I can tell you from experience that every skin condition is alike, but also uniquely annoying in its own special way.
My family has been plagued by just about everything including cases of eczema and psoriasis that seem to be passed down from one generation to the next.
Luckily, we've all developed our own go-to cures, and many of them rely on natural ingredients that are already in our kitchens.
Remember: if your symptoms are severe, consult a doctor before trying these.
Here are 13 ingredients that give relief from a variety of chronic skin conditions:
This plant has been used in Indian medicine since ancient times, but recently more and more people are learning about its power to soothe inflammation - the root cause for a number of skin conditions.
An antioxidant called curcumin is the key to the plant's power. There are all sorts of ways to add turmeric to your diet, including tasty recipes.
2. Flax Seeds
The omega-3 fatty acids in these super seeds may reduce the amount of arachidonic acid in your body, which causes inflammation.
Like turmeric, flax can be taken as a supplement or in your meals. It can be ground up and added to smoothies and dishes, or mixed into salad dressing.
3. Baking Soda
It turns out there are dozens of clever uses for this pantry staple. For relief from itchy skin, mix a 1/2 part soda with 1 part water to make a paste, and spread it on the affected area.
4. Mineral and Essential Oils
There are a number of essential oils that provide relief for irritated and scaly skin, with different strengths depending on your symptoms:
- Adding a cup of mineral oil to a bath will help moisturize chronic dry skin.
- Lavender oil has been known to soothe irritated skin, especially with eczema. Just add a teaspoon to your bath.
- Tea tree oil can be rubbed directly onto the skin multiple times per week. It's known to soften the scaly patches caused by psoriasis.
5. Olive Oil
This is one of the most versatile ingredients for treating dry skin. Like essential oils, a few teaspoons in a bath will soften your skin and provide relief from itching.
Adding a glass of milk in the bath will ease irritation even more.
But olive oil can also be rubbed directly onto scaly skin to soften it, will make dried psoriasis patches peel, and can even be added to meals to help control your symptoms.
6. Natural Skin Products
This is a very easy change that can do wonders for chronic skin conditions: replace the products in your shower with less irritating ones.
Avoid ingredients like perfumes or harsh chemicals. Adding a gentle moisturizer to your routine after every shower will also keep your flare-ups under control.
7. Vegetable Shortening
People who work with their hands all day swear by this old-fashioned trick to heal dry, cracked skin.
Rub shortening on the irritated area, and cover it with plastic wrap secured by tape. After a few hours you should notice your symptoms are much lighter.
For best results, use this treatment right after a shower, when your skin is already moisturized.
8. Capsaicin Cream
It sounds a little crazy to rub spice into your skin when it's already itchy or in pain, but this particular spice has a surprising effect on your sensory nerves.
It's known to dull the feeling in the area where it's applied, so after the initial sting your pain will fade away.
Just be careful to keep the cream out of your eyes, and use a product with a small concentration of the spice.
9. Oatmeal Baths
The classic treatment for itchy chicken pox spots works just as well for other skin conditions.
Just run a bath (warm water, not hot, is best) and add a few handfuls of plain oatmeal. Grind up the oats into a fine powder for the best results.
Don't use instant oatmeal.
10. Fish Oil
Like flax seed, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil reduce inflammation. Fish oil supplements are often prescribed to soothe the pain or arthritis, but they work just as well on skin conditions.
You can also add fish oil to your diet with foods like salmon and tuna.
11. Epsom Salts
Found in most kinds of bath salts, and in other beauty products, these are surprisingly good at treating itchy and scaly skin.
All you need to do is follow the directions on your bath salts and enjoy a nice soak.
12. Aloe Vera
Just like you can rely on aloe gel to treat a painful sunburn, it will also relieve other kinds of painful conditions. Rub the gel directly on itchy skin.
If you regularly suffer from flare-ups, it might be smart to invest in your own aloe plant, which you can harvest for the gel.
13. Cider Vinegar
Is there anything this vinegar can't do?
The key to this cure is that vinegar disinfects, so it can clean the bacteria that cause irritation from your skin, and relieve itching from flaking.
Dab a little bit on the affected area with a cotton ball. Just be careful not to apply it on bleeding or cracked skin - that will only make the symptoms worse.
Do you rely on any of these cures for relief from your symptoms?
[H/T: RD, HowStuffWorks]