Thursday, October 10, 2013

Natural Ways to Cope with Hand Eczema

This Fall has really did a number on my hands. Anytime the weather gets really cold my skin has a hard time keeping up.   In the beginning of September I started noticing my hands were getting scratchy feeling.  I used every lotion I could think of to try to deal with it. Nothing worked.  I washed my hands constantly with soap hoping to kill any germs or whatever was bothering my hands. Reapplying lotion after each wash. It continued to get worst.
I then went to my doctor and had some blood test done to see if maybe I had a food allergy. After using a steroid cream (which I didn't want to take at all) and a week of waiting for the test results. Came up clean and the steroid cream did nothing. She recommended I no longer use the cream. Thank goodness! By this point my hands were cracking and bleeding to the point where I just wanted to go hide in a corner and scream. I felt like a freak. 
As most of you know because you follow Surviving and Thriving on Pennies on Facebook, I asked for advise from all of you.  I tried everything possible and have had great results! So as promised I have some tips and advise for those fellow freaks (calm down your not a freak just feel like a freak) who could use it.  
Here's the proof! You see any cracks or bleeding? Neither do I! Now I can walk among the rest of population feeling normal.  Phew!  If you have hand eczema and need some relief try these idea's out.  Who knows maybe it will help you feel less freakish.  

1. Aura Cacia Tea Tree Oil  or any essential tea tree oil.  I added a drop or two of tea tree oil to my clean dry hands.  Rubbed it in completely and let it soak for a minute.  Even with my hands cracked & bleeding this didn't hurt my hands at all.  Also didn't leave them oily.  Tea tree oil is known for killing bacteria, fungus and many many other issues.  

2. Alba Botanica has some Un-Petroleium Jelly but you can use any un-petroleium jelly with I'm sure the same results.  After using tea tree oil I would use a very small blob of this on my hands.  I rubbed it in completely and let it soak in for a minute or two.  Anymore of this and your hands will be oily.  Let it soak and let it do its thing.  

3. NO SOAP!!!! Seriously none at all.  To wash your hands simply use warm water and scrub the crap out of your hands. Rub your hands together for a good 20 seconds and dry as usual.  No soap in the shower, no soap at the sink and for goodness sakes no soap in public bathrooms.  Unless you are in a natural grocery store those soaps are the cheapest and most toxic soaps around.  This was a very hard thing for me to do. My husband pointed out my OCD pattern with hand washing. Thank you honey! lol.  Seriously I never knew until he pointed out how many times I washed my hands throughout the day.  

4.  Gloves are a must. I picked up myself a pair of natural rubber gloves (found mine at Kitchen Kaboodle but New Seasons also carries them). I used these gloves anytime I washed dishes, cooked food and cut up food.  Foods such as tomatoes have lots of acids that could aggravate your hands.  Instead of washing my hands I would wash my gloves. Kept my hands dry!  When my hands were cracked & bleeding I would apply my oils (top two of this list) and wear thin cotton gloves at night when sleeping.  When my hands were just fine with no cracking I wouldn't wear them.  Note-I green clean homes for a side job and gloves are to be worn 100% of the time.  Even green cleaners dry your hands out.  

5.  Avoid things that dry your hands out. Folding clean laundry was a HUGE issue for me. The clean clothes sucked away any oil/lotions I had on my hands. If you can pawn this chore off on your kids or loved ones.  One less chore woot! 

6.  Let your family/loved ones help.  I felt like a complete freak for a few days.  Especially my cotton gloves at night. Let's just say they are not the sexiest things ha ha.  Family/friends know that you are having a hard time with this and are there to support you.  If they want to help then let them.  Less stress is also a good helper when it comes to eczema.  Your body needs to concentrate on getting better and stress can only prolong your healing.  

After one week of keeping up these tips I have successfully beat flare ups.  I will likely have to battle eczema all Winter but am thankful I have found some relief.  As long as I keep this up it should be smooth sailing.  I hope this helps you feel less freakish.  It sure did for me!

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