- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Eczema, Hot and Cold Showers Of Home Remedies That Work
Heal Your Eczema Naturally With Home Remedies
Eczema is no joke. If you have ever suffered from it, you know. Some things help, and some things that seem like they should help, don't, and actually make it worse. Here are some tips for treating eczema, home remedies that really work. I first got minor eczema as a teen, just out of high school and off to college. Something changed in my lifestyle that brought on eczema.
In Hot Water:
I loved the dorms in college. It was fun being away from the folks and living with all those kids my age, all of us out on our own for the first time. One thing I really loved was the hot water in the showers.
I grew up in an old house with a fairly primitive hot water system, much too small for a family with five kids. We were lucky to get a good, hot bath or shower. The first person to take one was all right, but everyone after him got warm water at best, ending with cold. I hate cold water! In those days people still believed that kids didn't need baths more than once a week anyway, so I rarely got a good, really hot bath.
The dorm showers were hot, endless hot water. I was in sports, so I took a shower after training, another before bedtime, and in the mornings when I got up. Three hot showers most days. Long showers. A few months at school and I noticed that the backs of my knees always itched. A red rash that never healed and quickly got worse if I scratched at all.
I tried various creams, hand lotions, Vaseline, but none helped much. Cortisone creams would make it disappear for a while, but it always came back. I had that, my first bout of eczema, for over ten years. Gradually, more patches appeared in other places, my eyelids, ears. The eyelids were the worst, it was impossible to resist the urge to scratch, which made it spread.
When I was in my late twenties I lived in cheap, unheated apartment. One day in late winter the water heater for my apartment broke, and it took the manager TWO WEEKS to get around to fixing it. I started taking the quickest showers possible, in cold water, in a cold apartment, in the winter. My eczema went into remission. It returned the day after the shower got fixed. Scratch head. A connection? I didn't test it then, it was just too cold, but when the weather warmed, I did.
I started taking showers with the water just warm, not hot. As the weather warmed, my showers cooled. By mid-summer I was taking pure cold showers, and had no eczema.
Hot water causes eczema, or at least makes it worse. In the summer I still take cool showers, but as soon as the weather turns every fall, and I heat up my water, it returns. I still hate cold showers, unless the weather is boiling. I put up with minor flareups, and it never gets as bad as it used to.
Shampoo and Soap:
What should you do when the eczema flares up? One thing that doesn't help at all is skin creams used for 'moisturizing'. They all seem to make it worse. The cause may be an ingredient added to most hand creams and many other body care products, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Check your bottles of shampoo and hand cream, soap, most contain lauryl sulfate. Avoid them! They weaken the skin by stripping out the natural oils that protect your skin. Click here for a link to a recent science article on this problem.
Since I get eczema on my eyelids, shampoo is out. Shampoo is guaranteed to cause my eyelids to itch. I wash my hair with plain bar soap, or, just rinse it with water. Some soaps seem to aggravate eczema and others don't. Two that are good are: Ivory Soap, and Olay.
What should you do for the patches of eczema you have? Cortisone creams do work, but they actually have the long-term effect of thinning and weakening your skin, exactly what you DON'T want if you have eczema. Use them carefully and stop as soon as you can. Cortisone also can't (or shouldn't) be used around the eyes. Over the long term it can cause eye damage.
If skin creams don't help, what does? Butter. (What? I'm not gonna spread grease on my skin!) Well, I am sorry, but butter really does help. And it isn't greasy once you have it on. It feels greasy for a few moments, then it is absorbed into the skin and completely disappears. It doesn't even smell after a few minutes.
Let me tell you, I didn't try butter until I was being driven crazy by the itching on my eyelids! I was trying everything I could think of, and butter helped. I actually use it sometimes when my hands are really dry and chapped in the winter. It works better than expensive hand lotions. It is natural, and cheap.
A friend from Indonesia taught me this trick. Indonesia is a tropical country, and his skin couldn't stand our cold, dry winters. He added coconut oil to the bathwater. It really works. I have also used olive oil. Just a few spoons-full, mixed with a gentle liquid soap and added to the hot water. Your skin feels great.
I almost didn't add this last one, as I have never personally tried it. Some doctors are now advising people with eczema to put a little bleach in the bath water twice a week. The idea of soaking in bleach-water scares me a bit, but they claim it really works, and it is a cheap cure you can do at home with simple ingredients, so I decided to include it. I urge you to read this article which explains how to do it.
Be careful, bleach is dangerous if you use too much. The reason it helps is that a bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, infects skin with eczema and makes it worse. Bleach kills the bacteria. Please ask your doctor before trying this. Bleach can damage your skin very badly if you do it wrong, use too much. Besides, there are different kinds of eczema, with different causes, and yours may not be caused by bacteria.
I hope that these hints and tips help someone who is treating their eczema and not having much luck. Some home remedies really can work.
Some New Info!
This winter I really went wild with the hot showers, and my skin responded as expected. I started getting itchy red patches in places I had never had them, around my nose and on my neck where the razor irritates he skin. I got to thinking about the section just above this one, about the bleach cure. I can't very well use bleach water on my face!
But, if the problem is bacteria, what else could I do about that? How do the bad bacteria get to the sites of the irritation, and how do they get under the tough outer layers of the skin to infect the vulnerable lower, living skin? Well, just like your mother always said, don't scratch it!
Well, that advice is pretty dumb. People with eczema don't go around deliberately scratching! It happens unconsciously. I have even woken up in the middle of the night to find myself scratching. Sorry, my self-control goes completely to pot while I am asleep.
There is only so much you can do to stop yourself from scratching. And really, if you know anything about bacteria, you know that just touching, even gently, will spread them everywhere. So, yes, control the urge to scratch as best you can. But here is something else to try.
Control the bacteria. I started keeping my fingertips as clean as I can. I use hand sanitizer on my fingertips repeatedly during the day, and make sure my hands are well washed right before bed. Of course, keep fingernails closely trimmed to reduce damage to your skin.
Your goal is to prevent the bacteria that irritate your skin from spreading to new patches. Once you stop reinfecting your skin, your body will naturally begin to heal, even the areas already infected.
So, a couple of rules. Don't wash excessively, as that dries out your skin, but do keep your fingertips as clean as possible. It seems to be working. I have had a lot less trouble since trying this.