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What Is Eczema and How to Treat it without Chemicals

According to the National Eczema Association, over 30 million Americans have eczema. So, while you may feel alone with your symptoms of red and itchy skin, you’re certainly not. This can be a frustrating, uncomfortable, and embarrassing condition, but it’s very manageable for many people who have it.

Photo credit: Care_SMC via Flickr

Skin disorders are often misdiagnosed or self-diagnosed incorrectly because they closely resemble other conditions. Here is some information about what eczema is and how you can treat it naturally without the use of harsh chemicals.

Eczema Symptoms 

Although eczema appears differently on people’s skin, there are a few common characteristics that eczema sufferers share. The most common symptom is itchiness, which can be mild, moderate, or severe to the point of being very inflamed. Skin with eczema is often dry, red, sensitive, and rough as well. In severe cases or if left untreated, the skin can even ooze, become crusty, and swell up.

Who Suffers from Eczema

While eczema is a common skin condition, it may surprise you to learn that the most common individuals who suffer from it are under the age of five. In fact, it’s somewhat unusual for someone to develop eczema for the first time in adulthood. Some children who have eczema in their early years grow out of it over time; however, others continue to suffer with the condition throughout their adult lives.

Doctors and researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint an exact cause of eczema, but we do know that certain factors can trigger an eczema outbreak. Genetics plays a role, but so do environmental factors like weather changes and pollution. An individual’s diet, allergies, and infections may also contribute to the onset of eczema in some circumstances.

Natural Approaches for Eczema

Since eczema is a condition of sensitive skin, it’s important to avoid using harsh irritants and chemicals to soothe and treat it.  Steroid creams and ointments are sometimes prescribed for times when eczema inflammations flare up. A natural solution to eczema care is OliveViate Topical Skin Relief, which combines homeopathic ingredients like graphites, hepar sulphuris calcareum, rhus toxicodendron, and sulphur with a base of virgin olive oil, natural coconut oil, omega-3 fish liver oil, and natural vitamin E. After washing with mild, natural soap and water and drying completely, apply several drops of OliveViate to your fingertip and gently work into the affected area.

Lukewarm water is better for skin with eczema than scalding hot water, and bathing is a great way to get dry, irritated skin the moisture that it needs. Certain symptoms of eczema can be treated by adding natural ingredients to your bathwater, such as vinegar, salt, oatmeal, or baking soda. Do your very best not to scratch eczema-affected skin, as tempting as it may be. Soft, cotton-based clothing tends to be more comfortable on itchy skin than other fabrics like wool or polyester. Pollen, mold, and stress make eczema worse, so try to limit your exposure to all of those things.

Overall, one of the best ways to soothe, treat, and prevent eczema is to keep your skin moisturized at all times. Apply lotions with natural ingredients liberally to the skin and choose oil-based moisturizers with antioxidant protection and skin nourishing properties. Essential oils can become an eczema suffer’s best friend. With natural treatments and preventative measures like these, you may be able to avoid the side-effects of chemically-based prescriptions and oral drugs. Discuss these options with your doctor to find a treatment strategy that works for your specific eczema condition.

Photo credit: Abi Porter via Flickr

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