Dermatitis is the term used to describe a specific skin irritation. While it comes in many different forms, it is typically characterized by itchiness, dry and reddened skin, or a swollen rash. Depending on the type of dermatitis and the degree of severity, the skin may even ooze or blister. Some of the different types of dermatitis that you have likely heard of include contact dermatitis (can occur from an allergy), perioral dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and, of course, atopic dermatitis.
Although dermatitis is not contagious, it can be uncomfortable, painful, and a cause of embarrassment for many people. Fortunately, there are ways to control and manage symptoms to live a happier and healthier life.
In this post, we’ll share some natural dermatitis treatment options to soothe your irritated skin. Read on!
Understanding Eczema and Your Skin
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that affects approximately 10-20% of the population. It’s characterized by a damaged skin barrier that has trouble retaining moisture. Because of this, people with eczema suffer from chronically dry skin that is extremely itchy. Eczema-prone skin may also appear red, swollen, and flaky. In severe cases, the skin may also blister, crack, or bleed. In these cases, the skin becomes more vulnerable to infection as it is easier for bacteria to enter the body.
Symptoms may go through phases where they vary in degree of severity. For example, you may go through periods of intense flare-ups. At other times, symptoms may hardly be noticeable. While prime locations for eczema to appear include the hands, back, face, and creases of elbows and knees, the condition can develop anywhere on the body.
Research doesn't specifically pinpoint causes of eczema but it’s believed to be linked to a combination of environmental and heredity factors. For example, a person with a family history of eczema is more likely to develop the condition.
External factors can also cause symptoms to flare. Common triggers include extreme temperatures, fabrics such as polyester, latex, and nylon, stress, sweat, pet fur, beauty products, laundry detergents, and even the foods you eat. However, while these are the usual suspects, it’s important to remember that everyone is different and what triggers eczema in one person may not necessarily do the same to you.
Although eczema usually develops during childhood, it can also appear as an adult. Sadly, the impact of eczema is far more than just physical, the skin condition can also hurt mental and emotional well-being. Not only is it painful to deal with, but eczema can affect a person’s job, education, and self-esteem, and limit their lifestyle.
Many people with eczema report that living with eczema makes it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. The vicious itch-scratch cycle can keep people up all night, tossing and turning. In addition, itchy eczema symptoms can negatively affect work performance with nearly 5.9 million workdays lost annually because of the skin condition.
Finally, eczema can diminish a person’s sense of attractiveness and damage their confidence.
According to The National Eczema Association, nearly half of adults with moderate to severe eczema atopic dermatitis reported that they avoided social interactions because of their appearance.
Eczema vs Psoriasis
Like eczema, psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition. It affects close to 125 million people worldwide, causing itching, scaling, and pain. This disease is due to an overactive immune system that overproduces skin cells every 3-4 days.
This extra build-up of skin cells is what causes raised, red patches and flaky silvery scales to form. Although these patches can be found anywhere on the body, common places include elbows, scalp, knees, and the lower back. People who suffer from psoriasis may also experience joint pain and nail abnormalities.
Like eczema, psoriasis symptoms can range from mild to severe and can be triggered by a variety of different factors. Some of these include extreme weather conditions, alcohol, stress, and the consumption of certain foods.
Why You Should Read Labels
Whether you are dealing with skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, or sensitive skin in general, it’s important to take the time to read labels on skin care products.
Unfortunately, many skin care products contain harsh chemicals or ingredients that can irritate your skin and do more harm than good.
Some examples of ingredients to look out for and avoid include fragrance, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and petrolatum.
Putting these ingredients on your skin for your body to absorb can interfere with hormone function and in more extreme cases, even lead to cancer. As well, don’t forget to do a small patch test first before you apply a new product to your skin. This is to make sure you do not experience an allergic reaction all over your body.
We know it can be difficult to know exactly what is safe for your body or not. Our general rule of thumb is that if you can’t pronounce the name of your ingredient, it probably isn’t great for your skin. Although taking the time to read labels requires more effort on your part, the long-term benefits are worth it. Not only is choosing to shop for clean beauty better for the health of your body, but it is also better for the health of our planet.
Sadly, many skin care companies are not held accountable for their production processes, ethical standards, and sustainable practices. If they use harsh chemicals in their products, these toxins and waste can find their way back into our earth and negatively affect our ecosystems.
Natural Remedies to Help Your Skin
Some of our top natural remedies to improve your skin health include aloe vera, coconut oil, and colloidal oatmeal. We love aloe vera because of how cooling and soothing it is. If you’ve ever suffered from a bad sunburn, you already know the power of this plant. The gel from its leaves contains over 75 different nutrients which offer soothing relief to the skin. It can help reduce inflammation, alleviate itchiness, and even lessen pain.
For this reason, many people with eczema or psoriasis benefit from the moisturizing qualities of aloe vera. Fortunately, it’s a common ingredient in many clean beauty products. However, you can also benefit from aloe vera by cutting open an aloe leaf and squeezing out the gel.
Coconut oil is another great remedy. A natural healing agent, it can quickly penetrate the skin and provide a boost of moisture. It also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties which help it combat inflammatory conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid which helps it reduce the risk of infection if persistent scratching causes the skin to crack or bleed. To enjoy the health benefits of coconut oil, try adding this natural substance to your bath.
Finally, give colloidal oatmeal a try. Colloidal oatmeal is a type of oatmeal that can easily be dissolved in water. Thanks to the fact that it is rich in beta-glucans, it helps reduce skin inflammation and soothe itchiness. For this reason, many people who suffer from eczema and psoriasis benefit from this natural solution. It can also be used to improve skin flakiness and improve skin roughness.
We suggest taking a colloidal oatmeal bath and enjoying an at-home spa treatment. To do this:
- Grind 2-3 cups of oatmeal in a food processor or coffee grinder.
- Pour the oatmeal into the tub as the water is filling.
- Pat your body dry with a towel as harsh scrubbing can further aggravate eczema symptoms.
Try This At-Home Treatment
Looking for an easy at-home remedy to find soothing relief for your skin? Try wet wrap therapy.
- Apply a natural cream all over your body or wherever your skin needs it most.
- Cover up the area with a damp piece of clothing.
- Add a dry layer over top to help lock in the moisture and allow the emollient to better permeate the skin.
- Leave the wraps on overnight or for a minimum of two hours.
- When you are finished, be sure to replenish the skin by applying another layer of cream.
In terms of the clothing, we recommend these hypoallergenic bandages from Remedywear™. They’re perfect for targeting hard-to-reach areas like the creases of elbows and the bends of knees. For full-body coverage, you can check out these long-sleeved shirts for adults and kids or these pants for adults and kids. Made with TENCEL and embedded with zinc oxide, they boost the healing process and offer a layer of protection.
The Best Oil-Based Balm
We love this Organic Manuka Skin Soothing cream because it never fails to hydrate even the driest of skin. Made with sensitive skin in mind, it contains just 6 ingredients. All ingredients were handpicked by an eczema mother looking for a safe and effective solution to heal her son’s eczema. The 100% natural ingredients include Organic Olive Oil, Organic Beeswax, Filtered Water, Grape Seed Oil, Organic Active 16+ New Zealand Manuka Honey, and Manuka Oil Extract.
One of the great things about this oil-based balm is that there’s no burning or stinging. This makes it a great choice for both adults and little ones. Kids love its sweet, honey smell. As well, because it’s made with pure and wholesome ingredients, you can apply this nourishing cream anywhere on your body. That includes delicate areas like the eyelids and lips.
Medically reviewed and approved by dermatology professionals, this gentle cream can help soothe eczema, psoriasis, diaper rash, sunburn, razor burn, dry skin, chapped skin, or even cuts and scrapes. Add this to your natural skin care routine and enjoy the positive effect it has on your overall skin health.
If you’re interested in combining treatment with a natural soap bar, check out our Body Care Essentials Bundle. It includes our gentle Coconut and Sunflower Oil Soap Bar. This is the best natural soap for those with eczema, psoriasis, or sensitive skin. Feel free to use it as a hand soap throughout the day or as a full-body soap. You will love how soft and smooth it leaves your skin feeling!