Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is an inflammation of the epidermis or the outer layer of the skin. Eczema makes the skin red and inflamed, bumpy and dry, flaky and patchy. The blistered skin can thicken and become rough and cracked. This condition is extremely frustrating for many, as it can last for a person’s lifetime.
Eczema most commonly appears on the knees, wrists, eyelids, scalp, knuckles, and elbows. However, it can appear anywhere on the body.
- Causes of Eczema
- DIY Eczema Cream Recipes
- Method 1: Coconut Oil Cream
- Method 2: Herbal Cream
- Step 1. Melt coconut oil in a double boiler
- Step 2. Add all the herbs and let it simmer for up to 4 hours
- Step 3. Allow the mixture to cool a little and strain it
- Step 4. Melt beeswax and Shea butter in a double boiler, then mix in the infused coconut oil
- Step 5. Add all the essential oils and zinc oxide powder
- Step 6. Store the salve in an airtight container & use when needed
- Method 3: Oatmeal Cream
- Tips to keep in mind
Causes of Eczema
The causes of eczema could be internal as well as external. Possible causes and contributing factors include:
- Use of certain soaps, detergents, shampoo, disinfectants, etc.
- Viruses, bacteria, fungi and other free radicals.
- Reaction dairy products, nuts, soy products, eggs, etc.
- Exposure to extreme cold or hot temperatures.
- Sweat and humidity.
- Hormonal changes.
- A family history of allergies or similar infections.
Eczema is generally treated with prescribed steroidal moisturizers, which stop the problem from spreading but does not heal the skin internally.
DIY Eczema Cream Recipes
Using a DIY homemade cream will help your skin heal from within and relieve the pain and discomfort associated with eczema, without any side effects that might come with steroidal creams.
Here are three recipes that use natural ingredients to get relief from eczema.
Method 1: Coconut Oil Cream
Coconut oil has antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that can relieve the pain and discomfort associated with eczema and heal your skin during flare-ups. Coconut oil not only prevents moisture loss from the skin but also penetrates the skin, hydrating it from within. (1) The oil is rich in lauric acid, which controls the growth of Staphylococcus bacteria that live on the dry skin and makes eczema worse.
Unrefined Shea butter is loaded with vitamins A, E and F. It seeps into the skin, providing moisture and helping get rid of the dryness causing the itchy patches.
Honey is a natural humectant, which draws moisture from the air and holds it in the skin. This helps in hydrating the parched skin and thereby reduces the itching. The soothed skin will eventually be rid of inflammation as well. (2)
Tea tree oil has skin-healing properties, which will help reduce the irritation caused by eczema.
Things you’ll need:
- Coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
- Pure Shea butter – 1 tablespoon
- Organic raw honey – 1 tablespoon
- Lavender essential oil – 5 drops
- Tea tree essential oil – 1 drop
Step 1. Melt coconut oil and Shea butter in a double boiler, then add honey
- Microwave 1 tablespoon each of extra-virgin coconut oil and Shea butter in the double boiler.
- Remove the melted mix from the microwave and allow it to cool off a little.
- Add 1 tablespoon of organic raw honey. Give it a swirl to mix the ingredients well.
Step 2. Add lavender and tea tree essential oils
- Allow the melted mixture to cool off.
- Add 5 drops of lavender essential oil and 1 drop of tea tree oil to it.
Step 3. Whisk the mixture & put it in an airtight container
- Use a whisker to mix the ingredients. The mixture will thicken a little, due to the presence of Shea butter.
- Pour the mixture into an airtight container that can be stored and refrigerated.
- Apply the salve on the eczema patches as needed.
Store the salve up to 6 months in a cool and dark place.
Method 2: Herbal Cream
This recipe is loaded with natural herbs known to heal and soothe the skin.
Coconut oil is used as a base for the cream. It is a natural emollient and has highly saturated fatty acid content that does not require it to be chemically preserved to increase its shelf life. (1)
Calendula flower is commonly known as pot marigold. It has been used for centuries as a healing tonic. The petals of calendula have potent antioxidants, which are responsible for its healing properties against many skin conditions. (5) Around the 1600s, this flower was known to be a cancer herb to treat abnormal skin conditions.
Dried comfrey roots are very effective in healing skin affected by eczema. It has an active component called allantoin, which expedites the skin’s recovery and regenerative process. It is also rich in vitamin A, which helps prevent dryness and itchiness.
Plantain leaf is regarded as a weed in some places, but it has great healing properties. Native Americans used this leaf to heal cuts and wounds, cure fevers and remove toxins from stings and snakebites. It is also used to treat itching from poison ivy and poison oak. Apart from having anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, plantain leaf is also an antimicrobial herb due to the presence of the active ingredient called biochemical aucubin.
St. John’s wort is an anti-inflammatory herb and helps reduce the inflammation and redness caused by eczema.
Things you’ll need:
- Coconut oil – ¼ cup
- Dried calendula flowers – 1 teaspoon
- Dried comfrey – 1 teaspoon
- Dried plantain leaf – 1 teaspoon
- St. John’s wort – 1 teaspoon
- Organic beeswax (cosmetic grade), melted – ½ tablespoon
- Pure Shea butter – ½ tablespoon
- Rosehip oil – 1 tablespoon
- Vitamin E (non-genetically modified) – ½ tablespoon
- Chamomile essential oil – 1 or 2 drops
- Zinc oxide powder(optional) – ½ tablespoon
Step 1. Melt coconut oil in a double boiler
- Set up a double boiler and put ¼ cup of coconut oil in it.
- Allow it to melt on low heat.
Step 2. Add all the herbs and let it simmer for up to 4 hours
- Once the coconut oil has melted, add ½ tablespoon of dried calendula flowers, ¼ tablespoon of dried comfrey, ¼ tablespoon of dried plantain leaf and ¼ tablespoon of St. John’s wort to the boiler.
- Let it simmer for 3 to 4 hours on low.
Step 3. Allow the mixture to cool a little and strain it
- Let the mixture cool off.
- Strain the herbs-infused coconut oil into a jar using a cheesecloth or a sieve.
Step 4. Melt beeswax and Shea butter in a double boiler, then mix in the infused coconut oil
- Reset the double boiler.
- Put ½ tablespoon of cosmetic-grade beeswax and ½ tablespoon of pure Shea butter in it. Melt them on low heat.
- Allow the melted liquid to cool down.
- Pour the herbal-infused coconut oil into the beeswax and Shea butter melt.
- Give it a few swirls to mix the ingredients.
Step 5. Add all the essential oils and zinc oxide powder
- Add 1 tablespoon of rosehip oil and 1 or 2 drops of chamomile essential oil.
- Also, puncture 1 vitamin E capsule and pour the liquid into the mixture.
- Blend all the ingredients using a whisker.
- Optionally, add ½ tablespoon of zinc oxide powder while whisking the solution.
- If you’re adding zinc oxide to the salve, then refrigerate
Step 6. Store the salve in an airtight container & use when needed
- Transfer the contents of the jar into an airtight container.
- You can use it as needed or regularly to prevent flare-ups.
- The salve can last up to 1 year, if stored in a cool and dry place, away from light.
Method 3: Oatmeal Cream
Oatmeal has an anti-inflammatory property that calms the itchiness due to dry and flaky eczema patches. It is believed to have an antihistamine effect when applied to the skin affected by eczema. (4) It is also rich in antioxidants, which helps prevent pollutants and free radicals from damaging the skin. It actually stimulates the synthesis of the collagen and helps with the best possible metabolism of the fatty acids.
Using ground oats will release and expose the skin to its more active components. Oats are rich in beta-glucans and starch, which hold moisture in the skin, hydrating it from within. It consists of phenol compounds that also offer protection against the ultraviolet (UV) sun rays.
Coconut oil is very gentle on the skin and hence can be used for babies and adults with sensitive skin. It is very rare for someone to be allergic to coconut oil. However, you should perform a patch test to ensure that you’re not allergic to it.
Shea butter has rich emollients, vitamin E that works as an antioxidant for the skin, fatty acids like cinnamic acid, which provides extra moisture and nourishment to the skin, and vitamin A that helps reduce the inflammation on the skin. (3)
A therapeutic-grade lavender essential oil helps heal the redness and dryness caused by eczema. Also, it makes your cream smell pleasant.
Things you’ll need:
- Coconut oil, melted or soft – ¼ cup
- Pure Shea butter – 2 tablespoons
- Ground oats – 2 tablespoons
- Vitamin E – 1 capsule
- Lavender essential oil – 2 or 3 drops
Step 1. Melt coconut oil and pure Shea butter in a double boiler
- Set up a double boiler and put ¼ cup of extra-virgin coconut oil.
- Add 2 tablespoons of pure Shea butter to the double boiler.
- Melt the ingredients on low heat.
Step 2. Add ground oats, lavender essential oil, and vitamin E oil
- Grind some dry, uncooked oats in a blender until you have a fine powder.
- Measure 2 tablespoons of the ground oatmeal and gradually add it to the melted liquids, while stirring to prevent lumps.
- Allow the mixture to cool down to room temperature.
- Puncture 1 capsule of vitamin E and squeeze the liquid into the mixture.
- Add 2 or 3 drops of lavender essential oil as well.
Step 3. Whisk everything together
- Blend all the ingredients well using a whisker.
- Transfer the cream to an airtight container.
Store up to a year in a cool and dark place.
Tips to keep in mind
- Pouring essential oils into a hot solution subdues the effect of the essential oils. Hence, always allow the solution to cool down before adding essential oils.
- Always refrigerate your salve. This stops the essential contents from depositing at the bottom of the container, so you get the maximum benefit out of the cream.
- Before using a new product always do a patch test.
- Use only extra-virgin coconut oil and organic raw honey for topical applications.
- Do not use the cream with herbs on children.
- Evangelista MT, Abad-Casintahan F, Lopez-Villafuerte L. The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial. International Journal of Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24320105. Published January 2014.
- Alangari AA, Morris AAAK, Lwaleed BA, Lau L, Jones K, Cooper R. Honey is potentially effective in the treatment of atopic ... Immunity, Inflammation, and Disease. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/iid3.153. Published March 30, 2017.
- Micali G, Paternò V, Cannarella R, Dinotta F, Lacarrubba F. Evidence-based treatment of atopic dermatitis with topical moisturizers. Giornale Italiano Dermatol Venereol. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29368843. Published June 2018.
- Fowler Jr. Colloidal oatmeal formulations and the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25607551. Published October 2014.
- Tabassum N, Hamdani M. Plants used to treat skin diseases - PubMed Central (PMC). Pharmacognosy Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3931201/. Published 2014.