Itchy, dry skin? Eczema is the name given to a group of conditions that cause skin to become itchy, inflamed, or have a rash-like appearance. There are seven types of eczema but atopic eczema is by far the most common. Skin is typically red, dry and itchy. Topical steroids and prescription medicines can help with eczema symptoms, but they’re often not without unwanted side-effects. If you’re looking for a more natural approach to managing eczema, the following plant remedies may help to ease the itch and soothe irritated skin.
Neem is a very valuable plant when it comes to treating skin conditions. The properties of the plant make it wonderful at relieving any discomfort or itchiness associated with dry, sensitive skin and it works quickly and effectively to ease inflammation and pain – making it a perfect option for eczema-prone skin. A. Vogel’s Neem Cream and Oil can be applied directly to the affected area as needed. A Neem Shampoo, with extracts of neem leaves, is also available for dry, irritated and flaky scalps. Do bear in mind though, that neem is not suitable for those with nut allergies or pregnant women.
A great source of essential fatty acids, oatmeal is brilliant at soothing irritated and itchy skin, and a good treatment to consider for eczema. Blend with lukewarm water to form a paste and then apply topically to the affected area. A less messy but equally soothing option, is to run yourself an oatmeal bath. You can use any kind of oatmeal - but keep those ingredients natural! A top tip is to pour a cup of oats into the toe section of an old pair of tights and tie in a knot so as to not clog the bath.
Did you know? Oats contain up to 20 times more silica in them than other plants. Silica helps strengthen skin and gives skin elasticity and smoothness. Oats also contain a plant extract called Avena sativa , which has been shown in several studies to help reduce skin irritation and inflammation.
Evening primrose oil is a rich plant source of omega-6 fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid, which, when taken orally, may help to ease the inflammation characteristic of eczema. It’s also worth noting that many people with eczema seem to lack an enzyme that converts essential fatty acids into prostaglandins, anti-inflammatory compounds that help to counter an allergic response.
Evening primrose oil can also be used topically to soothe irritated skin.
Coconut oil is rich in anti-oxidants and is a natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. It is enormously beneficial for soothing dry, sensitive skin and can hydrate skin cells, enabling them to retain moisture and essential oils. Optima’s Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil is one of our favourites. Simply apply directly to the affected area and leave on for a considerable amount of time before washing off.
Finally, calendula has been used for centuries as a soothing and calming remedy to help with skin inflammation, burns and cuts. As far is research into the effectiveness of calendula for eczema is concerned, more is needed, but anecdotal evidence does suggest it may help to keep skin hydrated and fight infection.
Try Aloe Pura + Calendula Cream with additional aloe vera, sunflower seed oil and shea butter for an extra nourishing boost.