Evidence-Based Home remedies for Eczema
Eczema is a common disorder affecting the skin. It is a chronic disease characterized by frequent flare-ups. The episodes of an exacerbation are interspersed with a period of no symptoms. The common symptoms of this disease include itching, rashes, redness of the affected part, dark discoloration of the skin and oozing of moisture.
Typically, the skin is dry, inflamed, with occasional formation of blisters and crusts. This disease is more common in the patients with diabetes and those suffering from other allergic disorders such as rhinitis and asthma. Patients with diabetes have a higher risk of skin infection at the affected site due to frequent itching.
Natural Home remedies for Eczema
Eczema can have a serious effect on the personal and professional life of the patients due to the disfigurement of the affected part as well as the discomfort associated with itching. The symptoms of this disease can be managed well with the help of some simple home remedies given below:
Coconut oil is one of the most effective natural remedies for treating eczema. It is nourishing for the skin and moisturizes it. It can be readily absorbed into the skin thus allowing it to hold on to the moisture. When properly massaged over the affected part, it sinks into the intercellular spaces that have opened up due to the warmth created by the massaging action. This helps to trap the moisture and helps to keep the skin soft and supple. It prevents dryness of the skin, which is a common trigger for the exacerbation of eczema. It also soothes the skin and reduces skin rashes. It also helps to prevent the risk of superadded infection at the affected site thus preventing worsening of the condition especially in the patients with diabetes. (1)
How to use
|Coconut oil||Sufficient enough to apply on the affected part|
- Rinse your hands with water and pat them dry.
- Warm the required quantity of coconut oil sufficient enough to apply on the affected part.
- Rub the oil onto the affected areas gently and rub it with a smooth circular action till it is absorbed completely.
Note: Avoid massaging the affected part if there is oozing of moisture or if the rash is intense. In such cases, apply the oil and allow it some time to get absorbed into the skin.
Contrary to its name, Jojoba oil is not oil but a liquid wax. The prime action of this wax in the treatment of eczema is to keep the skin well hydrated. It can easily penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and act similar to the natural oils produced by the skin. This ensures the skin remains moisturized for prolonged hours after the application and prevents itching caused due to the dryness. It should be noted that the itching of the skin of often a factor that leads to an acute episode of eczema as scratching of the skin results in the erosion of the delicate outer layer of the skin and makes it vulnerable to infections. Jojoba oil is composed of fatty acids and fatty alcohols, which are incredibly moisturizing. The fatty alcohols are safe for the skin unlike the artificial ingredients present in the most commercial skin care products like methanol, benzyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol.
Jojoba oil also has an anti-inflammatory effect, which helps to reduce redness and irritation of the skin. It also protects the skin and prevents the discoloration. It also assists in the healing of ulceration caused due to intense scratching. (2)
How to use
|Jojoba oil||Half a cup|
- Apply jojoba oil on the affected part. Gently massage the area with the oil until it is absorbed, at least partially.
- Apply it 3 times every day during an acute episode. Patients may use it once every day on a regular basis to prevent frequent exacerbations of the condition.
Shea butter possesses strong skin-hydrating properties. During research, it was found that among the patients with eczema dermatitis, 74% reported significant relief from the symptoms after using a cream containing Shea butter. It is believed to work by keeping the skin well-moisturized and preventing the trans-epidermal water loss. It was also found that the pruritus caused by eczema can also be controlled effectively by the regular application of Shea butter. (3)
It can be used to get rid of the dry, itchy, and painful patches of the skin. It is soothing for the skin and reduces the discomfort and irritation. It contains a higher amount of non-saponifiable fatty acids, such as stearic and oleic. These fatty acids have an ability to repair and soften the damaged skin. They can also help to reduce inflammation caused by eczema.
How to use
|Shea butter||2 tsp|
|Coconut oil||6 tsp|
|Jojoba oil||6 tsp|
|Lavender essential oil||2 drops (Optional)|
- In a double boiler, add jojoba and beeswax and let it melt completely. Once they have melted, add coconut oil and stir the mixture till it is fully melted.
- Lower the heat and add the Shea butter. Keep stirring till it melts.
- Pour the mixture into an airtight glass jar and store it for future use.
- When ready to use, add 2 drops of lavender oil to the mixture and stir it. Allow it to cool. Apply it to the affected areas.
Note: Shea butter should be the last ingredient added to this mixture as it is more heat sensitive, and may get grainy along its shelf life if it is overexposed to the heat.
A plain oatmeal bath is highly soothing for the skin. It can provide remarkable relief from the itching, redness, and rashes caused by eczema. It moisturizes the skin and prevents scratching caused by dryness. The chemical constituents present in the oatmeal act as an anti-inflammatory agent and relieve the discomfort brought on by the inflammation associated with eczema.
The extracts of colloidal oatmeal have the ability to diminish the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are known to trigger inflammation and worsen the symptoms of eczema. This unique action of oatmeal is useful in preventing worsening of an acute episode of this condition. It also prevents roughness of the skin that usually occurs due to the frequent episodes of eczema over several years. It makes the skin soft and smooth. (4)
How to use
- Pour the oatmeal over a muslin cloth and tie it securely to make a small bundle. Tie a long piece of material around its top to secure it well.
- Fill the tub till its half. Then, use the extra piece of the material used to tie its top to hang the bag below the faucet.
- Run the bath till it is full and the water is smooth and milky. Soak for about 10 to 15 minutes before getting out. Pat dry with a clean
Chamomile tea is incredibly soothing for the skin. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. It reduces inflammation of the skin and alleviates itchiness. It also ensures rapid healing of the affected part that may have been overly-scratched. These medicinal properties of Chamomile tea are due to the natural alcohol called levomenol or a-bisabolol present in it. Bisabolol has the ability to ease irritation, and reduce inflammation of the skin. It also has anti-microbial properties, which help to ward off the germs that can attack the skin, which is weakened due to eczema.
Chamomile tea has been found to be about 60% as effective as the commonly used steroidal medicines like hydrocortisone cream for treating this condition. (5)
How to use
|Dried (German) chamomile flower||4 tablespoons|
- Place 4 tablespoons of chamomile flowers in a muslin cloth and tie it off. More flowers can be added in case patients want a stronger bath. However, it is a good idea to start with 4 tablespoons.
- Fill the tub to the half and tie the bag to the faucet in such a way that the bath water can run over it.
- Once the tub is full, the bag can be dropped directly in the tub. Then, give it a squeeze so as to get more healing benefits.
- Soak for at least 10 to 15 minutes and then, gently pat dry with a clean towel.
Fish oil can help to lessen the severity of the symptoms of eczema, particularly itching. Research has proved that the patients with eczema have a reduced ability to break down the essential fatty acids into their metabolites as a result of which the amount of fatty acids getting into the skin cell membranes is also lower. Due to this, their skin is more prone to dryness, which serves as a triggering factor for the development or worsening of eczema. Fish oil can help in taking care of this root cause. It contains a high amount of certain fatty acids that are particularly essential in maintaining the normal skin functions and keeping the skin well-hydrated.
It has been found during research that children and adults with eczema can experience a remarkable improvement in their symptoms such as itching and loss of sleep due to the discomfort after using fish oil for six weeks. When used on a regular basis, it can reduce the need for the use of steroidal creams or other modern medications for eczema and prevent the frequent attacks of flare-ups. It can improve the quality of life of patients by providing relief from the annoying symptoms of eczema. (6)
How to use
|Fish oil||4 tsp|
|Orange juice||2 tsp|
- Mix fish oil into the orange juice.
- Apply this mixture on the affected part.
- Let it stay for a few minutes and then, wash it off with plain water.
Honey can be highly effective in reducing most of the symptoms of eczema. It is highly soothing for the skin and produces a refreshing effect on the dry and irritated skin. Its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties help to speed up the healing process of the damaged skin. It contains humectant properties, which help to draw water into the skin.
In a recent research, it was found that honey can reduce the activity of 2 enzymes called cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2, thereby preventing the inflammatory effects. This natural remedy also demonstrates immunomodulatory activities, which help in regulating the action of the immune system thereby preventing further damage to the skin. Diluted honey can reduce the release of prostaglandins like PGF2α, PGE2, and thromboxane B2 in the plasma and thus, prevent inflammation, redness, and damage to the skin. The skin lesions treated with honey have less necrosis, improved epithelialization, less edema, and better wound contraction. Moreover, it reduces exudation thereby reducing the sticky discharge from the lesion. It also promotes healing and diminishes the scar size by stimulating tissue regeneration. (7)
How to use
|Honey||2 to 3 tsp|
- Apply a thin layer of honey on the affected area. Cover it with a bandage to prevent it from getting rubbed off against anything. However, if the affected part can be kept unmoved without disturbing the honey applied on it, it is best to leave it open and let it breathe.
- It can be allowed to stay for 20 to 30 minutes. Then, rinse it off with cool water and pat dry.
- Use this remedy three times every day.
Note: The downside of using honey is it can get sticky. Hence, it should preferably be used over small areas. Slathering it up and down all over the arms and legs should be avoided.
Calendula (Calendula Officinalis)
This herb works as an anti-inflammatory agent and helps to reduce inflammation, redness, and oozing of discharge caused by eczema. It is also believed to benefit the eczema patients by eliminating bacteria with its potent antibacterial properties. It also helps the skin to heal and prevents the scar formation.
It reduces burning sensation caused due to the bruises formed by constant scratching. The topical formulations containing marigold were associated with an improvement in the collagen synthesis in the skin, which results in the faster healing of the damaged skin tissues.
It also stimulates epithelialization of the skin cells thus allowing the ulcers caused by incessant scratching to heal faster. (8)
The anti-inflammatory effect of Calendula is related to the presence of triterpene derivatives and flavonoids in it. These substances inhibit lipoxygenase thereby reducing inflammation. (9)
How to use
|Dried calendula petals||A large bowl|
|Carrier oil (almond oil, olive oil, or sunflower oil||One-fourth bowl|
- Put dried calendula petals in a clean and dry glass jar. Fill the jar with a carrier oil of choice so that the petals are covered completely.
- Put the jar in a sunny place to allow it to infuse for at least four weeks. Drain out the petals from the oil. Store the oil in a clean container for future use.
- To use, apply a small quantity of the oil on the affected part and let it stay for at least half an hour. Then, wash it off with plain water.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza Glabra)
Licorice (Mulethi) contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which produces a strong anti-inflammatory activity. It can help to reduce the symptoms of eczema associated with inflammation such as redness, swelling and itching. It also reduces the risk of infection and ulceration due to eczema. (10)
How to use
|Licorice extracts||Half a bowl|
- Add chopped cucumbers and licorice extracts. Blend it together to make a smooth paste.
- Apply this paste on the affected part and let it stay for half an hour. Then, wash it off with plain water.
- Use this remedy twice daily.
Aloe Vera is one of the most common plants used for treating skin diseases. It contains anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. It provides relief from itching, redness, swelling, and irritation of the skin caused by eczema.
It also speeds up the wound healing and improves blood circulation through the affected part. It prevents the destruction of the skin cells around a wound. (11)
How to use
|Aloe Vera juice||2 tsp|
- Take out fresh Aloe Vera juice by cutting a leaf of the plant using a knife. Apply the juice on the affected part and massage it gently to allow it to be absorbed into the skin.
- Use this remedy twice daily during an acute attack.