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What Causes Your Eczema and How to Treat it

Pine Tar Salve

More than 10% of people in the U.S. suffer from Eczema. It’s also called atopic dermatitis. The “atopic” refers to an allergic reaction or sensitivity. More people come into my shop seeking help with this issue than any other. I have had as many requests for eczema treatments as all other request combined. Finding what causes your eczema and how to treat it takes detective work.

Finding the Cause of Your Eczema

Eczema and atopic dermatitis is a broad term but chances are pretty good you are reacting to something in your environment but what? Even if you can track down the culprit, it  doesn’t explain why sometimes you react and sometimes you don’t. 

Sometimes why we have a flare up is obvious but not always. I suspect for many of us it is a variety of things happening at once. It’s like our body can handle one or two stressors, but add a third and it’s too much and all of sudden, there’s an itchy rash. We need to learn to be detectives about our skin issues and recognize that reactions can occur when there is a combination of factors.

For instance, my dog had terrible atopic dermatitis. Normally he was fine but occasionally he’d have terrible flare ups and I couldn’t figure out why. Then I put it together, one flea bite or mosquito bite and he’d have a flare up but not where he got the bite.  For me, the only atopic dermatitis I ever suffered was hand eczema caused by severe cold weather, emotional stress and something else I never determined.

Try to Have an Open Mind

I encourage people to try to have an open mind about the causes of their flare ups.  Try to seek repeating combinations of things that are happening. Especially look for situations you don’t think about happening together that might cause worsening skin conditions. For instance the combination of life situations, skin stressors and exposure to certain allergens. Our body can only deal with so much at any one time.  Our bodies use real resources to handle things like sleep deprivation, a stressful life, physical challenges, process certain foods, fight viruses and bacteria, resist allergens but certain combination of things can be too much.

Finding a Eczema Treatment

Not only does it take an open mind to find out what makes your eczema worse, it takes one to find out how to help yourself too. There are a lot of medical treatments and people who claim they have cured their own eczema and can cure your too. Not only that but there’s a lot of judgy people everywhere who will tell you you are not living your life right and THAT’S why you suffer. None of these approaches are helpful if they don’t work for you. And nothing works for everyone.

A client came into the shop telling me that my Rescue Me was working on his wife’s terrible eczema. He described her fight with incredible itchiness that won’t leave her alone and her nightly battles with truly being uncomfortable in her own skin. I was glad it was working but I did not develop Rescue Me for eczema and also wanted to offer other options that weren’t so strong. Since then I have been working hard on offering different ways to help relieve the symptoms of Eczema.

Pine Tar Salve

My Pine Tar Salve has all the power of my Rescue Me Salve but with added benefit of Pine Tar. Great of difficult spots of eczema. Pine Tar is believed to stimulate skin growth, reduce itchiness and inflammation and is used as an alternative to topical steroids.  According to the Tao of Herbs, the FDA has approved pine tar as a treatment for mild psoriasis. In 1991, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the amount used in over-the-counter products is safe. 

Pine Tar Soap

My Pine Tar Soap is great for people with eczema over their body that can’t be treated easily with a spot treatment or when eczema is likely to happen in large patches that moves around. It can also be used together with the Pine Tar Salve.

Pine Tar Shampoo

Some people only get eczema on their scalp so I made a Pine Tar Shampoo to help with that. You can use the shampoo alone or you can use it and then wash your hair afterwards with a synthetic detergent based shampoo that will work well with hard water and those with longer hair. 

Apple Cider Vinegar Lotion

My Apple Cider Vinegar Lotion addresses several skin issues and one that it seems to help is itchy skin. It is particularly great for large parts of the body. It also might be something to try for children with itchy skin. Keep in mind, the vinegar in the lotion can sting skin that is raw.  

African Black Soap

 I didn’t create African Black Soap rather I purchase soap made in Ghana by women. When I get it, I rebatch it and add Frankincense, Activated Charcoal and more Shea Butter. In Africa where the make this kind of soap, they use on both children and adults for itchy skin and itchy spots. They rub it on, leave it a few minutes and wash it off. 

Children and Eczema

I like to caution parents trying to treat eczema in children to not use my Pine Tar products on them. My Pine Tar Salve has too strong a level of essential oils for children. Children may be sensitive to essential oils or may develop sensitivities if exposed to overly strong essential oils. Also, Pine Tar has not been thoroughly researched for topical application. While I feel it is safe for adults to try, it may not be good for children. We don’t know. And since children can’t articulate any issues they may experience with a product, I feel it wise to proceed with extra caution when it comes to children. 

I recently advised a Mom to try common diaper rash cream on her child’s facial eczema. I told her, if it worked, she should find a handmade Zinc Cream without petroleum. I am please to say that this solution worked!

I did read a very helpful article about ways to treat children with eczema here: Eczema and Children