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I have dealt with eczema for nearly all of my life. For most of that time, it was just something that I dealt with and not something that I could get rid of. I was told there was no cure, was given all sorts of creams (many of which contained toxic ingredients that had large cautions on the tubes), and endured super itchy scaly skin that left everyone staring while I was scratching voraciously. It wasn't until Syfy started showing signs of eczema on the backs of his arms, that I began to care about finding a natural remedy to heal up our eczema. It turns out, like everything else on this natural hippy journey, the “cure” lies in your diet.
Healing eczema starts with a gut healing diet
As the father of medicine, Hippocrates, once said, “Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.” This quote has seriously followed me around on this journey to health. I have learned over and over again that many of my issues medically, stemmed from what I was putting into my body. 90% of your body's health, lies in the gut. When you are eating foods that promote a healthy gut and avoiding highly over processed foods, many may find this to be the singular answer to their eczema. Most cases of eczema are due in part to food allergies/sensitivities, though it can present with sensitivities to medications, body care products, and more! Eating lots of Omega 3's, fermented foods, and foods high in good fats (like avocados and coconuts) can be the key for many in completely healing their eczema. These are just some of the healthy eating practices that have changed my gut health and cleared up both mine and my son's eczema:
- Gelatin and bone broth – Gelatin and bone broth both are very soothing and healing to the digestive tract and have been known to help aid in improving gut integrity and digestive strength, which in turn helps to heal your gut. This can be very helpful for those with food intolerance, inflammatory conditions, and autoimmune diseases.
- Probiotics, kefir, and kombucha – Fermented foods and beverages, especially the ones with live active probiotic cultures in them, are one of the best ways to repair gut health and improve digestive strength. I love to make my own kombucha!
- Avoid grains, dairy, and sugar – Many eczema sufferers have food sensitivities that cause their eczema to flare up. The most common eczema aggravators are grains, dairy, and sugars (especially artificial sweeteners!). I try to avoid these in different ways. Dairy and grains both give me eczema issues, Sugar I have been working on reducing in my life. This last year I have replaced sugar with maple syrup and raw unfiltered honey for most of my sweetener needs.
- Eat organic and non-GMO – The toxic pesticides used on our genetically modified and conventionally grown foods contains neurotoxins, carcinogens, and hormone disruptors, all of which have been linked to leaky gut syndrome, eczema, obesity, and more. If it's difficult to purchase all organic fruits and veggies, you can always refer to the EWG's Clean 15 & Dirty Dozen lists, so you are avoiding the most toxic exposure possible!
- Take your fish oil – The DHA in omega-3 fatty acids is extremely beneficial because it reduces inflammation in all cells of the body. It's important to find a reputable source of fish oil, this is my favorite brand to use!
Avoid using soap if you suffer from eczema
Soap, even the ones that say they are made for eczema, exacerbates eczema and should be avoided. (This is true for psoriasis and rosacea as well!) The reason for this is because soap washes away everything, dirt, grime, AND your acid mantle, the sebum, or the protective oil layer on your skin. When the acid mantle is destroyed, there is nothing left to protect your skin from drying out. This drying action is what makes it harder for eczema to heal. I like to make my own herbal infused soap-free options to cleanse my face, hair, and body:
- Face – For my face, my favorite type of soap-free cleanser to use is my Cleansing Grains, but the Oil cleansing method and/or a soapwort cleanser can work just as effectively at cleansing and moisturizing your face without the harsh suds.
- Hair – I don't wash my hair with soap, and haven't for the last 3 years! It's far healthier than it used to be and grows like Rapunzel hair now! I don't use baking soda either, I prefer to use these natural soap-free cleansers instead! My favorite homemade shampoo that is great for those with eczema and other skin conditions, is my Herbal Goddess Soapnuts Shampoo.
- Body – For the body, I tend to use my herbal goddess shampoo as a body wash as well, but you can also use your cleansing grains, soapwort cleanser, and even the oil cleansing method to cleanse your body.
More information on natural remedies for Eczema care
During this journey to healing my skin, I found some very fantastic blogs and books that really had some deeper information on helping me to heal my eczema. For further reading, these are my favorite sources on healing eczema naturally:
DIY Herbal Infused Eczema Eraser Balm
The essential oils chosen for this salve are all safe for use on babies. If you are making this salve for a baby, simply cut the essential oils in half in this recipe. This recipe makes 8 oz. of salve. I like to make (4) 2 oz. salves by pouring this melted mixture into 2 oz. metal tins.
- 1/2 cup herbal infused “Magic Skin Healing oil” (you could substitute plain unrefined coconut oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil, or evening primrose oil here)
- 1/4 cup unrefined shea butter
- 1/4 cup beeswax pastilles (for a vegan alternative use carnauba wax or candelilla wax instead)
- 30 drops palmarosa essential oil
- 20 drops atlas cedarwood essential oil
- 40 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops geranium essential oil
- 40 drops coriander essential oil
- 1 tsp. vitamin E
- In a double boiler (or a pyrex/glass measuring cup inside of a pan that has about an inch of water in it boiling) melt the beeswax, shea butter, and herbal infused oil, stirring until melted. Remove from heat.
- Stir in the essential oils, and vitamin E. Pour your mixture into reserved containers and allow to cool/harden before use.
- If stored in a cool dark place, this ointment should keep for at least 6-12 months. Use a small pea sized amount on any affected areas!