THE CREAMs OF YOUR DREAMS

Natural remedies to fight that eczema flare up
I am now 23 and I have been fighting with eczema flares for as long as I can remember. I have visited more doctors than I can count; private, public, traditional medicine, alternative medicine… EVERYTHING! And my advice is: there is nothing like natural remedies.
I have tried almost every single moisturizer and every single treatment on the market. Expensive lotions, cheap supermarket lotions, and a million emollients. I've been prescribed four different kinds of corticoid, cortisone and hydrocortisone. Different products for different parts of my body. But somehow nobody advised me to use natural remedies.

Sometimes the itchiness is bearable, but there are other times where I've had to sleep with mittens on so I wouldn't make myself bleed. Cotton bed sheets are one of my best friends, and thick wool jumpers, as pretty as they are, will never be an option for me.

Like any other chronic illness that is not going away anytime soon (and maybe will never leave), I've had to fight it the best I can. After having tried every single prescription lotion, I discovered that natural remedies are the way to go.
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Lush Dream Cream
All of my dreams came true, or almost all of them, when I met the love of my life: Dream Cream from Lush. My love affair with Lush started before I met Dream Cream, as I was trying to reduce the amount of plastic I purchased, and I started using their solid shampoo bars.

I had been using solid soap bars for almost a year, since it is natural soaps that make my skin suffer the least, when I discovered the shampoo bars, which I love. They were slightly on the expensive side, but the lack of itchiness and the amount of time they lasted made the price worth it.

The shampoo bars were so good I decided to start investigating. I started with a face moisturizer, and it was exactly what I had been looking for, and it's not an easy task considering how picky my skin is. It was then when I asked if they had anything that could help with eczema.

They handed me my first Dream Cream tub. The smell was funny, so I wasn't very convinced. It was really really dense, oily, and had a slightly funky yellow colour. In all honesty, I was slightly disappointed. The cream is expensive, so I was expecting something more nicely scented.

But that same day I showered and the redness and itchiness tortured me once again. So, I opened the tub, scooped a generous amount of Dream Cream and, after spreading it evenly on my arm, my skin sighed with relief.

The cream was dense, but that only meant I didn't need a million layers of it. It took a little longer than regular lotion to absorb, but it felt like my skin was drinking in all the moisture it hadn't had in years.

Eczema is not that easy to eradicate, so I still have to get prescription creams when the flares are too bad to handle. Especially in winter, it's not easy to survive without prescriptions, when my skin doesn't have much space to breathe under the million layers the Scottish winter requires.
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Madeleine Steinbach / Getty Images
After the Dream Cream success, I started researching other natural remedies that could improve my quality of life. It was then that I discovered rosehip oil. My mum had recommended it to me for healing scars, and I thought, well, maybe it works for eczema too. And it did. Again, not as effective as prescription creams when the flare is bad, but its dense and oily nature helps to keep my skin properly moisturized.

After rosehip oil and Dream Cream, I discovered nettle soap. I was already on board with the natural soaps, but most of them dry your skin way too much if you already suffer from dry skin, like those of us who suffer from eczema.
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I was walking through a farmers' market where I bought the best raspberry jam I've had in a very long time. A very strange-looking man was selling soaps that looked like cheese and it called my attention. I then saw that one of the labels read: "Nettle soap: eczema". I went up to the stall and asked him "Sorry, is nettle soap meant to be good for eczema?"

He responded yes, and so I brought home a piece of nettle soap that looked like cheese. When I used it for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised by how long I had spent in the shower. Usually, I can't be under hot water for more than 3 songs, and I had listened to 5 songs already.

The nettle soap created a protective layer that allowed the water to just slide down my skin, rather than drying it. It has a similar effect to shower emollients, but it smells a lot nicer and has a much softer feel to it.
I not only have happier skin since I've shifted to natural products but I have also learnt how to make my skin stronger and less dependent on harsh steroids.

If you're stuck on prescription moisturizers, creams and emollients and your skin is not getting any better, it might be the time to shift to natural products. If prescriptions work for you but you want a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to your skincare, try changing your habits. It can be one at a time, and my remedies might not work for you, but there might be others that do work, it's just a matter of trying.
Article by Laura Menéndez
Main image by Carolina Heza