Natural Remedies for Eczema Flare Ups

Eczema is a common skin condition characterized by itchy, dry, cracked, and inflamed skin. Flare ups can occur when the skin becomes irritated. While topical creams and ointments can help manage eczema, many people also find relief from natural remedies during flare ups. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most effective natural Eczema flare ups treatments.


Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition impacting over 30 million Americans. It often first appears in infancy or childhood but can persist into adulthood. Eczema causes red, cracked, itchy, and irritated skin. While the exact causes are unknown, it’s believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

When the skin becomes aggravated, eczema can flare up. Triggers for flare ups vary but often include stress, sweat, hot baths, skin irritants, allergens, and changes in weather or temperature. Flare ups can range from mild to severe. While prescription medications are commonly used to treat eczema, many patients also find relief from natural remedies, especially during flare ups.

Moisturize Regularly

One of the keys to managing eczema flare ups is keeping the skin properly moisturized. This helps repair the skin barrier and prevents dryness that worsens irritation. Use gentle, fragrance-free moisturizers specially formulated for sensitive skin. Thicker ointments or creams tend to work better than lotions.

Apply moisturizer at least twice daily, even when eczema is under control. During flare ups, increase application to soothe inflamed areas. Occlude wet wraps or damp cotton gloves over hands and feet at night to deeply hydrate the skin.

Colloidal Oatmeal Baths

Soaking in a colloidal oatmeal bath can significantly reduce itching and discomfort during a flare up. The starch in oatmeal creates a protective barrier on the skin and provides anti-inflammatory benefits. For best results, grind 1-2 cups of uncooked oats into a powder to add to bath water.

Alternatively, pour colloidal oatmeal powder or tea bags directly in the bath. Avoid using scented bath products which may irritate the skin. Pat skin dry after soaking for 15-30 minutes. Apply moisturizer immediately after to seal in hydration. Use colloidal oatmeal baths 1-2 times per day when flaring.

Cool Compresses

Applying something cool and wet to the skin brings instant relief for inflamed, itchy skin. Simply soak a washcloth in cool water and wring out excess. Apply the compress to irritated areas for 5-10 minutes as needed to reduce swelling and discomfort. Don’t rub the skin vigorously.

For extra soothing benefits, brew black, green, or chamomile tea, chill in the refrigerator, and apply with cotton pads. You can also try wrapping an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and placing on affected areas for a few minutes at a time.

Avoid Irritants

When eczema flares up, it’s important to avoid anything that may further aggravate the skin. Steer clear of harsh soaps, detergents, and cleaning products with dyes, fragrances, and chemicals. Stick to gentle, fragrance-free skin care. Wear soft, breathable fabrics like cotton when possible.

Hard water and chlorine from pools can also irritate the skin. Install water filters and shower immediately after swimming. Pay attention to triggers that worsen your individual eczema and make efforts to avoid them especially during flare ups.

Humidify the Air

Dry air from indoor heating tends to worsen eczema in the winter. Running a humidifier adds moisture back into the air to prevent excessive dryness. Aim to keep indoor humidity around 30-50%. Place humidifiers near beds or areas where you spend the most time.

Clean humidifiers regularly to avoid buildup of minerals or mold spores that may aggravate allergies. Alternatively, you can place a bowl of water near heat sources to add humidity throughout a single room.

Take Lukewarm Showers

Extreme water temperatures can trigger eczema flares for some people. Very hot showers remove natural oils from the skin, causing dryness. But icy cold water may shock and irritate the skin. Stick to lukewarm water temperatures when bathing or showering.

Limit showers to 5-10 minutes max. Contrary to popular belief, taking short showers is better than long soaks if you have eczema. Always pat gently with a towel and apply moisturizer immediately after washing.

Manage Stress

Stress doesn’t directly cause eczema, but it’s frequently reported as a flare trigger. Stress releases hormones that can aggravate inflammation and the body’s immune response. When you’re experiencing increased eczema symptoms, take steps to lower stress levels.

Practices like meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and journaling help reduce anxiety. Make time for hobbies you enjoy. Get regular exercise to boost mood. Aim for at least 7-9 hours of quality sleep and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Seek counseling or therapy if needed.

Wear Soft, Breathable Fabrics

Certain fabrics can cause irritation, while others allow the skin to breathe. When picking out clothing, opt for soft materials like cotton or silk. Avoid rough, scratchy fabrics and tight elastic bands. Don’t wear wool or polyester directly against the skin.

Look for garments labeled “eczema-friendly.” Wash new clothes a few times before first wear. Use a fragrance-free detergent for sensitive skin and skip fabric softener. Don’t use dryer sheets, which contain fragrances. Let clothes air dry when possible to avoid irritants from dryer heat.

Ask About Prescription Medications

While natural remedies can help soothe irritation, severe flare ups may require prescription treatment. Topical corticosteroid creams reduce inflammation. Oral medications fight infection or suppress the immune system response.

See your dermatologist or doctor to discuss medicated treatment options. Use prescription creams sparingly under medical supervision. Seek immediate help for any signs of skin infection like oozing pus, fever, or spreading redness.


Eczema flare ups can be frustrating and uncomfortable to deal with. While flares can’t always be prevented, avoiding triggers and using natural remedies can help reduce symptoms. Keep skin moisturized, take baths with colloidal oatmeal, apply cool compresses, and manage stress levels. Wear soft fabrics, humidify the air, and stick to lukewarm showers. See a doctor about prescription medications for severe flares. With the right treatment approach, you can successfully manage eczema breakouts.

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