Eczema, also called Atopic Dermatitis in the medical world, is a condition where your skin screams for help as it wants to get rid of the vicious cycle of damaged blistered skin, scratching, itching, and swelling. You don’t know what causes what but once your skin feels itched, you start scratching and then your skin becomes red and swollen with rashes that further give rise to more itching and irritation. Those who go through the suffering of eczema can only know, how pathetic life becomes for them. You just go from one doctor to another and look for home remedies to know how to treat eczema but what you get usually is, some tips for managing your damaged skin so that you get relief from the severe symptoms of eczema namely, the infamous itching and scratching and the resultant blistered patchy skin! You don’t get any help in uprooting the skin disease completely. Now the good news for you is that, you may actually address the underlying problem giving rise to eczema with the help of diet and lifestyle changes. And of course, home remedies are always there to relieve the symptoms of eczema.
Before you get some more home remedies for eczema here, first understand why your skin behaves as it does? Your skin is made up of outer layer ‘epidermis’ and the inner layer ‘dermis’. when your dermis is made up of healthy cells that are capable of retaining water, fats and oils in them, you get a healthy glowing epidermis or the skin which shows up from outside. On the other hand, when your dermis cells are dehydrated and lack fats and oils, they leave many gaps in between themselves. This happens because they do not remain plump due to lack of water and shrink due to deficiency of oils and fats. If this happens, you might get eczema depending upon other factors such as genetic or environmental causes of eczema. Once the gap between cells increase, the skin breaks out and various pathogens (bacteria etc.) attack your skin. This results into those signs of eczema, the itching and rashes etc.
Therefore, the first step that you must take to get rid of eczema is to drink plenty of water and have healthy fats that are present in natural foods like nuts and fish etc. Even before you start using topical home remedies for eczema, you need to make yourself internally fit by following a diet that’s just right for eczema cure.
Eczema Diet- what to have and what to eliminate!
People living with eczema have found success in eliminating underlying causes of their eczema through different experiments with diet. But there is nothing fixed, something like ‘a diet for eczema’. You need to explore by using various combinations of foods and elimination of certain foods at the same time. You can, however, take help from the experience of the people who have been able to get rid of eczema with diet remedies. Below are some of the combination and elimination diets for eczema. Try them out one by one to get the diet which fits your body requirements.
1. Elimination Diet for Eczema
This means, eliminating foods or food groups from your diet, one by one, in order to pinpoint the foods that give you eczema. This is not easy but then if you want to get rid of eczema, you need to take this pain. Nothing valuable comes free! Just imagine the day when you would be able to pinpoint the food or foods that cause your eczema, how happy your soul would be! You will just need to eliminate that one food or a group of foods from your diet and you will never ever have to scratch your skin again. So how to go with this diet? Here are some tips for you:
- First of all, create a food diary. This is almost inevitable if you really want this elimination diet to work. Without registering the foods you eat everyday along with their reaction, you would just work in vain. Every day, note down, what you had for your meals, snacks and even drinks or any other thing. If your skin feels irritable after eating a certain food, note this down along with details about what problems you are facing.
- Initially, for a week, go on a diet that includes nothing but chicken, broccoli and cauliflower.
- If you don’t feel itchy after having these foods, know that they are safe foods. Note down what all other foods you had been eating on daily basis apart from these foods- wheat, rice, vegetables, processed foods, dairy, coffee, tea, anything that you used to consume as a habit.
- Now one by one, start checking these foods by including them into your diet from second week onwards. For example, start having salads with various vegetables in the second week. Add dairy products in the third week, add wheat or other grains in the next week and so on.
- In this process, sometimes your eczema signs will come back. review what you had eaten that day or the day before. Eliminate them from your diet once again. If you don’t feel itchy and irritated after eliminating them, they are causing your eczema.
- In this way, keep eliminating whatever makes your eczema come back. At last, you will know what food or foods you need to permanently eliminate from your diet so that eczema never comes back to you.
2. Raw Vegan Diet
Many people have found raw diet immensely helpful in treating their eczema. Raw vegan diet includes:
- Raw vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthy fats from vegan sources like nuts, coconut and avocado etc.
- Herbal drinks made from plant herbs
You need to avoid having any dairy product and meat as well as fish. This is totally a plant based diet.
How does raw vegan diet help get rid of eczema?
Valid question indeed.
When you have eczema (or any other disease), it means that your body has shifted from its ideal natural state, both externally and internally, especially, when you have eczema, this also means that you are suffering from some amount of mal-nutrition. You might be having foods to satisfy your hunger and taste buds but you might be deprived of the best nutrition that your body needs (you may be thankful to all junk foods that you had been eating!) Apart from deficiency of nutrients in your body (and skin), you might also be accumulating many toxic materials inside your body such as pollutants, heavy metals, drugs, metabolic waste products, toxins produced by allergic reactions etc.
Raw vegan diet not only gives you natural and ideal nutrition that your body needs but it also carries out internal detoxification so that all the toxic substances deposited inside your body get washed away and you can lead a healthier life- without eczema, of course!
3. Anti-Histamine, Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Avoid foods high in histamine or those that lead to inflammation. This is what all steroids and eczema medicines are- they are anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory! So, why apply those topical steroids and have those anti-inflammatory medicines when you can get the same result by having anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory foods?
If you didn’t know what histamines are, know that histamines are chemicals that are produced during allergic response. To be more clear, when an allergen triggers your immune system, a type of white blood cells called mast cells, release histamines and you get inflammation. This inflammation can cause puffy eyes, swollen face or inflamed body as well as blistery skin rash that, in your case, is called eczema. Histamines can also be transferred into your body by histamine-containing foods. Sometimes they are produced by bacteria present in your stomach. If your body is deficient of an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO), histamines will not get broken down but will build up in your body and give you symptoms like that of eczema.
The best policy is to avoid foods high in histamine. What foods give you histamines can also be checked with elimination diet mentioned earlier here. But for your convenience, here is a list of foods high in histamine and you may want to avoid these foods to keep your eczema in control. Eliminate them from your diet for some time and if you feel relieved, discard them forever. If eliminating them doesn’t make any difference in your eczema status, continue having them.
Avoid these foods high in histamines:
- Aged or fermented foods- these include pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, aged cheese, alcohol, vinegar, and of course, cured meat.
- Fish and seafood- Canned or smoked fish are complete ‘no-no’. Fresh water fish usually are safe but you need to confirm by eliminating and then including again in your diet.
- Veggies and fruits like spinach, eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, canned vegetables, dried fruit, avocados, strawberries, papaya, pineapple, and the leftovers that might be contaminated by all those bacteria can also produce histamines in your body and give rise to eczema symptoms. Although these foods are not very high in histamines, they do have certain amounts of histamine and you can always avoid those that give you eczema by testing them through elimination, one by one.
Have more of these anti-inflammatory foods:
- Bone broth- it contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily. Its amino acids like glycine, proline and arginine are all anti-inflammatory, just right for eczema remedy. Just remember that homemade slow-cooked bone broth are the best while processed, canned broths might not work that well.
- Banana- It has potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and whole lot of other nutrients and phytochemicals that help prevent inflammation, just what you need to get rid of eczema
- Potatoes- They have complex carbs, fiber, potassium, vitamin C – all these make potatoes anti-inflammatory but only when you don’t fry it or have potato chips! Boil them, steam them but don’t fry them if you want to get rid of eczema.
Green onions, buckwheat, bean sprouts oats, flaxseed, are also anti-inflammatory foods that you can have.
Other Home Remedies for Eczema
Diet is the best eczema remedy and you should change it for better. However, there are many other home remedies for eczema that can relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of eczema. But remember, these are temporary and if you want to cure the underlying cause of your eczema, change your diet with what suits your body.
4. Bathing in Oats for Eczema
An oats soak is by far one of the best eczema remedies that can soothe your itching skin. Why? Because oats naturally moisturize your skin and does it excellently. All this is due to the lipids and protein content in oats that have humectant, occlusive and emollient properties. It is highly anti-inflammatory and that’s what is needed to get relief from eczema symptoms.
Have oatmeal bath
- Oatmeal- 1 cup
- A soft cloth like cheesecloth
- Place the oatmeal in the cloth and tie it securely
- Fill your bathtub with water.
- Place the cloth having oatmeal in your bath water.
- Squeeze the cloth a little so that its juice runs out into the water.
- When the water turns milky and feels smooth, get into the water.
- Soak for about 15 minutes
- Now pat dry with a towel. Never rub your skin.
- Apply moisturizer
Many people prefer bathing in bleach water for eczema but if you want to restrict to natural remedies, oats bath is much more safer for people having eczema. Even if you use household bleach, it is, in the end, a chemical preparation.
5. Coconut Oil for Eczema
Coconut Oil has about 94% saturated fatty acids. Of all these fats, more than 62% is Medium Chain Fatty Acids and that’s a good news for your moisture lacking skin suffering from eczema. And that’s not all, coconut oil is also rich in Vitamin E, the popular vitamin that keeps your skin healthy. Just get organic coconut oil and you can be able to get rid of eczema in almost no time. And it is most simple remedy to use too.
- Coconut oil (organic)
- Take some coconut oil in your palms. Don’t worry, if it is solid due to cold climate. As soon as you take it in your hands, it will melt down.
- Apply this oil to your skin affected by eczema. That’s all. Forget it.
- You can apply coconut oil to your skin as many times a day as you wish. Whenever you feel your skin is going dry, apply some.
6. Shea Butter for Eczema
Nothing can beat Shea butter when it comes to moisturizing skin. Deep moisturization is what skin with eczema wants. Vitamin A in Shea butter does wonders for your skin. It also has healing properties. Oils can have two things- saponifiable fatty acids and non- saponifiable fatty acids. While saponifiable acids are responsible for moisturizing function, non- saponifiable acids are largely healing in nature. Why Shea butter is so useful for eczema cure is because it has a large part of non- saponifiable fatty acids and thus it is exceptionally healing for skin. These non- saponifiable fatty acids contain nutrients, vitamins and phytonutrients that work to heal your eczema ridden skin.
- Shea butter
- Just take some butter and dab it on your skin
- Rub gently for a few seconds and leave it to get absorbed into the skin
- Apply whenever you feel the need to moisturize your skin
7. Homemade Body Butter Recipe for Eczema
If you want to have the benefits of more than one ingredient for your skin suffering from very bad eczema, you can make a body butter for eczema at home. This will need Shea butter, coconut oil and some essential oils. Tea tree oil in this recipe helps alleviate inflammation and relieves itching due to its strong anti-microbial properties. Here’s the recipe for homemade body butter for eczema.
- Shea butter- 1/4 cup
- Coconut oil- 1/4 cup
- Any skin friendly essential oil (chamomile/ lavender/rose gerenium)- 15-20 drops
- Tea tree oil- 5-6 drops
- Double boiler OR two saucepans (1 large and one small)
- Combine Shea butter and coconut oil
- Heat the mixture in double boiler. You can also place the mixture in glass bowl or a small pan and place this pan in the large saucepan in which you may simmer the water
- Once melted completely, take out the butter oil mixture
- Let it cool for sometime but don’t allow it to cool down completely
- Add the essential oils in the mixture and stir well
- Keep it in shade to settle down. You may also keep this in the fridge
- Apply this homemade body butter to your skin having eczema whenever you feel the need to do so.
8. Neem Oil for Eczema
This is one of the very effective herbal remedy for eczema. Neem or Indian Lilac is a very important herb used in the Indian subcontinent not only for skin diseases but for various other healing needs of the body. There are two elements in the neem leaves called nimbin and nimbidin. These two elements have anti-inflammatory properties at par with non-steroid as well as steroid drugs. The difference is, neem is safer than these drugs as it doesn’t have any side effect. Neem also has very strong anti-bacterial properties, again good for eczema remedy.
How to make neem oil for eczema?
- Neem leaves (dried)- 1 cup
- Coconut oil- 2 cups
- Glass jar with a lid
- If you don’t have dried leaves, take the fresh neem leaves and spread them out on a clean place inside home. They will dry naturally in a few days.
- Place 1 cup dried neem leaves in the jar.
- Pour 2 cups of coconut oil over the neem leaves
- Ensure that leaves soak completely into the oil.
- Cover the jar and keep it in some warm place.
- Shake the jar once or twice daily
- Open the jar after two weeks.
- Strain the neem leaves using a cloth or a sieve
- Store the neem oil for future use
- Apply this neem oil to your skin affected by eczema daily, at least 2-3 times
You can also buy neem oil from health stores. The oil sold in the market is made from neem seed kernels and are very effective for eczema.
9. Natural Homemade Cream for Eczema- Recipe with Chamomile & Gotu Kola
This homemade cream for eczema is natural because it is made with herbs that are excellent eczema remedies- chamomile and gotu kola. Many clinical studies have found chamomile herb to be an effective remedy for eczema due to its antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and hypoallergenic properties. Gotu kola, on the other hand, stimulates collagen synthesis. This helps in skin rejuvenation and you can have new, spotless and smooth skin devoid of any rashes or blisters just by using gotu kola in this homemade cream recipe for eczema.
How to make this herbal cream for eczema at home
- Chamomile leaves (dried)- 1/4 cup
- Gotu kola leaves (dried)- 1/4 cup
- Coconut oil- 1/2 cup
- Shea butter- 1/2 cup
- Infuse the chamomile and gotu kola leaves in the coconut oil for 2 weeks.
- Alternatively, you can use a double boiler to infuse the leaves in coconut oil. If you do not have a double boiler, place the oil and the herbs into a glass bowl. Place this bowl over a simmering pot of water. Gently heat this oil for ten hours. Frequently stir it, every half to one hour. Keep the temperature at about 120 degrees F. Then strain the oil from the herb.
- In the double boiler, melt the Shea butter and add herb infused coconut oil to this. You can also combine the herbal oil and Shea butter in a pan and place this pan in a bigger pan with simmering water.
- Once the whole thing melts, take it out and let it cool down. Once cooled, your homamde cream for eczema is ready.
- You can also refrigerate the cream
- Apply to your skin affected with eczema as many times a day as needed
10. Apple Cider Vinegar for Eczema
Many people find apple cider vinegar (ACV) to be the best remedy for eczema. You may also try this miracle liquid and see if it does wonders for you too. Due to its anti bacterial and anti fungal properties, ACV is good for eczema remedy. It also regulates the pH balance of your skin so that bacteria can’t thrive on it. If you take apple cider vinegar internally, it will boost your immunity. One of the major causes of eczema has been identified as compromised immune system. All the nutrients present in this vinegar makes it a good immune booster. Just add 1-2 tbsp of ACV in a glass of water and have it, preferably in the morning. To use ACV topically for eczema, you can dilute apple cider vinegar with equal amount of water and apply this to your eczema rashes. However, if you have eczema all over your body, a bath would be a better option for you.
How to take apple cider vinegar bath
- Apple cider vinegar- 1/2 cup
- Warm bath water filled in bath tub
- Fill the bath tub with warm water (not hot)
- Add the apple cider vinegar to this water
- Now soak in this water for 15 minutes
- Pat dry and if needed, apply your regular moisturizer
All the above natural home remedies for eczema have been used by people suffering from this grave skin disease who have found them to be the best home remedies for eczema. Try them out and see which one works for you!