Eczema: A Reader Needs Our Help!

Eczema can be one of those real eff-my-life conditions. Sometimes it behaves similarly to an allergy, and even shows up in conjunction with other reactions. Yet in many cases it has no known cause at all. Which offers a whole lot of shrugs to those who suffer from it.

My husband, we think, used to get it on his scalp. Never officially diagnosed, it would come and go. When I forced clean products on him, it seemed to help, but didn’t eliminate the problem completely. Then one day he shaved his head and stopped using shampoo entirely, and boom, it totally disappeared.

My lay theory there: It was the lack of shampoo and the addition of direct So-Cal sun on his scalp that was helping. Many people claim sunlight is a boon for eczema, including our reader below. At any rate, it’s mostly gone now for him even though he has longer hair again and shampoos (with Acure) every few days. While we never tracked it closely enough, I suspect certain dietary and lifestyle changes have improved it—namely more golf (there’s that sun again) and less stress.

What do the experts, like the trusty Dr. Weil, say? First and foremost: Reduce stress, an aggravator in most malaises. Try hypnotherapy, meditation, visualization, or whatever works for you.

Other key recs: Try aloe vera gel on it, take skin-nourishing gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), avoid soap as much as possible (to that I’d add shampoo, if you can bear it), watch for triggers like a hawk (whether it’s a food or a mood!), and eliminate potential allergens (which our reader has already done). We always think acupuncture and ayurveda can help detect general imbalances that may be causing conditions too.

Here’s the lovely letter we got from Lisa about her case. Pleaseplease, include any tips you have or have heard of in the comments!

Dear Alexandra and Siobhan,

I’m a regular reader of the blog, a follower on OpenSky and Quarterly, and pass your book along to every glam-loving gal and clean-loving guy I can. So I was hoping to source you a little bit on the issue of being a clean girl with eczema, particularly on the scalp (seborrheic dermatitis). In the toxic old days, I would slather on a shampoo with coal tar…which sounds as gross and stinky as it is except, darn it, it really works! Since going clean, I’ve tried ACV rinse (which was nice, but made my scalp more oily and didn’t kick my undesirable flakes and itchiness. Nor has doing oil soaking on my scalp – I’ve tried virgin coconut and olive oil and though it is soothing, it doesn’t stop the problem. I have tried shampoos with neem oil, but it made my scalp worse :(

I used to have more problems with eczema in general, but since going clean about a year ago, my skin really does look and behave better. Evan Healy is my hero, and rosehip oil is my salvation. It’s just my scalp that is going crazy! The only thing that helps for sure is lots of water, sunlight and no winter, and only one of those things is something I can definitely control. With the onset of Spring, things will surely improve, but what will I do next winter? I have heard some people have success with food elimination and am open to that, though it would be difficult – I am an omnivore, but we already eliminate all nuts, most dairy and all fish due to my husband’s allergies. No one really knows what causes eczema, so it’s hard to pick a successful strategy here. Right now I wash my hair every other day with Yarok or Acure and air dry, sometimes with the John Masters Sea Salt Spray as a leave-in (which is probably terribly drying as well, but I was having trouble well before I started using it.) Ironically, I’m having the best hair of my life, even it comes with the worst scalp. :)

Thanks for all you both do to help find strategies for living cleaner, happier and healthier!


Thank you for the lovely letter—and all the support! Now, let’s help a girl out. What do you guys know about treating ezcema? Who has some great anectodal evidence if clean tips that help?

55 Responses to “Eczema: A Reader Needs Our Help!”
  1. Kalli says:

    @Kari, I have been suffering from perioral dermatitis for several months as well and would love to see a post about this issue. I have been using natural face products and shampoos for over two years. I eat fairly healthy and dairy free minus a bit of cheese. I recently began taking probiotic supplements after reading that it may help. So far not much has changed. I did not know that facial oils could exacerbate this condition. I appreciate your tip about the seaweed products.

  2. Mie Ululani says:

    Hi! Oh my goodness, my heart totally goes out to anyone who has eczema, no matter how mild or severe! I was born with it and finally cracked the code to getting rid of it. Basically eczema connotes an internal imbalance. You need to heal it from the inside out. The fancy gels and lotions only mask the symptoms temporarily. To truly heal, start with the gut. Probiotics, cut out major allergens like gluten, dairy and acidic foods like animal protein. Fruits and veggies all day err day.

    If you are serious about reversing eczema, you need to be serious about your diet. This made me SO upset at first because this girl LOVES her food! But the tradeoff is worth it. And even though I was targeting eczema through my whole body approach to healing, a lot of my other health ailments went away too since. I no longer have asthma too. Pretty sweet deal. I’d love to help more…my website is all about eczema natural healing. You can email me from there if you want! love and best of luck!

  3. Cristina says:

    I have found that coconut oil has been really helpful, but you have to be diligent about applying it. When I wasn’t it would flair up and then I was back to square one.

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