Alternative Treatments for Eczema
Eczema is usually
treated with topical creams and lifestyle changes, such as learning to avoid
substances that trigger symptoms. However, some people find relief from a
variety of alternative treatments. Some people like the idea of alternative medicine
because they perceive it to be less invasive.
A number of
complementary and alternative treatments may help calm the symptoms of eczema.
Alternative treatments can have a range of side effects but may be helpful if
used with standard treatments and under a doctor’s care. Always check with your
doctor before trying alternative treatments.
remedies may help relieve eczema symptoms. However, many of those found online
are not backed by science. Talk to your doctor before you take any herbs or
supplements to make sure they don’t interfere with your medications.
Studies show that
green, black, or oolong tea can help calm the allergic reactions that bring on flare-ups.
asked subjects to drink one liter of oolong tea daily, drinking one-third of it
after each meal. According to the American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD), they
found that 63 percent of the tea drinkers started to notice improvement after
one to two weeks and showed moderate to marked improvement after one month.
Adding tea to your diet could be a simple way to reduce
flare-ups at little cost or inconvenience.
In another study
published in the British
Journal of Dermatology, adults with moderately severe eczema who took a 500 mg capsule
of borage oil daily for six months noticed a slight improvement in their skin.
However, other studies have failed to show benefit from use of borage oil
supplements in patients with eczema.
The studies haven’t
shown side effects of taking borage oil, but no leading medical society currently
recommends it for the treatment of eczema.
Evening Primrose Oil
Primrose oil has
the same active ingredient as borage oil (gamma linolenic acid or GLA). Neither
has been shown to unequivocally help reduce the symptoms of eczema. A study of
58 children with eczema, published in Archives of
Disease in Childhood, found that whether they received evening primrose oil or a placebo, all
children showed significant improvement after the 16-week study.
No leading medical
society recommends primrose oil for the treatment of eczema. However, some
alternative health websites mention it as a treatment option.
Mind & Body Approaches
Stress and anxiety
can trigger eczema flare-ups. Techniques that lower stress may reduce the symptoms
of eczema. Ask your doctor about
techniques like meditation, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided
imagery. Other treatments may include acupuncture or aromatherapy.
involves inserting thin needles into specific points on your body. It is an
ancient Chinese practice that is now popular around the world. This treatment
may help calm inflammation and reduce the symptoms of eczema. In addition,
acupuncture may reduce stress levels and prevent flare-ups.
practitioner can provide acupuncture treatments. They believe that illness
(like eczema) occurs when there is a blockage in your energies, or chi. By
placing small needles at points throughout the body, they free up this energy
and quell illness.
study found that the use
of acupuncture as a sole source of treatment may reduce itch intensity in
promote relaxation and can reduce stress, which could reduce eczema flare-ups.
By inhaling air infused with essential oils from plants, advocates say you can
soothe everything from stress to nausea. They recommend putting a drop of water
infused with chamomile or lavender oil onto your pillow at night to help ease
stress and anxiety.
Alternative therapies allow you to treat eczema at home
without prescription medication. However, not all of these options are
supported by research. Talking to your doctor about all of your options will
help you get the best treatment for your eczema. You may find that combining
traditional with alternative treatments provides the best outcome for your