Eczema and Honey

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Hundreds of skin conditions affect us. They can be chronic and have similar symptoms. It can sometimes be challenging to tell them apart and manage them properly. Those who suffer from chronic skin conditions know that they can only do so by working regularly with a dermatologist, treating them regularly, and paying attention to their lifestyles.

Some of these skin conditions start in childhood and continue into adulthood. They can be permanent but will not always be present. One of the most common skin conditions is eczema.

What is eczema?

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is an inflammatory skin condition that causes skin irritation, redness, blisters, and inflammation on the skin’s outer layer. It is mostly an inherited condition and can be triggered by coming into contact with irritants like makeup products, detergents, feathers, etc. Despite the observable symptoms, eczema is not contagious hence it cannot be spread from person to person. Officially, there is no cure for eczema.

Symptoms of eczema

Eczema is linked to a weakened immune system from having bacteria contact causing a reaction in the body. People who suffer from eczema have skin that is dry, scaly, and itchy. The affected areas are usually seen on the face, hands, knees, and inside of the elbows. In some cases, they bleed and crack.

There is conventional therapy on eczema, but many people find it not working for them. Home remedies have been sought, and honey is found to be effective on wounds and blisters. It has antibacterial properties that can heal and help in maintaining the moistness of the skin, which is what eczema-induced blisters need to keep from breaking and causing more pain. Honey is particularly considered as an alternative for eczema.

What is eczema honey?

There are plenty of treatments, including moisturizers, prescription medications, and a host of alternative options for eczema. And honey, beyond its milk and tea-enriching powers, has become a sought-after treatment for eczema patients. However, there are many types of honey, and the kind that skin experts and celebrities use as eczema remedy is of a different variety than the one you have in the fridge.

This type of honey is called manuka honey. It is produced only in Australia and New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native manuka bush. Manuka honey is considered as eczema honey for its capacity to soothe and moisturize rough, dry skin – tell-tale signs of eczema – making it a natural emollient. Aside from its effects on the skin, this eczema honey is a preventive treatment. It has antibacterial properties that reduce the spread of bacterium common with eczema. It also affects dozens of pathogens and other microbes that cause disease and worsen eczema.

Many companies have started selling creams, cleansers, and other skin-care staples with manuka honey as a key ingredient. These products, other than those from Eczema Honey and other brands, are not designed specifically for eczema-prone skin but for improving skin in general. Eczema honey products are hot on the market, but if you don’t want the price tags, you can also make your own at-home recipe.

Is honey good for eczema?

History has proven the health benefits of honey. The first recorded use of honey for its healing properties dates back a thousand years ago by the ancient Greeks and Romans. It was also a popular treatment for wounds during the First World War, which can be attributed to its antibacterial quality of honey. Eczema is caused by our skin making contact with bacteria, so honey defeats eczema by fighting the bacteria and keeping the skin moist while it heals.

Manuka honey has even more nutritional and immune-system enhancing abilities than raw honey. So the answer is yes, at least to many eczema patients who have tried honey to treat their skin. Eczema honey is a potent medicine with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which effectively combat eczema and prevent an outbreak. Eczema thrives on a weakened immune system, and manuka honey has the capacity to reverse this by boosting the production of immune system molecules called antimicrobial peptides (AMP) in our body. These molecules improve healing and reduce inflammation.

Of course, more research is needed to understand exactly how honey treats eczema. But if you don’t have any honey-related allergies, there is no harm in trying eczema honey as it is a natural moisturizer and can also improve the skin’s complexion overall.

Benefits of eczema honey:

  • Topical infections such as like staphylococcus which can be triggered by eczema can be fought and prevented by the anti-bacterial properties of honey.
  • It also heals other illnesses triggered by eczema such as sore throats and digestive illnesses.
  • It strengthens the immune system so there’s less lesions and other illnesses.
  • It hydrates the skin keeping it from breaking.
  • It prevents the infection from spreading through its viscosity which provides a shield around the infected area.

How to treat eczema with honey

Raw honey can be used to treat eczema lesions, but it is best to use manuka honey. There are several products that treat and filter manuka honey to make it free of potential contaminants.

To treat the affected areas, simply dab some eczema honey onto the patches to relieve it of dryness and itchiness. The honey will seal in the moisture and ensure nourishment on the skin. Here’s how you can properly treat eczema using manuka honey:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Apply a thin layer of honey on the affected area.
  3. Put gauze or a bandage over the eczema patches with honey.
  4. Let the dressing stay in place overnight.
  5. In the morning, gently remove the dressing and clean the area.

The key to using eczema honey is to not leave it on your skin too long. It can cause irritation on the skin that is already stressed by eczema. Make it a point to read the instructions on the label and clean the patches of eczema before applying an eczema honey product on your skin. Also, be sure you are not allergic to honey and best not to use it if you have very sensitive skin.

In case you can’t find any eczema honey products, you can make your own honey-based soothing cream. Essential oils, shea butter, or aloe can make for good extra ingredients because they make the cream less sticky and add to its moisturizing elements. 

Other practical uses of eczema honey:

  • As a soothing and cooling cream
  • As a skin mask
  • For general skincare and moisture
  • As a makeup remover
  • As lip balm

FAQ's

Most frequent questions and answers

Manuka honey is a rare find since manuka bushes are a native only in Australia and New Zealand. There are several products with manuka honey as a key ingredient that you may find online for shipping or on store shelves in the United States. One such product, Eczema Honey by Eczema Honey Company, is available at CVS Pharmacy near you.

Generally, honey is safe for use and is well tolerated by most people. But for those with especially sensitive skin, there might be setbacks in using honey other than as a sweetener and as a kitchen staple. The potential side effects include:

  • Allergic reaction especially for people allergic to honey, pollen, or bee stings
  • Skin infection from using raw honey which may have bacteria
  • Skin irritation from leaving eczema honey on too long. Since honey is viscous and sticky, it can attract dust or microbes which may irritate the skin.

If you experience discomfort, or any signs of skin irritation like increase in redness, swelling, or itching after topical application, wash the affected areas immediately.

Baby eczema is quite common. Its first signs usually show up before your child turns two years old. But even so, there’s a great possibility that our babies can outgrow this skin condition, given that it is regularly treated and they receive the right nourishment. 

With that said, babies should not be treated with harsher creams and medicines that are only applicable to adults. A baby’s skin is softer and more sensitive therefore it will not react well to harsh chemicals and ingredients found in treatments for adults. Even grown-ups can have bad reactions to treatments they’re prescribed for.

Eczema honey is organic and is free of the harsh ingredients found in some medical remedies. It is definitely safe for babies and gentle enough for their delicate skin. Using eczema honey is a gentle approach as it is just as effective and potent a medicinal treatment as prescribed ones.

Bottom line

Eczema honey, when applied directly to the affected areas, can relieve dry, itchy symptoms. Because it moisturizes the skin, boosts the immune system’s ability, and has natural antibacterial properties, eczema honey does a lot to fight the outbreak.

There is a lot more to be investigated about honey, and the recent research indicates that eczema lesions can effectively be cured by the application of honey. Its potential to be an official eczema treatment is still being explored.

Keep in mind that honey is an alternative remedy, and it is not a for-all solution. If you find that your symptoms don’t improve after using honey, see your doctor for other recommendations.

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