Our skin is a magic mirror. It gives us great clues about our overall health. If you suffer from eczema, a message your skin may be trying to tell you is there is something you are coming into contact with environmentally (including what you put into your body) that is causing an increased inflammatory response in your body.
Our skin has a big job — it is our protection against the external world. When eczema emerges, it is a message we need to pay attention to and then respond by seeking solutions to decrease the sensitivity to environmental agents and calm our overactive inflammatory response.
Eczema comes in many different forms, but it typically emerges in the form of a red, itchy rash or raised skin, which is typically found on the cheeks, arms, and legs. The word ‘eczema’ comes from Greek and means ‘to boil over’, which describes how inflamed eczema or psoriasis skin can look.
Both stress and anxiety at work, school, or home can cause eczema to flare-up. In part, this is due to higher levels of cortisol that trigger the inflammatory response and aggravate skin inflammation issues, including eczema, psoriasis, and other itchy, irritated skin conditions.
In my book Clean Skin From Within, I discuss how what we put INSIDE our bodies can dramatically impact our skin’s health, including our skin’s inflammatory response. In this blog I share some of the same tips and tricks found in my book to help you calm your eczema using herbs. If traditional treatments have been unsuccessful and you want to try something more natural, herbal remedies may provide relief.
Herbal remedies were used for eczema and other skin conditions well before modern treatments existed. Despite the lack of research on many herbal solutions, anecdotal evidence has shown that herbal remedies tend to have fewer side effects than other treatments.
For Emmett skin types, like myself, addressing the gut/skin microbiome imbalance can help reduce inflammation, focusing on supporting the immune system. Don’t know what skin type you are? Find out your Skin Personality Type and receive personalized skin care recommendations by taking our Skin Quiz.
Some herbs have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties. These properties may help soothe the skin and reduce an overactive inflammatory response, which may improve your skin’s overall health.
Favorite Herbs for Internal Use
Herbs added to meals and smoothies have tremendous benefits, including anti-inflammatory support for healthy skin. I recommend using the freshest, high-quality herbs you can find for the most benefit. Gut health is a critical component of healthy skin. Healthy digestion requires that the gut’s lining have proper permeability to absorb nutrients and properly process toxins. The following herbs can help address some of the root causes of eczema – inflammation and leaky gut.
Marshmallow – is a beneficial medicinal herb, as its soothing properties make it very effective in treating inflammations and irritations of the skin when it comes to eczema. The whole plant, but especially the root, is high in mucilage and highly emollient. Mucilage will create a gel-like substance that can soothe, particularly for inflamed areas of the skin.
Slippery elm – comes from a small tree, and the portion that is used in herbal medicine is the inner bark. Slippery elm can be found in powder form and is well known for its beneficial effect on improving digestive issues such as IBS and inflammation by reducing inflammation to relieve gut irritation and provide a protective layer to the gut lining. In addition to its ability to soothe and protect the digestive system, slippery elm also contains antioxidants, making it an excellent remedy for wounds, burns, boils, psoriasis, and other external skin conditions such as eczema.
Turmeric – is a South Indian herb with long-standing uses as a spice for medicinal and beautifying effects. Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties, making it an appealing treatment option for various skin conditions. Its soothing properties can help relieve the inflammation, redness, and itchiness of eczema. Adding Tumeric to your food can work wonders to improve an inflamed digestive tract.
Licorice root – produces both glycyrrhetinic acid and licochalcone, which are rich sources of antioxidants and have shown to be useful in treating atopic dermatitis. Licorice root is famous for its tummy soothing qualities. Glycyrrhetinic acid and Licochalcone have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Just add a couple of slices to your tea. As a topical gel, licorice root is considered an effective agent for atopic dermatitis treatment.
Favorite Herbs For Topical Use
Herbs and natural substances, such as aloe vera gel, coconut oil and the following listed herbs can moisturize dry, inflamed, and broken skin. Using herbs to soothe inflammation and combat harmful bacteria can aid in reducing the itchiness, swelling, as well as help prevent infection.
Calendula – The marigold flower is an herb useful for healing, soothing, and relieving. Calendula is one of my favorite herbs to use in skin care, as it has so many benefits to the skin. The bright orange color of the marigold flower is attributed to its vitamin A carotenoids. Carotenoids can decrease inflammation, strengthen the immune system, and stimulate epithelial cell growth to promote cell turnover. It contains high levels of flavonoids, such as triterpene saponins and carotenoids, which provide anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects to help skin heal. Calendula’s properties make it useful in soothing eczema and relieving psoriasis.
St. John’s Wort – used in topical creams, this herb appears to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. St. John’s Wort was shown in one study to improve the severity of eczema. Although the mechanism by which St. John’s wort relieves eczema is not yet known, it may be the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects of hyperforin, one of its constituents. Are you looking for a cream to soothe your eczema? Try the DIY Healing Balm recipe included below.
Roman Chamomile – is an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial herb that can help calm the inflammation that causes eczema. The overall antioxidative effect of using chamomile has shown to be beneficial as a therapeutic use for many ailments, including eczema. A study found Chamomile to be about 60% as effective as 0.25% hydrocortisone cream in treating eczema. Because it is part of the ragweed family, anyone with a ragweed allergy should do a patch test.
Camelina sativa – (camelina) seed oil is packed with omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E and has similar properties to flaxseed (linseed) oil, but it is much more stable. Camelina nourishes and supports the skin’s natural ability to repair damaged tissues, build a protective coating for hair follicles, and buildup collagen infrastructure for improved elasticity. Camelina also has anti-inflammatory properties, which make it a beneficial choice for psoriasis, eczema, etc.
Colloidal Avena Sativa – is well known as oatmeal. Colloidal oatmeal is a gluten-free oat that has been finely ground. Colloidal oats contain a type of polyphenolic compounds called avenanthramides. Avenanthramides are responsible for the ultra anti-inflammatory, antipruritic (inhibits itching), and UV-protecting properties of oats that are effective in treating eczema. Beta-glucans, which are soothing and collagen-promoting polysaccharides, are also found in oats at very high concentrations, making oats a promising candidate to alleviate the redness and itching of eczema and other skin disorders.
Incorporating Herbs For Skin Care
With herbal skin care, it’s best to start with just a couple of herbs at a time. There are many fabulous DIY herbal skin care recipes available like the Healing Balm recipe included below.
If you are looking for a safe and pure botanical skin care product line, look no further! At The Spa Dr., we only source pure high quality ingredients to use in our formulations. If you are an Emmett Skin Type or suffer from eczema, the following products are specifically formulated to help address your skin issues’ root causes.
The Spa Dr.® Skin & Gut Restore promotes optimal gastrointestinal function to support a healthy gut and skin. It contains valuable herbs, amino acids, and compounds to support optimal gut health, including L-Glutamine, MSM, and N-Acetyl Glucosamine, DGL, Chamomile, Okra Extract, Cat’s Claw, and Aloe Vera. All know to soothe, repair, and support a healthy intestinal lining.**
The Spa Dr.® Skinflam-Ease contains highly bioavailable curcuminoids that support vibrant health. Curcuminoids have antioxidant properties. A proprietary manufacturing process optimizes the absorption rate with natural, skin-friendly ingredients, including herbal ingredients like sunflower lecithin and turmeric oil.**
The Spa Dr.® Microbiome Builder supports healthy gut microorganisms to balance the GI microflora and support healthy GI, skin, and immune function.**
DIY ECZEMA HEALING BALM
½ Cup Coconut Oil
1-2 tsp dried Calendula
1-2 tsp dried Chamomile
1/2 tsp dried Comfrey
1/2 tsp dried Plantain Leaf
1/2 tsp St. John’s Wort
1 tsp Melted Beeswax
1 Tbsp Shea Butter
2 Tbsp Rosehip Oil
1 tsp Vitamin E Oil
- Infuse coconut oil by adding herbs to oil in a double boiler over low heat for 3-4 hours.
- Allow coconut oil to cool, but not solidify.
- Strain herbs using a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth
- Melt and add the beeswax and shea butter into the coconut oil in the double boiler.
- Add Rosehip and Vitamin E oil
- Once combined, pour into a glass container and seal tightly.
- Place balm in the refrigerator to set overnight.
- Store in a dark, cool, and dry place for up to a year
- To apply, warm a small amount of balm between fingers and spread onto irritated skin to help soothe and heal.
At The Spa Dr. – our approach is to help shine the light on skin care information and offer guidance to nurture your skin care journey. We believe the information we provide will help support your self-care and healing, and we want you to feel safe and cared for within our community!
I hope you enjoyed these natural beauty tips!
Feel free to share them with your friends, and spread the word to promote natural beauty.
Have any natural beauty tips of your own? Please share them in the comments below!
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.