My youngest daughter has had eczema for most of her life. It isn’t a terrible case; it’s confined mostly to her legs and she has never gotten an infection from it. Still, it always hurts my heart a little to see the red, itchy patches of eczema on her thighs and behind her knees.
Summer gives her a slight reprieve. The humid air doesn’t dry her skin out quite as badly as the dry, cool weather we will experience in the autumn and winter. Since we’ve been dealing with this for enough years that I’m aware of her patterns now, I’m trying extra hard to get her eczema under control before winter arrives.
Ideas for Controlling Eczema
There are a few things we’ve done to help control her eczema:
- Cutting down on bath frequency (especially in the winter when she isn’t playing outside as much)
- Putting her on a dairy-free diet (this is incredibly helpful, although grass-fed dairy is far better than conventional)
- Foregoing harsh soaps (learn to make your own soap here)
- Making our own mild laundry detergent
- Having her sleep in long pants to minimize nighttime scratching
- Keeping her skin moisturized
To keep her skin moisturized, we have tried nearly every lotion we could find. Even with all the products we’ve used, I’ve never found an eczema cream that did anything but give her slightly softer eczema. Many store-bought eczema creams are petroleum-based, anyway, which means they’re not environmentally friendly and not as good for skin as their marketing claims. (You guys probably already knew that, but if you’d like to read more, check out this article.) There are “greener” products available, but I’ve never found them particularly effective, either.
This year I’ve given up on store-bought brands and am making my own homemade eczema cream for her. I’m able to use natural, plant-based ingredients (except for the honey) and have a more effective lotion, too.
Homemade Eczema Cream
- Double boiler or a makeshift double boiler (find real double boilers here)
- Wide-mouth mason jar (or a similar container – just make sure you can fit your hand into it)
- Hand mixer (like this) or stand mixer (like this)
- ½ cup pure shea butter (find organic unrefined shea butter here)
- ½ cup coconut oil (find organic unrefined coconut oil here)
- 1 tablespoon honey (use local or find organic raw honey here)
- 40 drops lavender essential oil (find 100% pure lavender EO here)
- 5-10 drops tea tree essential oil (find 100% pure tea tree EO here)
Using a double boiler or similar setup (I used a small pot in a larger pot), melt down the shea butter and coconut oil until they’re combined. Next, add the honey and allow it to melt. When everything is in a liquid state, add the lavender and tea tree oils and stir to combine.
Allow your mixture to cool slightly so that it will begin to solidify. If, like me, you are prone to impatience, you can put the solution in the refrigerator. (If you are as impatient as I am, you may be tempted to use the freezer. I will warn against that only because I’ve done that before, and I ended up with a too-solid mixture that I had to melt back down, which began the whole process again.) When your solution has thickened up, but is still liquid, go ahead and give it the first round of mixing. I prefer a hand-held mixer, but a stand mixer would work, too. Mix for several minutes until the color has lightened and the solution has a frothy appearance. As the solution solidifies, mix every ten minutes or so, until it is at its peak solid state (similar to a lotion consistency). Mix one more time and transfer to the mason jar or other container.
You can store this at room temperature or in the refrigerator, depending on how solid you would like it to remain.
As always, when using a new product on your skin, use sparingly at first to be sure that your skin reacts well. After you’ve determined that your skin reacts well, apply once or twice a day over the affected area.
Why these ingredients?
- Shea butter is a fat that is derived from the nut of the shea tree. It is incredibly moisturizing and has healing properties, so it helps with the dry skin associated with eczema.
- Coconut oil contains a lot of good fats, too, and is another moisturizer. It’s also full of Vitamin E!
- Honey moisturizes the skin and also has antibacterial properties. Two for one!
- Lavender essential oil smells great, but it also has soothing and healing properties for skin.
- Tea tree oil helps prevent the infections that often occur from scratching at eczema.
The Final Product
When you’re finished with your homemade eczema cream, you should have a soft, creamy lotion that smells of lavender and shea butter. It will also look exactly like buttercream frosting, but won’t taste nearly as good on cupcakes.
I hope it works as well for you as it has for us!
Want More Help With Eczema?
~ A NOTE FROM MATT & BETSY ~
Our friend Emily over at Holistic Squid has written an awesome eBook, called The Eczema Cure, about healing eczema from the inside out. She’s a holistic practitioner who has had success healing her own daughter’s eczema. You can learn more about her eBook and get it here.