Stop The Itch!

Jayleen Rennebergbeauty care, natural living

Natural and organic body moisturizer

Itchy skin, red patches, cracked heels, ingrown hairs? These can all be supper annoying. Since I was a kid, I remember waking up scratching my legs raw in the middle of the night but the more embarrassing place I used to scratch was my tush. Yep, along with my elbows and knees, my bum would break out in eczema. It sucked and I never could seem to find anything that worked.

My battle in life with my flare ups has always made me ask:

  1. What can I do to help the itch and calm my skin?
  2. Why is this happening and how can I get rid of it?

I tried so many different creams, lotions and doctor’s ointments with no success. None of them seemed to work for more than a day, and almost all of them stung. The thing that seems to work the best was plain vaseline. In my 20’s, I learned that vaseline is a petroleum product and chose to scratch until my legs bled instead of putting it on my skin. Then I stumbled across a store that sold pure shea butter. This stuff didn’t look at all like the shea butter from the body shop (which is definitely not pure shea). This shea was thick and clumpy and a little stinky too. The guy assured me that if I had dry itchy skin, once I tried pure shea I’d never go back.  Guess what… he was right.  Shea butter helps to create a thick breathable barrier on the skin and provides natural vitamins including vitamin E to soothe irritation and help with skin repair. Pure smelly shea butter and our better smelling Body Butter are both great options to put on the skin at night to help lock in moisture and repair the skin while you sleep. The biggest downfall with shea is that it can be pretty greasy. Since it does create a barrier, it doesn’t absorb all that well. We don’t recommend using shea on the face for this reason. A little bit of shea can go a long way, but if you are looking for a less greasy cream that is still nice on the skin, try one of our babassu butters. If your skin is really broken, you might do best with our diaper cream at night.

Us Albertans know a thing or two about cracked skin, and this means we also know about that burning feeling that can happen when we put a cream on… even natural ones. Why is that? Usually it’s either because there is an alcohol in the lotion or you might be having a reaction to a fragrance or high concentrations of essential oils. Most lotion manufactures use alcohols in their lotions. This helps them give the lotion a lighter feel. Unfortunately, this also tends to dry out skin and is usually the cause of stinging skin. Check your lotions for any alcohols or fragrances and steal clear if you want something that is more likely to work for you. For some people, one of the reasons why you may have irritated skin in the first place is because you are reacting to the fragrance in your favorite hand cream.

So now you have some options like Shea, Body Butter and Babassu butter to help treat your skin. You also know that alcohol and fragrances may be causing your body to sting. But WHY are you getting irritated in the first place?

Obviously weather can have an impact on dry skin but it’s usually not the reason behind eczema and even re-occurring in grown hairs. Usually irritated skin is related to a food sensitivity. Removing the allergen can help to improve the skin quite a bit. Some of the biggest culprits that can lead to skin conditions are nightshades and gluten. Whether you are celiac or have a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, removing gluten from your diet can have a huge impact on your skin. If you’re suspicious that gluten might be a problem for you, eliminate it completely for 3 weeks. This means no sauces, no spices, no beauty care products and no food that contain it for 3 weeks. Then have a meal that’s heavy in gluten and see what happens. This elimination diet will give you an idea if it may be an issue, however, blood tests from a naturopath or a doctor could be more accurate.  We are just scratching the surface on in-depth testing for gluten and every year there is more access to better testing for allergies to more strains of gluten.

Nightshades are a family of fruits and vegetables that grow primarily in the night. It includes tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, goji berries and peppers. As tasty as jalapeño sauce can be, there is a chemical in nightshades that can lead to inflammation in the body leading to ingrown hairs, skin irritations and even acne. If you want to see if this might be part of the reason why your eczema seems particularly bad, try a 3 week elimination of these foods. There may be other allergies in your diet that also exacerbate the issue. For me, chocolate and oranges can give me eczema which is awful at Christmas with mandarin’s in season and chocolate at every party! I’m not perfect, so I do eat my chocolate and have some oranges and keep some natural body butter close for when I need it.

If you really want to tackle your skin this season:

  1. Look for alcohol free lotions like our Body Butter or Babassu Butter.
  2. Don’t use overly scented creams or ones that contain fragrances.
  3. Try an elimination diet with food that you’re suspicious of having an allergy to.

I sleep so much better and my skin is so much happier when I’m not waking up in the middle of the night scratching like I have fleas. I know what I should avoid eating, but when I do have it and the weather is really dry, I also know that I have some solid lotion that’s going to help save the day!

Let us know if you’ve used our body butter for your eczema and how it worked!