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Reducing Eczema Flare-ups Naturally

Cold, dry winter weather seems to cause eczema to flare-up more often.   Also called atopic dermatitis, it seems to affect children and young adults more frequently and it is thought to be hereditary in families with a history of allergies. Although the exact reason why people develop allergies is unknown, there are many things that are known to contribute to triggering allergies.  The hard part is figuring out what the allergy trigger is that may be causing the eczema.  For children, it may be food related:  beef products, dairy products, wheat, preservatives or dyes.  It could also be caused by environmental factors:  pollen, dust, pets, cold/dry winter weather, perfumes and physical and emotional stress.

Aside from avoiding the triggers here are some ideas to help prevent flare-ups:

  1.  Keep your skin hydrated- Using moisturizers (even when you’re not experiencing a flare-up) will help keep your skins barrier intact and healthy. It is especially important to moisturize immediately after a bath or shower.  Dry skin is prone to cracking, allowing irritants to penetrate your skin.  It’s important to use moisturizers that are as natural as possible.  Most creams on the market contain a slew of harsh chemicals that may actually make your condition worse.  Steer clear of creams with propylene glycol and PEG’s.   These chemicals are used as penetration enhancers and humectants because they rupture the skin’s membrane.  As a result, they are known to aggravate eczema (and acne).   See below for ingredients I recommend you look for in natural moisturizers.
  2. Clean your skin carefully- Use mild, natural soaps that are free of harsh detergents and fragrances.  Don’t use loofahs, poufs, shower brushes or products with rough exfoliants.  Bathe and shower in warm not hot water.  For baths, try adding ¼ cup of ground up oatmeal (coffee grinder works great for this) or 1 tbsp of olive oil to the water.
  3. Keep your diet in check- Drink plenty of water and eat lots of fruits and vegetables to keep your body hydrated.  Try keeping a food journal to see if you can determine the cause of a flare-up.  Avoid junk food and soda and keep alcohol and coffee to a minimum. (I know that one is hard!)  Also make sure you get enough essential fatty acids in your diet and vitamins A and E to help keep your skin moisturized from within. 
  4. Reduce your stress levels- If you’re managing a job or 2, school, and/or kids this can be so difficult to accomplish.  If you work in a high stress environment, try to take breaks and find an activity that will take your mind away from these cares.  You might try reading, meditation or exercise. (Kickboxing is my favorite stress reliever!)

A question we get a lot from customers who have eczema or have children with eczema is what do we recommend they use as a skin moisturizer.  Since Be Green Bath and Body uses only natural and organic ingredients that are pure and simple, many of our customers already know to avoid these ingredients that may contribute to eczema flare-ups:

-          Synthetic dyes (FD&C)
-          Synthetic fragrances and perfume
-          Petroleum products (mineral oil, baby oil, petrolatum)
-          Propylene glycol and PEG’s
-          Preservatives with known health concerns (parabens, imidazolidinyl and diazolidinyl urea)

Eczema sufferers seem to respond well to simple, highly moisturizing products that contain as few ingredients as possible.  The fewer the ingredients, the easier it is to determine the allergy culprit.  Look for these ingredients in your eczema treatments:

-          Olive oil- an emollient with excellent antioxidants that has wonderful skin softening properties.
-          Coconut oil- helps skin retain moisture.  High in lauric acid.
-          Evening primrose oil- high in essential fatty acids like gamma linolenic acid.
-          Calendula- the common marigold that has calming, anti-inflammatory and skin healing  properties.
-          Chamomile- flower that is a softening agent known for calming and healing.
-          Colloidal oatmeal- oatmeal ground to a specific particle size that is a natural cleanser and soothing to skin irritations.
-          Vegetable glycerin- a natural humectant to help draw water to the skin.
-          Aloe- relieves irritation and helps to restore skin to its natural PH.
-          Essential oils of lavender, carrot, German chamomile, geranium
-          Neem oil- made from the leaves and bark of the neem tree that is native to India, this  oil helps skin to retain moisture.

At BeGreenBathandBody.com, we offer a thick, rich calendula cream to help keep the skin of eczema sufferers moisturized and an evening primrose oil with coconut and avocado oils.  The oil is especially useful when applied immediately after a bath or shower. 

You can also  try some of these other natural remedies:

1.  A mixture of honey and cinnamon.  Honey is like a miracle ingredient and we have read that a paste of cinnamon and honey works well.
2.  A mixture of baking soda and water.
3.  Oatmeal added to a bath.
4.  A mixture of 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% water sponged on your body or put in a bath.
5.  Lavender essential oil- calming and soothing to the skin and safe for use during pregnancy.  This is one of only a few essential oils that can be used undiluted on the skin although we recommend putting a few drops in olive oil or another oil of your choice.  Our founder loves to use lavender oil in the summer on mosquito bites as it is very effective in taking away the itch. 

  Thank you for letting us help you "Nourish your skin safely." ®
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1 comment

This information was very helpful, especially in terms of how many commercially produced products for eczema can actually exacerbate the condition. Thank you!

Kathi Johnson Rock

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