Many people don’t realize that there are several different types of eczema. According to the National Eczema Association, 31.6 million people in the U.S. have some form of eczema. The symptoms range from annoying dry patches to irritated, crazy itchy skin. This skin condition flares up particularly badly in the winter because of the dry air.
Doctors typically order temporary treatments using either over-the-counter or prescription strength hydrocortisone cream. Sometimes a steroid may be prescribed, as well as an antihistamine to combat the symptoms. But surprisingly, some people can find relief from the itching and redness eczema causes by using a variety of home remedies and natural treatments that can be picked up at the store and even found in the kitchen.
There are a few general tips to help battle eczema that sufferers should follow, such as taking only a warm bath or shower, not hot, and patting, not rubbing the skin dry afterward. Also, applying moisturizer immediately after showering or taking a bath usually provides instant relief.
Here are 15 tips that just might help ease your eczema symptoms:
3. Apple cider vinegar
Commonly found in the grocery store, apple cider vinegar can help with eczema, too, reports the National Eczema Association. But be careful, because vinegar’s acids can damage soft tissue, so diluting before using it will help. It can be used during a bath or as a wet wrap. To use apple cider vinegar in a wet wrap, mix one cup of warm water and one tablespoon of the vinegar, then apply the mixture to cotton or gauze and place it on the skin for three hours. For an apple cider vinegar bath soak, pour two cups of apple cider vinegar into a warm bath and soak for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Be sure to moisturize afterward.
This natural sweetener combats coughs and tastes delicious, but it’s also a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. It’s also been used to treat ailments since the olden times. But because it’s awfully sticky, so use just a small amount on troublesome areas.
5. Colloidal oatmeal
Also known as avena sativa, colloidal oatmeal boasts skin-healing properties, describes Medical News Today. It possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate dry skin, scaling, itching and rough patches. Powdered colloidal oatmeal can be added to a warm bath for a deliciously relaxing soak or instead, use a product containing colloidal oatmeal in lotion form or search for a pure colloidal oatmeal product.
6. Coconut oil
You may have heard about the powerful health benefits of using coconut oil in your diet, but those healthy fatty acids also can moisturize the skin. Coconut oil adds moisture to the skin and, according to Medical News Today virgin coconut oil helps reduce inflammation and boosts the skin’s healthy barrier. Just apply cold-pressed virgin coconut oil to the skin several times a day, including after bathing and at bedtime.
7. Tea tree oil
People who love essential oils know the benefits of tea tree oil, which comes from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree. Medical News Today shared details about a 2013 review that shows this product possesses wound-healing properties, and it relieves skin dryness and itching for those suffering from eczema. Be sure to properly dilute tea tree oil as you would any essential oil by using a carrier oil, then apply directly to the skin to avoid further damage.
8. Dietary changes
As with many other conditions, certain foods can irritate underlying inflammation in the body like eczema. Simple dietary changes can help alleviate symptoms, such as eating anti-inflammatory foods like fish, leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, cinnamon and turmeric.
9. Gentle soaps and detergents
Certain hand soaps, body washes and laundry detergents contain harsh chemicals, fragrances and dyes that can irritate the skin and dry it out, exacerbating existing eczema conditions. Bar soaps, in particular, are tough on skin. Using fragrance- and dye-free laundry soap can help.
10. Avoid strong heat sources
Dry, hot air actually worsens eczema symptoms, so hanging out by a fireplace or bonfire may aggravate itchiness even though they’re fun to sit by. Using a humidifier to infiltrate dry house air with moisture during the dry winter months will help, too.
11. Bundle up in cold weather
The dryness of wintertime really hurts the skin. People with eczema suffer the most when Mother Nature throws out extremely cold temperatures, bitter winds and dry air. It’s important to keep the skin covered, particuarly the areas where eczema patches are at.
12. Avoid overwashing hands
Frequent handwashing to avoid getting the flu and common cold become standard in the wintertime. But for people with eczema, constant handwashing will aggravate symptoms. When you wash too much, you rinse away the natural oils. Using natural cleansers instead of soap is better for your skin.
13. Love gloves
WebMD suggests eczema sufferers wear protective, cotton-lined gloves when handling cleansers, chemicals and other unfriendly products. Do not wear waterproof gloves for an extended period of time, because they can cause sweating and prompt a flare-up.
14. Pay attention to your feet
Wearing certain socks can irritate eczema on the feet, particularly those containing synthetic fabrics and wool. Instead, slip on 100 percent cotton socks without color. Sweaty socks also will worsen eczema, so change often. Cracked heels and hands can be remedied with the “soak and smear” technique. Soak hands and feet in lukewarm water for five to 10 minutes and pat them dry, then cover them with a petroleum-based ointment and slip on socks and gloves. Wear them for at least 30 minutes and do this twice a day if possible, WebMD suggests.
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