The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center did a study showing that a staggering 39 percent of Caucasian children in the United States develop eczema at the age of 3. This study also found that children who live in homes with a dog reduce their risk factor for eczema at any given age [R].
This skin condition can be quite frustrating, but nowadays, there are various treatments available to alleviate symptoms and prevent flare-ups. Here are some natural treatments that are supported by studies:
Phototherapy is a treatment where the patient is briefly exposed to ultraviolet light. The National Eczema Association states that phototherapy can help manage eczema symptoms by reducing inflammation and itching, increasing vitamin D production, and fighting bacteria present on the skin. Additional sun exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes per day can help alleviate symptoms and hasten healing during a flare-up [R].
2. Hypnosis and Meditation
Certain skin conditions have a psychological factor to them, Harvard Medical School says. This subspecialty is called psychodermatology. Studies have shown that psychiatric and psychological techniques, such as meditation, hypnosis, focused breathing, and cognitive behavior therapy can provide relief during eczema flareups, hasten healing, and even prevent future flare-ups [R].
3. Dead Sea Salt
Healing is one of the Dead Sea’s many major benefits. Researches have found that taking a dead sea salt bath hydrates the skin and promotes skin barrier function, thereby reducing inflammation, redness, and roughness. However, the bath water should be room temperature because eczema attacks are triggered by cold or hot temperatures [R].
4. Licorice Extract
During limited trials, licorice extract applied topically was found to potentially reduce itching associated with eczema. For better results, you may add coconut oil or homemade natural itch creams [R].
5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
According to researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, incorporating fish into the diet of children starting at the age of 9 months drastically reduced the risk of developing eczema later in life. Fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, and when consumed weekly, can prevent eczema. Additionally, fish or other foods rich in Omega-3s boosts the immune system and hastens healing during flare-ups [R].
Studies show that probiotics are another potential eczema treatment, both preventing eczema in infants and decreasing the gravity of flare-ups. It was even found that pregnant and nursing women who take probiotics reduce their children’s risk of developing eczema. For the treatment and prevention of outbreaks, daily intake of a probiotic supplement with 24 billion to 100 billion organisms can help [R] [R].
7. Black Cumin Seed Oil
With its variety of uses (spice, oil, or extract), black cumin is seen as a miraculous herb. A review of 4 studies involving 152 patients with allergies found that black cumin seed oil significantly reduced their symptoms, such as asthma, clogged nose, and eczema. These patients were administered with black cumin seed oil capsules with a dose of 40 to 80 mg per kg body weight on a daily basis. For someone who weighs 110 pounds, this would total to a daily dose of about 2 to 4 g [R].
8. Shea Butter
According to a month-long study with 34 eczema patients, shea butter extract alleviated skin itching and improved the overall quality of life in 74% of the patients [R]. Additionally, another pilot study was done with 25 eczema patients and natural treatments such as shea butter oil reduced itching by 79% and moisturized the skin by 44% [R].
9. Borage Oil
Borage is an annual herb belonging to a flowering plant family and a great source of antioxidants and fatty acids. It was found in a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial involving 32 children with eczema that wearing borage oil-coated undershirts for 14 days straight promoted skin barrier function and alleviated itching [R].
In a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial with 45 women with dry and sensitive skin but were otherwise healthy, a daily intake of 2 g of borage oil supplement helped the skin to retain moisture, thereby reducing scaling and roughness [R].
Certain parts of the borage plant, including the seed, flower, and leaves, contain a chemical called pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can damage the liver. This is why you should be careful when buying borage oil supplements and only buy from certified pyrrolizidine alkaloids-free brands.
10. Hempseed Oil
In 2005, a study with 20 eczema patients was published in the US National Library of Medicine. This study shows that a daily dose of 30 mL hemp seed oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids that reduce skin irritation and other symptoms of eczema [R].
We strongly advise you to have a regular check-up with your doctor and lab tests (blood, kidney, and liver) at least every three months if you decide to take any herbal medicine or supplement mentioned in the list for long-term.