Okay, so to those who know me, this isn’t really a huge surprise. I gripe about it constantly. It itches. It hurts. It leaves horrible scars on me. It sucks. And the thing is, I know a lot of people who have it or their kids have it. It’s a lot more widespread than you think. If you don’t have it, you may be thinking, “well, so what?” So? I tell you what. Let’s put a big, angry red, spotty rash on your skin in a very visible place and send you out into the wild in shorts and a t-shirt. Or worse, a swimsuit. Oh, and it itches. Like worse than hives or a bug bite itches. So bad you scratch and tear your own skin which just makes it more unsightly and makes YOU less likely to go out in public in anything remotely revealing.
Sounds like fun, right?
About as much fun as a rusty nail to the eye.
Anyway, this is a post I’ve wanted to do for a while for all the eczema sufferers out there. And before I continue, I would just like to point out, I am not a doctor, herbalist, homeopath or other health care practitioner. I am a writer with way too much internet and research time on my hands some days. Well, that and a wicked obsession with making it GO THE FUCK AWAY. Seriously.
Well, I’ve tried just about everything, honestly. I’ve heard goat’s milk soap, dove body bars, shea butter, lye soap, black shea soap, baby powder, witch hazel, steroid creams, eucerin cream, cetaphil, castor oil, castile soap, french clay soap, etc. None of it worked, none of it. Hand to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, it did not work. Castile, goat’s milk, dove, and cetaphil made me break out. Eucerin cream stopped the itching, but it was thick and heavy and very uncomfortable in the summer months. Shea did alright. Witch hazel burns like a mofo. Steroid thins the skin and should only be used as a last resort. Do you hear me? LAST RESORT. That shit will fuck you up. Baby powder just dried everything out, as did lye soap. I honestly never tried castor oil, but I’m sure it has its merits. Neither did I try french clay. I almost did. I was desperate.
But then I had a wild hair. What if I just made this stuff myself? Oh yeah, I went there. Write this shit down.
Okay, first off, I’m not industrious enough to make my own soap. Ain’t goin’ there. I did, however, stumble across the most amazing soap in the world. Yardley’s of London. It is amazing. No lie. Try the oatmeal and almond blend. It smells nice and it’s got the bits of oatmeal in it to make it all scrubby and rub off all the gross flecks of dead, dry, peeling skin and scabby grossness. I told y’all eczema was bad. Pay attention.
It was either this or using the oil cleanse method on my whole body. What’s that you say? Oil cleanse? WTH? Go here and read all about it. Yes, I wash my face with oil. I started a few months ago and my face has had hardly a breakout since. It’s soft and smooth when before it was dry and pimply. The only time I really have issues is during my period. What? That’s what it is. We’re all people. There’s no need to use nicknames. At least I didn’t say menstruate. There, I did say it. Get over it.
Okay, next, get your booty over to Mountain Rose Herbs. You will want:
This stuff is awesome. They all have their very own, unique properties. I selected these oils because of their ability to heal dry, cracked skin, scar tissue, eczema, and rashes. Shea butter is a given. It’s good on its own, but it’s even better with illipe butter which is a newer discovery. This. Shit. Is. Awesome.
Now that you have all the above amazingness, you will need some basic kitchen items. Some of this stuff should not be ingested, so I recommend buying or setting aside some items you don’t mind using just for the production of beauty products. You’ll need a metal sauce pan (I prefer steel), measuring spoons, measuring cups (pyrex please! Butters are a bitch to get off of plastic cups), a spatula, a candy themometer, rubbing alcohol (or witch hazel, both are good), and something to label with (stickers and a sharpie work well).
First things first, clean that shit. Wash the kitchen stuff and sterilize your containers. That’s what the rubbing alcohol (witch hazel) is for. Pour it into your containers, close them, swish it around, pour out the alcohol and leave it open to evaporate. Mold is no fun on these beauties.
Okay, now separate your botanical goodies into two groups. Shea butter, avocado oil, evening primrose oil, and emulsifying wax into one. And illipe butter, tamanu oil, kukui nut oil, and sweet almond oil. You’ll make jars of about 8 ounces and 4 ounces respectively.
The first is for a really nice, smooth, non greasy body lotion. The original recipe is here. I changed it around a bit. Take one and a quarter cup of hot water, one quarter cup of emulsifying wax, one quarter cup of avocado oil, one tablespoon of shea butter, and one tablespoon of evening primrose. Melt the emulsifying wax and shea butter into a small sauce pot. Add avocado oil and evening primrose. Once it’s all melted, add the water. Now things start happening real quick once this happens. The liquid turns a yellowish white and begins to set. You’ll want it to cool just a bit before you pour it into your container. (a squeeze bottle should be fine. I used a jar.) I’d give it about a minute then pour it into the container. From here, you can let it set and cool, or you can whip it into a really fluffy lotion. Your choice. I did whip mine and it was wonderful. I would recommend a simple preservative like Optiphen or potassium sorbate to keep it from going bad. This stuff is amazing and you won’t want to have to throw it out. Label it so you remember what’s in there.
Next, the illipe butter, tamanu oil, kukui nut oil, and sweet almond oil. If you’re using the same pot, clean it out, and I mean really clean it. You don’t want stuff to cross contaminate, trust me. Also clean all your utensils, measuring spoons and cups. CLEAN THEM WELL. Again, cross contamination is bad.
Take two tablespoons of the illipe butter and melt it over low heat. You can use a double boiler if you like. Add one tablespoon of the sweet almond oil, half a tablespoon of kukui nut oil, and half a tablespoon of tamanu oil. Let them mix together and pour into a four ounce container. Let it sit over night. I refrigerated mine. This stuff is pretty hard once it sets, but it’s amazing. I keep a jar of it in my shower and put it on after a shave while the water’s running. It’s all oil and butter, so it won’t rinse off and the water adds moisture. Plus the heat of the shower helps it melt and it’s literally like butter.
You can, of course, go for five ounces and add a tablespoon of each of the oils, but I will warn you, tamanu oil is expensive so use your own discretion.
So, to recap, Yardley’s of London, Avocado Lotion, and Illipe Shower Butter. Again, I am not a licensed health care professional, so don’t take my word as law. It’s just some suggestions.