Eczema is a chronic skin condition that plagues millions of people across the world. It accounts for a myriad of skin conditions, including atopic dermatitis, nummular eczema, contact dermatitis, and hand eczema.

There are many potential causes for this condition, including chronic stress, dry skin, food allergies, skin sensitivities, immune system dysfunction, and environmental factors. Typically symptomized with red, dry, scaly, and extremely itchy skin, eczema can be lessened by understanding the causes of skin flare-ups and using natural remedies.

Some common external conditions that aggravate eczema include:

  • Sweating
  • Heat
  • Wool water and chlorinated water
  • Soap
  • Detergents
  • Perfumes
  • Scratching
  • Cold weather

Luckily, there are many natural ways you can heal and soothe your eczema. Here are my top five recommendations based on results I’ve seen in my naturopathic medical practice:

1. Vitamin D

Increase your sun exposure, eat vitamin D-rich foods, or take an oral vitamin D supplement to soothe your skin and get relief during eczema flare-ups. Even just 15 minutes of sun exposure a day and increasing your intake of a sustainable and pure cod liver oil, sardines, and salmon can help improve your skin health. If you choose to take a supplement during a flare, aim for 50 mcg–125 mcg (2,000–5,000 IU) daily.

2. Moisturizing

Since dry skin can be both a cause and symptom of eczema, it’s a great idea to moisturize at least twice a day. I recommend using coconut oil since its antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties help balance excess itchiness, redness, and skin irritation. You can even add a few drops of itch-reducing lavender, chamomile, or yarrow essential oils to bring more relief.

3. Probiotics

Probiotics can support immune system function and lessen inflammation. To treat and prevent eczema flares, I recommend taking a daily high-quality probiotic supplement, ideally with 24–100 billion organisms. It’s also a good idea to up your intake of probiotic-rich foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, tempeh, and kombucha.

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Include a pure and sustainable omega-3 fish oil supplement as well as wild fish in the diet weekly. The antiinflammatory properties of omega-3s will boost immune function and speed healing.

5. Oatmeal Baths

Oatmeal can be very soothing to dry and inflamed skin. To counteract itching, wrap a cup of oatmeal in a clean cloth or washcloth and soak it under the running faucet. Let it absorb into the bathwater. You can also squeeze and compress the wet bag over your skin. Make sure to moisturize after the oatmeal bath to lock in moisture and prevent further drying.