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Argan Oil for Eczema
Argan oil for eczema is one of this oils many benefits, buzzing around the natural beauty industry. With any skin condition or issue, seeing a dermatologist (one that you can trust) is always your best bet, as they have trained and studied to know exactly how to treat these skin issues. But often there are natural solutions that just work by providing effective relief to your symptoms.
Eczema is a long-term (chronic) condition that causes the skin to become dry, itchy, red and cracked. However, there is hope because it can improve over time, and this is especially true for children.
The most common areas of the body that are affected are the backs or fronts of knees, but any area can be affected. Other areas include around the neck, hands, scalp, elbows and cheeks. There are also periods of time when eczema is not as noticeable, and other periods where a person might experience a flare-up, when eczema lets them know it’s very much there!
What Causes Atopic Eczema?
Atopic eczema is the most common form of eczema. It is not known what the exact cause of eczema is, but there is definitely more than one thing that triggers the condition. These triggers are known to be stress, soaps, detergents and the weather. Food allergies are known to be a trigger for some people too. This is more common in young children with severe eczema.
The condition commonly develops alongside conditions like asthma and hay fever and runs in families. Unfortunately, there is no current cure for eczema but certain treatments can help relieve the symptoms. It is also reassuring that many peoples' conditions improve over time with the right treatment.
Treatment for Eczema
The main treatments of atopic eczema are emollients (moisturisers) and topical corticosteroids (creams and ointments used to reduce swelling and redness).
There are other treatments available, such as powerful ones from a dermatologist or skin specialist. Seeing a dermatologist could help manage the condition a lot better than without one. Other treatments include antihistamines for severe itching and bandages/bodysuits to allow the skin to heal underneath as the person cannot scratch, which makes eczema worse
So Avoid Scratching (…Easier Said than Done)
Avoiding scratching is one of the things suggested to help manage the symptoms. Damage to the skin is caused by scratching, even though eczema can be unbearably itchy and drive a person to frustration!
But chronic itching thickens the skin and eventually makes it leathery, whilst also causing bleeding and scarring. Some suggestions to make not scratching the skin a little easier is to wear anti-scratch mittens. This is a great solution for babies with eczema!
Keeping your nails short and clean and keeping the skin covered with light clothing may reduce damage too.
Get to Know your Triggers
You can better manage eczema if you get to know your triggers. This is something that can be done with GP who can help identify what makes your eczema worse.
Here are some triggers you might want to consider:
- Soaps and detergents - get to know which ingredients your eczema does not like.
- Certain fabrics - be aware of which fabrics seem to irritate your skin when you wear them. Change them to natural materials like cotton, or soft, fine-weave clothing.
- Heat - this can aggravate the condition, so keeping the rooms in your home nice and cool may help. This is important for your bedroom as you sleep.
Diet and Nutrition
Eczema symptoms can be triggered by eggs and cows’ milk. Speaking to your GP is important before cutting out any food groups you think might be a trigger. Your GP may suggest that a food allergy could be causing your eczema, in which case they might refer you to a dietitian.
Can Using Argan Oil for Eczema Really Help?
Argan oil has already been used for at least 800 years in Morocco, as there are records dating back this far, all raving about the health and topical benefits of Argan oil.
For every condition, there is always a natural solution that might just really help! Using Argan oil for eczema might provide you some relief. But it’s important to note that it also might not! It might make it worse, not because Argan oil isn’t great and extremely nourishing, but because everyone has different skin and reacts in different ways to various treatments. Some dermatologists even recommend against using oils altogether. It depends on what works or doesn’t work for your individual skin type.
It’s also so important to use Argan oil for eczema correctly, which is explained in the section below. Here, you will find more information on this, but keeping it simple for now: Argan oil should always be applied last, after any moisturisers applied before.
This article comes with a major disclaimer. Argan oil for eczema might simply not be for you! Many people have results with using Argan oil for eczema, but many people don’t.
But whilst working with a dermatologist or skin specialist, it might be something you’d want to try. And if it provides you with any sort of relief in the end, trying will have been worth it, and you might be able to combine it with other treatments by a dermatologist.
So How Could it Work?
Argan oil has been said to treat a few skin conditions, eczema being one of them. Vitamin E is the culprit of Argan oil that can aid in improving water retention in the skin, helping the skin to stay more hydrated. It is most commonly used as a moisturiser for the skin, but for eczema, you can use it to treat the individual patches of skin affected, and see if any progress is made.
The high levels of antioxidants in Argan oil help skin cells to oxygenate themselves whilst protecting against free radicals. Many dermatologists agree that Argan oil is a leader in its antioxidant content, so it’s one of the best contenders for delaying wrinkles! It is also incredibly anti-inflammatory, so it could soothe and calm eczema from the itching, redness and inflammation.
Argan oil is an emollient that contains several beneficial lipids and fatty acids for skin. This includes oleic acid, palmitic acid and linoleic acid. Emollients put a sealant on your skin by coating the top layer. This may help to lock in moisture and hydration, but it won’t make a lot of difference if the moisture is not there to begin with.
This is why using Argan oil alone probably won’t work, as you need to provide your skin with humectants that, like glycerine and hyaluronic acid, that both moisturise and draw water into the skin. Your skin needs to have moisture and hydration to begin with before Argan oil can work its magic as a sealant to hold on to it.
This means that applying humectants first is always advisable. Save any oils for that last skincare step to seal all the moisture in. Any moisturisers or treatments you use for your eczema will not be able to penetrate the skin if you apply the oil first. The oil will block it and your eczema may get worse!
It is best to use Argan oil for eczema consistently for a few weeks to see if there are any improvements. If there are none, Argan oil hasn’t worked for you, and seeking professional advice on other treatment options is always recommended.
Other Uses for Argan Oil
Argan oil for eczema is not its only benefit! The following are some of the ways Argan Oil could benefit your skin in other ways. There is a lot more research that has to be done on the effects of Argan oil as a cosmetic product, so a lot of the claims are based on results people experience and the knowledge that the Berber women have treasured and used this oil for centuries because of its benefits.
Hyperpigmentation and Sun Damage
Moroccan women use Argan oil for skin lightening, and have done for centuries. Hyperpigmentation is a darkening of the skin that occurs when the enzymes responsible for melanin production increase. This is caused by ultraviolet light or prolonged exposure to the sun. Many people report an improvement in reducing hyperpigmentation when using Argan oil.
There are limited studies on the benefits of this on the hair, but this is one of the traditional uses of Argan oil by the Berber women. They use it to protect their hair from the harsh, arid weather conditions, as it provides hair with the nourishment of fatty acids and vitamin E. Countless hair products include Argan oil as one of their ingredients, because it promotes shine and helps to control frizz. Using an oil like Argan on the mid-length point to the ends of your hair before commencing your usual shampooing and conditioning routine can really help to protect your skin from the drying effects of the shampoo. This can keep your hair nourished and conditioned for beautifully soft, smooth hair. Another way is to use Argan oil as a leave-in conditioner after shampooing. You don’t need a lot to make a big difference!
Reducing Skin Oiliness
Argan oil may be a suitable oil for acne-prone skin, as it has been shown to reduce skin oiliness. This 2007 study shows that there was a reduction in the oiliness of facial skin after 4 weeks of applying a face cream enriched with argan oil.
If Argan Oil Just isn’t For You...
As different things work for different people, you might also want to try Shea Butter instead. This could be used as one of the emollients (moisturising treatments) that people with eczema should use on a daily basis. Shea Butter is rich, moisturising and deeply hydrating. Vitamins A, E and F in Shea Butter work to heal dry, itchy and inflamed skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties sooths irritated skin and it forms a protective barrier on the skin to help protect it from any allergens causing flare ups. Like Argan oil, this is another great natural option to try.
Is Argan oil for eczema a natural option you might try? Do you know any babies who might benefit from using Argan oil on their delicate skin? Get in touch and let us know of any progress made!
Written by Jess Burman
BA (Honours) Writing