Share This Article
Children with eczema and their parents would love to get rid of the often itchy, dry, and flaky skin. My son’s childhood was filled with trips to doctors and lotions that did not help his eczema. It alarmed me as a parent, but everything changed once I found some magical home remedies for my child’s eczema. Today he is doing great! Before discussing home remedies, let’s know about eczema in brief.
What is Eczema?
Eczema, also known as Atopic Dermatitis, is a common chronic skin condition, which causes dryness and itching. Although it can affect people of any age, children are more commonly affected by this condition. This is because their immune systems are still immature, and there are cases where eczema starts at an early age. Common symptoms include redness, inflammation, flaky or scaly rash on the areas of the body that come in contact with water or irritants. It mainly occurs around the head, neck, legs, arms, etc.
There may be lesions present due to scratching. The problem becomes severe if neglected. There are different types of eczema-like infantile seborrheic dermatitis, childhood atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, nummular eczema, etc.
What causes eczema in children?
Eczema is caused due to a combination of factors in a child.
- Hereditary: If there is a family history of eczema, asthma, and hay fever, it becomes more likely to develop atopic dermatitis.
- Allergic reactions: Dust or pollen can cause an allergic reaction when they contact the skin. This may be worsened by certain types of clothing like wool and synthetic fabrics.
- Skin irritants: These include household cleaner, cigarette smoke, and perfumes too. Itching starts when any of these make contact with the skin.
- Dry skin: With age, one’s ability to moisturize decreases, leading to dryness and itching.
- Stress: High-stress levels, emotional or physical, sometimes aggravate eczema symptoms such as itching and rashes.
- Skin infections:Sometimes, an illness may cause itching and an outbreak of eczema. If you notice any redness, oozing, pain, etc., consult a doctor immediately.
What are the common types of eczema?
There are many types of eczema, but the most common ones are:
- Atopic dermatitis: This is the most common kind of eczema, affecting 1 in 5 children and 1 in 10 adults. It is often called childhood asthma.
- Contact dermatitis: This type of eczema occurs due to direct contact with an irritant or allergen. An allergic reaction causes this condition.
- Nummular eczema: Also known as discoid eczema, it appears as coin-shaped lesions on the skin and usually occurs on the hands and legs. It can be very itchy too.
- Dyshidrotic eczema: It mainly affects people with a family history of atopy (allergy). The person may experience intense itching, redness, and peeling of the palms, soles, or sides of the fingers.
- Seborrheic dermatitis:This kind of eczema usually appears on the scalp, face, around the nose, eyebrows, ears, etc. It is often called a cradle cap in infants too.
- Stasis dermatitis: This type mainly occurs due to poor circulation. The affected person may have an itching or burning sensation along with redness on his lower leg area. Also, there can be a darkening of skin colour around this area due to extra blood flow.
When to visit a skin doctor for eczema?
It is better to visit a dermatologist in case any of the following symptoms occur.
- Eczema does not clear even after using over-the-counter creams for three weeks.
- There are lesions, blisters, or open sores present due to scratching.
- The skin has started cracking or bleeding, despite using lotions and ointments.
- If your child develops an infection due to scratching, like impetigo, pyoderma, etc., consult a doctor right away.
- For infants under six months old: Do not use nonsteroidal topical steroids on their skin unless recommended by a physician or paediatrician. They may experience side effects like irritation, increased acne breakouts, etc.
These ten home remedies are effective in treating eczema:
- Aloe vera gel: It is a natural remedy, which soothes the skin and helps reduce inflammation.
Take an aloe leaf and cut it open from the bottom without separating the leaves. Take out its gel by massaging it on your child’s inflamed skin 2-3 times a day for a few weeks. Even if there are no symptoms, you can apply this gel once in a while to moisturize their skin. This will also help in preventing dryness of the skin.
- Coconut oil:It acts like an emollient (mild moisturizer.) Make sure that you use virgin coconut oil, which is cold-pressed and unrefined.
Heat the oil until it turns liquid, then massage this on your child’s skin 2-3 times a day. Coconut oil has antibacterial properties too, which reduce the chances of infection. It can also soothe itching and inflammation, making it one of the best home remedies for eczema.
- Almond oil: It is a light moisturizer, which can help retain the skin’s natural oils and prevent them from drying out.
Lightly heat the almond oil until it turns liquid. Dip a clean washcloth in this warm oil, then gently massage it on your child’s skin 3 to 4 times a day. This will not only moisturize the skin but also help lock in its natural moisture.
- Calendula oil: Also known as marigold flower oil, it is extracted from the petals of these flowers.
It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, making it an effective natural remedy for eczema. Mix 1 teaspoon each of almond oil, calendula oil, and lavender oil. Massage this mixture on your child’s skin 2 to 3 times a day. This oil is very gentle and can be used even on infants and toddlers.
- Manuka honey: It has antibacterial properties, which helps in healing wounds. It also contains natural anti-inflammatory compounds like methylglyoxal, which helps reduce inflammation.
Take one tablespoon of manuka honey and mix it with each aloe vera gel and coconut oil. Mix well. Apply this on your child’s affected areas 2 to 3 times a day until there is improvement in symptoms.
- Evening primrose oil: Like omega 3, evening primrose oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can help treat eczema. It is beneficial for those with atopic dermatitis due to its high gamma-linolenic acid content.
Mix 1 tablespoon each of evening primrose oil and olive oil. Use this mixture as a moisturizer 2 to 3 times a day. This will nourish the skin, as well as prevent itching and inflammation.
- Mustard oil: It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which help in treating eczema. To use it effectively, make sure to choose cold press mustard oil.
Warm up some mustard oil on a stove or in warm water. Gently massage this on your child’s skin 2-3 times a day. You can also mix one tablespoon of honey; ten drops each of lemon and tea tree essential oils with the mustard oil to make it more effective.
- Jojoba oil: It works as a moisturizer and locks in the skin’s natural moisture.
Take some jojoba oil on your hand and massage it onto your child’s skin before going to bed. If you have oily skin, gently wipe off any excess fat from your face with a clean cloth or cotton ball after about half an hour. This will prevent the oil from causing acne breakouts.
- Vaseline: It acts as a waterproof seal, which protects the skin from irritants. It also contains petroleum jelly, which soothes inflammation.
Every evening before going to bed, take some Vaseline and rub it onto your child’s affected areas. This will help provide moisture to their skin while keeping away any other bacteria or contaminants.
- Chamomile tea:It is a soothing antioxidant, which can help heal eczema.
Take 2 cups of chamomile tea and let it cool. Then use a clean cloth to soak up the liquid, but don’t wring out the excess water. Gently apply this to your child’s affected areas every night before going to bed. This natural remedy will help soothe your child’s skin while also preventing any premature aging.
How can these home remedies help you to treat eczema?
If you want to take advantage of the many health benefits of coconut oil, then make sure that it is unrefined and organic. Ideally, it would help look for the purest form available that has not been extracted using chemical solvents.
What can be done at home for eczema?
- Keep the skin moisturized: It is essential to keep the skin moisturized, especially when itching or dryness, which leads to rashes. Use a moisturizer that contains glycerine, cetomacrogol, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer , zinc oxide, emollients like lanolin or urea, etc., if your child’s doctor approves. Apply it after every bath. Try not to expose the skin to too much heat or moisture as it causes more drying out of the skin.
- Avoid scratching: A common factor that causes eczema is irritating the skin, leading to more damage and pain. Be aware of your child’s tendency to scratch and try to distract them from doing it.
- Keep infections at bay: To prevent any secondary bacterial or fungal infections, make sure to keep the affected areas clean with a gentle cleanser. You can use a moisturizing body wash. Once done, pat the skin dry before applying a moisturizer. Also, make sure not to let any water stay on the skin for too long, as this may aggravate itching further.
- Use emollients: Topical creams or ointments that contain emollients like pain sulfonate pyrrolidone carboxylic acid, glycerin, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, etc. are very effective in treating eczema.
- Use hypoallergenic products:Any new products that your child uses should be tested for allergies on a small portion of the skin first. Please avoid using any irritants or allergens, perfumes, lanolin, petroleum jelly, etc., as they may worsen symptoms of eczema.
- Keep pets away: If you have cats or dogs at home, it is advisable to keep them out of the room where your child sleeps to avoid being bitten by animals, which can also spread infectious germs that may spread aggravate symptoms of eczema.
- Wash bed sheets regularly: Ensure that you wash your child’s bedding in hot or warm water to kill the dust mites that may cause eczema flareups.
- Stay away from stress:Stress can worsen symptoms of eczema, so try to stay calm and collected. Practice relaxation techniques like mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, or yoga regularly. You can also play with other kids as this also helps reduce any stress levels.
- Remove carpets:If possible, avoid having carpets at home as they are breeding grounds for dust mites that may trigger eczema breakouts. This is especially relevant if you have pets roaming around the house all day long. Use flooring instead, which is easier to clean.
- Add omega-3 fatty acids: Oily fishes like salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc., are rich sources of Omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce inflammation and aid faster healing of eczema. Include these in your child’s diet regularly, or else you may give them supplements. Avoid giving him foods that contain high levels of arachidonic acid or saturated fats as they increase the risk of eczema flareups.
- Homeopathic treatment for eczema is increasingly popular, especially when traditional Western treatments fail to help. The rationale for this approach is that homeopathic medications are believed to stimulate the immune system beneficially. The majority of cases are not usually severe and respond well to homeopathy. Although improvement will be gradual, most people find it helpful in managing their symptoms. Homeopathy works on the premise that “like cures like.” It treats ailments by using minute quantities of substances, which can trigger similar symptoms.
Firstly, a homeopathic practitioner will explain the treatment to their patient and look for signs of improvement over a long period. If your child is suffering from eczema, homeopathy may be able to help you. To know more about homeopathy and expert advice, book an appointment with a homeopathy doctor through OHO Homeopathy!