Eczema affects millions of people the world over, making it one of the most common skin conditions. In fact, it’s so common that if you haven’t personally struggled with an eczema flare-up before, chances are that you know someone who has. It is likely that you would not know that there are natural ways to treat these eczema flare-ups.
Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is an umbrella term for a group of dry skin conditions. Cracking, roughness, redness, discoloration, inflammation, swelling, itching, and general irritation are some of the symptoms of this uncomfortable condition.
While typical prescriptions include antihistamines and various topical creams, you don’t have to reach for your medicine cabinet every time you experience a flare-up—there are a host of natural options out there that can help you manage atopic dermatitis safely and effectively.
For natural eczema symptom-relief ideas, keep reading.
Eczema flare-ups are just periods when your eczema symptoms return—most commonly in response to certain irritants or allergens. We’ve put together a list of the best alternative therapies for eczema.
Although most people experience discomfort throughout the day, eczema symptoms tend to worsen at night, making them especially difficult to ignore. Any dry-skin sufferer is well-aware of the importance of keeping the skin moisturized from the inside out. However, for the most severe dry skin conditions, drug-store moisturizers just don’t cut it.
That said, you don’t have to reapply lotion every half-hour or drink a gallon of water a day in a bid to soothe dry skin. Wet-wrap therapy (WWT) is one of the simplest ways to rehydrate the skin and ease irritation.
Simply dampen lengths of clean cloth or gauze in water, and—as the name implies—wrap them around the affected areas. Breathable fabric, like cotton, is ideal for the wet layer. Follow this by wearing some dry clothing over the wet layer. Keep the wet layer on for several hours—taking care not to let it dry out on your skin.
According to one 2017 study, WWT is a natural and effective way to relieve eczema symptoms. This study says that it can be even more effective than conventional topical steroid medications. While it’s certainly not a long-term treatment option, it will help you soothe irritation in the event of a flare-up.
Most people are familiar with acupuncture, but few have heard of acupressure. Both practices target muscles to relieve pain and tension. However, unlike acupressure, acupuncture doesn’t involve the insertion of needles.
Instead, practitioners apply pressure to certain points on your body—acupoints—to promote blood circulation. In the case of eczema, acupressure reportedly relieves the severity of itching. In the study, subjects performed acupressure for three minutes thrice a week over a period of four weeks.
A point along the elbow crease, known as the Large Intestine 11, or LI11 is thought to be responsible for reducing the expression of pro-inflammatory proteins in the body. This means that applying pressure to LI11 could relieve some of the irritation associated with atopic dermatitis.
As with most popular alternative therapies, Ayurveda is an age-old alternative medicine system. At the core of Ayurvedic medicine is the belief that wellness is dependent on a balance between the mind, body, and spirit.
One man, for example, presented with a severe case of eczema that had persisted for over four years. After management through Ayurvedic treatment modalities, the man’s symptoms were substantially relieved.
Treatments included consuming medicated ghee, inducing sweating, and full body massage, among other therapies. It’s important to note that there is a wide variety of Ayurvedic treatments that can help address atopic dermatitis.
For example, a practitioner may recommend topicals, and certain dietary changes and/or herbal remedies that can help with healing eczema internally. This may include overhauling your entire diet and care regime in favor of a ‘çlean’ meal plan or simply supplementing your diet and routine with helpful nutrients like zinc and vitamin A.
Irritants and allergens aren’t the only things that can provoke an eczema flare-up—stress is also one of the major eczema triggers. When you are stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol which can cause inflammation in the body.
Practices that help you concentrate the mind and gain awareness of your body and surroundings have been proven to not only reduce stress levels in the short term but also help you manage stress and anxiety in the long term.
The ability to manage your emotional response more effectively has a knock-on effect on the management of atopic dermatitis. In fact, regular mind-body practice is one of the best things that you can do for your overall well-being.
For people with eczema-prone skin, it can feel as though there are few options other than rushing to the pharmacy every time you experience a flare-up. However, natural therapies for eczema do exist and have been proven to help relieve the often painful symptoms of atopic dermatitis.
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