Living with eczema is hard, especially if your skin is particularly itchy and sore at night. Getting a good night’s sleep can be a real challenge, and many babies and younger children scratch their skin raw and bleeding at night. The word eczema comes from Greek words which mean “to boil over”, and any sufferer knows just how apt that is. Thankfully, there are ways for you, and your baby or child, to calm the skin and get a good night’s sleep. Here are some of them:
Whizz a handful of organic oats in the blender to grind them, then place in the centre of a muslin cloth, or in the toe of an old stocking, with a handful of marigold (calendula) flowers. Tie the muslin up and hang it in the warm running water to infuse an oatmilk bath. Add a couple of drops of lavender and soak for at least 10 minutes. Camomile and sage can also be used instead of calendula.
Adding 2-3 tablespoons of cider vinegar to the bath can also help; or boil 50g of freshly ground linseed in 1 litre of water for 2 minutes, strain and add the liquid to your bath to soften the skin. Add a couple of drops of essential oils too.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that many of us lack, and this can bring an array of health issues. If you crave chocolate, you are probably magnesium-deficient. Rather than taking a supplement, soaking in a magnesium bath can be more beneficial, allowing the mineral to pass through the skin where it can get to work immediately.
Relaxing, calming, detoxing and cleansing, a magnesium bath can help to heal eczema as well as bringing many other benefits to the body. We love this recipe from the Wellness Mama blog:
• 1-2 cups of epsom salts or magnesium flakes (magnesium flakes are absorbed much more easily)
• 1/2 cup Himalayan or Sea Salt
• 1/2 tsp of natural vanilla extract
• 10-15 drops of essential oil, such as lavender or mint
Do bear in mind that this is the recipe for a full adult bath, so adjust for smaller quantities of water for children.
Whether adult or child, massaging the body with a mixture of pure virgin coconut oil and calendula cream or oil can help cool and calm the itch ready for sleep. Learning and practising baby massage is one of the best things you can do for any baby, but especially so for an eczema-prone one.
The massage oil will moisturise the skin best if applied straight after a bath or shower to damp skin.
Change Your Bed
House dust mites, and their faeces, can be a trigger for eczema, so change your pillow at least once a year. You should also vacuum your mattress regularly; have your duvet cleaned at least once a year, preferably by a hydro cleaning rather than a dry cleaning one; and wash your bedding on a high 60C wash in gentle, eco-friendly detergents. If you can afford it, investing in anti-allergy bedding and a mattress is recommended. Use a damp cloth to dust and clean, and use it often, to help eradicate as much dust as possible.
Hopefully, it goes without saying that you should chose only 100% cotton bed linen, and with as high a thread count for softness and comfort, as you can afford.
Try to sleep with a window slightly ajar on all but the coldest nights, and wear loose, cotton nightclothes, preferably without seams and labels on the inside. Double rinse your clothes when washing to remove all traces of detergent. Avoid air conditioning as it dries the air and can aggravate eczema.
Investigate Other Therapies
Acupuncture, aromatherapy, homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, craniosacral therapy and chiropractic have all been shown to alleviate or banish eczema symptoms, so are well worth investigating.