Natural remedies, such as aloe vera gel, honey, and acupressure, may help manage eczema. Other natural remedies for eczema include colloidal oatmeal, coconut oil, and more.

People often use “eczema” interchangeably with “atopic dermatitis,” which is the term for the most common type.

Eczema can affect people of all races and ethnicities. One estimate suggests that 13% of Asian American and Pacific Islander people, 13% of Native American people, 11% of white people, and 10% of Black or African American people may have the condition.

Eczema can cause the skin to appear chapped. The condition may appear red on lighter skin tones, or brown, purple, or gray on darker skin tones.

People cannot cure eczema permanently, but home remedies and natural treatments can soothe the dry, itchy skin it can cause.

This article explores the best natural remedies for eczema.

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1. Aloe vera gel

Aloe vera gel comes from the leaves of the aloe plant. People have used aloe vera gel for centuries to treat a wide range of ailments, including to soothe eczema.

A 2017 systematic review looked at the effects of aloe vera on human health. The researchers reported that the gel:

The antibacterial and antimicrobial effects can help prevent skin infections, which are more likely to occur when a person has dry, cracked skin. Aloe’s wound-healing properties may help soothe broken skin and promote healing.

Learn more about whether aloe vera gel can help treat eczema.

2. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for many conditions, including skin conditions.

The National Eczema Association (NEA) reports that apple cider vinegar could help with eczema. However, the organization recommends caution because the vinegar’s acids can damage soft tissue.

Always dilute apple cider vinegar before applying it to the skin. Undiluted vinegar can cause chemical burns or other injuries.

People can use the vinegar in wet wraps or baths. It is available in most supermarkets and health stores.

Learn more about whether apple cider vinegar can help treat eczema.

3. Bleach in the bath

Although it may sound dangerous, research suggests that a mild bleach bath may help ease eczema symptoms because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.

Bleach can kill the bacteria on the skin’s surface, including Staphylococcus aureus, which causes staph infections. This may help restore the microbiome of the skin’s surface. A 2018 review concluded that bleach baths could reduce the need for topical corticosteroid or antibiotic treatments. However, other research found no benefits of bleach baths compared with regular baths.

If someone experiences discomfort, irritation, or skin discoloration after a bleach bath, they should stop having bleach baths.

Learn more about whether bleach baths can help treat eczema.

4. Colloidal oatmeal

Colloidal oatmeal, also known as Avena sativa, comes from oats ground and boiled to extract their skin-healing properties.

A 2015 study found that colloidal oatmeal lotion had antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which resulted in reductions in:

People can try adding powdered colloidal oatmeal to a warm bath and soaking the affected areas.

Learn about whether oatmeal baths can help treat eczema.

5. Baths

Bathing provides the skin with essential moisture and is an important part of eczema treatment. When a person has a skin condition such as eczema, their skin needs extra moisture because the outer layer does not function as it should.

For some, washing often can dry out the skin and make eczema worse. This can occur when a person:

  • uses water that is too hot or cold
  • uses soap that irritates their skin
  • does not moisturize afterward

However, people should avoid bathing too frequently. For example, most babies and children need bathing only once or twice per week.

6. Coconut oil

Coconut oil contains beneficial fatty acids that can add moisture to the skin, which can help people with dry skin and eczema.

Additionally, virgin coconut oil may protect the skin by helping to prevent inflammation and improving the health of the skin barrier.

Learn more about how to use coconut oil for eczema.

7. Honey

Honey is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent, and people have used it to heal wounds for centuries.

A 2015 review suggests that honey can help heal wounds and boost immune system function, which means that it may help the body fight off infections.

Another review states that honey is useful for treating a variety of skin ailments, including burns and wounds, and that it has antibacterial properties.

Learn more about how honey might help with eczema.

8. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree. People sometimes use this oil to help with skin problems, including eczema.

A 2012 review states that the oil has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and wound-healing properties. However, it is not clear if it may have a direct effect on eczema symptom reduction.

Learn more about whether tea tree oil can treat eczema.

In addition to topical treatments, certain lifestyle changes and strategies may help ease eczema symptoms.

9. Dietary changes

Eczema is an inflammatory condition that causes inflamed, sore skin. Certain foods can cause or reduce inflammation, so making key dietary changes could help reduce eczema flares.

It may be helpful to eat more anti-inflammatory foods, such as:

10. Gentle soaps and detergents

Laundry detergent can contain harsh chemicals that aggravate eczema.

Many body washes and cleansers contain detergents, which help provide a soapy lather. Detergents and other lathering agents can dry out the skin, especially in people with eczema.

Try using a gentle, no-lather, fragrance-free cleanser. Avoid products with rough particles for scrubbing or exfoliating, as these can further irritate the skin.

Learn about soaps to use with eczema.

11. Avoid strong heat sources

Sitting next to a fireplace or heater may feel good, but it can worsen eczema symptoms. Heat and low humidity from internal heating can dry the skin, worsening eczema symptoms. Quickly moving from cold to warm temperatures, such as coming in from the cold in winter, can also worsen eczema flares.

Maintaining consistent home temperatures and using humidifiers to maintain air moisture can help reduce these occurrences.

Learn about the link between sweat and eczema.

12. Skin protection in cold weather

Cold, harsh winter winds can dry out the skin and cause eczema flares.

Keep the skin covered when temperatures are low. Also, consider covering the face with a scarf if eczema occurs on the face.

Learn more about preventing eczema flares in winter.

13. Acupressure

Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but it does not require needles, and a person can do it at home.

In a small 2011 trial of 15 adults with moderate to severe eczema, one group applied acupressure with a BB-like pellet to an acupuncture point on their elbow three times per week for 4 weeks.

They reported significantly less itchiness and more skin improvement than those who did not use acupressure.

However, experts need to conduct further research to determine the effectiveness of acupressure for eczema relief.

14. Comfortable fabrics

Polyester, nylon, and other synthetic fabrics, as well as wool, may irritate the skin. Rough seams, zippers, and other fasteners may also be an irritant.

Clothes made with 100% cotton may be the best option for people with eczema because cotton is soft and lets the skin breathe.

Other comfortable, breathable fabrics include bamboo, which is also antibacterial, and silk.

15. Avoid scratching

Repeatedly scratching irritated skin may make healing more difficult. Sometimes, people may not even be aware that they are scratching.

Some people with eczema in the United Kingdom found a combination of topical treatment and habit reversal training helpful for preventing scratching.

Habit reversal therapy is a cognitive behavioral therapy that helps people become aware of when they are scratching and instead do a different action, called a competing response.

16. Stress management

Stress is a common trigger for eczema flares.

The NEA recommends trying the following to help reduce stress:

  • learning to say “no” in order to avoid being overwhelmed
  • avoiding drinking alcohol
  • spending time in nature
  • exercising regularly
  • expressing feelings to other people

Learn more about stress and stress management.

While many home remedies are suitable for babies and children, always consult a doctor before trying them.

The following home remedies and tips may help:

  • Avoid dressing a baby or child too warmly. Sweating can aggravate eczema or cause heat rash, making itching worse.
  • Use mittens to prevent infants from scratching their skin.
  • Frequently apply a gentle moisturizer to the affected areas, taking care not to get it in the eyes or nose.
  • Ask a doctor before using apple cider vinegar or bleach when bathing a baby or child.
  • Colloidal oatmeal baths are generally safe for children, but keep the bath water out of their eyes.
  • Avoid bathing infants too frequently.
  • Use fragrance- and alcohol-free baby wipes.
  • Use baby shampoos suitable for children with eczema.

Eczema does not yet have a cure, but people can often manage their symptoms with home remedies, including natural gels and oils, therapeutic baths, and dietary changes.

If eczema is severe or does not respond to home treatments, a person may want to consult a doctor. People should always seek prompt medical attention if a child or baby develops a new rash.

A doctor may prescribe steroid creams or other prescription medications to treat the inflammation.

Read this article in Spanish.