(NaturalNews) Eczema is a chronic skin condition also known as atopic eczema. It is a common problem among children and babies, but it can also affect adults. Contrary to popular belief, keeping a dog may actually be a natural remedy for childhood eczema. Essential oils can also help to combat this skin condition.
Eczema is characterized by itchy bumps or skin rashes that may weep and crust over. Other symptoms include thick, scaly skin, which may crack when the weather is cold. In children, eczema often occurs on the face, head, neck and limbs and may become worse when commonly used soaps, shampoos and other personal care products are used on the skin. This is because these products often contain synthetic chemicals, which can irritate the sensitive skin of sufferers.
Parents of children with eczema are often told to keep their children away from dogs and other animals. However, according to Dr. Tolly Epstein, an allergist and author of a study on children with eczema, household pets can affect the chances that a baby will develop eczema. In her study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, dogs may actually prevent eczema in kids with allergies. It would seem that dogs may have the effect of stimulating and supporting the immune systems of children.
Children allergic to dogs were less likely to develop eczema by age four if they lived with a dog before the age of one, compared to children who lived in a pet-free home. The same is not true when it comes to cats, however. Kids with cat allergies were thirteen times more likely to develop eczema by the age of four if living in a home with cats in the first year of life.
Essential oils can help eczema sufferers
Medical drugs that can be used topically for eczema abound on the market. Many of these come with harmful side effects and, in many cases, are only partially effective. Essential oils can help eczema sufferers because they gently moisturize the skin and can improve the immune system. Use only the best, therapeutic grade essential oils that are not adulterated with synthetic chemicals. Dilute with a carrier oil such as olive oil or jojoba oil first.
The best oils to use in treating eczema include chamomile, rose, tea tree oil, juniper, rosemary, lavender and patchouli.
It is recommended that eczema sufferers visit a naturopathic practitioner or homeopath for a full evaluation before administering any treatment at home.
Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about natural, healthy living and is currently studying to be a naturopath. She divides her time between writing for Natural News and various other sites, home schooling her children and studying part time.