Thursday, February 6, 2014

Eczema Relief

So, my daughter has battled eczema since the day she was born 11 years ago.  We learned early that her eczema virtually disappears when her diet is free of her allergens.  As she got older she developed more allergies, and food sensitivities as well.  These all make her eczema flare.  She also developed more typical eczema triggers- winter cold dry air.

I've seen dermatologists and allergists both for help in controlling the eczema.  Amazingly, the information they gave me was almost identical.  Either my allergist is amazing, or allergists deal with enough eczema that they have learned the drill as well.

I hate to rely on topical steroid creams and ointments, as the long term side effects are not good.  At all.  So I thought I would share some the the more natural ways we combat skin symptoms when eczema flares up at our house:

Epsom salt bath- I just learned about this.  The healing benefits of epsom salts cover many bases for eczema flares.  They relieve itch, help broken skin to heal more rapidly, and kill pathogens on the skin's surface.  Awesome!  Use one cup per bathtub for adults, 1/2 cup for children.  Use with water that is hot for best results (I know, hot water has always been discouraged for eczema!), and soak for 15-30 minutes depending on the tolerance of your skin.  My daughter stays on the 15 minute side.

Baking soda bath- This provides temporary relief from itching. 2 Tablespoons in her bath works well for temporary itch reprieve.  Be careful, as too much will actually further dry your skin!

Apple cider vinegar bath-  balances the skin's natural pH, provides mild antiseptic benefit to reduce pathogens on the skin's surface.  Add 1/3-2/3 cup per bath. It doesn't smell wonderful, so feel free to add a few drops of essential oil to make it more tolerable.

Chamomile extract- I have my daughter add this to her bath for the soothing effect on her psyche and her skin.  It can be used in combination with any of the above.  We get a food grade extract, and add 4 dropperfuls per bath.

Apricot kernel oil- When my daughter's skin is open from scratching and cracking, even the mildest lotions sting.  If it hurts, she is reluctant to use it.  We found that apricot kernel oil is extremely moisturizing without any stinging!  My favorite way to use it is to apply it to her hands right before bed, then cover with cotton gloves or socks.  Incredible improvement by morning!

These are our go-to natural relief methods, but I'm learning more every day.  Please tell me what works to help ease eczema symptoms at your house!

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