“Hey, no scratching!”
The itchy skin nightmare of eczema flare-ups makes it hard to control yourself. Even the well-meaning advice by loved ones nearby… “Hey, no scratching!” gets you riled up. Still, you know they are right. Your skin isn’t helped by all the scratching and you end up drawing blood too!
Ugh, you’re fed up. This year you will approach it differently. You’ll mindfully take better care of your skin and reduce the irritation with that corticosteroid cream. But where can you go from there?
Aloe vera for itchy skin
We know our loved ones mean well. However, it would be more helpful if they put on their gloves, brought over a cooling ointment, and offered you a leg massage. That kills two birds with one stone – less itch, and refreshed skin on those legs.
- Reduce the itching with the cooling Aloe vera gel
- Nourish your skin with the vitamins A and B from the Aloe vera.
- Heal your skin with the zinc and magnesium from the Aloe vera.
- The gentle massage will stimulate your parasympathetic nerve system, making you more relaxed.
- The lymph drains more waste products through the massage.
- Your immune system is strengthened by the massage.
All these effects help calm the eczema flare-up and you’ll experience less itching.
The Aloe vera plant contains healing substances, but you can cool your skin in other ways. One is with green loam, something I’ll tell you all about in the next blog. Another way is with a hydrosol (see box). There are three reasons why I like to use a (Peppermint) hydrosol.
1. Hydrolate has a cooling effect.
I think peppermint hydrosol is one of the finest hydrosols for treating eczema. Use a spray bottle with a very fine mist for best results. Peppermint cools the skin itself but also stimulates blood flow internally. This will relieve the itch and your skin will heal faster.
2. Hydrolate is antibacterial due to essential oils.
Staphylococcus (official name: Staphylococcus Aureus) is a bacteria that triggers your eczema. Everyone carries the staph bacteria on their skin. But it can’t do any harm on healthy skin, however, on open or damaged skin it can cause big problems.
All essential oils are antibacterial (these are in the hydrosol), the peppermint hydrosol fights the Staphylococcus Aureus.
3. Hydrolate is soft and soothing for the skin.
Water dries out your skin, therefore it’s better to cool it with a hydrosol than with water. A hydrolate is much softer for your skin and will help your skin recover from flare-ups.
What is Hydrolate?
A hydrolate is obtained via steam distillation: steam is blown through a flower / plant mass and this steam takes the active substances from the plant upwards where it is collected as water. Hydrolate is water with the active ingredients of a plant dissolved in it and contains up to 2% essential oils.
Not all Aloe vera is the same. Talk to a (holistic) skin specialist for specific advice and try out the different Aloe vera options on small areas of skin. Often you do not rely on the pure Aloe vera itself, but rather the by-products. Cutting a leaf from an Aloe plant, stripping it of its skin, and gathering the inside allows you to apply this gel on your eczema.
Tip – cut a 3-inch piece of an Aloe plant and place it in the freezer. Use them on your arms and legs as needed.
One final tip
Pay attention to quality. Hydrolates vary in effectiveness. It depends on the type of hydrolate and the quality of the harvest. The effect of each hydrosol is also different.
- Peppermint has a cooling effect on the itchy skin.
- Lavender heals.
- Chamomile has a calming effect.
Remember to store your hydrosol in the refrigerator. It will last longer and you’ll get a double cooling effect!
What is your golden tip against painful itching?