Did you know skin has a slightly acidic pH and differs to some extent based on skin allergies, condition, age and gender? It’s a common misconception that skin pH is neutral when the pH of healthily skin is actually between 4 to 6 ph.
I gained an interest in specifically studying eczema after two of our children were born with severe eczema many years ago. Skin suffering with eczema is typically of a high more alkaline pH and has skin lipid deficiencies. Other factors that further compound skin barrier health of eczema, dry skin or more aged skin include excessive water loss, inflammation and greater susceptibility to certain topical chemicals which are prone to causing allergic reaction (ie: contact dermatitis).
To help alleviate these symptoms and strengthen the skin barrier of eczema its very important to address all of these problems simultaneously. If not, partial short term relief will occur so for example when I would focus on preventing skin water loss from our sons’ skin, with the GP prescribed paraffin or petroleum based products, the relief would be temporary because I wasn’t using anything to balance and re-adjust skin pH or address the lack of lipids in skin. Additionally the petroleum and paraffin would inhibit his skins’ ability to breathe.
So what’s a solution? Well to address all the symptoms simultaneously there are a few things you can do but I can’t stress enough how vital it is that the solutions are both external and internal. No one lotion will be a ‘miracle’ cream alone, it takes focussing on general health, exercise, water intake, even lowering stress can have impact on the external health and appearance of skin. One effective solution would be to make sure the products used topically on eczema, dry or older skin contain ceramides, esters and emollients like organic safflower oil, organic olive oil, organic macadamia oil or organic avocado oil. All these oils have better barrier repair potential because they are long chain fatty acids which are the basic building blocks of lipids.
A natural and organic alternative ingredient to petroleum and paraffin in emollients for eczema, dry skin and older skin is caprylic/capric triglyceride, which is sometimes called fractionated coconut oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride is indeed derived from coconut oil is less greasy, inhibits trans epidermal water loss (TEWL) and creates a natural skin barrier as well as acting as a fabulous emollient.
Avena Sativa – also known as Colloidal Oatmeal - is made from oats that have been ground and boiled to extract their skin-healing properties. It’s an ingredient which has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties which assist the skin in improving dryness, rough scaling and soothing the intensity of the itch. What makes it effective at soothing the skin is the cellulose and fibre from the oats. These make a skin-softening emollient that is effective against irritation and redness that comes from eczema. So when the skin is soothed, the itching usually is relieved as well.
Add to warm bathwater to create a liquid that has a ‘silky’ feel, then soak in the bathwater for enough time for the oatmeal to coat the skin. There are lots of body care sites who sell Avena Sativa (Colloidal Oatmeal) powder but Colloidal Oatmeal is essentially oatmeal that has been ground finely into a powder for ease of distribution in bath water. So buying either finely milled pure or organic oatmeal and using that directly in that bath or purchasing course ground oatmeal and using a kitchen mill / coffee grinder / magic bullet / ninja / food processor to grind the oatmeal into a powder is exactly the same thing but much more pleasant on your purse! You should be able to pick up fine ground oatmeal at any good health food store here’s a couple of links for convenience https://www.buywholefoodsonline.co.uk/organic-oatmeal-fine-1kg.html