Eczema is a chronic medical condition which affects the skin. It is also referred to as atopic dermatitis. There a several forms of eczema but the most common is atopic dermatitis which comes with an itchy, dry rash. This skin condition usually begins in childhood or infancy and most children outgrow it. Sometimes adults develop eczema as well. It’s not dangerous and it’s not contagious but it is distressing and uncomfortable and people with eczema often feel significant loss of self esteem.
It is an immune system condition and we don’t know exactly what causes it. It is probably inherited and it is also likely associated with asthma and allergies. Outbreaks can be cause by environmental triggers like chemicals, perfumes, dust, smoke, pets, fabrics, hay fever, foods or stress.
The symptoms are usually a very itchy rash that can be red, scaly and swollen. It can even form small blisters and feel like a burn. The blisters can ooze and become crusty. If the flare up continues for some time, the skin can thicken and become constantly itchy skin. There is no cure and no single treatment but the symptoms can be managed. The goal is to prevent flare ups and infection and minimise the discomfort caused.
Typical medical eczema treatments include the use of immunomodulators, steroids, antihistamines and antibiotics, all of which have side effects and are not meant for long term use. There are a number of home remedies for eczema that all look to reduce or relieve the symptoms of the condition; none will prevent eczema. We will brief review a few of the home remedies for eczema here.
Vegetable shortening is thick and greasy and great to apply on cracked, dry skin. Apply generously to the affected areas, cover with plastic wrap and let the grease sink in. This will relieve some of the dryness and minimise itchiness.
There are a number of things that can be added to bath water that can help relieve symptoms as home remedies for eczema. Mineral oil can soothe dry skin, as can a combination of 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a cup of milk added to the bath. Ground oatmeal can relieve itching and some Epsom salt reduces itching as well. Lavender essential oils may also be soothing to dry, itchy skin.
Turmeric is all the rage these days but research is not holding up its alleged cure-all status. There is no evidence that this now popular remedy has any impact on atopic dermatitis. It does have some anti-inflammatory properties but studies show you would have to ingest far too much of it to achieve that benefit. It also has blood thinning properties so it is not recommended for ingestion in large amounts.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has disinfectant properties and can be used to descale eczema. It should be diluted with equal parts warm water and should not be used if the skin is cracked or bleeding.
Another of the popular home remedies for eczema relief is olive oil. Olive oil can help to reduce inflammation and soften dry, sore skin. Apply it warm to the affected areas to soften up those scaly patches. Coconut oil can also help on scaly patches if used in the same way.
Adding flaxseeds to your diet can help with reduced inflammation. It can be used in cereals, salads, smoothies and granola.
Pure aloe vera gel is an anti-inflammatory that can help to ease the inflammation of eczema and can also relieve itching.
For quick relief from intense itching use a mixture of 1 ½ cups of baking soda to 3 gallons of water. Apply with a washcloth. However, baking soda can mess with the PH of the skin so is not recommended as a long term treatment.
CBD oil is otherwise known as cannabidiol. It is one of several cannabinoids that have been discovered in both the hemp plant and the marijuana plant which are both varieties of the cannabis plant. These plants contain two properties which have received a lot of scientific attention in recent years; CBD and THC.
Cannabidiol (CBD) been studied increasingly over the last few decades and those studies have demonstrated that CBD use has little or no side effects, no matter how it is administered or whether in low dosages or higher dosages. It has a number of remarkable health benefits and is being used to treat a growing range of medical conditions and diseases experimentally.
Most of the research is still early in nature but there is also promise for CBD in such areas as cancer treatment, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative brain disorders, IBS, Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory conditions.
The business world has responded to this growing interest in CBD by creating a huge range of CBD products including cbd topicals, candies, sprays, capsules, oils, and many more. There is now a massive market for these products.
For millennia, CBD hemp oil has been valued by indigenous peoples for a variety of different uses (it would seem that science is just beginning to catch up in this area). One of the uses of cannabis includes the beneficial effect it has on skin. CBD can help to stimulate the endocannabinoid system which an important part of the immune system response in our skin, to help bring it back to balance so it can do its job properly.
Evidence from a study done in 2007 suggests that our internal endocannabinoid system plays a large role in many of the skin conditions that we deal with. Another study conducted in the same year also shows that we have two main endocannabinoid receptors in our skin (known as CB1 and CB2).
The main purpose, researchers believe, of the endocannabinoid system in the skin is to help ensure survival, differentiation and proliferation of the cells and to ensure that those skin cells are immune competent and tolerant. Disrupting the balance of the endocannabinoid system is thought to be linked to the development of a number of skin conditions including psoriasis, acne and eczema.
CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory that has a positive impact on skin affected by eczema. It would now seem that we are closer than ever to discovering both the cause of eczema and the reason that CBD works so well for the condition.
CBD may also have an additional benefit for its anti-inflammatory properties given that those with the condition appear unable to produce enough AMP in response to inflamed skin. Whether the inflammation begins as an allergic response or some other cause, reducing the inflammation of the skin can only compensate for the lack of AMP production.
While additional studies are needed, lifestyle changes and the use of CBD infused creams for the treatment of atopic dermatitis (eczema) appear to be very effective and ultimately may lead to a cure for this hard to treat, socially debilitating disease. If you suffer from eczema and would like to explore the option of treating it with CBD, be sure to speak to your family doctor first.