What is Dermatitis?
Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin that can be the result of any number of skin conditions, but usually stems from allergic reactions. Symptoms may vary between different forms of dermatitis, and they can range from rashes to blisters but always include red skin, swelling, itching, and sometimes lesions, oozing, and scarring. Eczema is another common type of dermatitis, known as atopic dermatitis; eczema is a chronic condition where dermatitis is typically temporary. While dermatitis can be a miserable skin condition, there are many natural remedies for it that our readers have reported over the years.
What Causes Dermatitis?
Along with allergies, dermatitis can be caused by skin irritations from soap, laundry detergents, and bleach. Typical allergens that cause dermatitis can be rubber, metal in jewelry, cosmetics, and perfumes. The necessary level of exposure needed to cause an allergic reaction may be brief or prolonged, it depends on the person's sensitivity to the substance.
Natural Remedies for Dermatitis
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is a highly effective and easy cure for dermatitis. Please see this entire page devoted to this topic!
Calendula Oil or Salve
Calendula Oil is made by infusing an oil with calendula flowers. Calendula flowers have anti fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties! Calendula Oil is soothing to the skin and gentle and powerful at the same time. Look for a product with few ingredients and from a trusted company. Better yet, make your own!
How to Make your Own Calendula Oil
- You will need dried calendula flowers. Good quality dried petals will be bright yellow-orange. Older dried flowers will only have a faded yellow color.
- Fill a mason jar with your calendula flowers.
- Cover the calendula flowers with an oil you know suits your skin. Organic olive oil or almond oil are good choices.
- Cap the jar. Shake daily for 2 weeks.
- After the flowers and oil have steeped, strain the oil out of the flowers through a square of old white t-shirt.
- Now you have a delicious smelling and wonderfully healing calendula oil! You can add some vitamin E to it to help preserve it, but it will last 6 months to a year anyway.
- To make it last longer, keep most of it in the refrigerator, and get an ounce or two out at a time to keep in your bathroom.
- Store in a dark jar or dark place. Use this oil twice daily.
If you are in a hurry for your oil, it can be made in a crock pot.
- Put the jar (with the flowers and oil in it) on a towel in a crock pot.
- Fill crock pot with water but leave the lid of the jar out of the water. (You don't want water to get into the oil.)
- Put crock pot on low for 3 days.
- You will need to refill the water as it will evaporate.
- When you are away at work all day or sleeping at night it may be safest to keep the crock pot on the warm setting.
- After 3 days, strain your oil through a piece of clean white cotton t-shirt.
High Quality Oils Internally and Externally for Dermatitis
Cocoa butter, castor oil, coconut oil and borage oil have all helped dermatitis sufferers. These oils can be used topically. All are rich and healing oils. Look for organic and cold pressed varieties. Try only one new oil at a time on your skin. While it may be tempting to mix them together (and that may be helpful!) test each oil by itself to make sure it suits your skin. When you know which oils agree with you, you can mix them if you like. (Cocoa butter would need to be gently warmed to be mixed with other oils. It is quite hard at room temperature.)
Borage oil and coconut oil can also be taken internally. Both can be found in capsule form. Coconut oil is also easy to incorporate into your diet and tubs of coconut oil are available in most grocery stores and health food stores.
Go to the Beach!
Perhaps the must fun remedy for dermatitis is a beach trip. Some have found that ocean water helps to heal their dermatitis. A little bit of sunshine is also good for the skin. If a beach trip is not an option, epsom salt baths are an option to get minerals into the body and on the skin. Add 1 cup of epsom salt to a warm bath and soak. A brief time in the sunshine most days can be accomplished by most people. If you will be in the sunshine for extended periods of time, use a hat and lightweight long sleeves and pants instead of sunscreen. Most sunscreens have many irritating and even harmful chemicals in them.
Vitamin Supplements for Dermatitis
There are several supplements that are effective for dermatitis.
- Vitamin C
- Borage Oil
Things to Avoid if You Have Dermatitis
When you are dealing with dermatitis, long-term use of steroid cream, while providing relief from symptoms, can actually exacerbate the condition; and discontinuing use of such creams can lead towards a cure. Initially the dermatitis may be worse, while you are weaning your skin from the steroid cream.
SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulphate)
SLS can cause or irritate dermatitis. Unfortunately, SLS is in many, many soaps, shampoos and body care products. Look for an SLS free version of these products. You will also find a variety of very simple and natural things that you can use to wash your hair here at Earth Clinic!
Most toothpastes also contain SLS, even many natural ones. Read labels and look find one that is SLS-free. Many people use plain baking soda or even coconut oil to brush their teeth.
Chemical Hair and Body Products
Some people find it necessary to avoid other body and hair care products to heal their dermatitis due to any number of chemicals that are added to these products. It may be necessary to avoid hair color and permanents.
Many make ups contain chemicals that cause or aggravate dermatitis. The make up tools you use that touch your face and then touch the make up can contaminate your make up and keep your dermatitis from healing, especially if your dermatitis has a fungal or bacterial component. Check online or in your local health food store for natural mineral make up options. Also, on days off work, give your face a break and go au naturel!
Tap Water usually contains fluoride and chlorine. Both of these can irritate the skin and cause dermatitis or aggravate it. Using rubber gloves when you do the dishes. Put a filter in your shower. These things will greatly reduce the amount of chlorine and fluoride that touch your skin and absorb into your body. You can keep a gallon of distilled water at the bathroom sink to wash your face.
Continue reading to see what our readers are doing for their dermatitis. Please send us your feedback about your own experiences with these home remedies for dermatitis!
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