How to Cure Eczema (Dermatitis)
Eczema is a form of dermatitis or inflammation of the skin that affects millions of people worldwide. There are several types of eczema whose common symptoms include pain, redness and swelling, often accompanied by itching, cracking, drying and oozing.
The symptoms of eczema can be difficult to manage, especially in chronic or persistent forms of the disorder. Apart from relief of the symptoms themselves, eczema sufferers are usually after a reprieve from the stress, embarrassment and costs that accompany having to deal with the condition.
You've probably read a plethora of information available on the subject of a cure and treatments for eczema. What this page seeks to do is provide you with information and a solution that is understandable, practical and based on real-life experience and extensive research.
Did you know?
More than 1 in 5 people in Singapore have eczema!
Since you’re on this page, you probably either suffer from eczema or know someone who does.
IS THERE A CURE FOR ECZEMA?
The straightforward medical answer to that is “no”. Scientific research has yet to fully understand the root causes of eczema and a cure has yet to be found.
TYPICAL MEDICAL SKIN TREATMENT IN SINGAPORE FOR ECZEMA
Visit any skin doctor, dermatologist or specialist at the National Skin Centre and you will realise that they have no answers and are unable to offer any real solution other than to use steroids and Cetaphil, Physiogel or QV (chemical cleansers).
This involves the use of strong medical moisturizers (or emollients) to reduce dryness; antihistamines to stop the itching; and corticosteroids to deal with the inflammation, swelling and redness experienced in flare ups. Also known as cortisone or simply steroids, corticosteroids are designed for either topical use (on the skin) or to be taken orally.
Dr Pang Shiu Ming, Director and Senior Consultant, Dermatological Unit, Singapore General Hospital summarizes medical treatment for severe eczema symptoms as follows:
Initially, prescription drugs are used to suppress the immune system. When the severity diminishes, topical steroids are used “to control lingering symptoms”.
After reading up on the possible long term side effects, many people prefer not to use chemical cleansers or steroids.
Thankfully we have found solutions that actually work better than anything medically prescribed and are safe and natural.
But first, let's look in more detail at some of the common prescribed treatments.
STEROIDS FOR ECZEMA
Topical or oral steroids are one of the most common treatments prescribed by skin specialists or dermatologists.
Topical corticosteroids come in varying strengths, ranging from mild to moderately potent to potent and then to very potent. They are usually applied once a day to the affected areas after an emollient has been smoothed on and allowed to soak into the skin. There are cases in which the topical corticosteroids are used even when the skin appears healed. This is done as a preventative measure to avoid future outbreaks.
Side Effects of Corticosteroids
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) lists the following as possible side effects of using topical corticosteroids:
- Temporary, slight stinging sensation
- Skin discolouration after prolonged use of strong topical corticosteroids
- Thinning skin from using strong corticosteroids for extended periods in sensitive areas such as the face, and the folds of the groin and armpits·
- Increased hair growth
- Acne – mostly an issue when the corticosteroids are used by teenagers
The National Eczema Society adds to this list by mentioning loss of elasticity in the skin, stretch marks, perioral dermatitis (a spotty rash appearing around the mouth) and an increase in the prominence of blood vessels as other possible side effects.
Additionally, it should be noted that thinning of the skin from use of corticosteroids can make it more susceptible to infections. There is also the possibility, that parents need to consider, of corticosteroid being absorbed into the bloodstream that can lead to growth disorders.
This is a popular, mild form of topical corticosteroid available under many brand names, often without a prescription. However they carry the same side effects listed above for other topical corticosteroids.
Side Effects of Hydrocortisone Steroids
These side effects are usually associated with incorrect use, prolonged treatment and the potency of the medication. Concern over how topical corticosteroids are used (or often misused) led the US National Eczema Association (NEA) to investigate what is termed “topical steroid addiction”, “topical steroid withdrawal,” or “Red Skin Syndrome”.
The NEA’s review group (called the Scientific Advisory Committee Task Force) noted that topical steroid addiction is marked by stinging, burning and bright red skin when patients stop using the medication. Other symptoms include swelling and bumps – pimples, deeper bumps and some containing pus. It was also concluded that topical steroid addiction predominantly affects the faces of adult females who stopped using moderate to very potent topical corticosteroids after over 12 months of daily use.
Another type of steroidal treatment for eczema is the use of oral corticosteroid tablets. These carry the risk of potentially serious side effects when used for long periods. They are no longer used as routine treatment for eczema, but in cases where the condition is not responding to normal treatment, is interfering with daily life or its origin is not known. Oral corticosteroids are usually only prescribed by dermatologists (skin specialists).
Side Effects of Oral Steroids
The UK based Patient website lists the side effects of oral steroids as including:
- Thinning of the bones
- Weight gain
- High blood sugar
- Increase in blood pressure
- Increased risk of infection
- Muscle weakness
- Weaking of the skin - thinning of the skin, skin that is bruised easily, and takes longer than normal to heal
These are newer topical non-steroidal medications that change the way the immune system works. They, however, come with their own set of concerns.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US has issued strong warnings against the use of at least two of these immunomodulators (Elidel and Protopic) unless all other treatments have been exhausted and have failed. They are also not to be used in children under two years old.
CETAPHIL AND OTHER COMMERCIAL SKIN CLEANSERS
Skin doctors also typically recommend Cetaphil for eczema, psoriasis and sensitive skin. What you are not told is products like Cetaphil contain parabens that are strongly linked to serious health problems.
We would never use Cetaphil or any product with parabens on children and babies! In fact these are banned for use on children and babies in the almost 30 countries in Europe.
Health Risks Associated with Parabens
- Child developmental disorders
- Learning disabilities
- Heart Disease
Source: United Nations Environment Programme and the World Health Organization, "State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2012. Summary for Decision-Makers" (UNEP job number: DTI/1554/GE) from the main report “State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals – 2012” ISBN: 978-92-807-3274-0 (UNEP) and 978 92 4 150503 1 (WHO) (NLM classification: WK 102).
Thankfully we don’t have to rely on steroids or potentially toxic commercial cleansers that can do long-term harm. For many people with eczema, psoriasis or rosacea, simply switching to an all-natural soap can do wonders.
For best results, use a natural soap with the right ingredients in combination with a natural eczema cream or balm and avoid triggers such as any known food/skin allergies and stress.
In fact, some of our users experience an 80%-90% reduction in eczema within 1 to 6 weeks of switching to natural handmade soap for eczema!
80% REDUCTION IN ECZEMA!
Some of our users experience an 80% reduction in eczema within 1-6 weeks of switching to The Soap Haven's natural handmade soap!
(And they stop using expensive Cetaphil and steroids)
ECZEMA TREATMENT: Practical Natural Eczema Remedies
Due to growing awareness of the various side effects and costs associated with medications such as steroids and dangers of parabens in products like Cetaphil, many people are turning to other forms of therapy such as natural remedies to replenish oils in the skin, help it to retain moisture and get relief from eczema symptoms.
How to Treat Eczema Naturally, Without Steroids?
Some practical natural skincare and lifestyle changes can help treat eczema:
- Cleansing with a natural soap that contains ingredients that help combat eczema flare ups.
- Protecting and hydrating skin with a natural eczema cream or moisturizing balm. Like the soap, this should contain ingredients formulated to help treat eczema.
- Diet. Food allergies can trigger eczema flare ups. Once identified, particular food can be avoided. On the other hand, foods rich in Antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids (eg. salmon, chia seeds, fruits, green leafy vegetables, ginger, turmeric) may help control inflammation.
- Stress Management. Stress can trigger eczema symptoms in some people. Make sure to stay calm, relaxed and get enough rest.
Scroll down to see the top recommended products for natural eczema treatment.
Simple eczema remedies you can implement at home today:
- Try to stop or minimize regular and frequent steroid use as soon as possible. Once you develop steroidal dependency, stopping usually leads to to eczema flare ups that come back far worse. This leads to a vicious cycle of more and more steroid use with stronger doses and increased dependency. This has very serious long term health and lifestyle consequences.
- Do not use anti-bacterial cleansers - especially on your baby. This prevents their skin from developing a natural immune response, the lack of which is one of the causes of eczema in children. In addition, one of the common ingredients used in anti-bacterial cleansers is Triclosan. This is considered a dangerous toxin and banned in Europe, but still commonly found in anti-bacterial soaps sold in Singapore.
- Do not use harsh anti-microbials such as Dettol. It’s meant to clean the floor and occasional use on cuts and wounds – NOT for constant use to treat eczema!
- Do not use harsh skin cleansers: Avoid any products that contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), or Cocomidopropyl Betain. These are all proven potential skin irritants.
- Avoid fragrances: In skincare, any ingredient labeled as “fragrance" means it can be made from any unspecified ingredients. In other words, manufacturers can use any and many chemicals without disclosing them by classifying them under "fragrance". Use fragrance-free or unscented skincare products to prevent unnecessary eczema flare ups triggered by unknown chemicals.
- Do use all-natural handmade soap, which is truly gentle. Not a commercial cleanser marketed as "gentle" but is really a concoction of harsh, cheap chemicals with potentially toxic parabens. Big commercial brands do not make natural, cold-processed soap because it takes at least 2-3 weeks to cure each batch of natural soap. This does not fit into their goal of maximizing profits through churning out thousands of bottles a day of water mixed with cheap, harsh degreasing chemicals. These are then sold you as "skincare" through clever marketing.
- Do use an Moisturiser/Balm: Use an all-natural balm or cream for eczema. When skin's epidermal layers are broken, the skin's protection is reduced. This is a major cause of eczema flare-ups. Moisturising balms help provide a layer to keep the skin protected and also keep dry skin moisturized. However most commercial moisturisers/lotions contain lots of harmful chemicals and use carcinogenic petroleum by-products to act as sealants over your skin (Eg. Vaseline). While this seals skin, it also clogs your pores and prevents your skin from breathing.
Did you know?
Many commercial companies actually extract the glycerin (natural moisturiser) during the soap/cleanser manufacturing process, sold you moisturiser-stripped, skin-drying cleansers and then repackage the moisturiser and sell it to you as cream or lotion! They make twice the money by selling you 2 inferior products!
NATURAL INGREDIENTS TO TREAT ECZEMA
- Use an unscented soap all-natural handmade soap with the following ingredients:
- Goat Milk
- Shea Butter
- Sea Salt
- Apply a moisturiser/balm with the following ingredients:
- Sunflower Oil
- Shea Butter
Many eczema sufferers have experienced significant improvements and healing using these natural ingredients, which are available in the following recommended products:
TOP RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NATURAL ECZEMA TREATMENT
Organic Shea Oatmeal Honey Soap
We highly recommend this latest soap that's specially formulated for eczema.
Great for those who prefer soap without Goat Milk. While goat milk has many benefits, some skin does not take very well to goat milk. But not to worry! This bar has naturally moisturising shea butter and a touch of rosemary instead of goat milk with oatmeal and honey that have been proven to treat eczema. But we've made it even better by using top-grade USDA Organic certified ingredients, and providing even better value by giving you 30% more per bar!
Himalayan Salt Soap
With Sea Salt and Shea Butter
Some doctors and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physicians in Singapore recommend swimming in the sea as an effective treatment for eczema due to the salt. Now you can get both Pink Himalayan Salt and Sea Salt goodness in every shower! Plus Pink Himalayan Salt has 84 minerals and trace elements needed for our healthy bodily function!
This premium bar was introduced as a complement to our #1 Best Seller Oatmeal Honey Goat Milk Soap for eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff, itchy white scales on scalp/red scaly patches on skin), and sensitive skin.
It is hard not to fall in love with this bar and it is no wonder that it has become one of our best sellers too!
Oatmeal Honey Goat Milk Soap
Our #1 Bestseller for eczema!
This goat milk soap with oatmeal and honey has received numerous 5 star reviews from helping people to successfully treat eczema. Containing 25% fresh goat milk with the super ingredients of gluten-free oats and raw honey in every bar, this is our #1 best seller!
Premium Healing/Protective Balm
Highly Recommended Balm for eczema!
This light and convenient twist-up lotion balm/bar is easy to apply to any affected areas of skin. It is great for natural treatment of eczema or irritated skin areas. Soothes itch. Tried and tested by eczema sufferers. The main ingredient of Organic Sunflower Oil in this balm contains linoleic acid which is required to form the fatty membranes (or lipids) that help our skin keep moist and supple.
Perfectly convenient twist-and-turn balm to complement to our natural soap bars!
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Customer Review of Oatmeal Honey Goat Milk Soap
“I had bubbles with liquid and peeling skin condition on thumb for 5 months! Couldn’t cook or wash as it noticeably gets worse after doing so. Went to 1st doctor who didn’t know what condition it was and was given steroidal cream to apply. Condition got a bit better but relapsed to original bubbly state after 1 week. Went to 2nd doctor and was given a stronger steroid cream. Thumb became wrinkly and dry and skin started peeling and then worsened again with more bubbles forming and bleeding.
Decided to stop steroid cream and used thesoaphaven.com Oatmeal-honey Goat milk soap in shower and handwash….skin on thumb started smoothening after 1 day and bubbles disappeared after day 2. New skin started forming on day 3!
“Thank you The Soap Haven for this amazing soap bar!! It was very difficult for the 5 months I can’t use my thumb. Now I can do normal activities of opening a lid, typing on my keyboard and buttoning with the use of my thumb without worrying anymore that condition will worsen! ! Thank you for this wonderful soap bar it saved my thumb when doctors couldn’t and I m glad to be about my normal daily activities! So grateful! I now use only this soap for handwash, showering and avoid detergents and any antibacterial liquid soap which might cause any eczema flare up. After washing my hands I simply apply a paraben-free natural lotion.” – Karen
Testimonial of Eczema Treatment by Marina Azman
“So here’s my journey so far:
May 2015: it started I thought it was a normal rash n used Desowen (steroid cream) but didn’t go away got worst gradually till the height of my flare up in Aug2015 as u can see from the pics. Was so bad that I couldn’t even type properly, kept waking up at night only to realised I’ve scratched myself while sleeping till it bled out. I even had to take mc, this eczema tormented me night n day. I couldn’t even shower or change my baby cos i wouldn’t know which of her products I was allergic to. I tried changing her range of products used and bought those eczema range but it didn’t help either. This time around it was bad, real bad. I could barely clinch my fists cos it felt so tight as though I was wearing a glove and couldn’t take off. I couldn’t eat with my hands everything all use spoon or forks. I couldn’t wash my hands regularly cus too much water made it worse.
I tried everything from Cetaphil lotion n body wash, Desowen (Steroid cream), Neoderm (Steroid cream), oatmeal hand soaks, took Centrizine to stop itching but don’t help. I even had to take sleeping meds just so that I don’t scratch myself in my sleep. Those of you who has this condition would understand how frustrating it is. It made me feel down n crappy about myself . People kept telling me to go skin centre I refused cus i knew that I would jus be continuing with steroid creams and pill and wanted to try a natural route to healing instead. The vicious cycle of meds n creams is that my flare up would go away 1 week only to return much worse for the next 2-3 weeks.
Then in Aug, a sweet colleague of mine who has heard me complain countless times about my skin whom can only sympathize with me came across a shop, Toy OutPost at NorthPoint (Yishun) and asked if I wanted to give this soap a try. I thought why not couldn’t hurt I’ve tried most things already. So i started using the soap on 24th Aug and now less than a month my hands have almost cleared. No more itches, no more open wounds, no more redness. All thanks to this soap Oatmeal n honey soap by thesoaphaven it really works. I’ve not moisturized my hands ever since I started using the soap. Used Neoderm 3 times but that’s all. I do take care to the extent of washing dishes, touching detergent,shampooing my hair and even showering my baby in plastic gloves. but it works and helps. Anyone who knows an eczema sufferer or is going thru a flare up Right now, go check out oatmeal n honey. I’m not affiliated to them I don’t get any of their profits but their soap really works trust me. Look at my hands, the proof is there. Check their fb page thesoaphaven.saveyourskin and you can buy ONLINE at www.thesoaphaven.com. It can be bought at Toy OutPost NorthPoint, (Toy Outpost Waterway Point, Hako Parkway Parade) too. I got mine at Hako Bedok Mall.”
“I’ve been suffering from eczema ever since the birth of my 3rd baby. It was so bad, i cried many times esp when i had to bathe or wash my hands. M lucky to chance upon this brand of soap n i must say it is my life saviour! I bought the honey oatmeal (goat’s milk) soap for my hands n body n the olive soap (Castile Olive oil with goat milk) /shampoo bar for my hair. My skin has improved n i think my hair has stopped dropping. I think I’m in (Soap) Haven!”