Once upon a time, I was a very little girl with eczema. My mom took me to the doctor, who told her that she shouldn’t let me sleep with socks on. I now realize that the no sock rule was instituted because socks would make me too hot and I would sweat all the moisture out of my tiny, eczema-covered, raisin-y body. However at the time I was sure that sleeping with socks on would cause my toes to grow together and I’d be stuck with two flippers for feet.
I think I was about 9 when I finally realized that my fear of webbed toes was entirely unfounded.
All this is to say: I’ve had eczema since I was a wee lass. It miraculously cleared up when I was about 17 and I had 7 glorious, eczema-free years before it came back with a vengeance when I moved to New York.
Now, I’ve used every steroid and non-steroid cream, lotion, ointment, and gel that they make and nothing works. I refuse to try an “eczema” diet because they all require giving up things I love and life is too short not to eat ice cream. So I’ve been trying different potions made from butters, oils, etc. After a couple of visits to a dermatologist, it was determined that I’m stupid-allergic to nickel which explains why none of my cocoa butter creams were working: cocoa butter has all kinds of nickel in it. Meh.
Since then, I’ve been in search of the perfect eczema cream and (knock on wood) I think I’ve finally found the one for me. Since eczema is so idiopathic, there’s a solid chance this stuff won’t work for you. That’s okay though, it’s still be a good starting point to start exploring.
- Pyrex measuring cup
- Container for storage
In the spreadsheet blow, make your own copy in google drive (“File” > “Make a copy” > “OK”). Enter the amount of lip balm (in grams) you want to make in the pink box and the spreadsheet will auto-calculate ingredient amounts for you.
The second tab, “Price,” will calculate price of the final product based on the ingredient sources that I use.
- Shea butter stuff is a humectant – it draws moisture to your skin – and an emollient – it smooths your skin. It’s also anti-inflammatory, which means that (shockingly, I know) reduces inflammation and leads to less redness and general puffiness.
- Beeswax hardens the oils so that they form a cream while also acting as an occlusive – a barrier that prevents moisture from escaping from your skin.
- Calendula is anti-inflammatory and helps skin heal
- The lady at the hippie store recommended burdock root to me when I told her I had eczema and I like it. It’s traditionally used as a “blood purifier” and it’s main constituent, inulin, is anti-inflammatory, helps support the immune system, and is a humectant.
- Nettles reduces inflammation and keeps itching at bay.
- This plantain isn’t the banana, it’s a weed. It helps stop itching and swelling.
- Beside smelling good, lavender is anti-inflammatory and calming.
- First you need to make your infused olive oil. I’ve heard you can do it quickly on the stove, but I usually take the slow route: letting dried herbs steep in a jar full of olive oil for a few weeks.
- Fresh herbs contain moisture, which can cause the infused oil to go bad. If you have fresh herbs, dry them in the sun or on low heat in your oven.
- Fill a clear jar halfway through with dried herbs.
- Fill the jar to the top with olive oil. While other oils work too, olive oil has a very long shelf life and is unlikely to go rancid quickly.
- Label the jar with today’s date as well as the date four weeks from today so that you know when you can decant.
- After four weeks (or more) have passed, use a mesh strainer or cheesecloth to strain out the herbs.
- Dispose of the spent herbs and seal and label your oil.
After you’ve created your infused oils, you’re ready to go.
- Create a double boiler by placing the rag in the bottom of the pot (so that your glass measuring cup doesn’t rattle), filling the pot part way full with water, and placing the glass measuring cup in the water. Put this contraption on the stove.
- Measure out the beeswax and olive oils (but not lavender oil yet) and pour them into the glass measuring cup. I think the easiest way to do this is to place the glass measuring cup on the scale, tare the scale, add the beeswax, tare the scale, and then add the oil.
- Place the glass measuring cup back in the pot of water and stir until all the beeswax melts.
- Remove the glass measuring cup from the pot and add the lavender oil. Stir and immediate pour into a container.
Because there’s no water in this recipe, it’s not actually moisturizing – it’s more of a barrier cream with a little healing help built in. Taking care of eczema requires lots of moisture, so you’ll want to combine this cream with a normal lotion. Start by applying the lotion to moisturize thearea and then apply the cream to seal in the moisture and protect your skin. Apply as necessary throughout the day and continue using it even after your dry skin clears up.