Skin update – natural remedies for eczema
After sharing a video about my skin story last spring, I thought it was about time I wrote about it on here as well and gave you a little update.
In case you haven't seen it, in the video I talked about my experience with eczema, a mild but very annoying skin condition I've been living with since I was a child. It was always a bit on and off, but over the past couple of years it has been a real pain in the ass (excuse my French) and I've been trying very hard to get rid of it completely.
I won't go over the whole thing again, both because I don't feel like it and because I don't want to bore you, but I have been trying since the beginning of last year to heal my skin with natural remedies instead of the steroid creams my dermatologists had been giving me.
I have tried so many natural remedies for eczema, from acupuncture to reiki, energy healing, hypnosis, massages, aromatherapy and crystal healing, from ayurveda to putting kirsch on my wounds every night (!!) and many more so called miraculous remedies. Spoiler alert, not all of them have worked for me. In fact, I haven't found a miracle cure yet, but I am slowly finding a balance in my life and I feel like I am moving away from the eczema, which takes time but feels so great!
You're not alone
If you are suffering from eczema as well, first of all please know that you are not alone. I've been there, I know how lonely it can feel to be awake in the middle of the night, with your skin burning and your eyes full of tears because you feel like you'll never heal. It's important to remember that you are not alone, many people suffer from this all around the globe, and I have actually found that during the hard times reading about other people's experiences online really helped. I also read a book called Skin Deep by Dr. Ted Grossbart (available for free here), which was very eye opening for me and a welcomed support when I was feeling down.
The importance of self love
Secondly, and again this may sound a bit cheesy and intangible, but you need to learn to love yourself more. I believe that self love is the single best cure for eczema, and again having been there I know how hard it can be to find even a little bit of love towards yourself when you see your reflection in the mirror covered in red patches, wounds in scratches, but it's of the highest importance to at least try. Be kind and loving to yourself, treat your body gently, take time to take care of yourself, even if it's just washing your hair or painting your nails. I'm still working on this myself and I think it's very difficult to reach a state of good self love, but you need to practice this every day - block the negative thoughts and have kind ones towards yourself. You can also remove or hide the mirrors from your home, it may seem a bit silly but it did help me as well!
A few natural remedies for eczema you can try
Now the rest is very much dependent on who you are, what your eczema feels like, and your own body. There's no magic formula and you have to find what works for you. Here are a few of the things that helped me:
- Anti inflammatory foods. Personally I noticed that consuming lots of anti inflammatory foods really helped my skin heal faster. For example I tried to have a turmeric latte or just a little "turmeric shot" (about a teaspoon of turmeric with some hot water) every morning, and then honey as well as ginger shots also seemed to help. It's always hard to tell what is working and what isn't or what's just placebo, but in my opinion there's no harm in trying! Although I am not a medical professional I'm pretty sure there's no side effects to any of these foods!
- Ayurveda. I went to see an ayurvedic doctor in London and again I feel like he did help me to some extent. Ayurveda is so interesting, I can't tell you much because I'm not a pro and also I feel like it is really different for everyone, but it's definitely something I'd recommend trying. The only downside is it requires quite a lot of effort from your side to follow the instructions you're given (at least it was the case for me)
- Change your diet. This is one of the advices that my ayurvedic doctor gave me, and again please be careful and sensible with your diet but it might be a good idea to try avoiding dairy and / or gluten for a while to see if your eczema could come from this. Personally I'm also vegetarian, red meat is known to be very inflammatory and unhealthy so if you're still eating this you might want to try avoiding it to see if it makes a difference! If you're looking at inflammatory foods there's also refined sugar, again this might be a cause of your skin issues!
- Water quality. I read somewhere that water quality in the area you live in might have an impact on your skin. In London tap water is quite harsh so I have bought a Britta water filter to drink filtered rather than tap water, as well as a filtering shower head (https://www.supersoftshower.co.uk/) I also try to avoid putting tap water on my face and wash it with filtered water and a konjac sponge + rose water.
- Natural creams. Personally my go to brand for a while has been Hope's Relief (their eczema cream is really nice and soothing and their shampoo is amazing if you have an itchy / flaky scalp). Recently I also started using the Egyptian Magic cream which really helps as well! Love the fact that it is completely natural.
- Steroid creams / hydrocortisone. For when my skin is really bad. Definitely not a long term solution but sometimes it's still a quick fix that provides great relief!
- Salt baths. I have found that whenever my skin was feeling tight and broken from all the wounds, salt baths really helped. You can put up to 1kg of salt in a single bath and stay in for 20-30 min, you just need to make sure the water is not too hot as this will irritate your skin.
- Sea & sun. In the same idea, while on holidays near the sea I saw a massive improvement in my skin. I know this is not a very good long term solution and not something that you can do every month but if you're hesitating between city and sea for your next holidays, maybe consider the latter as the combination of salt and sun might help your skin! I personally forced myself to go for 30 min baths a few times a day to soak in as much of the good minerals of sea water as possible.
- Therapy. I think that going to therapy, to talk about your issues (eczema related or not) with a professional, and especially someone neutral and objective really helps. I actually recommend therapy to anyone, even if you don't have an obvious "problem" I still think it will feel good to open up to someone without any fear of being judged! Oftentimes chronic illnesses can be linked with mental health and working with a therapist can help you sort out psychological issues that might have a bigger impact on your physical health than you would have thought.
- Yoga & meditation. This was also recommended to me by my ayurvedic doctor and it has made such a huge difference with me. I've come to realize that I can have such a massive influence on the state of my skin through my mindset and the more meditation and yoga I do, the better I feel and the healthier my skin becomes. I'm still in the process of exploring this and currently contemplating a meditation retreat, it's definitely one of the things that have been most helpful for me! The other day I also watched a documentary called Heal on Netflix and it was all about the impact of your mental state on your physical health, which is so interesting - highly recommend it! In the same idea, I read a book called Creative Visualisation by Shakti Gawain and I haven't been doing this for too long so can't really report back but it sounds incredible!! Definitely recommend the book.
Not there yet but i've definitely made progress!
I guess this is it, as you can see I am not 100% healed yet but I'm slowly getting there. Contrary to what the many, many dermatologists I saw have told me, I am sure that I will be able to heal completely over time. Nothing is incurable guys. While Western medicine does an amazing job at fixing emergencies, saving lives and providing quick relief, I think this approach lacks depth. Alternative medicines and natural methods look at the health of the patient as a whole, at the connection between mind and body, and aim to heal people by going to the root of the problem rather than make symptoms disappear. Let's not forget that the Western medical system is very much anchored in the big, money hungry pharmaceutical industry. Those corporations make a living off sick people so it's not in their financial interest to get you back to health and never see you again. I personally believe holistic approaches are much better for long term health, it takes patience and perseverance but I believe everyone can get there.
Sending lots of love to anyone going through any kind of health issue ♥
Please note that I am not giving any sort of medical advice as I am absolutely not qualified to do so. Just sharing my own experience :)