Anyone who suffers from eczema will know what a huge impact it can make on your life. It is a skin condition that can affect all ethnicities, and can not only create huge discomfort, but it can also hit your self confidence hard.
Eczema can be found in small, localised patches, or spread over large areas of the body, and it can be dry, itchy and sore, leading to the skin cracking and even becoming infected. Whilst eczema needs to be treated by a medical professional, there are things that you can do at home to help ease the symptoms, so here are a few of our favourites.
1. Oatmeal baths
Colloidal oatmeal can normally be found in health food shops, but instead of eating it, you should try adding it to your bath. This is a form of oats that have been ground up and boiled to bring out the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that they contain. Simply pour it into lukewarm water and soak for up to 15 minutes to help relieve some of the dry and itchy sensations. Once you get out of the bath, dry your skin gently and apply a moisturiser.
2. Wash with emollient
It is well known that traditional soaps can have a drying effect on the skin, so these are best avoided by anyone suffering from eczema as it can make the symptoms worse. Of course, you still need to wash, so try swapping your soap for a gentle emollient. This will help to cleanse the skin, but it can also reduce the itching sensations and trap moisture in an effort to repair the skin’s barrier.
3. Keep it simple
Many of the symptoms of eczema can be aggravated by the products that we put onto our skin, so it is best to keep things simple. Try to avoid anything that has artificial colours or fragrances and look out for items that are made from natural ingredients, as these are likely to be better for anyone with sensitive skin.
4. Apple cider vinegar
There are a surprising number of antibacterial properties that can be found within apple cider vinegar. As an acidic product, it can help to balance the natural acidity of the skin, rather than disrupt it in the way that many soaps and detergents can. Adding a few drops to a bath can help to restore that balance, but it should be used with caution.
Before you put it on your toast, try adding some honey to your skin. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it great for wound healing and protecting against infection, so smearing a little onto the affected areas can be really beneficial.
6. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has long been used to treat many skin problems, including eczema. It helps to relieve the drying effects, therefore reducing the itching that can be experienced. The antibacterial properties of tea tree oil can also help with wound healing and preventing infections.
We are what we eat, and therefore our diets can have an impact on skin conditions such as eczema. Certain foods such as fish, leafy greens, beans, lentils, colourful fruits, vegetables, turmeric and cinnamon are all known to help reduce inflammation in the body, which in turn, can also make the skin feel better.
Those suffering from eczema might find it beneficial to steer away from foods such as eggs, dairy, soy and wheat in order to ease symptoms.
These are all great ways to help treat your eczema from home, but it is always important to get medical advice before you do anything.
Melissa Wilson is a practice manager at Skin Inspection, a specialists dermatology clinic based on Harley Street (London) and in Beaconsfield.