Eczema is a chronic skin condition characterized by irritated patches of skin which may be dry, red, and/or scaly, and weeping eczema will have additional symptoms of oozing and crusting of skin sores. Either way, it’s really no fun, and for many the condition begins in childhood and reoccurs throughout their lives. Treatment of eczema truly presents a challenge, as the exact causes are unknown. The natural health field believes the symptoms are an allergic reaction and immune response to either a specific chemical in one’s environment or the cumulative buildup of toxicity in the body coupled with weakened immune and elimination systems. Using both systemic and topical treatments together presents the most effective means of finding relief.
Many people have had great success with using therapeutic essential oil blends topically; essential oils and accompanying carrier oils can be exceptionally healing to a great variety of skin ailments, eczema included. Oils can provide short-term relief for many, though healing chronic conditions will likely require addressing the toxins in one’s environment, modifying lifestyle choices, and employing the cleansing practices of natural medicine. Here we’ll have a look at topical essential oil formulas from the medical aromatherapy literature, and review effective suggestions for internal and holistic natural treatments.
Essential oils have profound healing effects when the right oils are selected and properly applied. The blends for eczema are simple, and can provide nearly immediate relief of symptoms. For dry eczema, use this recipe to make one ounce of your formula: 20 drops of Lavender essential oil, 20 drops of Palmarosa essential oil, one-quarter ounce of Tamanu oil and three-quarters of an ounce of Rosehip seed oil. For children under five, use only one drop of each essential oil per year of age, if over five use two drops. Lavender is a wonderful oil for the relief of itching, and is even prescribed ‘neat’ (undiluted) for simple relief of itchy skin. It has a gentle, soothing effect, with anti-inflammatory and regenerative actions. Palmarosa is a pleasant smelling yet potent anti-microbial and anti-viral essential oil often used in skin care. Tamanu oil is a tropical nut oil highly regarded for its ability to calm and regenerate the skin, and Rosehip seed has been extensively studied for its healing and regenerative properties. This is a powerful yet gentle therapeutic blend that can be applied three to four times daily to relieve itchiness and stimulate skin regeneration.
For weeping eczema, the therapeutic blend is modified to use Thyme essential oil, thujanol chemotype (note that there are several types of Thyme available), and Eucalyptus citradora, otherwise known as Lemon Eucalyptus. This is a more potent anti-infectious blend of essential oils, still in the soothing base oils of Tamanu and Rosehip. Again use 20 drops of each essential oil in each one-quarter ounce of Tamanu and three-quarter ounce of Rosehip seed. Again, the concentration should be reduced for young ones.
For long-term relief, finding the true cause of the eczema is important. For many, it can be toxins in their environment they are continually exposed to. One mother reported success in healing the eczema of her seven month old by switching from chlorinated and fluoridated city tap water to distilled water. Another person whom visited a naturopath began filtering the chlorine from her water, and followed the ‘Eat Right For Your Blood Type’ diet (which among other things improves the immune response and lessens inflammation), again with much success. In general, natural health professionals advise the importance of reducing stress levels, improving the body’s acid/alkaline balance, supporting the immune system, decreasing the inflammatory response, and cleansing the liver, kidneys and colon.
It sounds like a lot, but many practices will promote more than one aspect of health. Cleaning up the diet, reducing processed foods and increasing intake of fresh organic vegetables will go a long way. Vegetable juice, when squeezed at home or at the juice bar (rather than bottled or canned varieties) moves the pH to a more alkaline level, and helps cleanse the system. Just drinking the juice of a single lemon in a glass of warm water first thing each morning will alkalize the blood and support the liver in toxin removal. Cleansing may be crucial to eczema sufferers, as the health of the skin is considered an indicator of the body’s toxicity level. Clear skin means a clear liver; allergic skin reaction can mean the internal organs of elimination are overloaded, and response of eczema is really the toxicity ‘spilling over’ to the skin. If you feel your body is in need of a real cleanse, seek the support and advice of a knowledgeable natural health practitioner to learn the most healthful and effective means to do this for yourself.
Consider making incremental changes to your lifestyle, continually moving toward optimal natural health. A naturopath will encourage you to only make one or two changes ever few weeks, so that you’re not overwhelmed with them, and are more likely to make them habits for the long term. A few additional easy changes to consider, that can have a profound impact on symptomatic relief: Adding a significant daily dosage of essential fats from distilled fish oil or hemp oil. These important fats cannot be made by the body, and play a crucial role in modulating immune response — get them in bulk bottles, rather than capsules which don’t really offer large enough quantities. Next, try at least two months worth of a high-quality probiotic supplement, one that offers six or more strains of healthy bacteria for your digestive system. These types of supplements have been shown specifically to help eczema sufferers. If you’re not working out regularly now, take the implementation of some sort of movement routine into serious consideration — it will help immensely in your overall well-being and more than likely improve symptoms as well. And a couple of easy ones: try finding nettle leaf tea in bulk and drink a couple of cups a day — nettles are highly regarded in Naturopathy for their anti-allergy effects among other benefits; finally, try significantly increasing the amount of clean pure water you’re drinking daily. Much of the population is chronically dehydrated, and those with eczema may benefit dramatically from nature’s most important nutrient.