Eczema, ugh! I’ve had the maddening problem of eczema on my arms for several years now. It’s been quite embarrassing and has caused me to cover up my arms, even in the hot weather of Maui. I’ve been obsessed with finding a cure and think I’ve finally got a regimen down now to keep it at bay, or at least treat it successfully, when flare ups happen.
My eczema erupted around the time menopausal changes started, with extreme dryness to my skin. If you have never suffered from eczema, it’s hard to explain how bad the itch is, that it keeps you up at night, that it takes a herculean effort to not scratch it. They say eczema is the “scratch that itches”. It can start with a bump or two that comes out of the blue and, with even the slightest touch of the area, soon becomes an irresistibly itchy, spreading rash. I consider myself lucky it only happened on my arms, as some people have it all over their body and face.
I have come to realize that when I eat certain things (milk, refined sugar, gluten) that my eczema worsens pretty quickly after that. I did some research and realized I probably had some leaky gut issues going on and that was creating my problem. But changing one’s diet is a serious change, a change to your life. I guess I wasn’t ready for the effort it took. So, I put off doing that and, instead, tried many over the counter treatments and prescription medications, including steroid cream. Quick fix city. Nothing really helped. I would scratch so much that I would get secondary infections on top of the eczema, which lead to even worse itching. My dermatologist had no sage advice for me, except “don’t scratch.” Easier said than done my friends.
After withdrawing from the steroid cream she prescribed (a challenge because the itch comes back with a vengeance), my skin was fragile and paper thin. I had to be careful even touching, or rubbing my arms, because it could lead to tearing and new patches of eczema very quickly. I found swimming in the ocean healing, so I started to go to the beach more and my eczema felt better. But, since my itch usually happened at night, it wasn’t like I could go to the beach then. So the key became, whenever I itched, to act fast, to not give in to scratching and take a Sea Salt Bath. This ritual dried up the eczema quite a bit and set me on the road to recovery!
Here’s the brand I used:
It’s a little pricey, but the relief I found from it was remarkable. It’s important to get a big bag because you have to be generous with the salt (use 1-3 cups for a bad flare up). I’d sit in a hot bath for as long as it took to get the itch to stop, then I took a big plastic drinking cup, filled it with cold water from the faucet and I repeatedly doused my arms with the chilly water. A lot of doctors tell you not to take hot baths, but for me it worked, it felt good. But, I needed the cold rinse to sort of seal in my salt bath treatment and calm down the inflammation in my skin. Then, I was able to go to sleep in an air conditioned room. Cool air is key to healing, or it has been for me.
Next, I tried to eliminate any topical allergens, switching to fragrance free detergent, etc…, and trying to eliminate any chemicals that might come in contact with my arms. Putting on lotions to treat the dry skin would rarely work for me. I’d feel a little relief during application, but it was like it would start up the itch again and I’d have to wash it off. The only thing that I found that helped was washing my arms with Noxzema and rinsing with warm water, patting dry. The slight bit of emollient that was left behind from the Noxzema, combined with the cooling effect, really helped me to get to sleep. If that didn’t end the itch, I took several supplements that usually put a stop to the itch within about a 1/2 hour.
I got the idea for the supplements based on a YouTuber (Michelle Mills) who healed her eczema and is now a health coach. I recommend watching her videos. I appreciate how knowledgeable she is, especially how she talks about the healing process, what that looks like. Based on her recommendation, here’s what I use:
I don’t use these everyday, but definitely go back to them when stressors arise and my eczema flares back up. The Glycine (improves skin elasticity and moisture) can be taken long term, but the L-glutamine (used to treat autoimmune disorders and leaky gut) is not suggested for longterm use, unless you take it with B vitamin supplements to prevent build-up. Quercetin is sort of an amazing supplement. It decreases mast cell activity in the body, which suppresses histamine production. In short, it’s a great antihistamine. These three, combined with my salt baths, really helped me to turn the corner on my eczema and allow me to stop itching and heal.
Now, I of course used my essential oils for support! To decrease stress, I like to use doTERRA’s lavender and roman chamomile in my diffuser at night. A good night’s sleep is everything. For spot treatments on particularly irritating areas, tea tree oil can be very beneficial. I had a flare up recently, I think due to the stress associated with Covid-19 numbers rising in the Hawaiian island. We were largely spared from high numbers, due to our strict quarantine policy. The Governor relaxed his orders this Summer, causing an up tick in the number of positive cases. “Covid stress” is something I think we all can relate to at this time and which manifests in our bodies in so many different ways. But when I started to break out again, I knew exactly what to do. I got back on my regimen of baths, supplements, oils and even changed my diet to mostly plant-based. I’m down about 20 lbs which I’m so happy about and my rash? Well it’s pretty much gone, once again.
In the meantime, I have found a great product to camouflage the rash and scars. It doesn’t irritate my skin and gives me renewed confidence when I go out of the house in sleeveless clothing. It is the KKW Skin Perfecting Body Foundation. Here’s the link:
I know it sounds crazy, body foundation, say what? But it really is a miracle product for covering up skin imperfections. It comes in 9 shades, has a five star rating and is a winner of the 2020 Holy Grail Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards. I really appreciate this product because Kim Kardashian is a psoriasis sufferer herself, so she knows what those of us with skin disorders go through.
On her company’s website, it is described as follows:
“The Skin Perfecting Body Foundation works to blur imperfections, enhance skin tone and provide a flawless finish for any look. The creamy long-wear formula and innovative pigments blend evenly and seamlessly into the skin. The soft focus, light diffusing spheres blur imperfections while the silky powders leave the skin with a naturally flawless finish that’s never sticky or heavy. The unique water-resistant formula bonds with the skin to enhance wear while giving off subtle hints of vanilla and coconut.”
Whatever the exact formula is, it really, really calms and soothes my skin during the day and makes me feel a lot better about myself, because it leaves a beautiful look to my skin and hides my scars/bumps well. Amazingly, it doesn’t come off in the heat, or with sweating, which makes it an easy product to use for those of us who live in warm climates. I’ve even also used it on my face sparingly (as it can be too matte for aging skin) and it really stays on well there too. I am really devoted to this product. It’s one quick fix that really works. Again, the key with eczema is to not touch or scratch the skin, to allow the rash to finally heal. This product allows me to forget about my eczema and go about my day. I no longer find myself subconsciously scratching or rubbing my arms. I feel like when I put it on, I’m applying a protective layer to my skin. It’s a truly wonderful product and worth the price which retails around $45.00.
So, these simple changes to my life have help me to finally find peace with my eczema and let my skin heal. It may not be the cure for everyone and that’s the funny thing about eczema. You really have to look at so many factors (diet, stress, allergens, gut health etc..) to figure out how to treat it. But, like many problems in life, you need a multi-focal approach to find a solution. For me, my regimen is nothing short of a miracle. I highly recommend giving these items a try and hope, hope, hope it helps you, or someone you love, and ends their suffering.
God bless and aloha!
Mrs. Sassy Pants.