6 Natural Treatments for Eczema
By Robin Westen
Up to 8 million Americans suffer with eczema. If you’re one of them, you know it. The main symptom of the chronic skin disorder is itchy rashes that may be red, scaly, dry, leathery and oozy; often the itchiness can drive you crazy. Even though there’s no cure, there are prescription medications that may help to keep it under control. Unfortunately, they may have side effects. If you want to go the natural route, try these 100 percent natural treatments.
Take Shorter Showers
Limit yourself to no more than 15 minutes and make sure the water is lukewarm – not hot. If you suffer with eczema on your hands, use only lukewarm water when washing dishes.
Cool Off after Working Out . Rinse your skin with cool water after you workout or sweat. You can wash yourself with gentle soap, but be sure to rinse well.
Use Compresses When a rash is raging, cover it with a cool compress. A washcloth dipped in cool water and placed on the rash will do the trick. It should help to reduce inflammation and itching. Take a few minutes to relax so the compress has time to work.
The Mayo Clinic suggests over-the-counter anti-itch creams such as hydrocortisone. It also cites studies that show some gels and creams made from herbal extracts of chamomile, licorice, and witch hazel to have positive results. For example, a double-blind study compared a 1% and 2% licorice gel compared to a placebo gel for eczema. After two weeks, both the 1% and 2% licorice gels were more effective than the placebo gel, and the 2% gel was more effective at reducing redness, swelling, and itching than the 1% gel.
Stay Moisturized But be sure the moisturizer you use is hypoallergenic and doesn’t contain any dyes or perfumes that might irritate the rash.
Relax Flare-ups can be provoked by stress. Try to put at least five minutes of meditation into your day. Deep breathing, yoga, and contemplative walks are also beneficial.
About the Author
Robin Westen is ThirdAge's medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. Her most recent book, co-authored with Dr. Alyssa Dweck, is "V is for Vagina."