7 Natural Remedies for Eczema

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Natural Remedies for Eczema
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I get quite a few questions about skin problems like eczema and psoriasis. I’m not a dermatologist by any means, but I have had some personal experience with eczema (in myself and my family) and have found some natural remedies that have helped us so I wanted to share. As always, ask your own doc and specialists before trying anything!

The Diet Connection With Eczema

I feel it is important to note that all of the topical remedies in the world didn’t help us until we addressed the underlying problem, in our case: diet and lifestyle factors that were causing/contributing to eczema.

Just as you can’t out supplement a bad diet in other areas, topical remedies don’t address the underlying problem.

Certainly, eczema and other skin issues are complex conditions with a potential variety of causes, but there do seem to be some common things that help (both dietary and other).

My Son’s Eczema (& What We Tried)

In our family, our son struggled with eczema off and on for a long time. He was born via c-section (due to placenta previa) and was given antibiotics and steroids as soon as he was born. This led to problems with his gut bacteria, some learning delays, and some skin/digestive problems.

We started the GAPS program (find all the details here) combined with a pretty intensive supplement and lifestyle change for him and finally started to see improvement.

If you haven’t heard of it, GAPS is an intensive diet that focuses on gut-healing foods like bone broth (traditionally prepared and long-simmered so it’s gelatin-rich) and many healthy fats and nutrient sources we typically don’t get enough of in our modern diets. It also includes a fair amount of fermented vegetables, making their nutrients more accessible to those with impaired digestive systems and helping the overall healing process.

How to Try a GAPS Diet

Depending on the severity of the patient, one either begins with or works up to the Introduction Diet, which is the strictest part of the protocol, focused on intensive healing. There are then stages as the person begins to introduce other foods. The most difficult factor of the GAPS diet is that in order to be effective, especially in the beginning, one must be 100% compliant. This means a lot of preparing foods at home, as practically any foods prepared by someone not familiar with the protocol will have things that can aggravate the gut.

For us, it meant consuming more homemade broth and soups (or ones from a quality source) as well as removing certain foods including gluten and casein (wheat and dairy). We also found that it was helpful to avoid food dyes and any processed ingredients, though this was as much from a behavior perspective as a skin one.

If you or a family member struggle with skin problems, allergies or behavior struggles, I’d definitely recommend at least checking out the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome to see if the protocol would be helpful for you.

Natural Remedies for Eczema

Of course, once diet has been addressed, there are some things that can be used topically that may speed healing or limit discomfort during the healing time. For us, these things were helpful:

1. Coconut Oil

Seven Natural Remedies for Eczema

We use coconut oil for skin, hair, teeth, and even soap making at our house! It is also great for eczema (as long as the person isn’t allergic/intolerant… I found this out the hard way when I took this genetic test and found out I don’t tolerate it well as a food.)

I’ve found that a thin layer of coconut oil or a coconut oil lotion bar helps cool eczema itching and pain.

For those sensitive to coconut oil, these hypoallergenic lotion bars work really well too.

2. Sea Salt Magnesium Spray

For eczema that is wet/oozing, I’ve found that drying it works better than trying to moisturize it. I’ve often heard people with skin problems say that they felt better at the beach, and it makes sense between the vitamin D from the sun and the magnesium and the minerals in the salt water.

For those who don’t live near the ocean, this homemade magnesium salt spray can help achieve some of the same benefits at home.

3. Omega-3 Oils (While Limiting Omega-6)

This natural eczema remedy may not provide immediate relief but may help get at the root cause. Certain research as recently as 2016 found that consuming high levels of omega-3 (that is, more than you would get from occasionally eating fish), especially at an early age may reduce the risk and severity of eczema. This is due to the DHA and EPA fatty acids found in fish.

While some studies suggest that more research is needed to pinpoint the degree of effectiveness,  it seems that avoiding inflammatory omega-6 oils (found in many processed foods and vegetable oils) while increasing omega-3 sources from fish oil and consumption of fish had a positive effect on eczema in the studies listed below.

Unfortunately, studies suggest eating fish alone probably isn’t enough to get therapeutic benefits (though we do incorporate low-mercury seafood often). I find I get the most benefit when I take a fish oil supplement. I get the most benefit from these capsules due to the quality and ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. This company makes a chewable supplement for kids as well.

4. Magnesium Baths

For some people with eczema, soaking in water makes it worse. For those who tolerate it, magnesium baths and other types of detox baths can be helpful in skin healing.

I regularly add a cup of Epsom salts or magnesium flakes and a few tablespoons of Himalayan salt to my kids’ baths. When I have the time, I take relaxing baths in this mixture also.

When I can’t take the time for a bath, magnesium oil also helps. Amazingly, I notice the benefits of transdermal magnesium on the skin much more quickly than when I take internal forms of magnesium.

My favorite magnesium bath recipe is:

These three detox bath recipes are also all great if the person can handle warm water.

5. Probiotics

Research on whether probiotics help eczema is mixed. A 2018 review found probiotics had “little to no effect” on eczema symptoms, although no adverse effects were noted either. This article at NationalEczema.org reviews many of the existing studies and concludes that “probiotics are not effective for the treatment of established atopic dermatitis but may be helpful in prevention.” It also points out that the current body of research may not be conclusive since the type of probiotic strain seems to matter greatly.

I know that probiotics seemed to help my son (high quality probiotics are an important part of the GAPS diet). I’m also constantly seeing more research on the many ways that gut bacteria influence our health, and I can’t believe that skin health is any exception. Could there be a link?

Probiotics and probiotic-rich foods are an element that is increasingly missing in the modern diet as we moved away from traditional food preparations like fermentation. (Find out how to bring back those methods here.) We also make an effort to wash our hands and our food (a good thing with the chemicals on them these days) which also wash off the beneficial soil-borne micro-organisms that provide friendly bacteria to the gut.

I’ve also found that the probiotic strains in those foods were not enough for us. We all now take Probiotics and have seen dramatic improvements in skin and digestive health.

6. Gelatin-Rich Foods

I’ve mentioned that bone broth was an important part of a healing diet for us, and this was partially because of its high gelatin content. Gelatin helps soothe the gut and the collagen it contains is also great for hair, skin, and nail health.

To make broth, you basically save the carcass when you roast a chicken, duck, turkey, or goose and follow these steps. Ideally, the animal lived its life outdoors eating its natural food. This means you’re looking for bones from grass-fed cattle or bison, pastured poultry, or wild-caught fish. Since you’ll be extracting the minerals and drinking them in concentrated form, you want to make sure that the animal was as healthy as possible.

There are several places to find good bones for stock or tallow (rendered fat) from healthy animals:

  • From a local butcher, especially one who butchers the whole animal
  • From local farmers who raise grass-fed animals (ask around at your local farmer’s market)
  • Order online from companies like Butcher Box or US Wellness Meats
  • I use grass-fed tallow when cooking or in soaps. I get mine at a discount from Thrive Market.

For those who aren’t ready to jump into having a pot of boiling bones on the stove, there is now a great pre-made shelf-stable bone broth available and I always keep this stocked in my pantry.

I also use gelatin in recipes like:

I also stir powdered collagen into smoothies, since this form of gelatin doesn’t clump in cold water.

7. Homemade Healing Salve

For scars or blisters from eczema that take longer to heal, a homemade healing salve was helpful for us. Our son would get eczema on his face before we were able to heal his gut and we are still working on reversing the scars from that. One thing that is helping is this homemade healing salve.

My homemade healing salve (or “boo-boo lotion”, according to the kids) is helpful on eczema as well as: cuts, bruises, stings, poison ivy, and skin irritations. It also helps diaper rash and baby skin irritations- just don’t use with cloth diapers or line them first!

A Note About Infant Eczema

Eczema isn’t a problem just because it causes pain and itching. In babies, it can be a risk factor for other problems. I didn’t realize this when we were figuring out my son’s issues, but according to newer research babies with eczema have a 1 in 3 chance of developing a food allergy later in life. In fact, they are 11 times more likely to develop a peanut allergy by their first birthday compared to infants without eczema.

It’s also important to note that symptoms of eczema often occur earlier than a food allergy, furthering the importance of food allergy prevention for babies with eczema.

Due to this research and other landmark clinical trials such as the LEAP trial, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommend introducing allergenic foods early and often — specifically for infants with eczema — to reduce their risk of developing a food allergy. (I explain more in this post.)

Helpful Eczema Resources

I vividly remember how terrible it was to watch my son suffer through his eczema and I know the pain of not being able to take away the pain/itching a child experiences. The book The Eczema Cure is a very thorough resource and provides answers when it feels like you’ve tried everything else.

For more, don’t miss this podcast interview with Jennifer Fugo, an expert on all things eczema (both personally and professionally), this one with Dr. Nelli Gluzman, and Getting Rid of Eczema for Good With Dr. Ana-Maria Temple.

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Scott Soerries, MD, Family Physician and Medical Director of SteadyMD. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Have you ever struggled with eczema or skin problems? What helped you? Share below!

Eczema can be unbearable, especially for children. Diet is important but these natural remedies can help get rid of it once and for all!
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


346 responses to “7 Natural Remedies for Eczema”

  1. Rivkah Avatar

    Katie, thanks for your well-informed aid to natural eczema healing. I don’t know how much you know about gluten intolerance, as I haven’t read any of your other posts, but maybe you should include this when talking about eczema and diet. I know neither you nor I are doctors, and not everybody will respond the same to a particular approach, but going gluten-free made my skin do a total 360! I had the intense itching, insane dryness, redness, and even dozens of little painful boils popping up around the scaly patches. Within days of eliminating gluten (I’m also vegan and don’t eat processed sugar, which I believe plays a role too), my skin was less red, less itchy, not scaly at all, and the old boils which had taken months to heal started healing faster. 3 weeks on, and my skin is almost back to normal (it takes 6 weeks for new skincells to come to the surface, so there is still healing to be done). It’s also spring, which would normally mean sneezing my head off due to pollen, but I don’t seem to have anymore allergies! I could go on and on about the positive changes my body has undergone, but the main point is that I don’t believe people with eczema that have tried everything else have anything to lose by going gluten-free.

  2. Simon Goodall Avatar
    Simon Goodall

    I agree with you about coconut oil. One of the most common natural eczema treatments is the usage of coconut oil. It has been proven effective for people having dry eczema skin and has become the best natural eczema treatment available.

    Once seen as an exotic ingredients, raw, organic coconut oil is now widely available in supermarkets and health food shops.

    Compared to other oils, coconut oil has the ability to easily penetrate the skin which keeps your skin soft and smooth. Through this, there will be a reduction in the inflammation of your skin. It will also enhance the healing of wounds, blisters, and rashes.

    Coconut oil has many uses in the treatment of eczema. These include:

    Reduces inflammation and redness of the skin;
    Enhances the tissue healing and repair process;
    Strengthens and improves the function of the immune system;
    Aids the effective utilization of essential fatty acids and gives protection from oxidation;
    Plays an essential role of maintaining the natural chemical balance of the skin;
    Instrumental in softening the skin and helping to relieve from flaking and dryness;
    Gives protection to the skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays;
    Facilitates digestion and absorption of nutrients such as vitamins, mineral, and amino acids.

    Other great oils for eczema include Rosehip seed oil, avocado oil and black seed oil.

  3. sherry kissinger Avatar
    sherry kissinger

    We used comfrey oil from Christopher’s . I bought it off of vitacost. com. Do not drink just rub on skin. Also, probiotic, cod liver oil, no dairy or wheat. It definitely worked. Just using the comfrey extract did wonders!

  4. Ankit Avatar

    Nice article, but to completely eradicate eczema there is a natural therapy also that people have been trying out. It is the cow urine therapy. And it has shown significant results. This treatment is done through panchgavya. It uses cow’s milk, urine, ghee, and dung for treating various diseases.

  5. Majd Avatar

    Hi Katie,
    My 7 years old son suffers from seasonal eczema. The Cortisone cream helps sometimes, but I would instead go with natural treatments. The best thing to make it better for my son is moisturizing, moisturizing, moisturizing.
    Thank you for all this useful information
    Going through your blog was a wonderful journey I feel so peaceful, relax, and worm.
    All my best wishes to you too.

  6. Jacqueline Muscha Avatar
    Jacqueline Muscha

    My three year old daughter has eczema. She was born via c-section and has had it since birth. She too has delayed learning and had actually been diagnosed with Apraxia and goes to speech therapy two days a week. I personally did not find any major diet changes making an great difference in her condition. I noticed it seemed more of a seasonal problem. She was worse in the summer and with the humidity. It greatly subsides or goes away as soon as the weather turns cooler. I have found that Plant Therapy’s Kid Safe Skin Soother Roll-on was the only topical treatment that actually worked in easing the itch and pain and not stinging the skin.

  7. Jacqueline Muscha Avatar
    Jacqueline Muscha

    If applying coconut oil directly to the eczema, can it be either refined or unrefined? I hate the smell and taste of unrefined coconut oil, so I only have refined in the house. Will that work?

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      Unrefined is better, but the other methods will probably work better. I’ve found that addressing diet is the single most important item to get rid of it though…

  8. Izzy Avatar

    The regimen that I’ve found works is to constantly moisturize the skin with a combination of hempseed oil and walnut oil, as well as drinking two tablespoons of hempseed oil per day. Researchers have found that both topical and internal use of hempseed oil increases levels of essential fatty acids and reduced symptoms of eczema: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16019622. Additionally, I apply honey (acacia honey, specifically) to the affected areas and wrap with plastic wrap for no longer than 3 hours once a day, otherwise the skin will become more irritated. I’ve also taken to not washing the affected areas everyday because the chemicals in municipal water systems dry out my skin and irritate it to no end. Proper diet, adequate exercise, and getting enough sleep also contribute to healthy skin because my eczema flares up when these three are lacking.

  9. Lisa Avatar

    Very informative and helpful. Consider adding ginseng to your remedies against eczema, it reduces inflammation and improves antioxidants and also holy basil which is one of my favorites!

  10. Ashley Avatar

    Any tips for detoxing toddlers? We have recently purged all the plastic from our house. Yay! How can I help detox our daughter’s system from those toxins?

  11. Aline França Russo Avatar
    Aline França Russo

    I am brazilian, I am sorry I have bad english but I can read well. My baby has eczema. Please I would like to make something to help him. We have coconut oil, shea butter, cacau butter, calendula extract with amendoa oil, aloe vera, hidroxido magnesia… May you help me with these ingredients for a recipe? If you dont understand please say then I ask other person to write to you. I can buy others ingredients too. Thank you.

  12. Samantha Avatar

    My 18 month old recently developed pretty severe eczema post vaccination. We are just learning about detoxes but she’s had some good relief from “Eczema Honey”! We swear by it as it’s the only thing that Seemed to calm it, and she asks “more more” when I’m applying it.

    1. ROSIE Avatar

      You said eczema honey, but is that a name of the product?? You gave no other info on it so we are confused as to what it is ….Thanks.

  13. Marisa Avatar

    Hi Katie, I started using magnesium baths for my son’s eczema and his skin seems to be improving. I was wondering why you put vanilla extract in your bath recipe. Is it for ambiance/relaxation or does the extract have another purpose? Thanks for your very helpful blog!

  14. Jack Avatar

    I found a product which worked for me. I am not going to put a link or anything like that as I am not trying to promote for this company. I am just stating that it worked for me and it is all natural with organic ingredients. The product was called The Eczema Mist. A family member purchased it for me, and I am not using it whenever needed. It give me a cooling sensation on my skin which stops the itching sensation. This allows my skin to heal after a few days of not itching the area. The cooling sensation lasts over an hour and really does help when I am having a flare up due to eczema.

  15. Emily Avatar

    My eczema is getting worse. Feel like I’m losing my mind – absolutely nothing works. No matter what products I use, there is never any difference. I’ve tried dozens and dozens of different cleansers, moisturizers and BP products. Can anyone please recommend a product I’ve not tried? Something new?

  16. Cheryl Avatar

    My 5 year old son’s hands were red, itchy, blistering. I treated every night with hydrocortisone, which kept the eczema at bay but barely. Friend recommended foderma serum and with good reason. After two nights, his hands are clearing up, bumps gone, itching gone, and no more blisters. I’m thrilled and he’s happy that his hands don’t hurt anymore. Buy without hesitation. It really worked for us.

  17. favour robert Avatar
    favour robert

    I have this irritation on my back which look like eczema and I have triead a lot of treatments but all to no avail….please what do I do

  18. Jean McGee Avatar
    Jean McGee

    I began at an old age to get eczema when I had cancer and was forced to take chemo… which not only gave me eczema but also it damaged my heart to the point I had congestive heart failure. Do not use the creams and salves the doctors give you; they mean well but it only adds to your problem. Get on a plant based diet, eat lots of fruits, nuts and vegetables and research essential oils… I found that several of the oils helped and kept the itching and ozzing sores at bay, but my best remedy was using coconut oil (OK I admit I brush my teeth with it, I cook with it, It took the fungus off my nails after chermo, it softens your skin, it helps your brain fight dementia and alzheimers, it helps your heart even and I used vitamin E oil, rubbing it on my skin everywhere, not only where there was an outbreak of eczema. I am a vegetarian so would not even think of using bone broth or any other type of product which kills and/or harms animals, even in a humane way (which is very seldom I know) so that is out. Just eat right, do not take antibiotics unless totally necessary and stay off as many prescription drugs as possible, exercise at least 150 minutes a week, either walking, lifting weights, riding bicycles and arm exercises and your life will once again be as beautiful as our Creator meant it to be for us all. OH and always be excited about life, and put love and laughter at the top of your daily to-do list. Have a happy life. 🙂 We know the Universe wants you to.

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Yes! I have suffered eczema since childhood. The best relief came when I quit dairy , then other foods as I realized they caused a flare—like coffee. (Just recently, coconut.) I have trouble with too much citrus. I felt lucky to find Dr. John MacDougall and his diet, the Starch Solution. Read more books like the China Study by Dr. Colin Campbell and it will make more sense in context. Best of luck to all who suffer. I’m convinces “It’s the food.”

  19. Adrian Avatar

    1. DO NOT USE ANY TOPICAL STEROID CREAMS. (eg hydrocortisone). There’s are badly addictive ie you end up developing a reliance to them and then when you try to stop, the flare-up is worse than the original eczema. Google “topical steroid withdrawal”fit more info and check out Dr Rappaport’s video on YouTube.
    2. Change your diet. I tried a number of different diets eliminating various foods. After 2 months on a vegan diet (following about 2 years of topical steroid withdrawal) my eczema completely cleared up. I hand now introduced occasional fish and eggs without any sign of it returning but avoid all dairy. I believe that a combination of bad diet and stress caused the original flare up but the hydrocortisone usage over a 20 year period really screwed my skin up. Please do not inflict this on your child, the withdrawal symptoms are absolutely horrific and I can’t believe every doctor I ever saw about eczema (including when my daughter had a patch when she was a baby) prescribed hydrocortisone. It should be banned.

  20. Natasha Avatar

    Hi, I found that living in cold and dry weather aggravates my eczema and my skin is always just dry. What I found helpful to control and relieve my symptoms was Foderma. Before that I had tried other brand and even an ointment from the dr to no avail.

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