Eczema Remedies That Aren't a Steroid
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I know, I know. What a really fun topic! BUT for those of you who suffer from eczema, you know it's very real and most at once remedies are in fact steroids. Just a little side note before we get started. I'm not a doctor and if you have eczema, I'd suggest you go to your doctor and/or dermatologist. Also note that though eczema is an outer skin condition, a lot of reactions are triggered by the inside, like diet and stress. This post's intention is to help those who'd like to stop using a steroid and look to a more natural, topical solution.
I had eczema as a kid. I remember getting long red streaky/bumpy marks in the warmer months, on the inside of my arm, parallel with my elbows. It didn't really itch, but it definitely hurt. I also had other weird skin things, like my fingers would peel whenever I'd go back to school because of the amount of paper I touched. They'd get used to it, then stop after about a month. Chalk always made my fingers peel. Do they even have chalk boards in schools anymore or is it all dry erase?! Anyway, my skin in general is pretty "normal", but it errs on the more sensitive side.
Around fall of 2016, I began noticing that I had these tiny bumps on the inside of my heels, leading into my instep. I didn't think anything of them. Not soon after I noticed them, I experienced the most intense and painful itching sensation of my life. The first time it happened, I was at work and wearing riding boots and tall socks. I literally ripped them off at my desk, so I could relieve my feet. After a closer look, they were tiny liquid filled blister like bumps, that eventually stopped itching and burst, causing my inner foot to peel entirely. I was like THANK GOODNESS, but then to my dismay, just when it started to look healed, the whole process began again.
I was like THIS CANNOT HAPPEN AGAIN, so off I went to my dermatologist. She diagnosed me with dyshidrotic eczema, which is basically eczema caused by excess sweat. Mind you this was literally the dryest and warmest winter ever and I've never really been the sweaty hand/feet person, so that still boggles my mind. Anyway, she said that it would probably go to my toes if not contained and that she was surprised (but glad) that it wasn't on my hands, as that's usually where it spreads first. She prescribed me a topical steroid and off I went.
Let's cut to the chase. The first topical did NOT work and the whole process happened AGAIN. (side note, my feet didn't appear completely healed until around March of 2017. It happened 4-5 times that first time.) I called my dermatologist and she prescribed a different topical and mentioned that I should continue to use, as once you have eczema, you always have it. #sigh
Here's what I have tried thus far that DIDN'T work:
Athlete's Foot Topical Solution (this was before I knew what it as)
Powders in shoes (baby powder, athlete's foot powder, etc)
Fluocinolone Topical Steroid (this was the first steroid that my derm prescribed)
Oatmeal baths (if you are going to see if this works for you, make sure you use COLD water, not hot)
The steroid that did work for me was Desoximetasone. If I really need to use it, I will; however, because this is a life long thing, I didn't want to have to always reach for a steroid. I really haven't had to use it at all and have been able to treat my flare-ups as they come, without Desoximatesone!
Here's what I have tried thus far that DOES work:
Pros: Almost immediate itching relief, budget friendly, sold pretty much everywhere, easy to travel with
Cons: Not cruelty-free, not preventative - just a soother
Thoughts: This was the first over the counter, more natural option I found that actually worked! I can't tell what the EWG rating (because it's not listed), but all the baby Eucerin products that are listed are 2s, which is pretty good!
Pros: Cruelty-free, non-toxic, actually stops flare-ups from totally forming, comes in mini bottle that is great for testing it and travel, great for face in addition to eczema
Cons: Not budget friendly, doesn't give immediate relief - more long term relief (ideally use it when bumps form, not just when the itch), DO NOT USE if you are allergic to ragweed or chamomille
Thoughts: I love lapis oil! I use it on my face but give a little droplet on my feet and toes every so often. It is more expensive, but it lasts a long time - you don't need much! The magic ingredient is blue tansy. Read about the benefits of blue tansy here. SIDE NOTE - Primally Pure makes a Blue Tansy Body Oil (it's cheaper than Herbivore Botanicals) AND a Blue Tansy Beauty Cream that would probably work as well. I have the blue tansy cream and like it, but I haven’t tried their oil yet. I do love and trust the brand though! If you want to try out Primally Pure, use code ELLEMULENOS for 10% off your order!
Biossance 100% Squalane Oil c/o (available in mini size too -same link though as big one)
Pros: Cruelty-free, non-toxic, odorless, super hydrating, versatile to use on hair, body, face, etc
Cons: Not as pricey as Lapis oil, but not cheap, not immediate relief, but long term affects
Thoughts: I really like squalane oil and all that it can do! This is a great option if you are allergic to ragweed or chamomile and can't use the lapis oil. I like this a lot, but regarding eczema, it probably takes the longest to notice a difference, which is hard if you are in pain. Again, better as a preventative measure. If you're unsure of what squalane is, click here to learn more.
Eczema Honey c/o
Pros: Immediate almost cooling relief, non-toxic (I can't find an official stance on if they are cruelty-free or not, though it's made in the USA), comes in a nut free option if you can't use something with almond oil
Cons: Must keep refrigerated or in the freezer so not easy to travel with, if you just leave it on your skin, it stays sticky for a day(ish), though there is another option in which you wear it like a mask and wash off, more immediate relief, not long term preventative
Thoughts: I really love its cooling effect. Even if I don't have a visible flare-up, sometimes my feet tingle/itch at night and eczema helps me actually be able to sleep. You can actually get $2 off by using code LAURENHONEY
UPDATE AS OF LATE 2018: I love to use Primally Pure Blue Tansy Beauty Cream. It is on the pricier side, but grab the small jar and use my code ELLEMULENOS for 10% off. A little goes a long way and my coupon makes it around $38. I like to use it as spot treatment for pimples too!
Something I haven't tried is a diet change. The only reason I haven't tried this is because I don't really change my eating habits and flare-ups seem to be somewhat random, though historically occurring somewhere between fall and winter. WHO KNOWS. I currently have the weirdest piece of eczema (it's like a whole flap of dry skin lol) on my big toe, but HEY. At least it's not itching!! Do you have any more natural remedies for eczema? Let me know in the comments below!!
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