Eczema can be really frustrating to live with. The dry and itchy skin patches often make it impossible to have a good night’s sleep, let alone be productive at work.

If you have been diagnosed with this condition, it might come as a great relief that eczema symptoms can be relieved at home using some simple ingredients and remedies.

But first, you should be aware of few things about eczema.

Eczema is not a single disease, it is a group of disorders, which may be genetic in nature or occur due to an allergic response to foreign substances such as sunlight, soaps, cosmetics, fabrics and foods. According to the World Allergy Organisation (WAO), eczema affects 15% to 20% of school children worldwide and 2% to 5% of adults. In fact, more often than not eczema symptoms first manifest in childhood.

Another important point to be noted here is that eczema is not contagious, this means that it does not spread with touch. But it’s trigger may vary from person to person.

So, the first step towards the management of this condition would be to find out the triggers. Once you know its triggers you can easily get rid of the discomfort by avoiding them and then use home remedies to reduce itching on existing skin patches. 

  1. What is eczema:How to spot it
  2. Home remedies for eczema
  3. Tips for eczema
  4. When to see a doctor for eczema

Symptoms of eczema are very similar to some other skin issues like psoriasis, which makes them quite difficult to differentiate and identify. So the question arises, ‘how to know if you have eczema?’ Well, here are some major characteristics of eczema that can help you determine the presence of this skin issue:

  • The first and most important characteristic that differentiates eczema from other skin itching disorders is that itching in eczema is very intense while other skin disorders may or may not be associated with itching.
  • Eczema rashes are associated with inflammation, which is not such a noticeable symptom in any other skin condition.
  • Eczema most commonly affects the bends of arms and knees. Though it may also occur on the face. Another main characteristic of eczema is the discharge of fluids from the affected area.

(Read more: Skin disorders and diseases)

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Since eczema is triggered by a variety of reasons, there is no specific treatment for this condition. It is usually suppressed with the help of over the counter medications. But why go for drugs when you can easily reduce your distress at home? And at absolutely no extra cost. Here are some of the evidence-based remedies that you can use to get relief from itching, dryness and rashes during eczema.

Humidifier for eczema

Humidifier is a device that helps maintain optimum moisture levels in its surrounding area. It can be really handy in dry winters and hot summers, two of the worst seasons for eczema. And the best part is that it is really easy to use. Just switch it on and the machine will do its work.

Humidifier also helps trap any allergens or dust in the atmosphere that may be triggering your condition. However, there is a catch here too. To keep your humidifier in working condition and to prevent the spread of respiratory infections, you need to regularly clean the machine and ensure that it does not contain mineral scales. The latter may pave a way for mould growth, which may just worsen your condition rather than improving it. This can be easily prevented by using distilled water in a humidifier instead of normal tap water.

Turmeric for eczema

Turmeric can be used both orally or topically for relieving eczema symptoms. Studies suggest that topical applications of turmeric in various forms exhibit anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and may thus be effective in relieving itching and swelling associated with eczema. Here is an easy way to use turmeric:

What you'll need:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of Turmeric powder
  • Coconut oil
  • Bowl


  • Take turmeric powder in a clean bowl
  • Add some coconut to it
  • Mix them properly to make a paste
  • Wash and dry the affected area properly 
  • Apply this paste on the affected area
  • Keep the paste for some time (about 15-20 minutes) and let it do its work
  • Wash it off with plain water


  • Water can be used in place of coconut oil to make the paste. But it is best to use coconut oil since it adds its own benefits to the paste.
  • You can also use turmeric gel. But it is not possible to prepare turmeric gel at home so you may have to buy commercial products containing turmeric as a primary ingredient. Look for a natural or organic product that has minimum chemicals and preservatives in it and is manufactured especially for eczema.

Tulsi for eczema

Tulsi, also known as holy basil is another common remedy for eczema. It is an excellent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent that helps reduce swelling and prevents bacterial infections of the skin. Furthermore, the antioxidants present in basil aid in promoting wound healing and an overall improvement in skin health. Though you can’t extract basil oil at home, it is easily available in the market in the form of essential oil. Here is a way you can use basil for eczema:

What you'll need:

  • Basil essential oil
  • Cotton swab


  • Wash the affected area properly to remove all the dirt and germs
  • Dab it dry with a soft cloth
  • Using a cotton ball, apply basil oil on the affected area
  • Leave it on and let the oil do its work
  • You do not need to wash it off

Tip: When looking for essential oils, look for safety labels and grade certifications. Never put essential oil directly on the skin, some oils may lead to irritation. Instead, put a few drops of essential oil in an appropriate carrier oil (make a 2% solution) such as coconut oil or olive oil before use.

If you do not find good quality essential oil, you can also make a poultice (paste) out of basil leaves and honey and apply them directly on your rashes to get symptomatic relief.

Aloe Vera for eczema

Aloe vera can be considered as skin’s best friend. Along with therapeutic benefits in all other skin problems, aloe vera is really effective in reducing eczema symptoms too. This succulent plant has a cooling and soothing effect on skin that provides immediate relief from dry and itchy skin. Furthermore, it promotes skin regeneration and reduces redness and swelling associated with most skin conditions. Now, let us take a look at how to use aloe vera:

What you’ll need:

  • Aloe vera gel


  • Clean the affected area with plain water
  • Dab it dry without rubbing with a soft towel
  • Now take a pinch of aloe vera gel
  • Apply this gel gently and evenly on the affected area
  • Your skin will absorb the gel slowly

Tip: There are many brands selling extracted aloe vera gel in the market. But these packaged gels have chemicals that can be harmful. So, it is advised to prepare fresh aloe vera gel at home to avoid these chemicals. Here is an easy way to do so:

What you’ll need:

  • Aloe vera,
  • Knife
  • Air-tight container
  • Blender


  • Get a fresh leaf of aloe vera
  • Wash it properly with plain water
  • Peel it off to extract the gel. It is the transparent substance sheathed with the outer lamina of the leaf
  • Grind the extracted gel in a blender
  • Collect blended gel in an air-tight container
  • Refrigerate it to be used within a week

Coconut oil for eczema

Coconut oil has a soothing and moisturising effect on the skin that makes it effective in reducing dry and scaly skin patches associated with eczema. What gives this oil an edge over other remedies is a deep penetration capacity that helps it nourish your skin from the inside out. Adding on this, coconut oil also possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which facilitate the reduction of swelling and pain associated with eczema rashes. Here are some steps you should follow while applying coconut oil:

What you’ll need:

  • Coconut oil


  • Clean the affected area properly by applying some water
  • Do not use soap. Pat dry the area properly with a soft towel
  • Do not rub the towel
  • Now take some amount of coconut oil in your palms
  • Apply this oil gently and liberally on the rashes
  • You do not need to wash the oil off; your skin will absorb most of it in no time
  • Reapply it if required


  • Try using virgin coconut oil rather than your normal coconut oil. This oil contains almost no chemicals and thus is more beneficial for your health.

Manuka honey for eczema

Manuka honey is one of the best remedies for skin problems. It is a natural moisturiser and anti-inflammatory agent that keeps your skin hydrated and at the same time prevents irritation and rashes. The anti-bacterial and wound healing properties of this golden elixir help reduce irritation and prevents infection of wounds associated with eczema.

There are many ways manuka honey can be applied on the skin. One of the best ways is to use it as a moisturising pack. Follow the steps to know how to apply it:

What you’ll need:

  • One tablespoon of manuka honey
  • Two teaspoons of milk


  • Take manuka honey in a clean bowl
  • Mix it with milk
  • Apply an even layer of this mixture on the affected area
  • Keep it on for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Wash it off with water
  • Try not to use soap on this area


  • Apart from milk, you can also use coconut oil or olive oil.
  • In case, you do not have manuka honey, normal honey can also be used. Just ensure that you are using natural and organic honey as artificial or commercial honey contains chemicals that can lead to skin irritation.

Eczema could be chronic (usually genetic) or acute (allergies). While allergies can be prevented by avoiding the triggers, chronic conditions need special attention and lifestyle modifications for proper management. Here are some of the tips and tricks that may prevent the exacerbation of eczema symptoms in case of chronic conditions.

  • Do not use hot water during bathing. Hot water can increase the symptoms of eczema. Go for a cold shower instead
  • Keep a diary to identify and note down the triggers. Discuss these triggers with your doctor to get the best possible treatment
  • Do not go out in the sun. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight may lead to an increase in body temperature and sweating, which can trigger itching.
  • Wear comfortable and airy clothes to let your skin breath. When shopping for bed sheets, look for soft fabrics. Too much friction from bed sheet fibres can also cause itching
  • Try to avoid scratching yourself. Instead, apply moisturising agents whenever feel like itching. 
  • Keep your fingernails trimmed to avoid injury due to itching
  • Choose your soap and detergent carefully. Chemicals in these can also trigger itching
  • Avoid swimming in chlorinated pools as chlorine can lead to itching
  • Do not use perfumes and deodorants, especially on your skin directly
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Although eczema is not a serious condition, it may sometimes become hard to handle. Consult a doctor immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • If inflammation persists even after a week of treatment
  • If some white or yellow pus-like fluid come weeping out of the affected area
  • If itching and swelling affect daily life even after taking all the precautions and remedies
  • If painful small blister occurs on the affected area


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  2. American Academy of Dermatology. Rosemont (IL), US; Atopic dermatitis
  3. National Eczema Association [Internet]; Eczema Causes and Triggers
  4. Jochen Schmitt, Christian J Apfelbacher, Medical Sociology, Carsten Flohr. Eczema. BMJ Clin Evid. 2011; 2011: 1716. PMID: 21609512
  5. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
  6. Manisha Deb Mandal, Shyamapada Mandal. Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2011 Apr; 1(2): 154–160. PMID: 23569748
  7. Harrison J. Manuka Honey: A Case Study of Severe Atopic Eczematous Dermatitis Reaction to Henna Tattoo. Plast Surg Nurs. 2017 Oct/Dec;37(4):154-157. PMID: 29210973
  8. Tzu-Kai Lin, Lily Zhong, Juan Luis Santiago3. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Jan; 19(1): 70. PMID: 29280987
  9. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases [Internet] Maryland, United States; Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) Treatment.
  10. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Humidifiers and health
  11. United States Research and Development Environmental Protection: Indoor Air Facts No. 8: Use and Care of Home Humidifiers . Air and Radiation (6609J); Research and development (MD-56) Agency February 1991 [Internet]
  12. Marc Maurice Cohen. Tulsi - Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014 Oct-Dec; 5(4): 251–259. PMID: 25624701
  13. Khiljee S, Rehman N, Khiljee T, Loebenberg R, Ahmad RS. Formulation and clinical evaluation of topical dosage forms of Indian Penny Wort, walnut and turmeric in eczema. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2015 Nov;28(6):2001-7. PMID: 26639477
  14. Vaughn AR, Branum A, Sivamani RK. Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence. Phytother Res. 2016 Aug;30(8):1243-64. PMID: 27213821
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