- How Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help Your Eczema
- What are the Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Eczema?
- No Help for Atopic Dermatitis With Apple Cider Vinegar
- Eczema – A Brief
- Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work For Eczema?
- How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Eczema?
- Dyshidrotic Eczema
- White Vinegar For Dyshidrotic Eczema?
- Tips To Use Apple Cider Vinegar
- Foods To Prevent Eczema Outbreaks
- How To Manage Eczema Naturally
- Apple Cider Vinegar For Eczema
- Application Instructions
- Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis?
- Can ACV Improve Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis?
- Why You Should Approach ACV With Caution
- Apple cider vinegar soaks fall short in atopic dermatitis
- Does apple cider vinegar help eczema?
- How can I use ACV in my skincare regime?
- Apple Cider Vinegar for Eczema
- 16 Natural Contact Dermatitis Treatments
How Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help Your Eczema
Eczema sufferers know how tormenting the itch and scaliness of eczema can be. Yet it comes, uninvited, as an annoying skin condition that affects 10-20% of children, 80% of them developing it before age 5. Eczema also affects adults. Either way, eczema patients just want it gone. Thankfully, most kids will grow up leaving the condition behind.
That said until eczema walks away on its own, eczema sufferers need help and relief. Fast. Nobody likes eczema. It is uncomfortable. It isn’t an attractive condition. And it can spread to other parts of the body. So, working on getting eczema under control is the goal. There is no 100% cure. But administering various treatments can be very effective.
Trying what has been proven to work or at least improves eczema’s intensity and duration is a good place to focus on. Let’s begin with acknowledging skin care. Keeping skin healthy on the outside means keeping it healthy from the inside. Our skin is a porous organ that is designed to protect from the outside and expel toxins that are lurking on the inside of our bodies. The skin also needs to be well-conditioned on the outside. So, it becomes a two-sided goal.
It really is a no-brainer that eating fresh, chemical-free produce and 100% organic and grass-fed meats are preferred. Keeping in mind any known allergies, the nutrients received from non-processed, whole foods are there to build and sustain the body from unwanted guests taking up space in our guts rent-free. Yes, organic fruits and veggies are wise. But, how about a different take on a food-grade eczema-relieving idea? We’re talking – apple cider vinegar for eczema.
What are the Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Eczema?
Jumping right in, the benefits of apple cider vinegar for eczema are many. Eczema has a distinctive dryness to it during certain stages. Keeping skin moist and supple will help eczema lose some of its staying power.
pH levels are believed to play an important role in properly maintaining the skin’s integrity, in part due to its mild acidity. Apple cider vinegar can also help to restore the skin’s optimal pH levels partially due to its antimicrobial benefits. While apple cider vinegar doesn’t offer a delightful aromatic benefit, its health benefits far outweigh that of store-bought soaps and shampoos that can actually coerce breakouts and elevate pH numbers to unwanted levels. Keeping skin pH levels under 5.0 will help reduce eczema symptoms.
Besides apple cider vinegar having acetic, lactic, and malic acids that heal, it also beholds a plethora of rich compounds that skin loves. Apple cider vinegar contains the mineral, potassium which discourages the allergic conditions of eczema’s wrath. Vitamins, mineral salts and enzymes are but a few of apple cider vinegar’s healing backbone.
Since eczema is not just a skin issue, but also an internal health issue, apple cider vinegar is the perfect solution to flush out toxins that can actually aggravate flare-ups. Put 2 Tablespoons in a large smoothie and flush those toxins good-bye.
Apple cider vinegar removes impurities from the skin while moisturizing to encourage healthy skin and restoration.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Eczema
Before applying apple cider vinegar to the skin, it is important to remember that acidic properties may irritate skin. Do a test by diluting apple cider vinegar with water and applying on a small area of skin before actually treating any type of skin issue.
Taking apple cider vinegar baths can help keep skin healthier. Draw a temperature-appropriate bath and fill the tub to a comfortable soaking level. Pour a small amount of apple cider vinegar to the bath water – no more than 2 cups per full bath. Do not use soaps of any kind. Soak skin in the bath to moisturize. This also allows for the healing acidity of the apple cider vinegar to do its work to unwanted eczema cellular components.
Another way to use apple cider vinegar for healing skin is by making a topical moisturizing cream. Combine one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup organic, virgin coconut oil and mix together. The coconut oil helps reduce inflammation while providing soothing sun protection and anti-fungal properties to the infected skin.
Often times, eczema can spread under hair making treatment applications rather challenging. Dandruff caused by the Malassezia fungus and eczema may also be found together. A good hair oil will help.
Apple cider vinegar is anti-fungal. Sunflower oil revives the protective barrier of the skin and helps restore moisture levels. Mix 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 1/4 cup of sunflower oil. Make larger batches if needed by doubling the ingredient numbers. Apply this soothing mixture all over scalp and gently massage. Take care not to massage too aggressively and risking opening more delicate eczema patches. After a few minutes, immediately rinse mixture out of hair using warm water.
For heavy-duty eczema flare-ups, simplify treatment by using a white dish towel or larger gauze piece in a warm water and apple cider vinegar mixture. Prepare 2 cups warm water with 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar. Dip towel or cloth into the mixture, completely saturating towel. Ring out cloth lightly and gently wrap affected areas. Place plastic cling wrap around the dressing to keep cloth moist. Wear for 3 hours to overnight. This application is an easy way to restore moisture to affected areas while promoting surrounding healthy skin’s integrity.
Recipes Using Apple Cider Vinegar
The body works together systemically to heal and strengthen. As with any dysfunction the body may experience, addressing only one area of the body does not usually satisfy the full-spectrum of restoration. It is important to nourish the body as well as keep detoxing functioning in good working order.
By incorporating internal and external treatment plans for eczema, greater chances of remission may be increased. Here are a few recipes using apple cider vinegar before meals that can help send eczema antagonists on their way:
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup water
Favorite tea (prepare as directed on tea box)
Mix apple cider vinegar and baking soda in a cup. Let rest until it bubbles. After bubbling stops, add water and mix. Add tea, mix and enjoy. Favorite flavorings like lemon, Stevia sweetener, honey, mint or other natural flavors are also fine to use. The baking soda works to help balance pH levels, fight infection and spark self-healing.
ACV Fruit Smoothie
2 Tablespoons ACV
2 Cups Unsweetened Coconut Milk
1/2 cup berries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 sprig of mint
Puree all in a blender with ice cubes, pour in a glass container and sip to good health.
ACV Pizzazz Drink
2 Cups water
1 teaspoon ACV
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon raw honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
This zingy apple cider vinegar recipe will help kick eczema to the curb with a punch!
Let’s talk a little about what causes eczema in the first place. Unfortunately, there isn’t one easy answer. Diet, genetic factors and environmental conditions are presumed as primary sources of eczema reactions. That’s an all-encompassing situation. That means having to monitor everything in and around you. It is possible for the cause to have more than one contributor, too. Below are some of the possible antagonists that should be monitored before, during and after any eczema outbreak:
Non-organic foods that are processed with chemicals
Apple Cider Vinegar Trivia that May Just Matter to Eczema Patients
It’s hard to know exactly when apple cider vinegar became known for its healing properties. Let’s just say that the idea of soured apples for ingestion and topical healing properties began as early as 2500 BC. For thousands of years, warriors have also relied upon the soured apple from toothaches to treating wounds. The Civil War and World War I were also advocating of its healing power. It was also used as a food preservative.
Perhaps if apple cider vinegar could preserve food, it could preserve healthy human cells, too. This is exactly what Cleopatra knew in her day as she used apple cider vinegar for cleansing her skin due to its high acidic levels. Of course, you don’t really want to put full-strength apple cider vinegar all over your skin – especially on irritated or compromised skin conditions. But, diluted, it is a wonderful skin tonic, especially for eczema.
With the body being a systemically operated machine, making all things work harmoniously inside and outside of our bodies actually makes sense. Focusing on the inside, the skin needs our attention-to-detail to help it perform better. Encouraging lymph circulation is a critical element to keep the body running clean. That means helping the body flush pesky elements out before the skin has a chance to notice. Apple cider vinegar for eczema is an inexpensive way to accomplish this goal. Incorporating apple cider vinegar in smoothies is a great way to get it in, so eczema potential flushes out.
Want to give your skin a bigger break to avoid future eczema breakouts? Use a body brush like the kind you use in the shower. But, use the brush without water. Just brush the skin gently toward the heart to help the apple cider vinegar’s effects of detoxing the body do a better job.
The bottom line: Apple cider vinegar has too many healing agents to ignore. It is a natural product that has been used to treat and heal conditions of all kinds for eons. Make sure to purchase the highest quality apple cider vinegar. Look for cloudier versions. Clearer, more transparent versions of apple cider vinegar are of lesser quality due to manufacturing and processing practices.
No Help for Atopic Dermatitis With Apple Cider Vinegar
Among patients with atopic dermatitis, apple cider vinegar soaks did not enhance skin barrier integrity significantly, but did lead to skin irritation in most subjects, a pilot split‐arm study found.
Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) increased and pH declined immediately after the treatment, but the effects were not maintained 1 hour later, reported Lydia Luu of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and colleagues.
They said that notably, 72.7% of participants had mild side effects from apple cider vinegar with improvement after the soaks were stopped.
Further research is needed to demonstrate the true effect of apple cider vinegar in eczema, noted study co-author Richard Flowers, MD, also of the University of Virginia. “We often consider natural treatments as harmless, but our study showed that this may not necessarily be the case,” he told MedPage Today. “This highlights the importance of patients reaching out to their dermatologist or provider before undertaking home remedies for their skin, to ensure they are doing them in the safest and most evidence-based manner.”
Writing online in Pediatric Dermatology, the team noted that there were indications from recent research that diluted apple cider vinegar could improve the skin barrier integrity in patients with atopic dermatitis, but the efficacy and safety had not been well studied.
Patients use apple cider vinegar for skin infections and other maladies like warts in addition to atopic dermatitis, Luu and co-authors noted, adding: “Even some dermatologists have recently started recommending apple cider vinegar baths for atopic dermatitis.”
“Future studies are needed to explore whether lower concentrations of acetic acid soaks or other applications such as a leave‐on acidic ointment would be more effective in acidifying the skin and improving skin barrier integrity in a safe, nonirritating way,” the investigators concluded.
Asked for his perspective, Alexander Egeberg, MD, PhD, of Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte in Denmark, who was not involved with the study, agreed that the results suggest that even though apple cider vinegar provides patients “very transient improvements,” the clinical benefits on skin barrier function probably remain very limited.
“Currently, the use of apple cider vinegar is not standard of care, and these data do not suggest that it will change anytime soon,” he added.
For the study, the researchers evaluated 11 healthy controls (geometric mean age of 28.8) and 11 subjects (geometric mean age of 20.6) with atopic dermatitis. The participants soaked both of their forearms for 10 minutes a day for 2 weeks, with one arm in water and the other in diluted apple cider vinegar (0.5% acetic acid). TEWL and pH were measured before and after treatment.
Compared with baseline, TEWL in healthy and atopic dermatitis participants was significantly elevated at 0 and 15 minutes following the apple cider vinegar treatment (P≤0.01). TEWL returned to baseline 1 hour after each soak in controls and 30 minutes after each soak among atopic dermatitis patients, but TEWL was the same in both groups as at baseline 24 hours after the 14 day soak (P=0.30).
Compared with healthy participants, participants with atopic dermatitis skin had a significantly greater shift toward alkaline pH after water soak (pH 5.23 vs pH 5.54; P≤0.01), the researchers found. However, immediately after soaking in tap water with added apple cider vinegar, atopic dermatitis patients had skin pH levels similar to healthy subjects (pH 4.34 in atopic dermatitis vs 4.26 in controls; P=0.08).
Skin pH levels were still decreased 60 minutes after apple cider vinegar soaks in the controls (pH 4.85 at baseline vs 4.51 at 60 minutes) and 15 minutes after in atopic dermatitis subjects (pH 4.87 at baseline vs 4.52 at 15 minutes), but overall, pH was the same compared with baseline at 2 weeks (P=0.49).
Limitations of the study, Luu and co-authors said, included that apple cider vinegar was tested only on volar forearms, that it was limited to a single brand and dilution, and the patient sample was small. In addition, since the smell and intrinsic appearance of the apple cider vinegar used was easily identified, it was impossible to blind the investigators and participants.
Last Updated September 23, 2019
The study was funded by the University of Virginia (UVA), the UVA Children Health Research Center, and the UVA Department of Dermatology.
Luu and Flowers reported no disclosures.
Source Reference: Luu LA, et al “Apple cider vinegar soaks (0.5%) as a treatment for atopic dermatitis do not improve skin barrier integrity” Pediatr Dermatol 2019; 36: 634–639.
How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Eczema Ravi Teja Tadimalla Hyderabd040-395603080 March 7, 2019
One doesn’t need to explain how tormenting eczema can be. Both physically and emotionally. If you are fighting this condition, we understand you.
And we know it isn’t easy. You might have to deal with the ordeal several times in a day. It can get quite embarrassing as well, right?
We understand. Which is why we have something for you.
All those medications and creams are okay. But there could be something you haven’t tried yet.
Apple cider vinegar for eczema. Yes. Trust us when we say that it works wonders.
Because it does.
Eczema – A Brief
Eczema is a skin condition where certain areas on the skin turn into inflamed, itchy, and rough patches. The condition might also lead to blisters.
Eczema can affect almost any part of the body, but it most commonly occurs on the face, wrists, hands, the back of the knees, and feet. It can affect skin pigmentation, making the affected area lighter or darker.
The cause of the disease is unknown, although most medical experts believe that it is caused by an overactive immune system when it responds to an irritant.
And, by the way, there might not be a complete cure for the condition. But one can manage it quite effectively with the use of medications and by avoiding irritants. And by using apple cider vinegar.
How? Which is what we will see now.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work For Eczema?
Is apple cider vinegar good for eczema? That’s the big question. The internet says so. Your neighbor says so. But what is the truth?
Apple cider vinegar does help in treating eczema. And here’s how it does that.
- Apple cider vinegar is rich in compounds like riboflavin, vitamins, enzymes, and mineral salts – all of which improve skin health.
- The vinegar is also rich in fiber that enhances the digestive system and makes it easy to flush toxins out of the body. This can help one manage eczema.
- It also acts as an astringent, thereby removing bacteria, oil, and other impurities from the skin.
- It is a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps one deal with allergic conditions like eczema.
- The anti-inflammatory properties of the vinegar help soothe the skin and give relief.
- The acetic, lactic, and malic acids possess antimicrobial and antiseptic properties that help fight skin infections causing eczema.
And now, we get to the ways you can use apple cider for eczema treatment.
How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Eczema?
Here are 6 effective ways of treating eczema with apple cider vinegar.
1. Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar
What You Need
1 small cup each of apple cider vinegar and water
- Mix equal quantities of apple cider vinegar and water in a bowl. If you have sensitive skin, you can add 1/4 cup of the vinegar to 3 cups of water.
- Using a cotton ball, apply the solution directly to the affected area.
- You can also add the mixture to a spray bottle and spritz on the affected area.
- You can use this remedy twice a day, preferably once in the morning and once at night. Repeat for several days until you notice a visible difference.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar Bath For Eczema
2 cups of apple cider vinegar
- Mix the 2 cups of apple cider vinegar in your bath or tub. If it’s for a baby tub, you can use 4 teaspoons of the vinegar for every 3 1/2 liters of water.
- Soak in the bath for about 30 minutes. If it’s a child, you can help him soak in the bath with the help of toys.
- Pat the skin dry gently with a soft cotton towel until it is slightly moist.
- Moisturize your skin immediately with an eczema moisturizer.
- Wear loose clothes to avoid itching.
- Repeat this 3-4 times a week for best results.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar Liquid
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 30 ml of lukewarm water
- Blackstrap molasses or honey (as required)
- Dilute the apple cider vinegar in the water.
- You can add the molasses or honey to the mixture to enhance its taste.
- Mix thoroughly, and take the mixture thrice a day. You need to take it at least 30 minutes before eating.
- Moisturize your skin after this to prevent apple cider vinegar from drying out your skin.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar With Baking Soda
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (organic)
- 1/2 cup of water
- A little bit of honey
- Add the baking soda and apple cider vinegar to half a cup of water. Mix well. You will see a little fizz.
- Once the fizz has stopped, add the honey.
- Stir thoroughly. Drink this solution once a day, regularly, till you see the results.
5. Fizzy ACV Tea
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 cup of water
- Tea powder (as required)
- Add the apple cider vinegar to an empty cup. To this, add the baking soda.
- Mix well and let it rest for a while. You will see the fizz.
- Once the fizz disappears, add half a cup of water and mix thoroughly.
- Now, add the tea and mix again.
- You can take the tea once every morning.
Though the tea might be a little hard to drink at first, it offers a lot of relief.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar In The Laundry
1/2 cup of white distilled apple cider vinegar
- Once you have added your clothes to the washing machine, add the white distilled apple cider vinegar.
- Ensure you don’t mix vinegar and bleach. It produces toxic fumes.
The vinegar acts as a natural fabric softener. It is way better than soaps and detergents, whose residue on the clothes might cause irritation and even eczema outbreaks.
Those were a few ways you could use apple cider vinegar for eczema relief. And now, there is something else – something most of us don’t know. There is another type of eczema..
Also called dyshidrosis, this is a skin condition that causes blisters to develop on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. These blisters are usually filled with fluid and are itchy, and they might last up to two to four weeks.
The causes of this condition are unknown. But some experts believe it could be caused by certain seasonal allergies like hay fever.
You might be at risk of developing this condition if you have high levels of stress (this could be physical or emotional) or have other allergies. Also, if your hands and feet are often moist or inside water – or if you are frequently exposed to metal salts like chromium, nickel, and cobalt – you have higher chances of developing dyshidrotic eczema.
The most common symptom of dyshidrotic eczema is the formation of blisters on the fingers, toes, hands, and feet. At times, there would be large blisters that can be very painful. And when the blisters dry up, they might turn into cracks, causing more pain.
The diagnosis of the condition is pretty simple. Your doctor might run you through certain tests – as the symptoms of this condition could be similar to that of other skin ailments. The most popular of the tests is the skin biopsy, which involves the removal of a small patch of skin for testing in the lab. This test zeroes in on what the condition exactly is.
There are numerous ways to treat this type of eczema. They include the application of a corticosteroid cream (for mild outbreaks) and a corticosteroid injection (for severe outbreaks). There are other treatment methods, like UV light treatments, anti-itch creams, immune-suppressing ointments, etc.
And then, we have apple cider vinegar. But wait – is it the same as white vinegar? And if there is a difference, which of the two works best for eczema?
White Vinegar For Dyshidrotic Eczema?
The actual apple cider vinegar is the acidic variety. But it is unfiltered and unpasteurized and contains the ‘mother’ – and hence is far more nutritious. The white vinegar, on the other hand, is filtered – it is less acidic, but is less nutritious as well.
Coming to treating dyshidrotic eczema, the actual apple cider vinegar works best. But since it is more acidic, it is always advisable to dilute it before using it. And coming to the usage, you can use it to treat dyshidrotic eczema the same way you use it to treat normal eczema.
Tips To Use Apple Cider Vinegar
- Ensure the vinegar is cloudy and dark, with the sediment at the bottom of the container.
- Remember to dilute the vinegar before using it. This point holds special importance when you are using it to treat eczema in children. This can help prevent burning or a stinging sensation in children.
- Avoid using the vinegar if you are pregnant.
- If you are suffering from peptic ulcers, chronic indigestion or heartburn, don’t take apple cider vinegar.
- If you are on diabetes medication, don’t take ACV – as it might react with insulin.
- Most importantly, if you have a preexisting medical condition, consult your doctor before you take apple cider vinegar.
Yes, using apple cider vinegar for eczema treatment is very effective. But how about preventing the condition altogether? That’s much better, isn’t it?
Foods To Prevent Eczema Outbreaks
It’s simple common sense. Eczema is basically a form of inflammation. So, eating foods with anti-inflammatory properties can seal the deal. These include foods containing omega-3 fatty acids – fatty fish like salmon or mackerel or even an omega-3 supplement (1).
Foods containing quercetin (a plant-based flavonoid) also help. These include apples, cherries, broccoli, blueberries, and spinach.
And then, we have foods containing probiotics. These include yogurt, naturally fermented pickles, kefir, etc.
Another set of superfoods for eczema are the ones rich in vitamin C. These include kiwis, baked potatoes, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, and red bell peppers.
Also, try replacing fatty red and processed meats with lean meats. These include extra lean ground beef, duck, lamb, and pork.
Now you know how to treat eczema with apple cider vinegar. Not just this – you can also manage eczema through some simple lifestyle changes. These are natural methods that work great for most.
How To Manage Eczema Naturally
- Firstly, figure the triggers. What triggers a flare-up in one individual may not do so for someone else. Try different types of clothing and foods – maintain a diary and note down the triggers. Yes, this will take a while as it involves some work, but it’s worth it.
- Clothes play a major role. You might have figured out what kind of clothing suits you. But it may not be as beneficial if you wear clothing that irritates you. Loose clothing works. Always.
- Non-irritating shampoos and soaps are a must. You need to avoid products that contain parabens or sodium lauryl sulfate.
- Use a humidifier. A dry environment can aggravate eczema and other similar skin conditions. You can invest in an air humidifier that adds moisture to the air, and ultimately, to your skin.
- Keep your house clean, please. This is basic. Dust mites, pet dander, molds, dandruff, etc. – none of these have a place in your home. This is imperative whether you suffer from eczema or not.
- Minimize stress. Yes. Stress doesn’t seem like much, but mind you, it kills. Meditate. Develop a positive mental attitude. Relax and unwind. Work might be worship – but that ain’t possible if you aren’t healthy.
- And as we have already discussed, improve your diet. Simply put, eat healthy. Stay away from junk. Eat what is good for your body, and your body will thank you later. Also, cut gluten from your diet – as it might trigger your skin condition.
There are certain other ways you can prevent eczema flare-ups.
- Avoid stress or overeating (2).
- Avoid abrupt changes in the temperature or humidity.
- Moisturize often.
- Avoid scratchy materials like wool.
Okay. It’s time for some hope. No matter how bad your condition is, there will always be something available that can make your life normal. In this case, it is apple cider vinegar. Include it in your routine and see the results.
You will be filled with wonder.
Let us know how this post on drinking apple cider vinegar for eczema has helped you. Do comment in the box below.
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Ravi Teja Tadimalla
Ravi Teja Tadimalla is a Senior Content Writer who specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has been in the field for well over 4 years now. His work involves extensive research on how one can maintain better health through natural foods and organic supplements. Ravi has written over 250 articles and is also a published author. Reading and theater are his other interests.
POPSUGAR posted “Is Apple Cider Vinegar a Miracle Cure For Eczema? Here’s What the Pros Say.” featuring Dr. Purvisha Patel and Visha Skincare.
The article includes Visha Skincare brand founder Dr. Purvisha Patel’s expert commentary on how apple cider vinegar works to treat eczema, as well as Visha Skincare Bump 2 Baby. The thick moisturizer, says Dr. Patel, fills the small cracks in the skin and helps stop the nerves from firing when exposed to air. The article also shares Dr. Patel’s advice on drinking enough water, taking a multivitamin and probiotic and getting enough sleep!
Anyone who’s been diagnosed with eczema is familiar with the process of trying treatment after treatment and remedy after remedy. Thousands of products tout themselves as miracle cures, and beauty blogs and websites have dedicated entire sections toward soothing flaky, itchy skin with at-home, DIY treatments. As is the case with any sort of skin type or ailment, what seems like a godsend for one person may not work for another. Today, with the help of three dermatologists, we’re exploring the topic of using apple cider vinegar to treat eczema.
Apple Cider Vinegar For Eczema
As you’re probably aware, trying to satisfy that itch with a scratch only exacerbates the problem. So how do you soothe your poor, inflamed skin? There are numerous over-the-counter products and prescription ointments that can help. Also, an increasingly common temporary treatment is apple cider vinegar. But does it actually work?
“The skin is open and can be prone to infection, making the itching and redness worse. Apple cider vinegar kills bacteria on the surface of the skin and seems to ‘dry up’ superficially infected skin,” explained Dr. Purvisha Patel, a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Visha Skincare.
Our dermatologists recommended applying apple cider vinegar via a clean cotton pad onto a small trial patch of your skin, noting that some people actually prefer a sting to an itch!
“A thick moisturizer, such as Visha Skincare Bump 2 Baby, should then be put on the skin so the small cracks in the skin that just got cleansed are now filled. This helps stop the skin nerves from firing when exposed to air,” advised Dr. Patel.
Read the full article here.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis?
If you suffer from eczema, you’re not alone. Eczema, a skin disorder characterized by red, itchy, inflamed skin that’s annoying at best, and painful at worst, affects more than 30 million Americans, according to the National Eczema Association.
The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which often surfaces during the first six months of life in the form of a red, itchy rash on the arms, legs, and cheeks, notes the National Eczema Association. Sometimes atopic dermatitis disappears as a child grows older, but some children will continue dealing with this skin condition well into adulthood.
People with eczema and atopic dermatitis are constantly searching for easy treatment options to help them manage their symptoms. Some claim that apple cider vinegar (ACV) is an effective home remedy for these skin conditions that is both easy and inexpensive.
Vinegar — which is made through the fermentation of fruit juices (such as apple cider) and other raw materials (like rice and potato) — has a long history, with the earliest known instance of use dating back more than 10,000 years, according to a review published in the Journal of Food Science. It was commonly used to clean wounds, prevent infection, and treat a variety of health complaints, including stomachache, fever, and inflammation. Today, some say that ACV can help with everything from weight loss to digestion, but the research is limited and inconclusive.
But can it help with eczema and atopic dermatitis? Here’s what you need to know.
Can ACV Improve Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis?
ACV may help treat eczema and atopic dermatitis, but it’s hard to say for sure. Unfortunately, the research is pretty thin.
Scientists believe that people with eczema tend to have higher, or more alkaline, skin pH levels, and there is some belief that the acidity of ACV can help balance these levels, according to the National Eczema Association. A study published in December 2016 in Annals of Dermatology on mice with atopic dermatitis showed promising results: Mice that were treated with acidic topical vinegar creams had fewer atopic dermatitis–like lesions and reduced eczema severity after three weeks, compared with mice who were treated with neutral cream. Researchers concluded that these improvements were thanks to the acidic creams’ ability to maintain skin pH and the health of the skin barrier, which is weakened in people with atopic dermatitis. The trouble is, we don’t know whether these findings would apply to humans.
There is some evidence that ACV has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which is significant because reducing inflammation and infection risk are common concerns for people with eczema and atopic dermatitis. A study published in the January 2018 issue of Scientific Reports found that ACV was effective in stopping the growth of multiple microbial species, including E. coli. ACV also helped suppress the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, a type of protein that triggers an inflammatory response. The study authors believe that the micronutrients in apples, as well as the acetic acid found in vinegar, may be largely responsible for these benefits. However, more research is needed before we can know what implications these findings have on eczema and atopic dermatitis specifically.
Why You Should Approach ACV With Caution
Given the lack of research on ACV and eczema and atopic dermatitis, it may be best to try other treatment options first. “I usually recommend using diluted bleach baths instead of apple cider vinegar,” says Samer Jaber, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Washington Square Dermatology in New York City. Bleach baths involve soaking in a bath of water that’s been mixed with a small amount of bleach for 5 to 10 minutes a few times a week. Instructions on the American Academy of Dermatology website recommend using ½ cup of regular strength (6 percent) plain bleach in a full bathtub of water, or 1 teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water for a baby or toddler.
That said, a review published in the November 2017 in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found bleach baths and water baths were equally effective for treating eczema and atopic dermatitis. More research is needed to determine why this is the case. Talk with your dermatologist to find out if bleach baths are a good treatment option for you.
In addition, many dermatologists aren’t sold on the effectiveness of ACV. “I have in my practice definitely seen irritate the skin and cause atopic dermatitis flares when used topically,” Dr. Jaber says.
Lauren Ploch, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Augusta, Georgia, agrees. “The skin in atopic dermatitis has a weakened barrier, so the effects of things applied to the skin can be augmented,” she says, adding that the skin is more likely to be irritated by things like apple cider vinegar. For this reason, Dr. Ploch recommends using bland skin products if you have eczema or atopic dermatitis. To find eczema-friendly skin products, check the directory on the National Eczema Foundation’s website. When in doubt, talk to your dermatologist about the best treatment options for you.
Apple cider vinegar soaks fall short in atopic dermatitis
Application of diluted apple cider vinegar (0.5% acetic acid) had no long term effects on the skin of patients with atopic dermatitis (AD), in a pilot split-arm study.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of diluted apple cider vinegar application on transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and pH on skin affected by AD and on healthy skin, according to Lydia A. Luu of the department of dermatology at University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and colleagues. “Acetic acid, particularly apple cider vinegar, is prominent among emerging natural remedies used in AD. Therefore, determining the safety of this commonly used product is crucial,” they wrote in the study, published in Pediatric Dermatology.
In total, 11 patients with AD and 11 healthy controls were included; most of those with AD were considered mild (36.4%) or moderate (45.5%). Participants had not used systemic or topical antimicrobial treatments in the month preceding the study, and they were aged 12 years and older (mean ages were 20.6 years in the AD group and 28.8 years among controls). Those with AD had significantly elevated TEWL at baseline, compared with controls.
For 14 days, study participants soaked one forearm in dilute apple cider vinegar (0.5% acetic acid) and the other in tap water for 10 minutes daily. Changes in pH and TEWL before and after application were measured.
The researchers found that TEWL significantly increased immediately post treatment (at 0 and 15 minutes) in both groups, dropping to baseline at 30 minutes among those with AD and at 60 minutes among controls.
Skin pH was similar in both groups at baseline (4.86-4.88). After the cider vinegar soak, there was a transient reduction in skin pH among AD patients that lasted for 15 minutes among those with AD and 60 minutes in controls. This finding “suggests temporary acidification of the skin that has theoretical benefit of correcting disrupted skin pH in AD,” the authors wrote, noting that increased TEWL and alkaline skin pH is common among people with AD because of skin barrier dysfunction.
With respect to safety, 72.7% (16) of the participants experienced skin discomfort, mostly described as mild, limited to the vinegar-treated arm. After discontinuation, the majority of skin irritation resolved quickly, with no additional therapy.
The authors acknowledged two key limitations of the study were the homogeneous patient population and small sample size. “Although epidermal acidification would theoretically be beneficial in treating AD, our study shows that acidification by way of topical bathing in a 0.5% solution as performed in this study is not useful in AD treatment,” they wrote. “Further studies in a more diverse population will be necessary to fully characterize the risk/benefit profile of topical dilute apple cider vinegar treatments.”
The study was funded by the University of Virginia. The authors did not provide information on financial disclosures.
SOURCE: Luu LA et al. Pediatr Dermatol. 2019 Jul 22. doi: 10.1111/pde.13888.
Apple Cider Vinegar Baths are a Great Treatment for Eczema
If you’re looking for a natural and effective way to treat eczema, look no further than apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has many wonderful benefits. Vinegars of all kinds, but particularly apple cider vinegar also known as ACV, can be used as a natural eczema treatment. Vinegar consists mainly of acetic acid and in addition to being used for cooking; it’s also used for health, medical, and beauty. Many people find that apple cider vinegar added to a warm bath has benefits for the skin. It can be used for eczema relief, to treat outbreaks, and to prevent eczema flares.
Vinegar is antibacterial and anti-fungal and contains all kinds of immune-boosting mineral salts, vitamin B1, riboflavin, an array of vitamins, sulphur, and acetic acid. It’s all around alkalizing for the body and for the skin. The result is that vinegar is wonderful to relieve inflammation, skin infections, and to combat yeast growth. The natural astringent quality of the vinegar helps to balance the skin’s pH levels.
Apple Cider Vinegar Bath Directions:
- Mix 2 cups of ACV into a warm bath if using a tub. Use 4 tsp. per gallon if using a baby tub.
- Soak in the bath for 30+ minutes. Toys help a child soak.
- Rinse well with clean water
- Gently pat the skin dry with a soft, cotton towel. Leave the skin slightly moist.
- Moisturize immediately while the skin is still damp with an eczema emollient.
- After applying an eczema moisturizer, apply eczema clothing to reduce itching and allow emollients to stay in place for optimum treatment.
- Repeat 3-4 times a week for best results.
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Apple Cider Vinegar “Skin Toner”
You can also spot treat your eczema by creating a skin toner-type of liquid to keep in a jar in your bathroom:
- Mix 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1/2 cup of water. For particularly sensitive skin, you can start with just 2 tbsp. of ACV in 1 cup of water.
- Use a cotton ball to apply the ACV to the affected area(s) as a skin toner.
- Repeat 1-2 times a day.
On its own, vinegar can be very drying so always rinse well and moisturize immediately after your bath or after using the skin toner.
It’s important to always dilute the ACV before applying it to the skin. It’s too strong to apply directly and might cause some stinging or burning if it’s not diluted enough. If you find that your skin reacts to the ACV, add more water.
So many people experience dramatic improvements to their eczema from treatment with apple cider vinegar. The naturalacetic acid and the antibacterial and antifungal qualities of vinegar help to relieve eczema flares and ward off future outbreaks. When diluted, it’s very gentle and a terrific natural eczema remedy that’s worth trying for both adults and children. We hope it works for you too!
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From deep-cleaning your hair to salad dressing extraordinaire, it only takes a quick Google search to know there is no shortage of uses for apple cider vinegar (ACV).
Apple cider is basically fermented apple juice. When we add yeast to apple juice, it turns the fruit sugar into alcohol—a process known as fermentation. Bacteria then turns the alcohol into acetic acid, which is what gives apple cider vinegar its sour taste and strong smell.
Although ACV doesn’t have much nutritional value, we see it pop up in quite a few recipes, particularly soups, sauces and salad dressings. Apple cider vinegar also has a hefty history outside of the kitchen as a folk remedy in the health and beauty realms.
Vinegar has been used as a remedy since the days of Hippocrates, when the ancient Greek doctor used it to disinfect and treat wounds. Other than that, ACV pretty much remained an elusive old wives’ tale for centuries until it regained traction in the 1970s as a means to promote weight loss, regulate blood sugar and, yes, even treat eczema.
Does apple cider vinegar help eczema?
Before we answer that, it should be noted that there is little to no scientific evidence proving the health benefits of ACV. When consumed in large quantities, ACV can actually be harmful.
Due to its high acidic content, it could potentially injure the soft tissues of the mouth, throat, stomach and kidneys. Women who are pregnant are discouraged from consuming large amounts of ACV.
As to whether ACV helps eczema, the answer is … possibly. Healthy skin is protected by an acidic barrier. Scientists theorize that people with eczema have elevated skin pH levels. Anything under a pH of 7.0 is acidic, and anything above 7.0 is alkaline. Healthy skin has a natural pH level under 5.0. People with eczema typically have higher pH levels than those without.
Because people with eczema have elevated pH levels, the acidic skin barrier doesn’t function as it should. Without a proper functioning skin barrier, moisture escapes and irritants are allowed in. Our skin’s acidity levels are also related to a breakdown in the skin’s microbiota, which guards us against bad bacteria. That’s why people with AD are prone to staph infections— they have higher levels of staph bacteria colonized on their skin.
Since ACV is a mild acid, some people with eczema theorize that applying ACV topically may help restore their skin’s natural pH level. There could be some truth to that.
Washing our skin with soaps and other cosmetic products significantly raises the skin’s pH level, which might explain why eczema is often triggered by soaps and detergents. Even tap water can decrease skin’s acidity, which is why people with eczema-prone skin tend to break out when they shower in unfamiliar locales.
How can I use ACV in my skincare regime?
Be sure to consult with your doctor before trying apple cider vinegar on your skin for the first time. This is especially important for parents of infants or small children with eczema. It is often advised to start with a small patch test and wait few days to ensure you don’t experience an adverse reaction.
- Add 2 cups of ACV to a lukewarm bath.
- Soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Thoroughly rinse the body with cool water.
- Follow with a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer.
ACV wet wrap
- Mix a solution with 1 cup warm water and 1 tablespoon of ACV.
- Apply the solution to gauze or strips clean cotton fabric and apply it to the skin.
- Cover the dressing in dry, clean, cotton fabric.
- Wear your wet wrap for 3 hours or overnight.
Read: More natural remedies for eczema
Apple Cider Vinegar for Eczema
There are several options for using ACV to help treat your eczema. Here are some methods you can try:
Adding ACV to a warm bath may help restore your skin’s natural acidity. Add 2 cups of ACV to a warm (not hot) bath. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse with cool water. Follow with a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer.
Making your own ACV moisturizer allows you to moisturize while restoring your skin’s pH balance. Returning acidity to the skin may help your skin retain that moisture longer.
Mix 1 tablespoon of ACV with 1/4 cup of virgin coconut oil. Studies show that coconut oil can reduce inflammation and soothe painful skin.
ACV facial toner
ACV has antibacterial properties that may allow it to kill staph bacteria on the skin, which reduces your chance of infection. As a toner, ACV works to clean the skin while reducing inflammation.
Apply ACV to a cotton round and wipe it around your face using a circular motion. Follow with a gentle moisturizer.
ACV hair oil
ACV has antifungal properties which may allow it to fight off a dandruff-causing fungus called Malassezia. Eczema and Malassezia are often coexisting.
Make a hair oil by mixing ACV with sunflower oil. Studies show that sunflower oil helps restore the skin’s protective barrier and improve moisture retention.
Add 1 tablespoon of ACV to 1/4 cup of sunflower oil. Apply liberally to your scalp immediately following a shower.
For intense eczema flare-ups, you can add ACV to a wet wrap. You will need gauze, paper towel, or clean cotton fabric. Mix a solution with 1 cup warm water and 1 tablespoon ACV. Wet the fabric and apply it to severely irritated areas. Then cover the dressing in a dry fabric or plastic wrap.
Wear your wet wrap for at least three hours. You can also keep it on overnight. The dampness will add moisture to your skin while the ACV kills harmful bacteria.
Stasis dermatitis is a very common inflammatory condition of the skin. It is brought about by the pooling of blood in the lower extremities, which results in the swelling of the legs and ankles. This causes the skin to become inflamed.
The affected areas appear darkened and scaly. Sometimes skin ulcerations also form. Heaviness of the legs may be felt especially upon standing up. Itchiness is present but scratching has to be avoided because it can cause the skin to crack, which may lead to an infection that can make everything worse.
Controlling stasis dermatitis is of utmost importance. Otherwise, various changes in the skin may become permanent and even deteriorate. For instance, affected skin areas may become thicker and harder, as well as turn dark-brown in color. Eventually, sores may form. If the problem progresses further, even the bones may become infected.
One’s risk of stasis dermatitis increases with the passing of time because of the effects of aging to the blood vessels. People with high blood pressure and other cardiovascular system problems are at risk as well.
Pregnant women and obese individuals may also end up with stasis dermatitis. People whose respective jobs require them to stand up for long periods of time are at risk, too. It’s also not unlikely for smokers to have stasis dermatitis due to the damaging effects of smoking to the blood vessels and heart.
Treatment for stasis dermatitis varies, depending on the root cause of it. Being seen by a doctor allows for the proper identification of the underlying cause as well as the appropriate treatment for it.
Stasis dermatitis may also be controlled with the help of a few natural remedies, some of which can be found below.
Elevate the Legs
When sitting or lying down, consider placing your legs higher than the heart level. Doing so will help keep the blood from pooling in the lower extremities, relieving pressure as well as the symptoms of stasis dermatitis.
Put on Compression Stockings
It’s also a good idea to don a pair of compression stockings as it can help tremendously in warding off swelling of the ankles and legs. This remedy is especially beneficial for those who need to stand up for extended periods of time.
Apply Aloe Vera Juice
Many people with stasis dermatitis swear by the effectiveness of applying aloe vera juice on their legs in easing the signs and symptoms associated with stasis dermatitis. Just make sure that the aloe vera juice is 100 percent pure.
Massage Apple Cider Vinegar
Similarly, you may also regularly massage a small amount of apple cider vinegar on your lower extremities. This can help in improving blood circulation, relieve pressure and ease the effects of stasis dermatitis on your skin.
Take an Oatmeal Bath
At the end of a tiring day, fill your bathtub with water and dissolve a cup of ground oatmeal in it. Soak in it for several minutes to help improve blood circulation to the legs, as well alleviate the signs and symptoms of stasis dermatitis.
Go for Cool and Wet Compresses
You can quickly attain relief from the discomfort and itchiness associated with stasis dermatitis with the help of cool and wet compresses. All you have to do is soak small pieces of cloth to cool water and place them on affected areas.
Have Heart-Friendly Meals
It’s important to opt for meals that are high in fiber, antioxidants and healthy fats, and low in unhealthy fats and sodium. This can help improve your cardiovascular system, thus allowing for the better management of the problem.
Eliminate Excess Pounds
Being overweight or obese puts you at risk of having stasis dermatitis, or cause exacerbation of the skin condition if you already have it. Due to this, you should do your best to make those unwanted body pounds go away.
Quit Cigarette Smoking
If you are a smoker, it is definitely a good idea for you to ditch your bad habit. Smoking is something that can have all sorts of nasty effects on your health, including damage to the blood vessels which can cause stasis dermatitis.
Treating contact dermatitis is difficult, especially if you don’t know what kind you have. Contact dermatitis, (commonly called eczema) comes in many different forms, but usually appears as a large rash that can be itchy and blistering.
Follow this step-by-step guide to determine your best plan of action.
There are currently two known types of contact dermatitis: irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis. In this article we’ll discuss irritant contact dermatitis and the different treatment methods and steps that you can take to prevent it from re-occurring or returning.
1) Know what irritant contact dermatitis is: The first step in curing any disease is to know exactly what you’re dealing with.
Irritant contact dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. This type of contact dermatitis occurs when a substance damages your skin’s outer layer. It’s usually caused by skin contact with acids, alkaline materials, and chemicals that can be toxic to the skin. The reaction usually looks like a burn.
Substances that could cause irritant contact dermatitis include:
Jewelry containing nickel
Rough clothing like wool or synthetic materials
2) Symptoms. Irritant contact dermatitis appears directly on the site of application of the toxic chemical or substance to the skin.
Many people can get confused with the type of contact dermatitis they have, because the reactions are widely the same and produce very similar results. Even doctors can find it difficult to diagnose the exact type of contact dermatitis of a patient.
One way to tell the different between irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis is the body’s reaction. Irritant reactions usually appear immediately after the toxic substance comes into contact with the skin, most are within 24 hours. Because of the shorter time frame (minutes to hours) the patient is usually aware of the identity of the substance causing the breakout. Also the rash will usually be limited to a particular exposed area. For example, if you notice a rash or irritated skin on your neck after wearing a necklace or if your wrist looks inflamed after wearing a rubber or leather watch or a wristband. The longer the substance is in contact with your skin, the worse the effects will be.
Irritant contact dermatitis usually shows up on places that regularly come into contact with chemical substances. Your fingers, hands, feet, wrists, neck, face, ears, or underarms are common places.
Other symptoms include:
Dry, cracked skin
Red patches resembling a burn
Raised or bumpy patches
3) Natural Treatment
Irritant contact dermatitis is easier to treat than allergic dermatitis because the cause is usually obvious. If you think your rashes are caused by irritant dermatitis, then follow these steps:
-Determine the irritant. Try to determine what caused the rash by retracing your daily routine. Did you come in contact with any harsh chemical element or something foreign to your skin? When I used to have really bad eczema my skin reacted badly to jewelry and soaps. I couldn’t wear rings, necklaces, wristbands or watches or else my skin would blister or become very itchy. Industrial soaps (commonly found in public bathrooms, airports, or restaurants) would also irritate my hands. Try to find out what the irritant was that caused your breakout and stay away from it.
-Buy products that are don’t contain harmful chemicals or known skin irritants. Fragrances, SLS, parabens, lanolin, and formaldehyde that are usually found in make-up, lotions, moisturizers, and sun screens are some known skin irritants that you should avoid. If you are suffering from bad irritant contact dermatitis, consider going “chemical-free” for a week or longer to heal your skin.
-Use natural products. Instead of picking up that moisturizer, how about trying something more natural instead? Coconut oil, African butter, avocado oil and shea butter make great lotions and skin moisturizers that won’t hurt your skin. Baking soda, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and lemon can also be used as antiseptics or used as body wash.
For a full step-by-step program to get rid of your contact dermatitis and eczema (whether it’s irritant or allergic) check out my 30 day program here!
PS: Don’t know where to start. Sign up to my free training series on this page !
When an irritant or something we have a sensitivity to touches our skin, an itchy, blistery rash can be the result. In fact, virtually everyone will develop contact dermatitis at some point during their lives. Generally, it resolves without medical intervention. But if it persists for a month — or reoccurs and you don’t know the cause — visiting a dermatologist is recommended.
Fortunately, for the nearly 15 million people in the United States affected each year, natural contact dermatitis treatments can help to relieve the symptoms and speed healing. Lesions and blisters commonly appear somewhere between 24 and 72 hours, depending on the irritant or allergen you have encountered. This inflammatory skin reaction can be caused by cosmetics and other beauty products, chemical solvents, certain medications and plants. (1)
Contact dermatitis is responsible for 95 percent of occupational skin diseases and one of the most common reasons to see a dermatologist. (2) Occupations most at-risk for developing this acute skin condition include nurses, those who work in the beauty industry handling hair and skin products, bartenders, landscapers, and people who handle chemicals in industrial plants and laboratories.
One of the things that puzzles researchers is that there seems to be evidence that repeated exposure to certain compounds can increase the risk of the immune system becoming sensitized to them, resulting in a new allergic response. (3) This has been shown, for example, in people who seemingly awaken to find themselves allergic to their wedding rings or those who suddenly become allergic to latex after wearing gloves for years or professional musicians who suddenly develop a rash as a result of their instrument.
While unsightly and uncomfortable, this skin condition is not contagious. It often heals within two to four weeks with effective home remedies. Plus reoccurrences can often be limited by avoiding the offending compounds causing the inflammatory response.
What Is Contact Dermatitis?
This skin condition is an inflammatory rash caused by direct exposure to an allergen or irritant, resulting in two separate categories. Generally, in contact dermatitis caused by an irritant, an immediate inflammation of the skin occurs. If it’s caused by an allergen, the response may be delayed for several days. While different compounds cause each of the different types, the symptoms and treatments are similar. (4)
Allergic: Typically more common in women, this type is often a result of beauty products, topical antibiotic creams, jewelry, latex or rubber. For most, the inflammatory response will cause a rash to develop 24 to 72 hours after physical contact with the allergen and will appear in a localized manner. (5)
It is commonly identified on the hands, face, neck and ears when due to beauty products. When it appears on the trunk, neck and extremities, it is more often caused by metal or rubber allergies. When this type of rash occurs around the genitals, it is often a result of exposure to an allergen like latex found in condoms, or certain chemicals found in spermicides and certain feminine hygiene products.
Poison ivy, sumac and oak rashes also fall into this category.
Irritant: While most commonly attributed to chemicals, exposure to certain environmental factors can also cause this type. This includes an overexposure to water due to hand washing, swimming, or the like. Or it can be caused by extended exposure to cold temperatures.
This type is commonly identified in the workplace where exposure to chemicals, solvents, acids and cleaners like bleach is typical. However, it can also be a result of licking your lips, exposure to the sun and the wind, and moisture trapped against the body. This is a rather wide category as both diaper rash and acid burns are included!
Signs & Symptoms
Contact dermatitis is a type of eczema, along with atopic dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis, among others. Commonly recognized symptoms include: (6)
- Scaly red or pink areas of skin
- Raised skin
- Lesions with distinct borders
- Lesions in geometric shapes
- Swollen eyelids
- Severe itching
- Peeling of the skin
- Heightened sensitivity to the sun
- Darkened leathery skin
When caused by poison ivy, poison sumac, or poison oak, fluid-filled blisters appear in a line and continue to worsen for a couple of weeks. While the fluid in the blisters is not contagious, any residual urushiol — the compound that causes the reaction — can cause a reaction in others. This compound can remain active under fingernails, on clothing and on footwear for several days. (7)
Causes & Risk Factors
This inflammatory skin condition is typically caused by irritants or allergens. Typical compounds associated with this skin rash include:
- Nickel and other metals. Some coins, jewelry, snaps, zippers and buckles can cause an uncomfortable rash. For those who display a sensitivity to metals, even leaning on a metal table, working on a laptop, talking on a mobile phone, carrying keys, or wearing eyeglasses can cause irritatation. (9)
- Rubber and latex. Commonly found in balloons, gloves, mouse pads, condoms, goggles, and even in the elastic in clothing like underwear, latex allergies are relatively common. An allergy to latex is more commonly associated with people who have had prolonged exposure to latex. This includes health care professionals, individuals who have had multiple surgeries, rubber industry workers, and people with seasonal or food allergies. (10)
- Cosmetics. Even well-known luxury brands of cosmetics can contain chemicals and compounds that result in a rash. Lipstick, foundation, mascara, anti-aging eye creams, moisturizers and nail polish are all recognized for their potential to cause an inflammatory skin reaction.
- Grooming products. Like cosmetics, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, shaving creams, hair dyes and styling products can cause a rash. Common ingredients that have been shown to cause an allergic response include lanolin, sodium lauryl sulfate, formaldehyde, Balsam of Peru, parabens and certain artificial fragrances.
- Antibiotic ointments. Two compounds commonly found in antibiotic ointments, bacitracin and neomycin, are known to cause a rash and symptoms associated with this skin condition in some people. While most reactions to these medications are minor, for some they can cause anaphylaxis, a dangerous life-threatening reaction. So take extreme caution when using antibiotic or triple antibiotic ointments or creams.
- Fabric detergents. Certain chemicals in laundry detergents and fabric softeners, as well as the solvents used in dry cleaning and to clean leather, can cause the symptoms and rash in some people. As it can be difficult without trial and error to identify the exact chemical causing the reaction, an allergist can test patients so appropriate products can be used.
- Household cleaners. Window cleaners, dishwashing soap, dishwasher soap, floor cleaners, bathroom cleaners and grease removal products can cause skin rashes and irritation. Use gloves or, better yet, switch products to avoid harmful chemicals. Try my recipe for Homemade Melaleuca Lemon Household Cleaner, an effective cleaner that uses vinegar, essential oils and water.
- Fertilizers and pesticides. If you work in the agriculture field or are a home gardener, fertilizers and pesticides can cause irritant contact dermatitis. Use caution as these harsh chemicals are not safe for consumption, nor are they safe for your skin.
- Musical instruments. Individuals who play certain musical instruments are at a heightened risk of developing contact dermatitis. Brass instruments including the flute, trombone, trumpet and tuba may contain common allergen metals like nickel, palladium, silver, gold and cobalt. Woodwind instruments including the saxophone, oboe, clarinet and bassoon also contain allergens like nickel and cobalt and organic compounds from exotic woods and cane reeds. String instruments, mainly violins, violas and cellos, can include metals and exotic woods, as well as rosins, propolis and staining agents known to cause an inflammatory allergic response with continued use. (11)
Commonly identified risk factors for developing this skin condition include: (12)
- A history of eczema
- Living in a dry climate
- Frequent hand washing
- Repeated exposure to water
- Exposure to chemicals and solvents like fiberglass, alkalis and acids
- Having fair skin
- Wearing a diaper
- Being a landscaper, laboratory worker, nurse, hairdresser, cosmetologist, health care worker, mechanic, machinist, chef or food service worker, metal worker or musician
A definitive diagnosis requires a medical history and a physical examination. In most cases, a physician or dermatologist will be able to identify this skin condition without further testing. However, patch tests and allergy tests may be required if the allergen or irritant isn’t readily identifiable. (13) The most common contact dermatitis treatments include:
- Hydrocortisone creams to reduce itching and redness
- Antihistamines for allergens
- Antibiotics if skin lesions or blisters become infected
- Oral steroids
16 Natural Contact Dermatitis Treatments
The goal is to restore and protect the skin while relieving the itching, burning and discomfort, much like proven eczema treatments; however, in addition, known allergens and irritants must be removed from the diet and environment to heal and prevent future outbreaks.
1. Avoid exposure to known food allergens. If you are allergic or sensitive to certain foods, avoid them. This not only means don’t consume them, but it also means not to handle or prepare them. Common allergens include: conventional dairy, soy, citrus, peanuts, wheat, gluten, fish and shellfish, eggs, corn and tomatoes.
2. Avoid exposure to known chemical irritants and allergens. If you develop a sensitivity to a cosmetic, hair product, household cleaner, latex, metal or other compound, avoid all contact with the product to support healing and prevent further outbreaks, symptoms, and rashes.
3. Eat blueberries and blackberries. Blueberries and blackberries have powerful flavonoids that exhibit strong anti-inflammatory properties known to strengthen connective tissue while reducing allergic reactions — two key things for treating contact dermatitis. Enjoy my favorite recipe for gluten-free blueberry muffins to help spur healing. (14, 15)
4. Omega-3 fatty acids. Boost your intake of omega-3 rich foods like mackerel, wild-caught salmon, salmon fish oil or cod liver oil, walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds. Omega-3s support skin health, cardiovascular functioning, healthy blood sugar levels, boost immune system response, lower inflammation, and help to ease depression while improving mood. (16)
5. Probiotics. Boost your immune system response and help to control allergies by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement and increasing consumption of probiotic-rich foods. Research shows that taking probiotics during pregnancy or early infancy can protect children against dermatitis in the future while boosting immune system response and helping to control allergies. (17)
6. Vitamin C. With its strong antihistamine properties, vitamin C may reduce symptoms of contact dermatitis for some people. As citrus is a common allergen, look for a high-quality supplement made from rose hips, and enjoy plenty of non-citrus vitamin C foods including black currants, red peppers, green peppers, strawberries, broccoli and pineapple.
7. Collagen. Recognized as an essential element in skin health, collagen is essential during an outbreak to speed healing. According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, oral collagen supplementation significantly increases skin hydration while significantly decreasing fragmentation of skin. Enjoy homemade bone broth, a high-quality supplement, or add a collagen-based protein powder to morning smoothies to relieve worrisome symptoms. (18)
8. Bromelain. This powerful enzyme from pineapple reduces inflammation. Select a high-quality supplement or purchase organic pineapples to juice. The core has the highest concentration of bromelain and should never be discarded!
9. Quercetin. This powerful flavonoid is found in leafy greens, berries, broccoli and tomatoes, and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It has been shown to support healing from inflammatory diseases. Take 1,000 milligrams three times each day during an outbreak to reduce inflammation and allergic reactions. Select a high quality quercetin supplement and enjoy quercetin-rich foods like cocoa, apples, cherries and berries, leafy greens, and black and green tea. (19)
10. Vitamin D. Researchers from the Department of Pediatrics at CHA University School of Medicine in Korea have identified that individuals with a vitamin D deficiency are at a greater risk of developing this condition. To improve vitamin D levels, spend more time in the sun (without sunscreen) and enjoy wild-caught seafood like halibut, mackerel, eel, salmon, sardines and tuna. Foods high in vitamin D that are not ocean-based include maitake mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, raw milk and eggs. (20)
11. Soothe and moisturize the rash. Apply a moisturizing and healing cream made from coconut oil, shea butter, soothing lavender essential oil, and germ-fighting tea tree oil. Apply my DIY homemade eczema cream recipe at least twice each day. Or, you can simply apply coconut oil. Few things hydrate the skin, keep it soft and smooth, and support healing as well as coconut oil. Apply liberally several times each day until the lesions heal and the rash is gone. Coconut oil also has antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
12. Evening primrose oil. Topically, evening primrose is shown to reduce itching. In addition, researchers point to the high concentration of GLA as supporting skin health by improving moisture levels, firmness and elasticity. A study found taking 1,500 milligrams of evening primrose daily significantly improved skin health. If you are on blood thinners or have a history of seizures or schizophrenia, speak to your physician before taking evening primrose oil, or applying it topically. (21)
13. Oatmeal baths. A study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that colloidal oatmeal, an ingredient in moisturizing creams, bath soaps, shampoos and bubble baths, is effective in treating a wide array of inflammatory skin conditions, including atopic dermatitis and eczema. Researchers attribute the healing nature of oats to the high levels of phenolic compounds. (22)
To make a soothing bath, blend 3 tablespoons of organic, gluten-free oats in a grinder until fine. Mix the powder into 1 cup of warm water and stir well. Add to a warm tub of water, along with 5–7 drops of lavender oil and lie back, relax and soak for 20 to 30 minutes.
14. Damp dressings. To relieve the bothersome symptoms including itching, redness and the crust that develops when the rash weeps, cover with a warm, damp sterile dressing. Soak a bandage in a mixture of apple cider vinegar, water and a few drops of your favorite essential oil with antibiotic qualities, like cinnamon oil, thyme oil, oregano oil or tea tree oil. Use a wrap to secure it and replace several times a day.
15. Apple cider vinegar. The benefits of apple cider vinegar far surpass even generational old wives’ tales. Apple cider vinegar’s proven benefits include soothing skin, reducing inflammation, and fighting bacteria — all challenges associated with this condition. Try my favorite recipe for a DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Toner for a gentle cleansing and to speed healing while protecting against fungi and bacteria that commonly attack open sores of a rash.
16. Dead Sea salt baths. A study reported in the International Journal of Dermatology found that bathing in a solution of Dead Sea salt enhances skin hydration, reduces inflammation, and improves the skin barrier function. Contributing researchers believe Dead Sea salts are effective because of the high magnesium content.
Take a relaxing bath adding 1 cup of Dead Sea salt to a tub of water. If you have a localized rash, mix a couple of tablespoons with a cup of warm water and apply gently with cotton pads; it is safe to use on the face and near mucous membranes. (23)
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When symptoms include blisters or lesions that break open, the risk of infection and scarring increases dramatically. It is imperative that you keep the area clean and protected from bacteria and fungi. Watch for common signs of infection including tenderness, redness, a warmth in the rash, or an elevated temperature. (24)
Nearly 15 million people experience contact dermatitis symptoms each year in the United States. This inflammatory skin condition is responsible for 95 percent of occupational skin diseases according to researchers.
There are two main categories: allergic and irritant. The allergic group is often caused by beauty products, metals, plants, household cleaners and other substances that you have an allergy or sensitivity to. The rash tends to appear between 24 and 72 hours after exposure.
The irritant category is typically caused by chemical compounds and environmental factors like cold, trapped moisture and dry climates.
It is not contagious, and natural contact dermatitis treatments typically resolve the rash and symptoms within a few weeks. Health care workers, landscapers, musicians, food service workers, mechanics and those who work with chemicals are at a greater risk of developing this skin condition.
To speed healing and to prevent additional outbreaks, avoid foods that you are allergic to, as well as common allergens like seafood, soy, dairy, wheat, gluten and corn. Avoid products with chemicals that you know will cause a rash. Many chemicals hide in beauty products and household cleaning products. An allergist can help you narrow down the culprit if you don’t know what is causing the symptoms.
Take care to avoid scratching as this can cause an infection and scarring. Keep affected areas clean and moisturized with an organic compound like coconut oil.