Natural Eczema Treatment: Is Your Product Really Natural?
Do you or someone you know suffer from eczema? Did you know there are some natural eczema treatment steps you can take at home that can minimise or even completely eliminate the problem?
I was in denial about allergies in my family for a bit. Growing up they weren’t really a thing. My parents bought a couple of milking goats at one stage to treat my sister’s mild eczema. The goats lasted about as long as the greenery in our garden and I think the eczema followed suit and all was well again.
So, when my daughter started to develop some mild red patches behind her knees and in the creases of her arms last year, I ignored it for a bit just hoping it would go away. But after a friend curiously asked, “Is that eczema behind her knees?” I thought I’d better take it seriously. The symptoms came and went and we applied some natural moisturisers from time to time.
Then it got worse. On a weekend away we took the long Prospector train ride to Kalgoorlie where we were blindsided by an unknown enemy. Chloramines! Chlorine mixed with ammonia! It ‘apparently’ survives long water pipeline journeys much better than regular ole’ chlorine, helping to kill all the nasty bugs in our drinking water along the way. The result for us was a very unpleasant cup of tea and a regrettable swim in the local recreational centre all of which contained chloramines.
After immersing ourselves in the local pool for an hour or so, the mild to non-existent eczema turned into an angry red rash. We raced off to the local pharmacy to find a natural eczema treatment product I could employ to quell the fire.
After much reading of labels, I settled on a seemingly natural product with only three ingredients (usually a good sign) and not only that, it was specifically made to treat eczema. Once we got back to our little motel I quickly applied the natural eczema treatment cream to my daughter.
What I didn’t expect was the screams as I did so. The stinging didn’t die off and I had to wash it all off just as quickly. Looking at the tube of cream I was a bit perplexed, though I quickly found the culprit: sodium benzoate, a commonly used preservative (used to kill the growth of bacteria). This little unknown was not labelled on the outer packaging. Had I known, I would never have bought the product. Why? Because if you check it out on Chemical Maze (see my previous blog) what do you think its side effects are? “Contact dermatitis” otherwise known as eczema. Now, it’s not the worst chemical in the world and whilst most people will not react to it, anyone with skin allergies or sensitivities may.
There are a few lessons here: don’t judge a book by its cover. Open the package and look at the product itself. Also, just because a product claims to be ‘natural’ doesn’t mean it is. The term has no legal standardised definition so you need to do a bit more digging around.
A few tricks for shortlisting the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to cosmetics or personal care products:
- Look for organic or natural products (certified organic is the best).
- Once you have them in your hand do the following checks on the ingredients list:
- Parfum/fragrance – unless it states it is derived from pure essential oils it’s no good – return to the shelf.
- Near the bottom of the ingredients list does it say it contains ‘phenoxyethanol’ a commonly used preservative in ‘wannabe’ natural products? If the answer is yes, put it back.
- If it passes these two tests scan the rest of the ingredients list and look for chemicals with unpronounceable names like sodium benzoate or imidazolidinyl urea. Look them up on the Chemical Maze App (my last post shared a bunch of apps that can help you become an eco-conscious consumer). You will be rewarded with a happy, sad or confused face for your efforts.
In my next blog, I will be sharing more about how we managed to eradicate my daughter’s eczema (touch wood). I will explain how easy it is to remove chlorine from your water, which is a common culprit in the development of eczema and skin problems in general.
In the meantime, join the Econscious Living Facebook Group and be part of a community sharing information to make informed eco-friendly, healthy and ethical choices in our day to day purchases and lifestyle decisions.
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