Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition, that usually occurs in children, but that can occur at any age.
Symptoms of the condition, which tends to flare up and subside, include cracked, dry or scaly skin that itches, often getting worse at night; red or brown patches, commonly inside the bend of the elbows and knees; and red, swollen skin that’s irritated from scratching.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
Moisturizing is very important when trying to relieve eczema symptoms. Heavily moisturize the skin with shea butter or a moisturizing cream, which is better at holding in moisture than a lotion.
Moisturize your skin 2 to 3 times a day and apply the moisturizer within 3 minutes after bathing to lock in moisture.
Take a warm bath
Sprinkle oatmeal or baking soda into a lukewarm bath and soak in the bath for about 20 minutes until your skin starts to wrinkle. After the bath, pat your skin dry and apply moisturizer.
Choose mild soaps and detergents
Choose mild soaps and detergents without dyes or perfumes. Also, make sure to rinse the soap completely off your body when bathing.
Take measures to stop itching
Apply an ice pack, a cold compress or a package of frozen vegetables to the affected area to reduce the itchiness.
Cut your fingernails and wear cotton gloves at night to reduce the tendency to scratch the area.
Use a humidifier in the winter time to reduce hot or dry air, which can lead to itchier skin.
Heat tends to further irritate eczema, so try to stay as cool as possible. Keep the temperature at home below 75 degrees Fahrenheit and wear loose-fitting clothes that keep the skin cool. Avoid synthetic fibers and wool fabric, which may cause more itchiness.
Drink green tea
Green tea has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce eczema symptoms. Antioxidants help protect the skin and body from free radicals. The anti-inflammatory properties help reduce the skin’s inflammatory response to environmental factors.
Avoid dairy products
Eliminating or greatly reducing your intake of milk and milk products may help ease eczema symptoms. A possible cause of eczema is a dysfunction or weakness of the immune system. Dairy products may irritate the immune system, leading to more vulnerability for eczema flare-ups.
Consider essential oils
Essential oils like lavender oil and tea tree oil can act as restorative agents to the skin as well as provide aromatherapy to aid in relaxation and reduce stress.Lavender oil has antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties that act to restore the skin. Lavender oil gently eases irritation while working to promote a healthy balance of nutrients on the skin.
Tea tree oil acts as a protective agent for the skin with its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It also has been shown to help reduce the appearance of scar marks, which may result from constant scratching.
Essential oils are potent and highly concentrated, which means that they may cause skin irritation. Consider combining the oil with a water or oil-based substance to reduce potency.
Reducing or eliminating stress can soothe eczema symptoms because stress is one of the primary causes of eczema skin flare-ups. The aromatic compounds of lavender and tea tree essential oils may act as a stress reducer.
Learn what triggers your eczema and avoid it
Track what you eat, which products you use, the temperature, the clothing you wear and the activities you perform on a daily basis to try to identify what causes a flare-up so that you can avoid it in the future.
– By Jessica Braun
Jessica is a writer and an editor at WholesomeONE. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com.
- Mayo Clinic
- Everyday Health
- National Eczema Association