You may be able to reduce symptoms of eczema by avoiding triggers, including perfumed soaps and detergents. Some home remedies, including colloidal oatmeal, may help.

If you live with eczema, you know what it’s like to search for relief from red, itchy skin. You’ve probably already tried a variety of products. Unfortunately, some items can leave your skin feeling drier and even more irritated.

Don’t give up hope yet! In addition to medications, there are many options you can try at home to help with your symptoms. The eight natural remedies listed below may help replenish moisture and protect your skin’s natural barrier.

If you’re taking prescription medications for your eczema, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before trying new home remedies.

Colloidal oatmeal is made from finely-ground oats. It helps calm and soften inflamed skin. Colloidal oatmeal is available in cream or powder form.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Add the powder to lukewarm bathwater and soak for 10 to 15 minutes to help soften rough skin and relieve itching.
  2. After your bath, pat your skin dry and apply a thick layer of hypoallergenic moisturizer that has a high oil content.

Evening primrose oil comes from the evening primrose plant. It’s used topically to soothe irritated skin.

When taken by mouth, it’s used to treat systemic inflammatory conditions such as eczema. Evening primrose oil contains omega-6 fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid, which may play a role in preventing inflammation in the body.

An older study shows results on evening primrose oil for eczema are mixed. Even so, many people claim it helps reduce their eczema symptoms without negative side effects.

Coconut oil is extracted from coconut meat. It may be used as a natural moisturizer.

According to the National Eczema Association, the antibacterial abilities of coconut oil can reduce staph bacteria on the skin, which helps prevent infection. This is important for people with eczema because patches of inflamed skin may crack and ooze, allowing bacteria to enter.

When applying it to your skin, choose virgin or cold-pressed coconut oil that’s processed without chemicals.

Sunflower oil is extracted from sunflower seeds. Research has shown it protects the skin’s outer layer, which helps keep moisture in and bacteria out. Sunflower oil also hydrates skin and may relieve itching and inflammation.

Sunflower oil may be applied, undiluted, directly to the skin, preferably after bathing while the skin is still damp.

Witch hazel is an astringent made from the bark and leaves of the witch hazel shrub. It has been used for centuries as a topical remedy for skin inflammation. Yet, research on witch hazel for eczema is scarce.

Still, the remedy is often applied to calm inflamed skin, dry-up oozing areas, and relieve itching.

Calendula cream is an herbal remedy. Calendula has been used for centuries as a folk remedy to heal skin inflammation, burns, and cuts.

It’s thought to improve blood flow to areas of injury or inflammation, help hydrate skin, and help fight infection.

Research is lacking on the effectiveness of calendula for eczema. But, people claim it helps.

The practice of acupuncture uses fine needles inserted at specific points in the body to alter the flow of energy. Although more research is needed, some findings believe that acupuncture may bring itch relief.

Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, except it uses the fingers and hands to apply pressure instead of needles. Preliminary research has shown acupressure might relieve eczema-related itchy skin.

Stress is a common eczema trigger. Although it’s unclear exactly why, it’s believed that stress plays a role in developing inflammation. Learning to cope with stressful situations using relaxation techniques may help reduce eczema flare-ups.

Relaxation techniques that may help include:

Several studies have shown that taking a vitamin D supplement can help ward off eczema flare-ups. As one 2015 review notes, vitamin D is known to improve both the immune system and skin barrier function, so it makes sense that people with a vitamin D deficiency might be more likely to experience eczema.

After reviewing numerous studies, the review concluded that more well-conducted research was needed before any conclusions could be drawn. However, based on the studies and anecdotal evidence included in the review, it’s very possible that taking a vitamin D supplement could improve your symptoms.

You may have already heard about the alleged benefits of using tea tree oil to treat eczema. While there are only a few scientific studies into the efficacy of using tea tree oil, the results are promising.

One 2004 study on animals found that using 10 percent tea tree oil cream could significantly reduce itching in 10 days.

Another 2011 study found that using tea tree oil topically could be an effective way to improve symptoms.

Many people find that applying honey to the skin can help with the symptoms of eczema.

While a 2014 study found that applying kanuka honey didn’t improve eczema lesions, a 2017 study found that manuka honey was more effective.

A 2003 study also found that applying a mixture of honey, olive oil and beeswax could improve the symptoms of both atopic dermatitis and psoriasis Vulgaris.

Research has shown that what you eat can trigger an eczema flare-up. Certain foods are better for eczema than others. For instance, the following foods are commonly associated with eczema flare-ups:

Other foods might actually help, such as:

If you live with eczema, it’s important to avoid anything that may irritate or dry your skin and cause a flare, including:

  • perfumed soap or body wash
  • soaps with dyes
  • wool clothing
  • tight clothing
  • pollen
  • animal dander
  • perfumed detergents

Food allergies are also a common cause of eczema, especially in children. Your symptoms might improve by eliminating common foods linked to eczema, like:

  • milk
  • eggs
  • wheat
  • peanuts
  • soy

A combination of self-care and the above natural remedies may be all you need to manage mild-to-moderate cases of eczema.

Severe eczema may require prescription topical steroids or antihistamines. Work with your doctor to create a treatment plan that’s best for you.