Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions in the United States, affecting some 31 million people. This skin condition is characterized by inflammation, itching, scaling, discoloration and dryness. It flares up periodically and then subsides.
There is no accepted mainstream cure for eczema. Most people with the condition simply use remedies to treat their symptoms, soothe inflamed skin and potentially prevent flare-ups.
Read on to learn about eczema and the natural remedies that help relieve its symptoms.
Eczema: types and symptoms
Even though it’s one of the most common skin conditions, eczema and what causes it aren’t fully understood. Some experts believe people with eczema have overactive immune systems, which cause their skin to become inflamed and irritated.
Others think eczema is related to a gene variation that affects the skin’s ability to protect itself, making it susceptible to irritants and allergens.
In children, food allergies may also cause eczema.
The term “eczema” actually refers to seven skin conditions marked by itching and inflammation.
- Atopic dermatitis – This is the most common form of eczema. It starts in childhood and gets milder in adulthood. In atopic dermatitis, rashes often form in the creases of the elbows and knees.
- Contact dermatitis – In contact dermatitis, touching certain substances causes flare-ups. It may cause hives and fluid-filled blisters to appear on the skin.
- Stasis dermatitis – Stasis dermatitis happens when fluid leaks out of weakened veins into the skin. The fluid causes swelling, redness and itching.
- Seborrheic dermatitis – This form of eczema mainly affects your scalp. It is marked by a dry scalp and dandruff.
- Neurodermatitis – In neurodermatitis, thick, scaly patches form due to long-term scratching.
- Nummular eczema – This type of eczema causes round, coin-shaped spots to form on the skin.
- Dyshidrotic eczema – Dyshidrotic eczema causes blisters to form on the fingers, toes, palms and soles.
Safe and effective home remedies for eczema
You can relieve itchy, inflamed skin naturally with the following remedies:
- Anti-inflammatory diet – Eczema is marked by inflammation. You can easily reduce inflammation by eating anti-inflammatory foods, such as fatty fish, cruciferous vegetables and fermented foods. Avoid pro-inflammatory foods, such as fried foods, sweets, sugar-sweetened drinks and processed dairy products.
- Sun exposure – Step outside when it’s sunny out to relieve eczema symptoms and speed up healing. According to research, a little but of sunlight can help reduce the number of activated cells responsible for inflammation.
- Vitamin D – Some observational studies have found a link between vitamin D levels and eczema outcomes. Lower vitamin D levels are associated with more severe eczema symptoms. To avoid severe flare-ups, supplement with vitamin D or eat foods rich in vitamin D.
- CBD ointments – The skin contains natural receptors for cannabidiol (CBD), an active component of cannabis. A recent study found that topical CBD ointments can help with inflammatory skin conditions. Therefore, using topical remedies that contain CBD can help ease the redness and itchiness caused by eczema.
- Therapeutic oils – Coconut oil contains healthy fatty acids that help moisturize dry skin — a hallmark of eczema. Coconut oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Certain essential oils, such as lavender and primrose, also contain active compounds with potent anti-inflammatory properties. Dilute lavender or primrose essential oil in coconut oil to make a soothing oil rub for your eczema. (Related: Rose water is an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory remedy for skin infections.)
Remedies.news has more tips on how to treat other skin conditions like eczema.