This is a bit of a different post for me, as usually everything I do on here is either book or baby related, and this is more of a lifestyle post I guess.
In some ways it is baby related: I think my recent flare up of eczema is down to pregnancy hormones (which are apparently responsible for every weird thing my body does these days).
Being pregnant and also having super sensitive skin, it can be hard to find something to soothe my itchy skin, so I thought I’d share my tips for those in a similar position.
- Don’t Itch!
Literally everything you’ll read will tell you this, and I know it’s obvious, but it’s so important I think it’s worth emphasising. Sometimes I am so tempted because I know how good it will feel for the few seconds that I’m scratching – I had a session the other day that felt so good I swear it was orgasmic. But, the relief is short lived, and you know it’s going to be short lived, so don’t give in to that temptation.
Keep your nails cut short so you don’t break skin if you do happen to scratch. If you’re a secret night scratcher then try wearing cotton gloves to bed. And most of all, try to stop thinking about how much it itches. Easier said than done, I know, but I’ve found things so much easier when I’m constantly thinking about scratching my skin.
- Try an oatmeal bath
This is my favourite discovery from this eczema breakout. I did a lot of Googling to try and find something to soothe my skin when it was at its worst – bright red and itchy all over. And a lot of people suggested an oatmeal bath.
There’s two ways to do this. The first is with colloidal oatmeal, which is basically really fine oatmeal – the first time I did it I used Ready Brek, as that was what we had in the cupboard and I figured it was about the same thing. Since, I’ve bought whole oats and used a food processor to blend them into a fine powder. Run yourself a bath – lukewarm, not hot, as hot water will irritate your skin even more – and add a generous cupful of oatmeal.
The second way is with whole oats. You can do this by filling a muslin cloth or the foot of some old tights with oats, and tying a knot in it so they can’t escape. Let this sit in the bath with you – give it the occasional squeeze to bring out some of it’s goodness – and make sure it doesn’t burst, otherwise that’s a horrible mess you’ll have to clean up!
Either way, soak in the bath for a good 20-30 minutes. I found it really relaxing, even with the odd bit of chunky oatmeal finding its way between my toes! When you’re done, climb out – carefully if you’ve used the fine oatmeal, as it can get slippy – then pat, rather than rub, yourself dry, and slap on a ton of your favourite moisturiser.
Oatmeal baths are a great way to naturally soothe and heal your skin. You can pimp it out a bit if you’re feeling more adventurous:
- add some baking soda for even more itch relief (more on that in a moment)
- add some essential oils, such as lavender or lemon – but only if you’re sure this isn’t going to irritate your skin more
- add a cup of milk for some extra creamy goodness – I know this is just starting to sound like breakfast in a bathtub, but it’s good, I promise!
- Use baking soda
Baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, is the secret miracle in your cupboard. Not only is it good for baking with, as you probably already know, but it’s great as a natural cleaning product, and for some good old itch relief.
As mentioned earlier, you can chuck some into your oatmeal bath, or even just have a baking soda bath by itself. Again, I’d use a generous cupful in lukewarm water, relax until you’re done and then repeat with the patting dry and moisturising.
For a more instant relief, try making a paste with water. I used a tablespoon of baking soda with a splash of water and rubbed it on the worst offending areas. It sounded bizarre and I wasn’t convinced it would work but it really did! Let it dry on your skin, then wash off with lukewarm water, pat dry and moisturise.
I wouldn’t recommend using baking soda on broken skin or if you’re having a really bad flare up, but this would work wonders on things like bug bites too.
I’ve mentioned it casually in most of these points, but it deserves one of its own as well. When I’m having bad eczema my skin is usually painfully dry and constant moisturising is key to the healing process, as well as soothing for hot, painful skin. I tend to use Norwegian Formula Deep Moisturiser (this isn’t sponsored by them, I just like it!) and also Sudocrem when it gets really bad (that cream is a miracle cure for anything). I’d experiment and see what works best for you though, as everyone’s skin is different.
These are my top tips for more natural/home remedies for eczema and general itch relief. If symptoms persist I’d always recommend getting advice from your doctor or a pharmacist.