good bacteria in the probiotic
- Apply soothing topical products like Drenched from Organic Bath, coconut oil, aloe vera, and Manuka honey to moisturize without the added chemical irritants in conventional moisturizers
- Dry out blisters with apple cider vinegar or Himalayan Pink Sea Salt in water, applied topically
- Breathe, hydrate, sleep, relax and laugh! I know you’re hurting, but “this too shall pass”!
Now I want to hear YOUR eczema cures/soothers! What has worked well for you or someone you know? What eczema triggers have you found apply to yourself/your skin? Share the wealth and let’s help everyone find some relief!
As always, you may leave a comment below or continue the conversation on Twitter/Instagram @OrganicAbby.