Eczema is one of those small, chronic conditions that can have a huge impact on your daily life.
If you're living with eczema, also called dermatitis, you know how painful, irritating, and embarrassing your patches of inflamed skin can be. The next time you need relief, try these 15 remedies that you can do at home.
Remember: consult your dermatologist about any treatments for your dermatitis.
1. Wet bandages
One of the oldest tricks to treat eczema is also one of the most effective. Wet bandages, especially soaked in cold water, provide lasting relief for itchy skin, and they can be re-used daily.
2. Avoid products with harsh chemicals
Look around your home and you're bound to find products that make your eczema symptoms worse. Anything with perfumes or dyes, including laundry detergents, soaps, and cleaning products, should be replaced.
3. Dress smart
Clothes that are too tight, scratchy, or made from certain fabrics (like wool) are known to make your skin itchy. Dermatologists recommend smooth, loose-fitting clothes, especially ones made from cotton.
4. Use a mineral sunscreen
There are two main types of sunscreens: ones made from chemicals, and "physical" sunscreens made from zinc or titanium oxide.
The second kind is safer for patients with eczema, because it's less irritating for your skin.
5. Change your shower routine
Hot water can irritate your skin, and some patients find that even too much water can cause eczema flare-ups. Shorter showers, with water that's warm but not hot, will help protect your skin.
6. Try anti-itch creams
While any itch cream that is at least 1% hydrocortisone will soothe your skin, you probably have the perfect cream in your medicine cabinet. Calamine lotion is great for soothing skin.
7. Cut your nails
Let's face it: eventually you're going to scratch your itchy skin. Clipping your nails regularly prevents you from making the itching even worse by scratching inflamed skin.
8. Change your diet
Some dermatologists find that foods rich in histamines cause their patients to break out more often. Alcohol, fermented foods, cured meats, pickled food, avocados, tomatoes, and goat cheese all contain high levels of histamines.
Be sure to consult your doctor and even take an allergy test before making changes to your diet.
9. Try a bleach bath
While many eczema patients find bleach baths to be soothing, you should be careful about how you take them, and check with a doctor before you try it.
The Mayo Clinic recommends mixing 1/2 cup of bleach in 40 gallons of warm water. Soak up to your neck for 10 minutes, then rinse and dry yourself off. Only do a bleach batch up to twice a week.
10. Use an ice pack
This is so simple, but it works like a charm. Make sure not to press the pack directly on your skin (wrap it in a thin towel or rag). You'll notice the itching disappear right away.
11. Moisturize your skin (every day)
Moisturizing daily keeps your skin healthy, but for eczema patients even that might not be enough. Moisturizing up to twice a day, ideally after bathing, will do wonders for your skin.
Keep a bottle of your favorite moisturizer in the fridge for an extra-relaxing treatment.
13. Wear gloves in bed
There are two benefits to this trick: gloves seal in the moisture on your hands, and they also keep you from scratching in your sleep. Just pick a comfortable fabric, like cotton.
14. Take an oatmeal bath
It's an old trick, but it works wonders. Add uncooked oatmeal to a warm bath and soak in it for itchy skin relief. Be wary of special oatmeal treatments by brands like Olay, which sometimes use irritating perfume.
15. Buy a humidifier
Keeping your skin hydrated prevents it from breaking down due to inflammation. While drinking water helps, so does a humidifier that adds moisture to your room.
Do you rely on any of these tips?
[H/T: The Mayo Clinic]