I've never been someone who suffers from eczema, but around 2013 after living in London I developed recurring dry, flaky, eczema-like patches on one finger on each hand that would flare up every few months. As I hadn't yet found my toxin-free skincare path, I sought advice from my doctor who wrote me a prescription for Dermaid hydrocortisone cream which I would apply daily for a week on flare ups. It would always clear it within a week, but the flaky patch kept coming back. During particularly bad bouts my skin would crack open which was really uncomfortable.
I'm not 100% sure what the skin condition was, but to clarify what eczema is: it is a general term for dermatitis, which simply means inflammation of the skin. All types of eczema cause itching and redness and some will blister, weep or peel - and cases range from mild to severe. Thankfully mine was a mild case and isolated to my fingers.
During my anxious phases I washed my hands around 10 times per day, which further added to my skin woes.
I became so used to the eczema that I would just keep treating it with the steroid-based creams rather than look at what could be causing it, or research natural remedies.
It wasn't until a couple of months ago when I started to become obsessed with essential oils that I started looking for alternatives. From all of the blogs I read, a combination of lavender and tea tree diluted in a carrier oil and applied from a roller ball bottle was most commonly used for relief. Armed with my brand new kit of doTERRA essential oils (I purchased the home essentials kit which had everything I could possibly need as a newbie) I tried it out and was floored with the results. The beauty of essential oils (apart from their incredible smell) is that they support the body to heal itself naturally.
After applying the oil liberally each night and occasionally during the day if I remembered I would also apply a top layer of Aotea kawakawa balm (seriously, this stuff is liquid gold and every house needs a pot.) At $15, it's a steal. And within a few days, my dry skin was visibly improved. A week later, mostly gone.
It wasn't until a couple of months ago that I learnt about the serious medical implications of using hydrocotisone creams; another reason I am so relieved that I found a natural, toxin-free alternative. I knew that you had to get a prescription for the steroid based cream, and that you could only use them for up to a week at a time, but I never considered why. It turns out that the higher strength creams can cause some serious side effects. These side effects include: thinning and discolouration of the skin (hypo or hyper pigmentation), easy bruising, permanent dilation of certain blood vessels, burn marks on skin, itchiness, liver and kidney damage and a weakened immune system. Not only this, but when you stop using steroid creams this almost always produces what is known as a "Rebound Effect" or "Rebound Phenomenon". These terms refer to the tendency of some medications, when discontinued suddenly, to cause the return of the symptoms it relieved either in the same area or another area. Unfortunately, many times the symptoms return stronger than they were before treatment first began. (Source.)
If that's not enough to make you consider the natural, toxin-free route when it comes to skincare and therapeutics, I don't know what is! In diluted form, these oils are also completely safe for babies. If you would like to purchase lavender and tea tree essential oil through me, you can do so here. Or, flick me a note if you would like to be notified of my next essential oils class so you can find out what other therapeutic properties these babies hold! For transparency: I do earn a commission on the sale of doTERRA products, but would never promote or put my name to a product that I wasn't utterly in love with.