My Natural Eczema Skin Care Routine (No Steroids)
I recently had an eczema flare-up because of the Epstein-Barr virus.
After being eczema-free for 6 months, and while I'd been taking the best care of my body as I possibly could, this came as a very unpleasant surprise.
After the EBV diagnosis, I decided there's no time to waste, and I started doing research. I reread the Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal's chapter on EBV — cause ya know, knowledge is power — and learnt how viruses and viral byproducts can overburden the liver.
When your liver gets overwhelmed with toxic compounds (like viral byproducts) and it struggles to eliminate those, it can cleverly redirect these toxins to be eliminated by another organ — which is often the skin. Since the skin is our largest organ, it's is an 'easy' alternative way out. Although I definitely agree it's not the most pleasant way out. Skin breakouts are no fun.
So, for the past three weeks, I've been on an intense skin rescue protocol. I got time off work, started Medical Medium's 28-day raw vegan cleanse, added in some liver-supporting and immune-strengthening supplements, and reprioritized sleep and self-care.
And I'm so glad I did this for myself.
Now that I'm feeling better, I thought it'd be a good time to write a post about how I take care of my skin when I'm having an eczema flare-up. I hope it helps you in some way.
Definitely don't hold back with any questions you may have. I'm very passionate about this topic, so I love to help.
PS. The links in this article refer to where you can find these products in Belgium, but I've also included links for my favourite high-quality USA products at the bottom of this page in the Notes section.
Much love + good vibes your way,
MY NATURAL ECZEMA SKIN CARE ROUTINE FOR SOOTHING RED, DRY, INFLAMED AND ITCHY SKIN
Right after I wake up, I rinse my face and inflamed spots with water and I gently dip dry with a towel. Immediately after, I apply a natural aloe vera gel (which prevents my skin from drying out), and immediately after that, I apply a soothing lotion. (1) As the third and final layer, I apply a rich balm (2) or a nourishing oil like argan or coconut oil as the 'final coating', to protect my skin from external influences. (3)
During the day
During the day, whenever my skin gets dry, I rinse my hands with water to make sure there's minimal dust or bacteria on there, and then I apply more aloe vera gel and/ or soothing lotion as much as I need.
When my skin is inflamed, it really helps to take a light shower in the evening to rinse of the dust of the day — not too hot though, and with no soaps — I only use a mild, natural shampoo when necessary. (4) When I come out of the shower, I follow the same protocol as during the morning (i.e. aloe vera — lotion — balm or oil). I wait to put my clothes on until my skin is no longer greasy. This allows my skin to take in the plant extracts, calm down from the shower, and breathe before I put on clothes.
MORE SKIN CARE PRACTICES TO SUPPORT ELIMINATION VIA THE SKIN
When you have inflamed skin, supporting it to eliminate toxins can be super helpful and will visibly speed up the healing process. You can do this by stimulation through movement, exposure to sunlight, taking a sauna or a hot salt bath.
If you've never tried a sauna, now is your time! Saunas stimulate detoxification via the skin, improves your lymphatic system, fights infections, and it strengthens your immune system in general. For treating skin disorders, I can especially recommend an infrared sauna (milder, drier warmth) and a himalayan salt stone sauna (rich air mineralisation). (5)
Another way to support your skin is by taking a hot salt bath with raw salt, magnesium chloride (6), organic extra virgin olive oil, and optionally a few drops of essential oil like chamomile (soothing, esp. for the irritated, dry, sensitive skin), ylang ylang (esp. for the treatment of acne, stimulates cell renewal), or lavender (disinfecting, soothing).
Lastly, but only if this feels right for you, you can try dry skin brushing or scrubbing your skin mildly. This will remove dead skin cells, stimulate cell renewal, and stimulate your lymphatic system (important for detoxification). I don't recommend brushing or scrubbing if your skin is severely inflamed, as this can crack open wounds and let more bacteria in. But if your skin is quite strong, you can try a mild scrub or use a towel to gently brush your skin using circular motions.
WHAT TO AVOID
When your skin is already inflamed, it's easy to understand that you'll want to avoid adding even more to the toxic overload. Here's some basic tips to keep in mind:
- Opt for soft fabric clothes and bed sheets like organic cotton, bamboo, hemp or linen
- Wash your clothes with soap nuts and essential oils (like lavender, lemongrass, tea tree, or pine) instead of laundry detergent
- Avoid synthetic additives in cosmetics and opt for organic, eco-certified products instead
- As a rule of thumb, you could choose to not apply anything on your skin that you wouldn't put in your mouth. Our skin is our largest organ, and what we put onto it, we absorb!
- Avoid drinking tap water and get fresh spring water from a local source, or alternatively, buy glass-bottled spring water
- Avoid chemical food additives and processed foods like refined oils and sugar, as these add to the internal toxic load.
SUPPORTING YOUR SKIN FROM THE INSIDE OUT
If you have a challenged skin, of course it's also essential to take care of your body internally, so that it's provided with all the nutrients it needs to function, regenerate, and effectively eliminate waste.
Eczema and psoriasis are often signs that the body has difficulty eliminating toxins via the digestive system. So making sure your intestines are clear and able to function effectively, will make that less toxins will be redirected to your skin. This will give your skin a break, and will give it the opportunity to heal.
Basically, if you avoid toxins, keep your four exits clear (i.e. skin, lungs, bladder and large intestine), eat more fresh fruits & vegetables, stay hydrated, supplement where necessary, get enough sunlight, and make time to rest and relax, you're on your way to a healthy body and a happy skin.
I want to keep this blogpost readable so I'll dive deeper into the hows and whys of supporting your skin from the inside out in my next post. Stay tuned. I love you ♥
What's your skin care practice? Feel free to share your best practice tips with us in the comments!
(1) I really like the Repair Lotion from a brand called Odylique. Alternatively, I use the Belle d'amour Antioxidant Day & Night Cream by the Belgian brand Cîme. Both products are certified organic and vegan. For USA: WiseWays Herbals' Schizandra Face & Body Lotion is a truly great product, with a clean & vegan ingredient list, purely made with organic oils and plant extracts.
(2) Odylique's Ultra Rich Balm is absolutely amazing for this. It's super nourishing, it's organic, and it only contains 5 ingredients. For USA: WiseWays Herbals' Lemon Balm Salve is really amazing for soothing and healing eczema and psoriasis!
(3) Tip for soothing itchy and inflamed skin: in the palm of your hand, mix a dab of extra virgin coconut oil w/ 2 drops of essential oil of chamomile and apply to the affected areas.
(4) I like to use Weleda's shampoo & body wash for children because they're rich & creamy and my skin doesn't react to it.
(5) You can use both saunas in Hezemeer in Laakdal, Belgium.
(6) Superfoodmarkt.nl has the cheapest magnesiumflakes, and you can buy in bulk.