Beauty

4 natural remedies that will soothe itchy eczema-prone skin

Thinking of buying a new over-the-counter eczema product? Read this first.

By Erin Cook

Nine out of 10 women who participated in our fictional survey agree that adjusting to winter is a struggle. Days are shorter, getting out of bed is borderline impossible and we're constantly fighting off some form of a cold. For eczema sufferers, winter is particularly brutal: it's flare up season.

Whether you're a man, woman, child or goldfish, everyone's skin dries out during winter. As the temperature drops, the air becomes dry — which, in turn, dries out skin. Plus, you're probably in and out of heated buildings (more dry air) and throwing on big warm jumpers (wool and synthetics can be very scratchy).

Unfortunately, we can't cancel winter. But we can shop smarter to make sure we're buying the over-the-counter eczema products that contain the right ingredients. Scroll down for the four ingredients that soothe irritated skin.

[N.B. If you're in a lot of pain and/or at your wits end, consult your GP. With a doctor's help, you're more likely to get to the bottom of the problem and pinpoint your triggers.]

Milk

Drinking milk can make eczema worse. Bathing in milk, on the other hand, can bring relief.

Milk is an age-old remedy for soothing skin. According to Shape.com, the lactic acid in milk helps to mildly exfoliate the skin, reducing blotchiness as well as clogged pores.

You've got two options here: you could go down the all-natural route, adding a dash of milk and honey to a warm bath, or you could invest in a milk-based bath soak.

Try: Milk Bath Powder, $18 at The Body Shop.

Jojoba

If jojoba oil had a gender, it would be female — this stuff can multi-task like it's nobody's business. Jojoba is naturally antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and hypoallergenic and contains a balance of vitamins A, D and E, essential fatty acids omega 6 and 9, antioxidant properties and docosenol.

It simultaneously heals and moisturises the skin, making it perfect for eczema sufferers.

Try: The Jojoba Company 100% Natural Australian Jojoba, $19.99 at Healthy Life.

White Mallow

Not to be confused with white marshmallows (yum), white mallow is a plant known for its medicinal properties. It has anti-irritant properties to help protect skin and relieve itching.

Weleda's Baby Derma White Mallow Face Cream utilises the power of white mallow to calm eczema-prone skin; this stuff has a cult following worldwide.

Try: Weleda Baby Derma White Mallow Face Cream, $17.95 at Adore Beauty.

Apple cider vinegar

"While there is still a lot of mystery surrounding eczema, there are links between skin conditions and gut issues, digestion [and] food allergies," says Healthy Life naturopath Marissa Malvaso. For that reason, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar ingested orally each morning could help with eczema in the long term, by encouraging healthy digestion and healing the gut.

Certified organic, unpasteurised, naturally-fermented and undiluted varieties of apple cider vinegar (important: must have the 'mother') contain a wealth of raw enzymes, micronutrients, minerals and beneficial bacteria that help to stimulate the digestive juices, assist the absorption of nutrients, and control the growth of harmful yeast and bacteria.

You could also try dabbing it on your eczema wounds. "The skin is open and can be prone to infection, making the itching and redness worse. Apple cider vinegar kills bacteria on the surface of the skin and seems to 'dry up' superficially infected skin," Dr. Purvisha Patel explained to Popsugar.

Try: Love Organic certified organic Apple Cider Vinegar, $6.95 at Healthy Life.

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