Eczema, I hate it! Eczema has been something I have had to live with off and on forever until last year when I had a huge flare-up. Up until then my eczema came and went with small spots that were barely noticeable. Last year something we can’t quite figure out (we went down the usual list of – did I change soap, shampoo, detergents, etc. and all answers were no, nothing in my dailing life changed as far as soaps, lotions, etc.) triggered the flare-up and I embarked an itchy eczema odyssey with my dermatologist. That’s how I came up with these Eczema Soothing Bath Salts.
After trying all sorts of prescription lotions, ointments, and even several courses of high dosages of cortisone pills in effort to stop the inflammation, relieve the itching, and heal the sometimes oozing rash and scratch wounds we were pretty much stumped because nothing seemed to work. After months of trying and hundreds of dollars spent on prescription meds only to find the eczema worse than when we started we had to step back and test for allergies. And what did we find? We found out that I was allergic to Propylene Glycol, Methylisothiazolinone (MCI) and Lanolin. The first 2 are widely used as preservatives in everything from soaps to lotions, and more. And Lanolin is used in creams and lotions to help treat dry itchy skin. Most importantly all the prescription ointments and creams I tried contained at least one of these ingredients; in short instead of treating or easing the eczema we were unwittingly making it worse! So in the end it’s possible that the trigger for the initial flare-up was one of the items I’ve used for years and were already in my home. And yes it’s possible to become allergic to things you’ve used for years! Now pinning down the culprit in my case proved difficult because almost everything we used contained at least one of the items I’m allergic to, specially the Propylene Glycol which is in laundry and dish washing detergents, soaps, shampoo, conditioner, hair color, hand wipes, hand sanitizer, and the list goes on and on! Now I can’t cut out using many of the items on the list but I had to find alternatives that didn’t contain the allergens I react to, that’s why these homemade Eczema Soothing Bath Salts are perfect, I control what goes in!
My doctor and I both agreed that baths containing salt and baking soda would be beneficial in soothing the itchy eczema. The salt would help prevent scratch wounds from infection and the soda would hopefully help with the itch.
So short baths it was, but then it was boring, who wants to sit in a tub of lukewarm unscented water? In my opinion baths are supposed to be soothing and relaxing. My baths did soothe the itching but it wasn’t very relaxing. So I looked into various essential oils, most importantly I tested very small dabs of the oils I was interested in on my skin; no sense using them if I was allergic to them and they cause even more harm. Luckily I wasn’t allergic to any of them and I’ve been using them in my eczema routine ever since.
I find that mixing up batches of bath salts is the best way to include them, it’s much easier to toss in a handful or two of pre-made salts than to haul out all the ingredients and drop them one by one in your bath water. That’s just too tedious! It only takes a few minutes to mix up a batch of Eczema Soothing Bath Salts which I keep in mason jars by my bathtub.
Not only are Eczema Soothing Bath Salts easy and quick to make they’re fairly inexpensive too! Your biggest expense would be the purchase of essential oils if you don’t already have them. But a small bottle of oil lasts a very long time and have multiple uses. I use them in oil diffusers, shower melts, bath bombs, candles, creams, and more. Other than the oils the only other ingredients you’ll need are a bag of epsom salts and a box of baking soda, both of which can be purchases for around $10 to $12 (large size bag and box) at Walmart or other store.
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Now let me tell you about the oils I use and why I use them for my Eczema Soothing Bath Salts.
Made from the flowers of the Bitter Orange Tree, Citrus Aurantium, grown in India, Eastern Africa, and the Himalayas, Neroli Oil is known to lower inflammation and pain and reduce stress. It contains anitmicrobial and antibacterial properties (kills or stops the growth of micoorganisms), and contains antioxidants (compounds that inhibit oxidation which is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, thereby leading to chain reactions that may damage the cells of organisms). Neroli oil repairs skin, heals scars and inflamed skin, and soothes itchiness.
All of these qualities are great for eczema, and the skin in general. The added stress reducing quality makes Neroli Oil a great component of my Eczema Soothing Bath Salts. Oh and did I mention it smells amazing! That along would make me add it to my bathwater!
Bergamot Oil is made from the peel of the fruit of the Bergamot Orange Tree a citrus plant from Italy and the Mediterranean region. The fruit is the size and shape of an orange but is green or yellow in color. Tea drinkers are familiar with the citrus aroma of Bergamot Oil as it is used to flavor the very popular Earl Gray tea, I love Earl Gray tea! Bergamot oil is known to reduce stress and anxiety, probably why a nice cup of tea seems to always be called for in stressful situations. It contains antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic qualities and is an anti inflammatory as well. It also relieves muscle pains and headaches.
Like Neroli Oil this oil is a perfect ingredient for my Eczema Soothing Bath Salts. It also smells pretty good, real fresh and citrusy!
Helichrysum Oil comes from the yellow flowers of the Helichrysum Italicum Plantm (it’s in the same family as sunflowers) found in the Mediterranean area. The oil is made from the steam distillation of the flower making this oil a bit pricier and less commonly used than other essential oils. But it’s healing qualities should make it part of everyone’s essential oil stock as it’s been used for it’s medicinal qualities for years.
Helichrysum Oil is one of the most gentle oils making it a great oil for almost everyone to use. It’s aroma is difficult to pin down, somewhat earthy, sweet, and a bit fruity. It’s gentle nature and mild scent make it blend well with other oils. It has antimicrobial, antibactirial, and antifungal qualities. It is an anti inflammatory and antioxidant. Among its medicinal qualities it is said to help skin recover quickly. All of these qualities make it a wonderful addition to my Eczema Soothing Bath Salts.
Lavender Oil is made from the flower of the Lavender Plant scientifically known as Lavandula angustifolia. It has been used for its medicinal properties for over 5,000 years. It is known and used for its calming, soothing, and stress relieving qualities. It contains antibacterial and antioxidant qualities as well. It also helps heal cuts and burns, eases headaches and joint pains, and soothes skin irritations. Lavender Oil is the most commonly used and least expensive essential oil today. It can be found as an ingredient in detergent, baby soaps, candles, lotions, and many other things.
It’s also one of the mildest and most aromatic oils out there which makes it very popular. I added it to my Eczema Soothing Bath Salts because it complements the other oils in both soothing qualities and aroma.
Now that we know what oils are in my Eczema Soothing Bath Salts here are a few tips before you start making and using it.
First before you use any oil topically do a skin test by dabbing a small amount of diluted oil (mix it in either water or a carrier oil) on a small area of skin, wait a day or so to see if you react. If the you start to itch or develop a rash wash skin thoroughly and do not use the oil.
Never ingest any essential oil without first consulting your doctor or health care professional.
Never apply oil directly on to your skin. Always dilute it in water or use a carrier oil such as Jojoba, Avocado, Coconut, or other oil. The choice carrier oil will mostly depend on which scents are pleasing to you. (In the case of bath salts, shower melts, or bath bombs you are using the salts and/or baking soda as your carrier and diluting the oils in water)
Do not use essential oils on babies and children without first consulting your pediatrician.
Remember home remedies are meant to help soothe skin irritations, ease pain, and reduce stress. They are by no means cures for any ailments you may have. If your symptoms persist or you develop other symptoms you must consult your doctor or health care professional for medical or mental health care. Only medical professionals can test for, diagnose, treat, and prescribe for your medical conditions. Home remedies are not meant to replace or interfere with what your health care professional. Consult your doctor or health care professional before using any home remedies and essential oils to make sure they are safe for you to use and that they will not interact with any medications you have been prescribed; also tell your doctor about any home remedies and essential oils you are using before any medical procedures.
In my Eczema Soothing Bath Salts I used a combination of 4 oils; you don’t have to use all of them. But at least use Neroli Oil and if you can also either Helichrysum or Lavender Oils. If you aren’t going to be using all 4 oils then increase the amounts of the oils you are using.
When working with Essential Oils use either metal or glass bowls and metal implements. Plastics retain smells and you may not be able to wash them out. You don’t want your next project to have the scents from the previous projects!
For these bath salts I left them white, their natural color. I did not want to add color as I do with other salts I make like my soothing bath salts which have a lovely lavender color. The idea is to soothe Eczema or for that matter any contact dermatitis, color may cause allergic reactions in some people thus defeating the skin soothing effect I’m striving for. However if you want to make your salts pretty and you’re sure you’re not allergic to color you can color your salts by adding some food color in the color you want. I prefer to use either soap colorant or gel based food color.
Use lukewarm or room temp water in your bath if you are bathing to ease eczema itchiness. Don’t use very hot water as it will make you itchier. Spend not more than 15 minutes soaking in the tub. Take no more than 3-4 baths a week.
After your bath pat not rub skin dry. Apply any cream or ointment prescribed by your doctor immediately after bathing. Apply a moisturizing lotion or cream over prescription ointment. I use only Cerave products as it is the only creams, lotions, washes, etc. I know of for sure that does not contain Propylene Glycol, MCI, and Lanolin. It was created by dermatologists and is stamped with the National Eczema Association seal of approval.
It is important to have an eczema routine (bath/shower, ointment- if any are prescribed, moisturizer) twice a day to help stop flare ups and hopefully prevent them from happening again.
I know dealing with eczema is exhausting, but a having a routine, communicating with your dermatologist, and incorporating a healthy diet and exercise regimen in your life will definitely help.
Having said that if you’re ready and able to let’s make some Eczema Soothing Bath Salts! Here’s what you’ll need and how to make it!
2 Lbs. Epsom Salts
1 Lb. Baking Soda
10 Drops Neroli Oil
5 Drops Bergamot Oil
5 Drops Helichrysum Oil
5 Drops Lavender Oil
Place Epsom Salts in a large metal bowl.
Add your oils and mix very well to distribute the oil well.
Add baking soda and mix well until it is distributed throughout the entire mixture.
Move to airtight containers until ready to use.
To use toss a handful or two into your lukewarm or room temp bath water. Soak and enjoy!