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By Sabra Way (Bio below)
When you are choosing what moisturizer to use on your eczema you want it to work for you. Right? Even more so when the person with eczema is a child. You want every drop of moisturizer to be working towards an itch-free child. Then you may want to consider Virgin Coconut Oil for eczema. Virgin Coconut Oile (VCO) has multiple properties that make it ideal for eczema. When someone has eczema, otherwise know as atopic dermatitis, their skin looses moisture more easily than the skin of people not affected by atopic dermatitis. Even surrounding skin that is not currently afflicted with eczema is compromised in someone with atopic dermatitis. The most basic step in eczema management is to keep the skin moisturized. There is even evidence showing that routine moisturizing can prevent atopic dermatitis in some, more mild cases.
A recent study (1) compared mineral oil to VCO in a group of children who were 1-13 years old and had mild to moderate atopic dermatitis. VCO was chosen because it has several properties that are invaluable in atopic dermatitis. It is an excellent emollient for the skin not only coating the skin but penetrating it as well, unlike mineral oil that only coats the skin. VCO is also antibacterial against Staphylococcus aureus which is known to colonize eczema skin and can cause infections. Skin with eczema is more prone to infections which are painful, prolong flares and may require further medications to heal. Other studies suggest VCO is also anti-inflammatory. Reducing inflammation will reduce the symptoms of eczema and lead to less itching and scratching. Stopping the itch scratch cycle is one of the keys to controlling eczema. This study showed that after 8 weeks of twice daily application 93% of the VCO group had improvement with increased skin moisture content and decreased eczema severity. The children applying mineral oil only had a 53% improvement. That’s a big difference!
Topical virgin #coconut oil improves #eczema symptoms in children @eczemacompany @galenswatch
Take Away Points
- Choose Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) over regular coconut oil. Regular coconut oil is refined, heated and deodorized. All processes that destroy the beneficial properties of the oil.
- Apply VCO at least twice a day. In the study it was applied twice a day and one of those times was directly after bathing.
- Stick with it! It can take 8 plus weeks for the anti-inflammatory effects of VCO.
- VCO combines well with other natural topical oils that can increase the moisturizing and skin soothing effects.
Although you can use VCO on its own, it works well in formulas with other natural topicals. It is often found in combination with essential oils, infused oils, beeswax, shea butter and other healing emollients.
1. Int J Dermatol. 2014 Jan;53(1):100-8.
The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial.
Bio: Sabra Way is a Medical Herbalist and member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists. She writes about herbal and complementary medicine and how it can heal the body when used effectively. An avid reader, she scans medical journals looking for studies that have an impact on complementary medicine. She is the editor of Galen’s Watch, a journal watch focused on complementary and alternative medicine for complementary health practitioners to stay up-to-date with the latest studies. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.