This article will give an overview about different kinds of treatment for eczema, natural and otherwise. It is important to realize that rather than just a skin disease, eczema is a disease of the whole human being. Therefore to cure eczema, apart from taking great care of our skin, we also need to look at other aspects of our lives and make adjustments until we have cured the condition, or at least improve it to an acceptable level.
Natural vs. Non-Natural Treatment
Any treatment that does not rely on artificial substances (substances that do not exist in nature) can be considered a natural treatment. Prescription drugs are not considered natural. While drugs may be more effective in the short-term, natural treatments are preferable for a long-term solution, because they yield more sustainable results and have fewer side effects.
Types of Treatment for Eczema
Creams and other skin care products are undoubtedly the most obvious and common form of treatment for eczema, as they are applied directly on the skin, where the visible symptoms appear. We can differentiate the following skin care products:
- Skin moisturizer – Eczema often goes hand in hand with very dry skin, so skin moisturizer cream should be used whenever needed. There are lots of natural options for moisturizing the skin, which we will look at in detail in a future article.
- Soap and shampoo – As eczema skin is usually quite sensitive, it is strongly recommended not to wash it with regular soaps and shampoos. There are special cleansers for eczema which we will be looking at in an upcoming article..
- Cortisone and other immunosuppressant creams – While not considered natural treatment, cortisone creams are often prescribed by doctors as they are very effective against eczema in the short-term. In many places this kind of creams is only available with a medical prescription, as they can have side effects and there is also a risk of addiction. Always check with your doctor before using this kind of medication.
- Treatment for infections – Due to dryness and lesions, eczema skin can be prone to infections of various types. If you suspect that your skin is infected, you should always consult a physician. That said, if you suffer infections frequently, it pays off to learn how to recognize and treat them on your own, so you can take counteraction immediately and greatly speed up healing.
In extreme cases, a doctor may find it necessary to prescribe cortisone pills or other medication that will be administered internally. Sometimes there is just no other way to get the patient’s condition under control. Cortisone pills are extremely effective for eczema, but also have dire side effects, therefore they should never be taken without consulting a physician.
Pills and internal medication are not considered natural treatment, and as such they are way beyond the scope of this website. However I am mentioning them here for the sake of completeness, as in times of severe outbreaks of eczema it can sometimes be inevitable to use the hard drugs.
Sunlight and UV therapy
Sunlight has a healing effect on eczema skin. Therefore, controlled treatments with ultraviolet (UV) rays, in addition to their tanning effect, can improve dermatitis greatly. If you live in a sunny region, sunbathing is of course a much more natural option, but be careful not to get burnt!
Changing lifestyle is the most effective and sustainable, but also the most difficult form of treatment for any kind of skin disorder. All of the following aspects can influence your overall health and therefore also the condition of your skin:
- Diet (food and drink) – Eczema and dermatitis are very often linked to food allergies. Therefore it is imperative to find out which foods affect you negatively, and which don’t.
- Stress – Any kind of stress generally causes eczema to get worse.
- Living environment – Cleanliness is key here, especially if you are allergic to dust like many eczema patients are.
- Working environment – If you work with substances that cause your skin to react, you may need to think about getting a different job.
- Pets and animals – Many people are allergic to animal hairs, so if you are you should obviously minimize exposure as much as possible. However if you are an animal lover, do not despair as sometimes the opposite is the case: Myself, I actually experienced an improvement of my skin condition after my family got a dog!
- Clothes and detergents – Clothes made of cotton are known to be the least irritant to eczema skin. Use hypoallergenic detergents and avoid fabric softeners.