Eczema

Natural Healing Index

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Aloe vera gel: The antibacterial and anti-microbial properties can prevent skin infections which a person is more prone to, with dry, cracked skin. The immune system boosting and wound healing properties may soothe the broken skin and promote healing. The fleshy bit of the skin of the plant is used. Apply the gel neat to the affected area. The gel can also be bought from health shops. *do not buy gels with preservatives and chemicals in them, as they will irritate the skin further*. – Listed by Sharon Olivier, February 2021

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Apple cider vinegar: Vinegar is acidic. The skin is acidic. Those with eczema could have less acidic skin, which can weaken the skin’s defences. Diluted ACV could balance the acidity levels in the skin. Many soaps, detergents and cleansers are alkaline and can disrupt the skin, leaving it vulnerable to damage. Hence soaps can irritate eczema and create flare-ups. *The ACV will help keep bacteria at bay and prevent any infection*.

  • Wet Wrap: 1 Cup warm water, add 1Tbsp ACV. Soak some clean cotton/gauze in it. Apply to the skin. Cover with the clean cotton gauze. Leave for approx. 3 hours.
  • Bath: Add 2 Cups of ACV to a warm bath. Soak 15-20 minutes. Rinse the body thoroughly. Moisturise withing a few minutes of leaving the bath. Be sure to use natural products with no chemicals or petrochemicals.

– Listed by Sharon Olivier, February 2021

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Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut oil: Contains healthy natural fatty acids that add moisture to the skin which can help eczema. Helps to combat inflammation by improving the health of the skin barrier, thereby protecting the skin. *Apply the oil to the affected areas after bathing and a couple of times a day. Use it before bed to maintain moisture while you are sleeping. *Avoid if allergic to coconuts*.

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Honey: A natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. It can help the body fight off infections by healing wounds and boosting the immune system. It heals burns, boils and wounds. Honey can help prevent infections while moisturising the skin and speeding up healing. Dab a little honey directly onto the skin. – Listed by Sharon Olivier, February 2021

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Tea Tree Oil: Melaleuca alternifolia: With antibacterial and anti-inflammatory wound healing properties it may relieve itching and prevent infection. *Mixing it with a carrier oil is essential. Coconut oil would be a great base since it has its own healing qualities. – Listed by Sharon Olivier, February 2021

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Dietary changes:

Anti-inflammatory foods: Fish, leafy greens, beans and lentil, colourful fruits, vegetables, turmeric and cinnamon.

Inflammatory foods to avoid: Dairy, eggs, soy and wheat.

It’s a good idea to keep a food journal, to see which foods cause a flare-up and the foods your body reacts to. – Listed by Sharon Olivier, February 2021

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Lifestyle changes:

Soaps/cleansers: Avoid chemicals and preservatives in soaps and cleansers. Many soaps, lotions and laundry detergents can contain harsh chemicals. These can dry out and irritate the skin. Soaps can be harsh due to their alkalinity.

Use: Gentle, no-lather, fragrance-free, colour free, chemical-free soaps and detergents.

Avoid the heat: The hot dry air of a heater or alike may feel good but it will dehydrate the skin and aggravate the itch. Use a humidifier in winter and avoid close proximity to heaters and fireplaces.

– Listed by Sharon Olivier, February 2021

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Mangos – the pulp and the skin simmered in a cup of water for half an hour. Strain. Apply as a lotion liberally to the affected areas several times a day. – Listed by Sharon Olivier, April 2020

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Take 2 Tbsp of Safflower oil daily. When it improves, reduce to 1Tbsp daily. – Listed by Sharon Olivier, April 2020

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Take 2 Tbsp of blackstrap molasses in a glass of milk, twice a day. Improvements over 2 weeks. – Listed by Sharon Olivier, April 2020

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1. Light Therapy/Phototherapy

According to the National Eczema Association, phototherapy helps to calm inflammation, reduces itching, increases vitamin D production and helps fight bacteria on the skin. Adding 10–15 minutes a day of sun exposure, particularly during an eczema flare, can provide relief and potentially speed healing.

2. Vitamin D

In addition to increasing sun exposure, supplementing with vitamin D rich foods like cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, eggs and raw milk may help prevent eczema in children and adolescents. Ideally, during a flare you will get 2,000-5,000 IU daily; if your sun exposure is low, consider boosting your intake with a high-quality supplement.  Preliminary research shows that low vitamin D levels during pregnancy and during childhood may increase the risk of developing eczema.

3. Moisturize

Because dry skin is both a cause and a symptom, it is imperative to moisturize affected areas at least twice a day. Coconut oil is the perfect moisturizer for eczema sufferers. This eczema treatment is antibacterial and anti-fungal, with antimicrobial properties that provide soothing relief, and may speed healing.

4. Treat the Mind and Body

According to Harvard Medical School, some skin conditions, including eczema, have a psychological component. This is a dynamic that is referred to as psychodermatology. Researchers have found that hypnosis, mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relation, focused breathing, cognitive behaviour therapy and talk therapy may provide not only relief during a flare, but expedite healing and prevent future flares.

5. The Dead Sea Salt Baths

The Dead Sea is known for its healing powers, and researchers have found that taking a bath with salt from the Dead Sea water improves skin hydration, improved skin barrier function, reduced inflammation, and relieved redness and roughness. As eczema flares can worsen when exposed to high and low temperatures, bath water should be just warm enough to prevent a chill. Do not rub the skin dry; pat gently with a soft towel.

6. Cool, Wet Compresses

Applying a cool, wet compress lessens the itching for some individuals with eczema. For young children, dampening snug night clothes may provide overnight relief from itching; however, if eczema has evolved to oozing blisters, a wet compress may increase the risk of infection, and shouldn’t be used.

7. Apply Itch Cream

The intense itching is often the most miserable part of an eczema flare. Try using a natural homemade eczema cream that incorporates Shea butter, coconut oil, raw honey and essential oils to provide much-needed relief.

8. Liquorice Extract

Used topically, liquorice root extract shows promise for reducing itching in limited eczema trials. Add a few drops to coconut oil or homemade itch creams for the best results.

9. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have found that when fish is introduced into the diet of young children by the age of 9 months, and fish is eaten weekly, the risk for developing eczema reduces dramatically. Including foods rich in Omega-3s to prevent eczema should be considered. During a flare, these foods are a great eczema treatment that will boost immune system function and speed healing.

10. Probiotics

Probiotics may help prevent eczema in infants and decrease the severity of flares, research shows. In fact, mothers who take probiotics during pregnancy and while breastfeeding may prevent eczema from developing in their children. During an eczema outbreak and to prevent future flares, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement of 24–100 billion organisms daily should be considered.

11. Lavender Essential Oil

In addition to the intense itching, eczema commonly causes anxiety, depression, frustration and poor sleep. Lavender essential oil is an eczema treatment proven to help reduce these common symptoms that can help heal dry skin. Add 10 drops to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or almond oil, and gently rub it into the skin. The aroma can help facilitate sleep when itching is often at its worst.

12. Vitamin E

Taking 400IU of vitamin E daily can help to speed healing by reducing inflammation. In addition, the topical application of vitamin E may help to relieve the itch and prevent scarring.

13. Witch Hazel

If during a flare the rash starts to ooze, applying witch hazel can help promote healing due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Research has found that a cream containing witch hazel and phosphatidylcholine can be as effective as hydrocortisone in a double-blind trial. During an outbreak, gently dab this eczema treatment directly onto the rash with a cotton pad. Be sure to use alcohol-free witch hazel as you don’t want to cause more dryness.

Sourced from Dr Axe, December 18, 2017

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Essential Oils

We would suggest the following:

  • Lavender Essential Oil

Massage – Buy a base oil: coconut, sweet almond, grape seed for example. If you have 20ml of base oil, halve the amount twice, that gives you the number of drops of Essential Oil to add. In this case, you will add 5 drops of Lavender. Rub the mixture over the affected areas, as required. Especially effective after a bath.

Bath – Your skin is the most absorbent part of the body. The heat of the bath assists in the absorption. There are 2 ways to do this:

  1. Diffusing 3 drops (maximum) of Essential Oils into a teaspoon of milk. Or a cup, if you would like more of a Cleopatra style bath. Use 3 drops of Lavender. Add Epsom salts.
  2. Or simply add 5ml of your massage blend.

Close all windows. Soak for 15-20 minutes minimum. Avoid splashing in the eyes.

** Lavender is the safest of oils, if on a rare occasion you react, apply more base oil to the skin to soothe it and dilute the massage blend with more base oil **

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