Eczema is painful and uncomfortable. The triggers are varied and difficult to establish, ranging from food allergies, fibres like wool that irritate the skin, and some soaps and chemicals. The best cure is prevention. For the most common allergens – wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts and soy – try an elimination diet for 30 days and eliminate them one at a time or all at once.

Avoid wearing tight clothing and opt for soft fabrics made from cotton, silk or bamboo. Also, use a natural laundry detergent. You can make one using washing soda, borax and unscented bar soap.

While eczema can be treated with prescribed ointments, creams, and bath soaks, these often contain harsh chemicals that can thin and damage the skin. Here are some natural treatments that can control your eczema without medication:

Turmeric to counteract inflammation

Long known as an anti-inflammatory, turmeric’s skin-calming affect has been used in Ayuvedic practices for thousands of years. A study showed that curcumin, the active chemical in turmeric, has keratolytic effects, which means it reduces pore blockages by lessening the clumping of skin cells.

Manuka oil to promote healing

A cousin of Australian tea tree oil, New Zealand manuka possesses a similar group of benefits. Testing has shown that manuka oil is more effective than tea tree oil in a number of uses. It is anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, keeping the skin clear of infection. It is also a cicatrisant, helping to heal damaged skin faster by promoting the growth of new skin cells.

Coconut oil or shea butter to soothe

While they can’t fix the problem, both coconut oil and shea butter help to calm the itching and pain. Use them as a carrier oil for turmeric or manuka oil and rub into the affected skin. Shea butter is rich in vitamins A , E, and F and coconut oil is high in healthy fatty acids, which are beneficial to skin.

Magnesium baths to relieve itching

Add a cup of Epsom salts or magnesium flakes and half a cup of sea salt into a warm bath. Add a few drops of essential oils as well, for a lovely scented bath.