Eczema, which is also known as dermatitis, is a condition that affects the skin, making it dry, irritated and excruciatingly itchy. The cause of eczema is theorized to be related to an autoimmune dysfunction. Stress, diet, genetics and topical factors all play a role in eczema outbreaks. Fortunately, there are remedies that help with eczema (atopic dermatitis) symptoms.
Aloe vera is one of about 400 species of aloe, a succulent plant grown in the Caribbean, South Africa and South America, and is a common houseplant in the United States and other countries. It has been used for thousands of years to soothe the skin and aid in healing, but its soothing properties were only recently discovered in the United States, about 60 years ago.
If eczema is on your scalp, use an aloe vera shampoo daily. If eczema is on your body, use an aloe vera soap daily, then follow with an aloe vera gel or lotion.
You may also use pure aloe by cutting the tip off an aloe plant and rubbing the gel directly on the skin, or by scooping out the slimy inside of the plant and pureeing in the blender, then applying to the skin. To harvest fresh aloe:
Remove a whole aloe leaf from the plant. Take an outer leaf and remove it as near the trunk as possible. Cut a slit down the middle and allow the yellow latex to drain. The latex has other uses but is not good for irritated skin and might cause inflammation in some people.
If you want to use the aloe immediately, use a serrated knife to remove the thick skin. This will take some practice but after a few tries you will be able to remove the skin and end up with a nice thick piece of gel. and rinse the gel under cold water. If you are using aloe arborescens, it is not necessary to drain the leaves. You can open the leaf and apply the gel directly. Cut a piece of the gel and apply it directly to the skin as needed, avoiding the eyes. The gel will keep for about a week if stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Why It Works
Aloe vera is a deep moisturizer, able to penetrate the skin quickly. It leaves a thin layer on top of the skin, sealing in moisture and leaving skin softer and smoother. It also has anti-inflammatory and healing properties, reducing irritation and aiding in skin renewal.
Always let a doctor diagnose your eczema; you need to rule out infection and other skin conditions that require medical care. In rare cases aloe may cause an allergic reaction, resulting in a skin rash.