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Extra special fancy moisturizer for eczema

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I've been making moisturizer for a couple years now. Not only do I save a lot of money, but it's great fun to come up with recipes tailor-made for my family. My husband suffers from chronic atopic dermatitis -- eczema -- and I've tried many many recipes to keep his outbreaks at bay. The basic moisturizer is good for day to day use. With only three ingredients it is simple to make, and very well tolerated by the most sensitive skin, but during a change of season, a period of stress or after wearing irritating clothes flare-ups can still occur. The following recipe is the result of my research into all the exotic ingredients which claim to cure skin ailments... It works quite well for my personal test subject, but I want to emphasize that everybody is sensitive to different chemicals. This cream helps my (extremely sensitive) spouse, but it could make you break out into a rash -- so try a little of the oil mix on a patch of healthy skin, and if after a few days of use you don't get a reaction you can see if it helps your angry red blotchy patches of skin... You can also replace some of the grape seed oil in the basic moisturizer with small amounts of these ingredients, trying them one at a time. That way you would be able to tell if you just need to avoid one of the ingredients listed here.

I like making small quantities often, to avoid preservatives which can irritate my "patient's" skin, but this cream has too many ingredients to make that practical -- the solution is to make this in two steps. First, mix the oils and waxes, then make the cream (i.e. add water) with only a portion of the oils. I can store the leftover oil mix in the refrigerator, where it will last a very long time (bacteria and mold need water to grow), then I can make extra cream quickly whenever I need it.

If you are struggling with this skin problem, check out my guide, Bleach baths and other cheap eczema remedies.

 
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kliu89 days ago

d. Urea produces formaldehyde.

Renbo4 months ago

Have you tried 100% pure emu oil with no additives—fragrance free too? I've used it for 15 years and it's made a huge difference in my skin. I've read that it's also used for other conditions. I first learned about it on a local television news story about a boy whose eczema was not responding to multiple treatments from several doctors. The last doctor said she had heard that emu oil (a meat byproduct) worked for some. The mother found and bought some and said the results were dramatic. The story then was picked up on MSNBC. I've since looked for the story but since it was 15 years ago, it might take a lot of digging. For me, emu oil works wonders. I buy it online from two different vendors.

lggleason2 years ago
I also am fighting eczema for my husband (my skin is fine) i found this page looking for homemade remedies. I am looking forward to trying this remedy. I can tell you that he has had some horible flare ups in the middle of the night. He's done a bleach bath twice now, during these flare ups. They really soothe his skin and help a lot. I will let you know how this cream works on him.
did you know that eczema can be flared up due to a reaction to a certain food or substance and in most cases bleach irritates eczema and makes it worse

belsey (author)  vparnell1 year ago
Yes, I've heard the food allergy theory, and I believe it could very well be an important factor in flare ups -- just wish there was an easy way to figure out what food item it is, and I very much doubt it would be the same substance for everyone. Also, you are correct, bleach is definitely a skin irritant, however not in this concentration. You should try it!
vparnell1 year ago
i have eczema and the best thing Ive found for it is e45 the doctor gave me an emollient of a different kind before but it burned so i now use e45 its on prescription and i even use it when my dermatitis herpetiformis plays up works a treat i have before tried home remedies and find them unreliable at the best of times but that's not to say they don't work
belsey (author)  vparnell1 year ago
I can believe that a home remedy you might have tried didn't work... just like commercial products, there are all sorts of remedies, and some work for some people and not for others. This cream, for example, might provoke a bad reaction for you (or simply not do much good) but it definitely helped my husband. I wouldn't bunch up all home remedies into one category, and dismiss them because one or two didn't work for you. The advantage of making your own is that you can tailor it to your needs and also save a lot of money -- that said, thanks for your e45 recommendation, it's always good to hear what works for people.
jireena4 years ago
I am from the island of Guam. Our people have a solution for eczema that comes from a tree we call Daok. It is a natural oil extracted from our Daok tree and it works wonders for everyone who isn't allergic to peanuts. All of our relatives prefer this remedy over prescription drugs and moisturizers. Thanks for the suggestion of an alternate solution. We tried your recipe, but we discovered that our Daok Oil is more effective.
Jireen, is there a way for someone in the U.S. to get ahold of this Daok Oil... I tried looking it up on the web and found nothing of the daok oil or a daok tree. Is there another name in which it might be called? Thanks!

Belsy...I love your instructable.... :D
belsey (author)  jireena4 years ago
I'm very sorry to hear that you went through the trouble and expense of making this cream and didn't like it, although I am curious why you bothered, since you already had a solution which seems to satisfy you completely...

Everybody has their favorite oil -- I like black seed, Zorra31 likes Neem -- and using a single oil is definitely easier than making this emulsion. Still, I find this recipe worthwhile because the other ingredients add properties which a single oil can't have: glycerin is a humectant, lecithin makes the skin unbelievably soft, dimethicone is a great barrier, the water will moisturize. Oils don't actually moisturize -- they soften the skin but they don't add moisture (which can only be water) to the skin. Also a cream gets absorbed much faster. Whenever my husband uses pure oils his clothes get ruined. Even with an undershirt the oils seep through to his shirts unless he has the time to let the oil absorb for a good 15 minutes before dressing -- and he never does.

Macflame2 years ago
I have the same problems as Suckrpnch. I also have dry skin due to the painkillers I have to take. So I would really like to try this 'recipe'.
Has anyone in the UK managed to get these ingredients under one roof and in fairly small quantities?
dakellymon4 years ago
 I've been reading this with interest as I have been suffering with hand and foot eczema for the last 7 years.  Doctors have been no help.  I know in my case the problem is cause by small white blisters that turn into red spots and then the skin above the spots dies and peels.  Oils and salves can only help with the dead dry skin that is constantly peeling.  I think that the cure lies in stopping the problem from within.  
belsey (author)  dakellymon4 years ago
 Attack it from all directions!
 I don't know if atopic eczema has the same symptoms as the hand eczema.  But in my experience putting oil base creams on the blisters is like putting butter on a burn.  I carry a tube of moisturizer and apply it when I am going somewhere to help hide the unsightly dead flaking skin.   I would really like to find out the source and what exactly is in the blisters that causes the skin above them to harden and die.   
belsey (author)  dakellymon4 years ago
 I've never heard of a moisturizer which wasn't an oil based cream -- but what I meant was simply that a problem like this probably does not have a single cause, and definitely doesn't have a single solution: careful moisturizing, good nutrition, avoiding irritants... someone suggested acupuncture, and I think even meditation might help! People tend to break out in times of stress, and meditation can diminish stress. Did you see my related instructable? Maybe that will be helpful to you...
 I don't mean to clutter up your instructable.  I only piped in hoping to perhaps find others and compare notes.  As I stated I don't know about atopic eczema, I have what is called "Hand eczema" even thought the soles of my feet are 5 times as bad as the palms of my hands.  I flush the affected areas with Hydrogen peroxide daily when I shower to help control bacteria.  I would never put bleach on my skin.  I would like to talk with others that are suffering with "Hand eczema and try to understand what might be the cause.  I know there is a genetic component as my father had boutes of it.  I can't understand what would trigger my body to produce a substance so toxic that it would kill the skin on my hands and feet.  
I've had eczema on my hands, elbows, and behind my knees since I was born. I've found two things that trigger it: My parents' hard, iron-rich well water, and sweat.

My eczema decreased dramatically once I moved away from my parents' and into the city. If I wear gloves for a long time, or am somewhere warm where my hands sweat, it's basically a guaranteed outbreak. A doctor once explained it to me as an immune response to my own sweat.

I’ve tried all sorts of creams and oils, but the only thing that works reliably for me to deal with the small blisters and later dead skin is the steroid creams (hydrocortisone, betaderm, etc). You can get some over the counter. The strong ones are more expensive and need a prescription, but they work like magic for me.
belsey (author)  Mar HK2 years ago
Steroid creams work, but they should generally be used as a last resort and for the shortest amount of time possible because (according to my husband's dermatologist) they will make the skin thinner and more vulnerable over time. But they will definitely get faster results than any non-medicated cream like this one.
I have seborrheic eczema and rosacea that mainly affects my face. Usually I can get a few things from the dermatologist that reduce to barely visual, but come back very quickly after I run out. They have been getting really bad again, so I made this moisturizer. On top of that, I adopted the technique of washing my face with oil as well. After one week of these two things, my face is greatly reduced. Barely visible. I am pretty excited so far. I took basic ingredients from this instructable to use in the oil face washing as well. I also added a little coconut which, I think, improves the smell a bit, but I love coconut in everything. This has been very empowering. Link to oil washing instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Wash-Your-Face-With-Oil/
I've been using coconut oil straight on my psoriasis like patch on my face and it's helping a lot.
Coconut oil has reduced my eczema to the point where I only have to use the prescription half as much as previously to keep it clear, but the psoriasis patch is tougher.
I have also found that diet is a huge issue with all of my skin conditions. I haven't nailed it down, but at one point, I removed carbs and dairy, and my face cleared up completely. Adding them back in can cause bad break-outs over time again.

I thought it was dairy in my case, but I am generally uncertain right which it is.
I think that both also apply to me. especially the psoriasis. when I avoid the dairy, it fades, but never really gets clear. I'm beginning to think I'd have to avoid the wheat for at least a couple of months to confirm it, which of course, if my face cleared, I'd then have to use the wheat to see if the psoriasis came back to be sure it was the cause. which would be sad.
belsey (author)  dakellymon4 years ago
 Please! You're not "cluttering" my instructable, you are making it better! I always learn as much, if not more from the comments than from the original instructables! In response to your comment though, what you are currently doing -- flushing the affected area with hydrogen peroxide (I'm assuming the standard 3% solution) -- is MUCH harsher than my bleach bath, and is probably making your condition worse. Remember the bleach bath is very dilute, it contains only 0.08% bleach. This comes to about 1/2 tsp bleach mixed with a gallon of water. The hydrogen peroxide you are splashing on yourself is killing everything it touches, including the "good" bacteria and cells which your skin needs to heal. Plenty or nurses and doctors  say it shouldn't even be used to disinfect cuts, it is too strong and slows down healing. Since you are applying it in the shower you are in effect diluting it, but it's still probably too harsh for your skin.
You might want to try doing an elimination diet, start with wheat.  It is likely you have a wheat allergy or possibly even celiac disease.  There is a rash associated with that autoimmune disease called Dermatitis herpetiformis that sounds like the rash you are describing.  Good luck, I hope you get relief.
My sister gets hand and foot eczema from wheat. a symptom of her ciliac. it takes a up to six months to go away after she has accidentally ingested a wheat component.
nelsonk3 years ago
Shea butter is pretty much "de rigueur" in any high end cosmetic, because it is reputed to be one of the best moisturizers and emollients, effective against scars, eczema, burns, rashes, wrinkles, stretch marks, blemishes and any other skin problem you can think of. It is also reputed to be an anti-inflammatory agent and to provide UV protection, although the level of protection can vary between zero and SPF 6. One thing is certain: it absorbs rapidly into the skin, does not feel greasy, and leaves the skin feeling supple and firm. You can use either refined (white and odorless) or unrefined (with nutty color and smell) shea butter. Supposedly unrefined has better therapeutic effects.***
so i looked up natural ways to get rid of stretch marks and your mixture came up, i just want to get rid of my stretch marks on my stomack from when i was bigger how do i do this just with shea butter??? and where can i get natural oils by the way ?? like tea tree or almond oil, im not rich and would like to stay in budget thanks :)!
belsey (author)  nelsonk3 years ago
If you want to just use shea butter, then rub it on plain. It's definitely the easiest solution, there's no need to melt or blend an emulsion. I prefer the feel of emulsions, but that's just my personal preference. Almond oil you can get in grocery stores (at least in NY city... in other parts of the country oils like it might be harder to come by) and essential oils like tea tree, which you buy in tiny little bottles, can be found in health food stores. The Vitamin Shop carries essential oils too I think. Of course you can always buy all this stuff online too. The text on the top of your comment comes from one of those vendors, so you must have discovered some online stores already....
Good luck!
Hi there, thanks for this Instructable. Can hyaluronic acid be added to this or perhaps substituted for another ingredient? Thanks. Charlotte
belsey (author)  charleymarie14 years ago
Although I've never tried it I see no reason why you couldn't add it to this emulsion. I don't know off hand if it's water or oil soluble -- either way this recipe should be stable enough to withstand either a little extra oil or water. But maybe it would be better to start experimenting with my basic moisturizer. Cut that recipe in half and add a small amount of hyaluronic acid to see how it works. If all goes well you can try adding it to this recipe -- it would be a shame to waste all these expensive ingredients if the experiment fails... Just remember, when calculating proportions, measure ingredients by weight, not volume.
c04 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
belsey (author)  c04 years ago
Thanks for sharing your tips. It's always good to hear about different viewpoints and solutions, especially for this type of problem, which can be triggered or soothed in so many different ways. The only thing I'd like to add is that the only difference between a lotion, a cream and an ointment is the amount of water which is mixed into the emulsion. Water moisturizes the skin and helps the emulsion be absorbed with a nicer "feel" so there actually isn't any harm in using it on damaged skin. If the skin is softer it is less tempting to scratch... I do agree that the thicker cream is better though -- you don't want to use lotion (an oil in water emulsion) but in my opinion a cream (a water in oil emulsion such as this one here) or an ointment (pure oil, no water) are both fine. Both, depending on the ingredients, will provide a good barrier.
srodgers4 years ago
our oldest child had this rash when he was about 3 months old.It was eventually diagnosed as eczema.. We were told that eczema was a symptom of asthma and as my father, his grandfather was asthmatic, it quite oftem appeared every second generation. We tried all sorts of creams and lotions but no cure.
Then an old  friend said to try bathing him in  AMWAY LOC.. I think that it is a cocoanut oilbased detergent . the rash cleared up in about 2 weeks and never returned.

He only ever had one asthma attack and never again...

bunee4 years ago
I am fascinated by your (obvious) hard work researching skin care ingredients.  Looking forward to the book.  Are you planning to have a downloadable version?
Do you have any "treatments" for psoriasis that you need guinea pigs for?  I have two friends who suffer with the affliction.
belsey (author)  bunee4 years ago
 Right now I'm just trying to finish the d... thing. But I'm a big Kindle fan, and although it would be a shame to loose the nice color pictures I would still be nice to have a downloadable version. As for the guinea pigs... have your friends check out this recipe and its related instructable, and let me know how things went!
IsisOfSun4 years ago
Thank you so much for this! I have awful eczema on my hands and face, and actually just went to the dermatologist today. I now have prescriptions but not much works for me, so if they don't I will definitely try this.
belsey (author)  IsisOfSun4 years ago
 Good luck!
gnysgrl4 years ago
 Do you by any chance sell this as a finished product? I read the instructable and there is honestly no way that I would feel confident making it. My daughter has suffered with eczema her entire life and nothing and I do mean NOTHING works. 
belsey (author)  gnysgrl4 years ago
 I completely understand being overwhelmed by this recipe if you've never made hand cream -- and there are a variety of possible solutions: start by checking out my related instructable for eczema management. There isn't really one solution to this problem, and this cream will probably not work alone without lifestyle changes... Another possibility which has been pointed out in the comments is to use a single oil. Just find some black seed oil and try that. I LOVE that oil. Neem oil is other one which some people like, but my husband detests the smell (like a cross between garlic and peanuts) so he won't use it. Tamanu smells like butter pecan and you can try it pure too. And try making the basic moisturizer. It's really easy and quick. Slather it on right after bathing, it will be a big help.
I don't sell the cream ready-made for a variety of reasons: first, I can't legally claim that a cream I sell helps eczema (i.e. as a drug) without all sorts of testing and permits. Here I'm only giving a free recipe, and I'm only claiming that it helps my family..... Second, I'm interested in helping people save money. The only way I could turn a profit on a small scale (especially with the regulations) would be to charge a whole lot of money, which defeats the purpose. Third, I'm interested in making, inventing, and designing, not marketing and selling. I REALLY hate selling. It always makes me feel guilty taking people's money away, which explains why, although I can make pretty much anything, money is not one of them....
Zorra314 years ago
Dimethicone is a bioaccumulative environmental toxin and common side effects of topical application include redness, itching, burning, irritation and stinging.  Many people will not experience any side effects, however someone prone to atopical dermatitis or other forms of eczema has an increased chance of experiencing these side effects. 

In my opinion, using dimethicone on someone (especially a child) who has eczema is ridiculous.  My daughter has atopic dermatitis and after years of numerous different prescription creams and lotions and remedies suggested by doctors and pediatricians, we tried using something that has been used for centuries to treat nearly all varieties of skin rashes and irritation: neem oil.  We use it straight from the bottle and it works wonderfully.  Her patches of eczema diminished overnight after the first treatment and after 10 days it had cleared up completely. 

We apply the neem oil once weekly now to keep her eczema in check (whereas with the prescription creams, many were barely effective at all, and the ones that were required a lot of product -- twice daily applications, only diminished the eczema, never completely cleared it up, and if we skipped a day of applying the cream her rash would flare back up again immediately).  We are very pleased with the neem oil.  It's easy, soothing, super effective and cheap -- a small bottle for $8.99 has lasted about 8 months now (whereas before we were going through one tube a month of prescription cream at $14-$35 apiece).  I highly recommend any parent of a child with eczema give pure neem oil a try!
belsey (author)  Zorra314 years ago
 Like pretty much any product dimethicone might irritate some people -- although probably less than many "natural" oils. I did suggest caution when following this recipe and testing one ingredient at a time (although to test them properly you should not test ingredients pure... only in the concentration used in your product. Many chemicals are well tolerated and beneficial when used at low concentrations but harmful if used pure).
I have tried Neem oil but my husband absolutely refuses to let me put it on him (either pure or in a cream) because he finds the smell offensive: it smells like a cross between garlic and peanuts, a strong, lingering scent. I still use it for all sorts of other things (including my sunscreen) but when it comes to applying a pure oil for eczema black seed oil is the one I prefer by far. It smells great, feels wonderful and works wonders. Tamanu is also a favorite. The reason to add water and ingredients like dimethicone (besides a more agreeable texture) is to increase the moisturizing and barrier properties of the cream. The oils alone soothe and heal but they don't increase moisture in the skin or prevent moisture loss. 
I'm glad Neem works for you, and I appreciate your sharing your experience. Since the smell doesn't bother your daughter it's a good solution for her.
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