Eczema, are there any treatments?
Find the most effective ways to treat eczema right here.
You’ve probably already read a plethora of information on how to “cure” and treat eczema. The truth is, there is no cure, but you can treat and manage the symptoms to reduce pain and flare ups.
Feeling disappointed? You’re not the only one.
Typical medical skin treatment for eczema in Singapore are disappointing, to say the least. Visit any skin doctor, dermatologist, or specialist at the National Skin Centre, and you’ll realise that they have no real answers. Even specialists are unable to offer any genuine solutions and just end up recommending steroids, Cetaphil, Physiogel, or QV (chemical cleansers). They also suggest medical moisturizers (emollients) to reduce dryness, antihistamines to stop the itching, as well as corticosteroids (steroids) to deal with inflammation, swelling, and redness.
Here, we’ll take a look at commonly-advised— but dangerous — treatments (steroids and commercial cleansers), we well as highly effective, natural alternatives. You’ll find solutions that are understandable, practical, and based on real-life experience as well as extensive research.
Steroids for eczema?
Topical or oral steroids are one of the most common treatments prescribed by skin specialists or dermatologists. All have harmful side effects.
Topical corticosteroids come in varying strengths, with some being 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. Hydrocortisone is a popular, mild form of topical corticosteroid available under many brand names, often without a prescription.
Oral corticosteroid tablets carry the risk of potentially serious side effects when used for long periods. As such, 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).
Immunomodulators are newer topical non-steroidal medications that change the way the immune system works. They, however, come with their own set of concerns (more on this below).
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. Thin skin is also more susceptible to infection.
- Increased hair growth.
- Acne — mostly when used by teenagers.
- Loss of elasticity in the skin, stretch marks, perioral dermatitis (a spotty rash appearing around the mouth).
- Increase in the prominence of blood vessels.
- Growth disorders for young users by corticosteroid being absorbed into the bloodstream.
The UK-based patient website lists the side effects of oral steroids as:
- Thinning of bones.
- Weight gain.
- High blood sugar.
- Increase in blood pressure.
- Increased risk of infection.
- Muscle weakness.
- Weakened, thinner skin — skin bruises easily, and takes longer than normal to heal.
When it comes to immunomodulators, 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.
Commercial skin cleansers
The dirt on Cetaphil, QV, and other commercial detergents.
Skin doctors typically recommend Cetaphil for eczema, psoriasis and sensitive skin. However, these products contain parabens that are linked to serious health problems. In fact, these are banned for use on children and babies in the almost 30 countries in Europe. According to the United Nations Environment Programme and World Health Organization, the health risks associated with parabens include:
- Child developmental disorders and learning disabilities.
- Heart Disease.
Treating eczema naturally
Switch to a natural soap & moisturising balm.
For many people, simply switching to an all-natural soap and balm (particularly ones that are made to treat eczema) works wonders. Many commercial companies actually extract the glycerin (natural moisturizer) during the soap/cleanser manufacturing process. Then, they sell you moisturizer-stripped, skin-drying cleansers, as well as a separate moisturizer… They make twice the money by selling you two inferior products! Some of our customers experienced an 80% – 90% reduction in eczema within 1 to 6 weeks of switching to natural handmade soap for eczema.
Whilst soap natural soap is essential for cleansing the skin, a balm or cream will help protect is afterwards. When skin’s epidermal layers are broken, the skin’s protection is reduced. This is a major cause of eczema flare-ups. Moisturizing balms help provide a layer to keep the skin protected and moisturized. However, most commercial lotions contain harmful chemicals and use carcinogenic petroleum by-products to act as sealants over your skin (e.g. Vaseline). Although this “protects” skin, it also clogs your pores and prevents your skin from breathing — this is why it’s important to opt for a genuinely natural balm.
Stay away from chemical cleansers.
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. Harsh anti-microbials (such as Dettol) should also be avoided. These are designed to clean hard surfaces and occasional wounds — not to treat eczema!
Of course, stay away from 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. Even commercial cleansers marketed as “gentle” can be cast aside. These are 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 two weeks to cure each batch. This does not fit their model of maximizing profits — but daily churning out thousands of bottles of water mixed with cheap, harsh chemicals does. These are then sold you as “skincare” through clever marketing.
Make lifestyle changes.
Managing your diet will go a long way, as many food allergies trigger eczema flare ups. Once identified, these foods can be avoided. On the other hand, foods rich in Antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids (e.g. salmon, chia seeds, fruits, green leafy vegetables, ginger, turmeric) may help control inflammation.
Stress can trigger eczema symptoms in some people, so make sure to stay calm, relaxed, and get enough rest. Additionally, you should put exercises and routines in place that you can turn to when you do feel stressed or anxious, to help manage these feelings.
Stop or minimize steroid-use as soon as possible — even if you’ve been reliant on it in the past. Once you develop steroidal dependency, stopping usually leads 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.
Avoid fragrances — and we’re not just talking about perfume or cologne. In skincare, any ingredient labelled as “fragrance” means it can be made from any unspecified ingredients. In other words, manufacturers can use any chemical- concoction without disclosing them by classifying as a “fragrance”. Use fragrance-free or unscented skincare products to prevent unnecessary eczema flare ups triggered by unknown chemicals.
Ingredients we love
These ingredients fight eczema naturally.
Use an unscented, all-natural, handmade soap with oatmeal, honey, goat milk, shea butter, and sea salt. The soap doesn’t have to have all these ingredients, but the more the merrier. Similarly, a good moisturiser/balm should have sunflower oil, beeswax, and shea butter.
Eczema-sufferers have experienced significant improvements and healing using these natural ingredients, which are available in many of our products.
Skincare for eczema
Top recommendations for natural eczema treatment.
If we haven’t made the point clear enough already, swapping to a natural soap and balm is absolutely essential in treating eczema. Made with natural ingredients, these handmade soaps will help you manage symptoms, combat flare ups, and enjoy eczema-free skin.
We highly recommend this latest soap that’s specially formulated for eczema. This bar has naturally moisturizing shea butter and a touch of rosemary instead of goat milk, with oatmeal and honey that have been proven to treat eczema. On top of that, we’ve made it even better by using top-grade USDA Organic certified ingredients.
With the wonders of Himalayan salt, you will be amazed at how this bar renews eczema-prone skin by gently removing dead skin cells. At the same time, it’s highly moisturizing because of the natural olive, coconut, palm oil and shea butter. It leaves skin feeling supple and soft after each shower and it’s perfect for all skin types — even babies and infants.
Oatmeal is renowned for its skincare powers and it’s our number one best seller for eczema-prone skin! It has natural anti-inflammatory, anti-itch and antioxidant properties as well as being an extremely gentle and moisturizing cleanser and exfoliator. Honey is another great natural moisturizer that soothes skin with its anti-septic and anti-inflammatory power. This soap is unscented, making it a popular choice for babies and infants.
This light and convenient twist-up 100% natural lotion balm is easy to apply to any area of dry skin. Pop it in your purse or pocket and carry it on the go, so you’re always ready to combat dirt, dust, sweat, and bacteria from invading any part of your healing, eczema-affected skin.
Moisturize, moisturize, especially if you have Eczema, dry, itchy skin. Chock-full of premium GMO-free ingredients like Coconut oil, Grapeseed oil, Avocado oil, Abyssinian seed oil, and Sweet Almond oil, this cream does not leave your skin sticky or oily. With this premium natural moisturising cream made from GMO-free ingredients and immunity boosting lactobacilius (i.e.good bacteria) as natural preservative, this is a must-have in your daily beauty health for your skin; face and body.
NATURAL moisturising cream? Is there such a thing? Yes here it is, at The Soap Haven!