(Now that it’s been one year since I successfully healed my eczema, I’ve decided to update this post with more complete information. These suggestions for healing remedies for eczema are not meant to replace the advice of your professional medical practitioner. This is simply my personal experience with healing my eczema when conventional medical treatments no longer worked for me.)
Who knew that a relentless case of eczema could cause my entire life come to a screeching halt? But that’s just what my last outbreak of eczema did. None of the conventional treatments were helping, so I was fortunate to discover these healing remedies for eczema. And yes, they actually work!
I’d dealt with mild cases of eczema outbreaks when I was younger, and prescription steroid creams helped at that time. But after two and a half years of being on high doses of prednisone (for a severe Crohn’s flare), my eczema came back with a vengeance, and this time prescription creams wouldn’t help at all. My last bout with eczema lasted more than two years, and it grew much worse over time. It had pretty much taken over my hands. It got to the point where I was terrified to wash my hands (water is often the enemy of eczema, and there didn’t seem to be a hand wash anywhere that wouldn’t aggregate my condition). This made cooking and prepping food very difficult, not to mention pretty much every other life activity. My hands were so dry, scaly, itchy, and raw (TMI?) that my whole life began to revolve around treating my condition and trying to avoid making it worse. I tried everything from prescription creams to over-the-counter lotions and salves, all claiming to provide eczema relief, but nothing helped. I tried natural oils like coconut oil, olive oil, and jojoba oil (and spent many hours wearing cotton gloves), and while these were somewhat effective, they only provided temporary relief.
One day, I woke up with my hands so swollen and red that I could barely move them. Meanwhile, the eczema was starting to creep onto my wrists, up my arm, and was starting to form random spots on other parts of my body. I was miserable and desperate to find a healing remedy that actually worked.
I finally consulted a functional medical doctor, and he confirmed what I already knew but didn’t want to face: my eczema was most likely the result of intestinal permeability, and in order to heal my eczema, I needed to first heal my gut. Since I feel like my entire life revolves around a gut-healing diet and managing my Crohn’s disease, I was frustrated. I had been Paleo for several years, so you’d think I’d have the majority of my inflammation under control. But with Paleo having so many “gray areas,” I knew there were foods slipping in that I probably shouldn’t be eating (or shouldn’t be eating in excess). I knew I needed to take some further steps to get this condition under control.
Just three weeks into implementing these healing remedies for eczema, I started seeing dramatic improvement. Now it’s exactly one year later, and I can proudly say that my eczema is completely gone. I continue to use several of these remedies to keep my eczema at bay.
While everyone is different, here are the natural, healing remedies for eczema that have provided me relief and eventually healed my eczema altogether:
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1. The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)
Changing my diet has been, by far, the most important component to bringing down the inflammation in my skin and healing my eczema. I discovered that without this step, no cream, salve, or other topical treatment would make a significant difference.
The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is a version of the Paleo diet that omits further foods which are likely to be allergens, in an effort to bring down inflammation. In my case, this meant cutting out eggs, nightshades, nuts, seeds, and certain spices (including black pepper). All “cheat” foods are off limits too, such as chocolate and all forms of sugar (except for limited fruit). (For gut healing and healthy skin, it’s important to also include quality sources of probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids.) I will be perfectly honest: following the AIP is difficult. For the first two weeks, I felt like there was practically nothing I could eat! (In fact, it makes Paleo feel like a walk in the park.) But when I started seeing and feeling the results — a noticeable improvement in my eczema — I knew that I had to stick with it.
Once I started to see improvement, I was able to start reintroducing certain foods, so now I eat sort of a Paleo-AIP diet hybrid. (For example, I’m able to eat eggs, but I have to keep my nut and nightshade consumption to a minimum.) Everyone is different, so you’ll have to figure out what your individual triggers are and avoid them as necessary. Of all my healing remedies for eczema, this one has been the most critical…and totally worth any frustrations I felt during the first few weeks. For more information on the Autoimmune Protocol, check out one of my favorite AIP websites, Autoimmune Wellness.
2. 100% Pure Body Scrub
This sugar scrub is a heaven-sent healing remedy for eczema. One of my biggest obstacles was having to avoid exposing my hands to water and trying to avoid soaps and hand washes when possible. This made almost every facet of life incredibly difficult! After bathing or even simply washing my hands, I would be left with severely dry, itchy skin, and I felt like I was taking ten steps back every time. Fortunately, this scrub came to the rescue. I use it for both bathing and washing my hands (if I have to disinfect my hands first, I’ll use a mild hand wash, body wash, or soap first, and then follow up with the scrub). Because it’s an oil-based sugar scrub, it leaves my skin hydrated and smooth. The ingredients are all-natural, and the scents are divine. It has been a life-saver for me. After all the products I’ve purchased over the years that failed to work, to actually find something that helps feels like a miracle to me. I highly recommend one of these delicious-scented scrubs for anyone dealing with dry, scaly, and itchy skin.
I follow up my scrub use with Whipped Body Butter and/or Nourishing Body Cream. My favorites are the coconut and vanilla scents, but there are many other natural scents to choose from. (And I never had the chance to try it myself, but this Intensive Nourish Moisture Balm also looks like an effective moisture treatment.)
3. Essential Oils (Lavender and Peppermint)
One of the worst parts of battling eczema is the constant itching, which of course leads to scratching (no matter how hard you try to fight it!) and many sleepless nights. The result is painful skin scratched raw and susceptible to infection. Over-the-counter antibiotic ointments stopped working for me, so I started to apply drops of lavender essential oil directly to my raw skin for antiseptic purposes. As it turned out for me, it was surprisingly effective. In fact, I still use it for antiseptic purposes today. (If you are not used to lavender oil, use it cautiously at first, as it can induce sleepiness).
To prevent itching and soothe inflamed skin, peppermint essential oil has been a life-saver. Peppermint oil should be mixed with a carrier oil when applying (as opposed to direct application), so I usually mix it with coconut oil or jojoba oil. I’d slather the mixture all over my hands, put on my cotton gloves, and feel instant, cooling relief. Again, after years of failed treatments, I can’t believe the answers have been in these little bottles I had sitting my cabinet all this time. Peppermint oil also has some antiseptic properties, and both lavender and peppermint oils have the added benefit of a lovely and all-natural scent. When the eczema on my hands became unbearable, I would apply a mix of both lavender and peppermint oils with jojoba oil, put on my gloves, and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.
4. Magnesium Lotion
I started using magnesium lotion as a topical magnesium supplement but was also hopeful it would help my eczema. And boy, did it! It has become one of my most effective healing remedies for eczema. One thing to remember, however, is that magnesium lotion can sting if used on broken skin. During the first two weeks of using it, I would feel about 5-10 minutes of stinging (or burning) because the skin on my hands was pretty much raw. But I stuck it out, and after about two weeks, my skin had healed significantly. Now, I feel absolutely no discomfort when I apply magnesium lotion.
Magnesium lotion has become one of my favorite healing remedies for eczema, and I continue to use it every night. (You could probably also use straight magnesium oil, but I have only tried the lotion for this purpose).
There was a time when I felt very hopeless when it came to the severity of my eczema. I tried so many remedies claiming to be the answer, but none of them seemed to help. So it was life-changing to find solutions that actually work. Of course, everyone’s different, but I’m happy to report these healing remedies for eczema actually healed my skin, and also continue to be helpful in preventing future flare-ups.
Hi, just stumbled across your blog which is very helpful. I have just been diagnosed with a rare disease called Adult Onset Stills disease which is an autoimmune disease (joint pain, problems with liver, spleen, all organs really, Fevers, etc etc etc!). I’m certain diet has a big part in my healing and although I was paleo prior to getting disease, I’m pretty sure I still had unresolved gut issues. I’m about to start The Autoimmune Solution as you reviewed (and how I found your blog). I would love to know what you eat when on the Autoimmune Paleo diet rather than just the paleo diet as I’m finding it so hard to know what to eat (I am very underweight so very conscious of making sure I get enough to eat!) especially for breakfast and snacks! It’s so nice to find someone who can relate to the pain and suffering that these horrible diseases bring. I know I’m going to find it so hard to eat this way, any advice is truly appreciated!
Hi Karen, thanks for reaching out, and I’m so sorry you’re dealing with your illness. You’re right – AIP can be difficult, and I’ve found myself losing weight when I’m on it too, so I tend to do AIP intermittently along with regular Paleo (assuming I’m not in a full-blown flare). For breakfast, I would usually have some sort of leftovers from a previous dinner. For example, if I made roasted chicken and veggies one night, I’d try to make extra and save the leftovers for my breakfasts. It can get a little monotonous, but it’s convenient and saves on extra cooking time in the mornings. The key, as I’m sure you already know, is to always plan ahead. I also would make recipes like the breakfast sausages in Dr. Myers’s book, and just make extra so I could stretch them out into a couple breakfasts. US Wellness Meats also makes an AIP-friendly bacon that I like to keep on hand – it’s sugar-free, nitrate-free, and has no spices, only salt, so it works for AIP (it’s hard to find store-bought bacon without pepper in it!). As for snacks, one of my go-to’s is avocados and Jackson’s sweet potato chips. I smash the avocados to make a quick guacamole with a little pink salt and garlic powder (plus lemon or lime to preserve it if you’re not going to eat it all right away). I use it as a dip with my sweet potato chips…delicious! US Wellness also makes a beef jerky that is made of only beef and salt (no pepper or spices), so it’s AIP-friendly and also great to have on hand for a protein snack. I also always keep bananas on hand – I know we don’t want to overdo fruit or sugar, but it’s such a convenient little pep-me-up, especially when I’m in the car or on-the-go. Hopefully you can try AIP for a while and as you improve, you might be able to start introducing some regular Paleo foods again and see how you do. (In other words, try to think of it as temporary for now…that helps get me through it!) For me, bone broth is a HUGE part of my gut healing. I started making it with nothing but apple cider vinegar (no veggies or spices) and it really helps me. Hang in there…I know it seems really tough, but just know you’re not alone! Wishing you the best with your healing…please do check in again and let me know how you’re doing!
Thank you for your reply and for those tips. I am in Australia so unfortunately we don’t have those brands here (or as much to choose from either). I need to find a way of making my sweet potatoes crisp – if I cut them too thin I inevitably burn them, too thick, they don’t crisp but they would be great for guacamole! I found eating savoury foods for breakfast so hard so I’ve decided to have a bit of fruit first up to trick myself then eat breakfast a bit later – it seems to be working. My stomach can handle that so much better – go figure!
I have made some bone broth – just got to make myself drink it now! It’s certainly not my favorite…
Thanks again, I will keep in touch with you.
Thanks, Karen. It took me a while to get used to certain Paleo foods and flavors too (including bone broth), but I think that gets easier with time. I’m glad you’re finding little tricks to help you get through it. Good luck, and please do keep in touch! 🙂