What is eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition which creates dry, red and inflamed skin across your body. It is connected to your immune system and is an immune system response which manifests through the inflammation of the skin.
Symptoms of eczema are generally consistent regardless of the type of eczema, the difference being the look and location of the inflammation.
Typical symptoms include dry, flaky skin as well as itching and redness around the inflammation.
Eczema can be a difficult, often lifelong condition to live with. While there is no cure for this condition, eczema is an inflammation of the skin and there are several natural, non-medicinal methods to help control and keep inflammation away from interfering with your daily life.
Coconut oil is often touted as a natural hair and skin condition remedy. In fact, many bloggers and articles tout coconut oil as an effective remedy for eczema and suggest that it relieves symptoms of dryness and itchiness.
There is a problem with this statement. Each eczema cause and each persons’ underlying immune function/ DNA is different. So what may help one may not necessarily help another.
What we do know is Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid which is a healthy fatty acid also found in breast milk. This fat and the overall composition of coconut oil could help relieve some of the symptoms associated with eczema; by deeply hydrating the skin while providing a measure against inflammation. Coconut oil is anti-inflammatory by nature and could help reduce itching and inflammation long term.
How to use it
Let’s take a two-pronged attack with this one. First, apply topically to the affected regions on your skin. Just take a couple of drops or more and gently rub (mindful not to itch or scratch) the oil over the regions which are affected. Continue to do this until you begin to feel improvements.
Another way – add coconut oil into your diet. If you’re usually frying foods, switch your vegetable oil to coconut oil. Add a tea spoon to your vegan protein shake, or your baking.
By consuming the coconut oil as well as applying it externally, you obtain the benefits internally to help fight off the internal inflammatory responses giving rise to your eczema.
The benefits of Turmeric in beauty are no secret. In fact, it has been used across the eastern part of the world for centuries, recently making its way into skin products and western diets with its promise of natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties contributing largely to the benefits of this golden powder.
There is little research documenting any positive correlation with consumption or use of turmeric, with relief of eczema. A study conducted by a private company found a topical cream which contained turmeric helped relieve symptoms by approximately 30-32%, but as the cream contained other herbs and substances it cannot be attributable to turmeric per se [source]
What we know is turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and as eczema is a condition characterised by inflammation, turmeric may have benefits in helping to reduce overall itch or redness.
How to use it
Turmeric is a versatile ingredient which can be applied topically as well as consumed internally. We recommend both (as with Coconut Oil) to take the benefits.
Topical – we recommend mixing a couple of teaspoons of turmeric powder with the same amount of neem oil and applying to the inflamed area. Neem oil is a herbal remedy used in Ayurvedic medication, which is also a strong anti-inflammatory, rich in fatty acids and Vitamin E.
Internally – you can either mix the powder into an alternative milk (oat would be best) and consume as a drink, or if you can’t stomach the taste, take it as a capsule form.
Neem oil is pressed from the neem tree, which is native to the Indian subcontinent. Used as a traditional medicine in the world of Ayurveda, neem contains over a hundred active compounds which help make it beneficial as an antiviral, anti-bacterial and immune-boosting natural ingredient.
Neem contains anti-inflammatory compounds which can help reduce the inflammation and irritation commonly associated with eczema.
It’s also a natural antibacterial, which means it can be useful to help prevent any infections that could occur with cracked or broken skin.
How to use it
Neem itself is quite strong and so should be diluted with other naturally powerful ingredients before being applied. We recommend mixing Neem oil with Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter and Coconut Oil at the very least until it becomes a thicker paste / balm that you can rub onto your skin.
For an even more powerful combination, add a little bit of Turmeric – but be aware this could stain clothing.
Hemp (and CBD Oil) has been praised recently for its ability to help relieve pain, inflammation and contribute to overall wellness.
Hemp oil and hemp based creams are deeply hydrating and can help relieve the dryness and scale which is attributed to eczema. It’s also anti-inflammatory, so could help relieve the itching sensation and contribute to better long term management of eczema.
How to use it
You can apply this topically as an oil or as an ingredient mixed with cocoa butter and shea butter from a local health store.
Stress is one of the biggest contributing factors to inflammation. Cortisol is an anti-inflammatory which modules body inflammation, and is released when our body experiences stress. During a period of stress, our body enters the “fight-or-flight” response which shuts down non-essential immune functionality.
The perpetual on and off nature of stress in our daily lives upsets the regular functioning of our body’s cortisol production and leads to an unbalancing effect of cortisol production.
Ultimately, the more stress we experience, the more cortisol is released and the more our body’s normal immune functioning ability is suppressed.
Meditation is designed to focus the mind and tune your attention away from the daily stressors of life. It is scientifically proven that meditating can help control stress and therefore help contribute to the proper functioning of your immune system.
While difficult to tune your mind away from the burning and pain, if you can find 20 minutes to meditate and relax your mind away from work or personal issues which may be causing you to feel anxious and worried; each contributing to increased cortisol production – the benefits could translate into easing off the inflammation of eczema.
Eczema is a difficult condition to live with. It permeates your daily activities, affects your quality of life and can cause you to become more socially conscious potentially leading to other conditions and states of depression or negativity.
But it is possible to keep the eczema controlled if you employ a strict lifestyle.
Not a single one of the natural remedies we’ve described can be classified as a magic elixir to helping relieve eczema permanently. But if used carefully and together, the combined effect could help you relieve and reduce the symptoms.
After all, we’re talking from personal experience having either lived with it ourselves or known somebody close who has.