Approximately 31.6 percent of Americans—one in five children, and almost four percent of adults—deal with at least one form of eczema. People often think of eczema as just dry skin or a recurring rash, but eczema is not one specific condition. Instead, it’s an umbrella term regarding a set of skin disorders that cause particular symptoms. Those symptoms cause itchy skin, and often bring with them visible redness, dryness and inflammation.
What Causes Eczema?
Aside from genetic predisposition, allergic responses to food and other environmental factors can trigger eczema. Compromised immune functions—from autoimmune disorders or lack of nutrients—can also cause eczema. Often, deeper metabolic imbalances are at the root, requiring a more comprehensive approach when trying to find a solution.
Is There a Cure for Eczema?
Unfortunately, there is no official cure for eczema from a western perspective, although studies have shown that using cleansing herbs, known as depuratives, can help address the underlying cause resulting in improvement or complete remission. Topical applications are sometimes effective in managing the symptoms or itching or outbreak, but conventionally, medical professionals prescribe steroid creams or certain skin ointments to help soothe the outer layers of the skin.
A few of the natural treatments for eczema symptoms have proven to be effective for some people, including the application of essential oils (particularly lavender) to the skin. These should always be diluted to minimize any risk of further skin irritation. Identifying and removing foods that trigger allergies (food dyes, for example) can also be helpful as well as increasing daily fiber intake and reducing inflammatory foods including grains and sugars. Monitoring beauty and body care products for ingredients that can be irritating to the skin can also be very helpful for decreasing unsightly patches and reducing itching.
Some of our favorite topical herbs include calendula, chickweed, licorice, witch hazel and aloe vera. Marshmallow root has a wonderful soothing effect, especially when combined with any of the other herbs.
Another option for an effective, natural eczema management option should include adding acupressure into the set of resources. This method is similar to acupuncture, but replaces needles with the application of physical pressure on certain body points. This pressure is said to unblock life force, and can ease the itching that comes with eczema.
Other non-invasive, no-medication-required methods include DIY sprays and baths such as sea spray (comprised of homemade salt and magnesium spray), magnesium baths, as well as topical application of oils such as fermented cod liver and coconut oil.