Its been a little while since I posted about skincare and I wanted to reenter the large topic by discussing something that has afflicted my skin for as long as I can remember: eczema.
What the Heck is Eczema?!
Simply put, eczema is a general term for a chronic skin condition caused by inflammation. Clear enough? Don’t worry it isn’t really for me either, but, medically speaking, that’s how it is classed. Eczema is the umbrella term for atopic dermatitis (inflamed skin) meaning that many skin conditions are housed under this title. Eczema can be hereditary but there are many people who have the unfriendly rashes and are the only ones among their kin.
The majority of people who have eczema were born with the condition, though in some cases, others might develop it later on in life depending on factors such as: bacterial infections, nutrient deficiencies, dry/irritated skin, eating certain foods, allergies to environmental factors, pollen.
Health professionals report that eczema is often an external materialization of an internal issue. So again eczema can occur from.. eh who knows?! Because of the variance associated with eczema, there isn’t always an easy fix for the flare- ups, and considering the fact that there is no cure for such a condition, we who suffer from eczema are often looking for ways to alleviate our symptoms when they do manifest.
My Eczema Woes (I was running through elementary with my woes)
When I was young my eczema was terrible. I tried and tried not to scratch but it was so itchy all the time and I just couldn’t help myself. My mumma would often dress me in stockings in an attempt to prevent me from breaking skin (my legs had it the worst) but I always seemed to be scratching up a storm in spite of this.
The topical ointment that the doctors prescribed hardly seemed to work and I spent a great deal of my childhood with my legs covered in itchy rashes. By the time I reached middle school the rashes cleared up and I could finally wear that skirt that my older sister said was off limits.. pfft as if I could keep my hands off!
As I journeyed onto adulthood my eczema would manifest from time to time but only in small spurts. It might show up on the front of my ankle or under my arms and it always sucked, but by and by I could deal with a flare up or two.
Worse than Mosquito Bites
Then, as it sometimes happens, a really horrible something happened :/. My roomie left all the windows in the apartment open (literally. no exaggeration, no jokes, no lie!) and when I awoke I was literally covered in mosquito bites. All on my arms, my left hand, and both legs. I knew not to scratch the bites because doing so would only leave a scar, but I got around this by, well scratching around them. Bad idea!
After the second day, all of the bites (helped along by my irresponsible outside scratching) turned into eczema. The nightmare of my past had resurfaced, and luck would have it that this all happened the day before I was off to do a season in Ibiza! Oh ****! So off I went to the party capital of the world adorning my scaly skin.. joy! I went to the chemist (pharmacy) once arriving and was given a cream with Spanish words recorded on the tube (my spanish isn’t that good!). What do you know, the rashes became more inflamed and the itching got worse. I determined that it was time for a natural remedy and what I used worked like magic.
Natural Home Remedy for Eczema
I used two ingredients:
- oatmeal (porridge)
- shea butter
I ran a bath and was very liberal with the amount of oatmeal that I poured in. Then I submersed myself in the tub. I stayed in for over an hour and when I got out, my skin felt softer, and it really worked in soothing the flare ups. After I dried, I used shea butter over my entire body and in three days my skin was back to normal. I’ve read that other people add other ingredients to their bath like baking soda, or olive or coconut oil, but I personally find that oatmeal alone does the trick. I pour mine as is while others grind it in a blender/mixer to make it more fine (easier to get down the drain). As always with home remedies: to each his/her own.
Alternative Natural Home Remedy for Eczema
Since that unfortunate time in the summer of 2014, I have had one more flare up-in front of my ankle again and on both armpits. I knew what to do to alleviate the itching and make the rash disappear but there was one major problemo. The apartment that I moved into, though 400 times better than its predecessor, had no bathtub! Dreadful, I know, but I put my thinking cap on and came up with an alternative solution. What I did was mix some oatmeal with warmish water until it became quite creamy and then applied it on my sores. I left this on for about 30 minutes, rinsed off in the shower with cool/warm water and then applied my shea butter for good measure. It took longer to heal without the bath but it still got the job done after a full week of following the method.
What Both Ingredients Do
Oatmeal- gives a protective layer on the skin, fights dryness, cleanses the skin, moisturizes the skin, has antioxidants that are said to have anti- inflammatory properties (also good for combating acne)
Shea Butter- heals burns/scars/dermatitis/dandruff, moisturizes skin, diminishes wrinkles, helps with circulation, accelerates cell renewal, natural vitamin A, anti- inflammatory properties.
As always lifestyle and diet are of high importance! Be sure to get enough direct sunlight each day for a necessary Vitamin D dose (20 minutes), eat foods that are high in antioxidants and Omega- 3 to reduce eczema symptoms, opt for natural ingredients in the lotions/butters/soaps that you use. I normally make my own, check out my post here to see my favorite DIY mixes.
Eczema is not a fun affliction to live with, but, with some TLC and natural ingredients from Mother Nature’s kitchen, you can alleviate Señora Eczema’s worst endowment!
My absolute favorite type of shea butter is called white chunky, it is all natural 100% pure and unrefined. You can get yours here.
Ever tried an oatmeal bath before? What are your favorite ways to alleviate eczema symptoms? Make sure to get involved in discussion below and share this with anyone who has been having some very itchy days!