Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a condition in which skin becomes red, inflamed and itchy. It is common and mostly manageable. It can occur in kids as well as adults. This article will discuss how to stop eczema itching naturally. Before we start, we will discuss some things about eczema. As always, please consult your doctor first before starting eczema treatments.
What causes eczema?
There are many causes of eczema flaring up, but knowing why eczema happens in the first place is still being researched. What we do know is that eczema can be related to genetic factors, skin barrier, and the immune system. When the skin barrier is compromised, this can lead to more exposure to allergens that ultimately flares the skin .
Where is eczema generally located?
Eczema in children is commonly found on the cheeks, chin, neck, inner elbows, or behind the knees.
What are traditional treatments?
Generally, eczema is treated with over the counter topical medications, prescription topical creams and ointments, photo therapy, steroids, sometimes even immunosuppressants . With the right treatment strategy, eczema can be well controlled.
What are eczema triggers?
Some common triggers for eczema include certain soaps, detergents or cleaning supplies, stress, second-hand smoking, hot showers or baths, excessive perspiration and sudden changes in temperature and humidity .
Finding triggers can be tough and parents often have to play the role of detective to figure out what may be triggering their child’s eczema.
How can we stop eczema itch at night or immediately?
- Wet wraps: Wet wraps are best done after bathing, moisturizing and applying medication. Use clean cotton clothing or gauze for the wet layer and pajamas on top as a dry layer. If the eczema is on the feet and/or hands, you can use cotton gloves or socks for the wet layer with vinyl gloves or food-grade plastic wrap as the dry layer. 
- Cold Compress: It can be done with the help of ice pack or wet gauze. The cold will help numb the area and relieve itching. If you use an ice pack, make sure you wrap it with a towel so that the ice does not directly touch the skin.
- Apply moisturizer. Keeping the skin moisturized will help reduce the itching.
Baths and Eczema Itch
According to the American Association of Dermatology, “Adding colloidal oatmeal solution to your child’s bath can help relieve dry, itchy skin.” Colloidal oatmeal can be added to the running lukewarm water and soak the child for 10-15 mins. Be sure to moisturize within 3 minutes of bathing .
Other bath options include using bleach or baking soda. A bleach bath can kill bacteria on the skin. Baking soda also has antibacterial along with soothing properties .
Herbal and Essential Oils
Herbal supplements and essential oils have been used in skincare for many ages, but they are gaining more attention these days to help inflammation and itching. Tea tree oil is a commonly used essential oil that may help eczema. It has antiviral, antibacterial and wound healing properties.  One research study found that tea tree oil may help people with dermatitis better than zinc oxide and clobetasone butyrate (steroid) . So, it may help those with eczema, but more studies are needed.
Other non-pharmaceutical products such as coconut oil and sunflower oil may help eczema . Topical coconut oil application reduces staph bacteria and reduces the chances of skin infection. It also keeps the skin damp and prevents it from getting dry which reduces eczema flare-ups. It is advised to use virgin or cold-pressed coconut oil. These do not contain chemicals that might irritate the skin.
Sunflower oil assists in the skin’s barrier function and retain moisture. It should be avoided if there is a known allergy to sunflower seeds.
Aloe vera has been commonly used for centuries to soothe inflamed and irritated skin. It is a plant product extracted from aloe leaves. It is available over the counter. It also has antibacterial and antifungal effects . It has polysaccharides, which may help in skin healing and growth. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties aid in relieving eczema itch. To apply aloe vera, first clean the skin with mild soap and water. Then apply aloe vera gel to the affected area and let it dry before getting dressed. Discuss with your doctor before using .
Diet is a huge factor for eczema flaring up. It is one of the important ways to manage eczema and avoid flare-ups. Many people with eczema have food allergies. Though everyone has different reactions to different foods, some of the common food allergens for children with eczema are cow’s milk, eggs, soy products, gluten, nuts, fish and shellfish.
Eating certain anti-inflammatory foods may help lessen or reduce flare-ups. Such foods include fatty fish (rich in omega-3 fatty acids), food containing quercetin (apples, blueberries, cherries, broccoli, spinach, kale) and probiotics.
Mothers are also encouraged to avoid certain foods if they are breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that “Lactating mothers of infants at high risk of developing atopic dermatitis should avoid peanuts and tree nuts, and should consider eliminating eggs, cow’s milk and fish from their diets.” 
Tips for Parents
- Asking the child not to scratch can be very stressful for your child. Instead, try distracting the child with toys or activities they enjoy doing.
- Keeping the skin moisturized will help reduce itching.
- Use the products that are recommended by your doctor. This will help reduce chances of using certain products that may cause eczema flareups inadvertently
- Talk to your physician before starting a new product
- Consider dressing the child in clothes that are loosely fitted and made from cotton or cotton blend. 
I hope this article helps you figure out how to stop eczema itching naturally. Although steroids can be helpful in controlling eczema flare-ups, it is not recommended for long-term use. Hopefully, this article helps you find ways to manage your child’s eczema without relying on steroids long-term.