How To Treat Eczema

Sausage Tree

Eczema is a common skin concern which can affect virtually anyone with a number of treatment options, the most popular being natural and steroidal creams. According to Allergy UK, it’s thought that over 15 million people in the UK suffer with it. The term eczema is loosely used to describe a skin condition in which the outer skin layer is inflamed though and there are several ways to help relieve the symptoms.

What are the common symptoms of eczema

Eczema is normally a persistent skin condition which causes skin rashes and dryness of skin. The common symptoms of eczema include redness of skin, itching, inflammation, dryness, cracking, swelling, skin blisters and oozing of skin. Because eczema can be a repetitive concern, many people will experience some skin discolouration with scarring rarely a problem. Eczema is often mistaken for psoriasis, but there are several differences; the main one being that eczema invariably affects the flexible part of any of the joints. There are also other differences which include the time of onset and the differences in what triggers both these skin concerns.

There are different types of eczema which are generally classified by the location of the breakout or the physical appearance. A common type of eczema is atopic eczema, also referred to as infantile, flexural (elbows, wrists and knees are flexural joints) or atopic dermatitis. Atopic eczema is an allergy disease with a hereditary trait and is common in sufferers of hay fever and/or asthma.

Contact dermatitis is another type of eczema; there are two divisions within this type of eczema called irritant and allergic. Contact allergic dermatitis results from a deferred reaction to an allergen whereas contact irritant dermatitis, the more common one, occurs as a result of contact with irritants such as chemicals in hair care and body products.

Other types of eczema include Seborrheic Dermatitis, Xerotic eczema, Discoid eczema, Venous eczema and numerous other types.

How to treat eczema

There is no cure for eczema. Eczema treatments aim to reduce breakouts, calm inflammation and relieve itching and discomfort. The most frequent treatment is the use of prescribed steroid creams. Steroid creams work very quickly to suppress inflammation and relieve the redness and itching, but they do not cure eczema and their long term use is thought to be responsible for thinning skin and may also cause skin discolouration.

It is for the reasons mentioned above that many people search for a natural eczema treatment. I consider Basix Skin Defence Cream to be one of the best cream’s for eczema that I have come across, predominantly containing natural ingredients and one that is without any side effects.

Basix Skin Defence Cream contains the fruit extracts from Kigelia Africana, also known as the sausage tree. Indigenous to Africa and Australia, the tree is easy to identify with the unusual brownish grey sausage like fruits which dangle from its branches. The sausage tree fruits have been used by the locals and by African healers for hundreds of years to treat numerous skin concerns including inflammatory skin concerns such as eczema, leg ulcers and skin sores.

Along with the anecdotal evidence from traditional use, there exists a body of evidence backing up the sausage tree’s efficacy. Research conducted at The King’s College Hospital in London and The University of Natal in South Africa has begun to shed light on why the sausage tree is beneficial for a variety of skin concerns.

Kigelia Africana inhibits the thriving of a number of micro-organisms which include:

  • Staph. aureus known to cause skin abscesses and impetigo
  • Candida species responsible for athlete’s foot and thrush
  • E. coli known to be responsible for various skin concerns including skin infections and abscesses

Aside from the extract of the sausage tree, Basix Skin Defence Cream contains Australian Kakadu Plum which is a rich source of vitamin C. Vitamin C brightens and freshens up dull looking skin; helps fade age spots and dark spots and displays potent antibacterial properties making it very useful to prevent and treat acne. Kakadu Plum contains a powerful blend of antioxidants to protect skin from ageing free radicals.

Aloe Vera is included in the formulation of Skin Defence Cream in order to encourage the healing process whilst lemon extract works to exfoliate dry skin associated with eczema and psoriasis. A myriad of oils including olive oil, flaxseed oil and Castor seed oil work to moisturise dry skin helping to restore the ceramides in skin which prevent dehydration.

The combination of these potent plant extracts and oils works to form a protective, yet invisible layer, on skin which comforts, repairs, soothes redness and relieves itching so commonly associated with eczema. Basix Skin Defence Cream can also be used to treat acne, nappy rash, psoriasis, scarring, burns and blisters.

Basix skin repair cream is suitable for use in babies, toddlers and adults and can be used anywhere on the face, knees, hands and scalp to relieve the dryness which accompanies eczema. It is non-greasy, does not stain clothes and is free from steroids, cortisone, paraben, lanolin, artificial colours and synthetic fragrances.

Since inflammation is responsible for dry skin and dry skin in turn can cause skin irritation and itching, it is prudent to use a good omega 3 fish oil supplement such as 100% Organic Scandinavian Rainbow Trout Oil by Viridian Nutrition, a high strength citrus flavour fish oil liquid with natural organic orange and lemon oils. I am an advocate of obtaining omega 3 fats from krill oil, however for skin conditions such as eczema, fish oils appear to work more effectively and this may be due to the specific type of omega 3’s found in fish oils. Fish oils contain triglyceride form of omega 3’s as opposed to phospholipids found in krill. Rainbow Trout Oil is suitable for both adults and children and unlike many fish oils, it is free from heavy metals and toxins.

How to prevent eczema breakouts

Sufferers should always try to keep the affected skin moisturised. Do not use highly fragranced or chemical laden hair and body care products. Use gentle washing and bathing products such as Botanical Therapeutic Shampoo & Body Wash. This extra mild formulation is suitable form head to toe and is free from SLS and paraben.

People who change their diet often find great benefits. An eczema diet ideally should avoid processed foods if possible. Bacon, tinned food, frozen preserved food, white sugar and flour are typically to be avoided. Severe eczema may also require the abstinence of wheat and gluten. There are many eczema diets that you can read about however most of these are simply too strict or very hard to follow. I believe that if you cannot completely abstain from the foods mentioned above, at least moderate their intake which should not be difficult.

With the correct use of supplements, creams and a reasonably healthy diet, you can control eczema and prevent outbreaks.

This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner.

Hair Skin Nails, Shabir Daya | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
  • Shan Kelly

    my (now 5) daughter came down with horrid eczema from about 1.5 years old. After changing water systems, going chemical free etc we found a course of homeopathy and the amazing HOPE’S RELIEF, changed our life. HR doesn’t cure eczema but takes the itch out of it almost immediately and this was what was waking her (us) up for nearly 3 years. the fact that she started to get a whole night’s sleep changed everything for us… I am almost crying thinking back to those dark days and long nights. I am never without a tube of it and have given it to so many people who have all had a positive response to it.

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Shan, so glad to hear that Hope’s Relief cream worked to relieve the symptoms. I do however believe that Kerecis Xma is one step ahead of everything that is currently on the market because it strengthens the skin barrier and hence minimises the impact of allergens from within the body as well as though from external sources. Shabir

  • Shan Kelly

    Shabir, I am constantly on the look out and open to all suggestions! I am going to order some Kerecis Xma today. I will also share this with a friend of a friend, whose baby twins are covered head to toe, very very distressing for all. Thank you.

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Shan, completely understand how distressing eczema is especially when you have to watch children itching constantly. Do keep me informed about the results. Shabir

  • Victoria Health

    Thanks for the tip Daneila.

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Jane, certainly SD is not a concern that can simply be eradicated and one that may or may not ever completely go away. Stress and low immunity are some of the causes thought to be involved. Though the Malassezia yeast is not the same as the fungi responsible for thrush, there is nevertheless justification regarding the use of Horopito and aniseed capsules which is a great antifungal and antimicribial supplement. Topically many report favourable results using Scalp Relief Shampoo and Conditioner by Derma E which contains salicylic acid to remove flakes and tea tree and neem which are known for their antimicrobial properties. You may also consider the use of Silver Serum on the face since silver calms inflammation and is one of the oldest antimicrobial agents. Best wishes Shabir

  • Jane ward

    Thanks Shabir for your suggestions I will definitely try them would you recommend any of The Ordinary products to treat the scaring In the area under my eyebrow or any other cream ?

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Jane, thank you for your response. I would suggest you try the Sheald Recovery Balm by iS Clinical to be used morning and evening. Shabir

  • karissa Dalrymple

    His Shabir, Are there any particular ingredients that you are aware of that are common causes of contact dermatitis? I’ve developed eczema on my eyes which I am guessing is due to a reaction. I’ve no idea what I’ve stripped back everything I use but I Am now scared of what I can use. I am still having flare ups, they are very dry and swollen. I am desperate for moisture as they are so dry. The doctor has prescribed steroids which I am reluctant to use for obvious reasons on my eyes. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Victoria Health

    Dear Karissa, chemicals in hair products and bathing products are triggers to contact dermatitis as are cosmetics including eyeshadow, mascara and sunscreens. It is very difficult to ascertain exactly however stripping everything back is a good idea. It might be prudent to use Dry Eye Gel by Skinshop to help alleviate dryness. This light gel also contains cardiospermum which is known to calm inflammation associated with eczema and dermatitis.

  • Emily Heap

    Hi Shabir,

    I am suffering topical steroid withdrawal on my face, arms and chest. I had some mild patches of eczema on my eye lids and on various places on my arms and chest. I used Dermovate to control it not knowing how potent it was (my mum gave it to me so it was not on my own prescription).

    I used it on my face for a number of months (around 8 months or so). I noticed my skin getting thin and ageing so at that point I decided to google this cream and see if that was causing it. When I googled it, it said it is one of the most potent steroid creams you can get and never should be used on the face :(. I stopped using it immediately but since then (around 4 weeks ago) I have had the worst skin I’ve ever had. My face and arms and chest are full of red itchy welts which sometimes tingle as well. My skin is also VERY dry. I can’t wear any make up or anything to cover it as it totally dries it out.

    I went to visit my niece a few weeks ago and she gave me a pot of her leftover Kerecis XMA. It is so far the best thing I have used on it in that it soothes and calms the skin. It got quiet a bit better but has flared up again in the last few days into red welts and itching badly.

    I wanted to ask is this a good option in this case? It’s technically not eczema anymore that I’m suffering from, it is the symptoms of steroid withdrawal.

    Also I’m not sure when my niece opened the pot but it was quite a while ago and the pot says to discard after 4 weeks, could it cause issues to use it if it is expired?

    Thanks in advance for any help!


  • Victoria Health

    Hi Emily, Kerecis XMA is an excellent topical to help manage the symptoms of eczema, or any other inflammatory skin concern, and to encourage the repair process. Steroidal creams are known to thin the skin layer meaning that the next outbreak is often worse than the previous one. I would recommend keeping the pot in the fridge but if it is a long while then maybe purchase a new pot in case this one has bacterial proliferation. Shabir

  • lu

    Hi Shabir,

    I would really appreciate if you can give me advice on my problem. My 6 year old daughter has occasionally suffered with flaky skin behind her left ear, the crease on top of the ear that joins head to ear. These flakes would eventually peel off and reveal raw skin, then crust over again and eventually heal. However now the ear has been like this for nearly a month and as i tried all of the things i usually do and seem to help I am starting to feel desperate. It looks like its getting better and then it gets worse again.
    Things that have helped before- gently cleaning behind ear with cotton wool soaked in freshly made sage/chamomille herbal infusion, drop of tea tree oil mixed with oil, Balmology soothing comfort cream and sometimes Colloidal silver spray.
    Supplements she regularly uses are Cod liver oil and probiotics.
    Is there anything else I could try?
    Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,


  • Victoria Health

    Dear Lu, may I suggest that you stop using all topical products (with the exception of gentle cleansing) and use just one – Botanical Therapeutics Skin Cream Plus by Carina Organics. Skin Cream Plus is a unique cream aimed at all types of dermatitis and inflammatory skin concerns including eczema and psoriasis. The cream contains water soluble extracts of echinacea, calendula, nettles and other herbs to calm down inflammation. It also contains base oils to replace lipids within skin and unique to this cream is the addition of gums from conifers such as pine and spruce which encourage of healing of inflamed cells. Please let me know how you get along with this.
    Best wishes,