Although they're different conditions with a range of causes, eczema, psoriasis and rashes all share some things in common - they cause painfully dry, itchy and tight skin, and we'd love to be rid of them.
Fortunately there are a number of great home remedies that can bring much-needed relief. Some work to combat the itchiness, some alleviate symptoms by moisturising and making the skin more supple. Here are ten way to relieve that painfully itchy skin at home.
1) Change your shower habits. WebMD explains that hot showers dry out our skin, so you should get into the habit of taking your showers lukewarm instead. Use only a mild body cleanser (look for a soap-free product) without fragrance. Afterwards, pat yourself dry instead of rubbing roughly with your towel. Apply a natural, fragrance-free body butter or moisturiser to your whole body and allow to absorb fully before getting dressed.
2) Get salty. Firstly, if you're within range of the beach then get down there and have a swim. Salt water is known to be effective in treating a number of skin issues, and itchy rashes are no exception. Natural Living Ideas suggests dissolving a teaspoon of sea salt into a cup of water and using a spray bottle to apply it directly to the affected parts of your body.
3) Apply coconut oil. It's moisturising and antibacterial, according to the National Eczema Foundation, so get a jar of virgin coconut oil and rub it all over your body. It's got a lovely fragrance - one that won't irritate your skin.
4) Try turmeric. This wonder-spice is a proven anti-inflammatory and studies have shown that it's effective in treating skin conditions like psoriasis. Reader's Digest explains that thermic contains curcumin (an antioxidant) which neutralizes free radicals speeds up healing. Try to get about a teaspoon of turmeric into your diet every day - whether in a turmeric latte or in your meals.
5) Banana peels. It may sound unusual, but Livestrong insists that banana peel haps to reduce itchiness, inflammation and dryness. Try making a moisturising and soothing masque by blending avocado, honey and banana peel and applying the cold paste to your affected skin.
6) Honey. It's anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and helps heal broken skin, according to Everyday Roots. Instead of scratching, soothe the itching and pain by applying a thin layer of honey over the inflamed skin. Loosely cover the area with a bandage and relax. After 20- 30 minutes, remove the bandage and rinse with cool water. Repeat as often as you need the relief.
7) Sunflower seed oil. The National Eczema Foundation explains that sunflower seed oil has some very favorable properties in terms of itch, inflammation, and improvement of the skin barrier function.
8) Olive oil. Olive oil is another natural oil packed with omega-3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation. Reader's Digest recommends rubbing warm olive oil into your skin to soften scaly patches. You can use it on your scalp in the shower, and you can incorporate it into your diet, too.
9) Vitamin D. According to the Eczema Foundation, Vitamin D is becoming more mainstream as studies not only show that taking a vitamin D supplement can help eczema, but also that more severe eczema is correlated with lower levels of vitamin D. It is safe and inexpensive, so why not give it a try?
10) Flaxseed. Flaxseeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, and according to Reader's Digest they block a chemical in your body called arachidonic acid which causes inflammation. Its important to note that flaxseeds need to be broken open to be most beneficial, and because they';re small and smooth they're liable to travel right through your body without doing so! Try blending them in a smoothie, or sprinkling them atop porridge or salads - just be sure to chew them well.
Eczema and psoriasis can be a huge barrier to enjoying life, and it's important to get ashy, irritated skin under control. Steroids are commonly prescribed but some people prefer a natural approach. You can find more home remedies for excema here, including baths in oatmeal and chamomile... these remedies have stood the test of time!