My daughter and I both have problems with eczema, so I’ve picked up a few tips along the way to help soothe the itchiness and limit occurrences as much as possible.
Use warm, not hot, water in the shower or bath, and choose soaps that are meant to moisturize, like Dove or Kiss My Face Olive Oil soap (the chamomile blend helps soothe irritated skin).
Try a sulfate-free shampoo as well, even if there’s no eczema on the scalp. When rinsed, it still runs down the body and could make the skin itch.
Try to limit exposure to space heaters. You’ll want to heat your house in the winter, of course, but I’ve noticed that standing near a space heater, even in just the time it takes me to apply lotion and get dressed after my shower, really makes a difference in how dry my skin gets because it makes the air even drier.
If the eczema is especially bad, a humidifier for the house may help.
Cocoa butter, shea butter, and natural oils like coconut sometimes work like magic. I made a lotion bar of equal parts beeswax, butter (a mix of raw cocoa and shea), and unrefined coconut oil by heating all the ingredients in a double boiler until they formed a liquid and then pouring them into a silicone mold.
My daughter woke me up in the middle of the night with itchy skin and a rash on her legs, and when I rubbed this over her skin and massaged it in, it worked wonders. I use one all over my body when I get out of the shower, and it keeps my eczema trouble to a minimum. Unrefined coconut oil alone works, too.
Look for the mildest ingredients—and products with the fewest ingredients—as possible. It helps if you can pronounce them all and know what they are, the same as with the food you eat.
Lavender and chamomile are soothing when they’re in lotions and other body products, but don’t use straight essential oils on the skin. Those are harmful when used in their full concentration. You may even wish to take it a step further and make your own laundry detergent.
Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits and low on dairy and sugar. I’ve noticed that when I eat dairy and/or more sugar than usual (even just adding it to my coffee a couple of days in a row and having a couple of pieces of candy), my skin gets uncomfortable, itchy, and pink in spots.
Milk is a common eczema trigger. The Dairy Council mentions that it’s common in the first few months of life, but I still feel that there’s a correlation even in adulthood if you’re prone to eczema.
Photo credit: Care_SMC