Eczema is a very common chronic skin disorder, affecting about 34 million Americans. It can occur in people of all age groups, but it is more common among infants than adults.
Its symptoms include dry skin, redness, swelling, flaking, blisters, cracking, crusted sores and constant itching. It can affect different body parts like the face, hands, ankles, back of the knees, neck and upper chest.
While eczema is often hereditary, various factors can also trigger it, such as allergies, environmental irritants, sweating, and emotional stress. Eczema outbreaks can be chronic or acute.
If not treated, eczema can cause a lot of discomfort. There are medicines available in the market, but many are chemical-based and can actually aggravate symptoms. For many people, natural remedies are a better option for dealing with eczema.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for eczema.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is one of the most popular remedies for eczema. It has antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
Plus, it is a storehouse of healthy vitamins and nutrients, such as lauric acid and vitamins K and E, that help combat itchiness and soothe the skin. For best results, use unrefined, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil.
- Apply coconut oil directly on the affected skin several times a day to get instant relief from itching or mild pain. Continue for as many days as needed until the symptoms are gone completely.
- You can also consume two to four tablespoons of coconut oil daily to help alleviate eczema symptoms and improve your overall immunity. You can simply swallow the coconut oil or add it to your foods or drinks.
2. Colloidal Oatmeal
Colloidal oatmeal (very finely ground oatmeal) can be very effective in treating eczema. It contains anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that ease itchiness and reduce pain.
- Add one to two cups of colloidal oatmeal to a bath tub filled with lukewarm water. Soak in it for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Pat dry your skin gently, and then apply a mild moisturizer.
- Alternatively, add one tablespoon of cold milk to two tablespoons of colloidal oatmeal to make a thick paste. Apply this paste on the affected area, massaging gently for a minute. Allow the paste to sit for 15 to 20 minutes, and then rinse it off with cool water.
Repeat either of these remedies three or four times a week for a few months to notice improvement.
Turmeric has been used extensively in the treatment of different skin disorders, including eczema. A study published in the June 2010 issue of Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that turmeric, among other herbs, is beneficial in skin care due to its antioxidant qualities.
Plus, curcumin, the active ingredient present in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory and bactericidal properties that help treat inflammation and itching.
- Mix one-half teaspoon of turmeric with enough milk to make a paste. Apply this paste on the affected skin twice daily until the redness and itchiness is gone.
- Alternatively, you can add one-half teaspoon of turmeric to one cup of boiling water and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Allow it to cool. You can drink it or use it to wash the affected area.
Repeat whichever option suits you two or three times a day until you get relief.
4. Indian Lilac
Indian lilac, also known as neem, is another great remedy for eczema. Studies have shown that neem has antibacterial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can relieve eczema symptoms like dryness, pain, redness, swelling and inflammation.
Plus, neem oil is a good source of essential fatty oils and vitamin E that help keep the affected skin moisturized. Both neem leaves and neem oil can be used to treat eczema.
- Grind together one tablespoon each of turmeric root, neem leaves and sesame oil into a fine paste. Apply it on the affected areas, let it air dry, and then rinse it off with warm water. Use this treatment once daily for a few months.
- Alternatively, you can add a few drops of neem oil to warm bath water and soak in it for no longer than 20 minutes. Pat dry your skin and apply some light moisturizer. Use this treatment once daily for one or two months.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has several properties that make it an effective treatment for eczema. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe the itching as well as the burning sensation. Plus, its antimicrobial properties help prevent further skin infection. Also, aloe vera helps hydrate the skin and keep the area moisturized.
- Extract the gel from a fresh aloe leaf. You can also add a few drops of vitamin E oil in the aloe gel.
- Apply the gel directly on the affected skin.
- Allow it to dry on its own, and then rinse it off with warm water.
- Use this simple treatment twice daily for several weeks.
6. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is another soothing home treatment for serious skin conditions like eczema. The magnesium sulfate present in Epsom salt has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation and relieves itching.
Also, Epsom salt promotes the removal of toxins from the body and its antimicrobial effect helps reduce the inflamed eczema lesions.
- Mix one to two cups of Epsom salt in a bath tub filled with warm water.
- Mix in 10 to 15 drops of lavender essential oil.
- Soak in it for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Pat dry your skin and apply some moisturizer.
- Do this up to three times per week.
Note: Epsom salt baths are not recommended for people who have heart problems, high blood pressure or diabetes.
Chamomile is another popular remedy for eczema. The herb has flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce itching, inflammation, swelling and redness.
- Add one tablespoon of dried chamomile flowers to one cup of boiling water. Let it steep for at least 15 minutes. Strain and allow the solution to cool. Soak a clean piece of cloth in it and place it on the affected skin for 10 to 15 minutes. Use this treatment three times a day until symptoms subside.
- Alternatively, you can mix a few drops of chamomile essential oil in one teaspoon of olive oil. Apply it on the affected area and massage gently for five to 10 minutes. Repeat at least twice daily until the problem is solved.
Sandalwood is extensively used in Ayurveda to treat many skin problems, including eczema as it has soothing, cooling, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe irritated and dry skin. Plus, sandalwood can help clear up eczema scars.
- Mix one teaspoon each of sandalwood powder and camphor with sufficient rose water or just plain water to make a thick paste.
- Apply this paste on the affected skin.
- Allow it to sit for 10 minutes, and then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Repeat twice daily for a month.
Nutmeg has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation and ease pain from eczema. This is one reason why nutmeg is a common ingredient in beauty products. You can scrape a whole fresh nutmeg against a cheese grater to get it in powder form.
- Mix one tablespoon of nutmeg powder with one teaspoon of olive oil to make a thick paste. Apply this paste on the affected area, and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse it off with cool water.
- Alternatively, mix equal parts of cinnamon, nutmeg and honey to make a paste. Apply this paste on the affected areas, and leave it on for 30 minutes. Rinse it off with warm water.
You can use either of these treatments once daily for several weeks until your eczema heals completely.
The high water content of cucumbers, coupled with their strong anti-inflammatory properties, make them an effective remedy for eczema.
- Cut one cucumber into thin slices and soak them in water for at least a couple of hours. Finally, strain the liquid and apply it on the affected skin. Let it dry on its own and then rinse it off with warm water. Repeat several times a day for two months.
- Alternatively, you can cut a cucumber into slices and put them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Put the cool cucumber slices on the affected skin for 10 to 15 minutes. Do this three or four times daily for several months.
Along with these remedies, make sure you keep your skin hydrated and well moisturized. Drink plenty of water and eat fruits and vegetables with high water content daily.
Also, you can daily drink a cup of water mixed with one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and apply a mixture of equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water on the affected areas.