Have you tried the drug store potions, over the counter (OTC) medications, or even prescriptions only to have little to no improvement in your eczema?
This is a common theme in my virtual clinic. We see many people that’ve tried everything, including things we recommend like diets or supplements, only to have a small change in their eczema. So, what’s going on??
The truth is that eczema, like any other chronic inflammatory or autoimmune condition, is complex and the causes are different for each person. This makes it difficult to treat, especially self-treat.
Super frustrating, right?
There’s a small percentage of people that can eliminate the common food triggers and take a couple of supplements, and achieve resolution of eczema. However, this is rare. If they don’t maintain their diet or have a major stressor, the eczema usually returns because they haven’t addressed the underlying causes.
You might be thinking- what do I do?
Addressing the root causes like stress, hormone imbalance, diet, gut infections, nutrient/vitamin deficiencies, and immune dysfunction provides long term resolution, but in the meantime here several natural eczema remedies to help control the symptoms and start healing.
Don’t: Petroleum jelly goes under many names such a Vaseline®, petrolatum, mineral oil, or paraffin, and it’s a byproduct oil refining that contains compounds such as hydrocarbons that are harmful to health. It also seals the skin, trapping potentially harmful bacteria and letting the skin breathe.
Even worse, it can cause collagen breakdown which is the opposite of what you want if you have eczema.
Do: Shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and jojoba oil are all great options and each their own benefits. Some people find they work well alone, but in practice we’ve seen that people usually benefit from a combination.
You can purchase one like Moon Valley Organics EczaCalm (there are many other options available and we’ll be doing a review of our favorites so stay tuned). You can also customize a blend of your own with our Healing Salve recipe. The recipe can be altered with different base butters, oils and essential oils.
Remember, topicals help soothe the skin, but real healing comes from inside the body.
Supplements seem to be an obvious starting place for natural eczema treatment, but in reality are a complex task to tackle, especially alone.
Don’t: Sadly, we see many people that are either on 20-30 supplements at once (YES…this is real unfortunately) and have no relief and lots of wasted money!!
The truth is this could be making the situation worse since you don’t know what ingredients are helping or hurting. Plus, there are the fillers, binders, and additives to consider as well as the active ingredients that could be causing issues.
Do: Start simply. Use single or few ingredient products that are clean, well sourced, and have a good reason for you to invest in them.
Here are two great options that have worked well in our clinic:
Collagen Protein has many benefits. It’s a critical building block of our skin that is compromised with eczema and it helps heal the gut which is a primary root cause in eczema and other autoimmune conditions.
Bifidobacterium based probiotics reduce histamine and can help heal the gut. This 2008 study shows using B. infantis and B. longum reduced histamine signaling which can translate to less itching.
Again, diet is often difficult to navigate on your own (even harder than supplements). We’re all different and for some just taking out a couple of foods or food categories may work, but no one will ever respond to the same exact diet (not even identical twins).
Don’t: Taking on too many dietary changes at once can be overwhelming and lead to unnecessary (and unwanted) stress. Don’t try removing gluten, dairy, salicylates, and histamines all at once. This will leave you with nothing to eat and likely cause confusion.
Do: Take baby steps with diet and monitor closely so you know what’s going on. An easy stepping stone is to remove all gluten or dairy products for 3-4 weeks minimum (you can do both if you’re willing). When you re-introduce them watch for reactions not only on your skin, but digestion, headaches, runny nose, fatigue, and achy muscles or joints.
Eggs, soy, corn, or nuts might be good options for you to test eventually too. If you find the main food allergens and sensitivities aren’t your problem, then it might be time to look at broad categories like salicylates or histamines.
The Bottom Line
These are all good, natural eczema remedies to start with and are things we recommend in the clinic while we’re working on reversing the root causes since the ultimate goal is healing on the inside and outside.
We’d love to hear what natural remedies have worked best for you?