Botanical oils are natural emollients. They provide insulation against water loss, an important aspect of preventing itch. I recommend a thin layer of botanical oils applied frequently throughout the day. These oils can also be added to bathwater.
Some of my favorite oils for eczema patients include sunflower oil, evening primrose oil, and virgin coconut oil.
Sunflower oil stimulates the body's natural production of ceramides. These fats benefit the skin barrier to hold in moisture and prevent irritants from penetrating the skin. Sunflower oil also has an anti-inflammatory effect. Reducing inflammation and enhancing the skin barrier function are two important goals of managing eczema.
Evening primrose oil benefits eczema with its high concentration of gamma-linolenic acids (GLAs). GLAs are essential fatty acids that are important in keeping the skin moist, smooth, and supple.
Clinical research has shown that virgin coconut oil reduces staph infections, which are common infections secondary to eczema.
All these oils are generally mild and nonirritating and make a good starting point for managing eczema at home. That said, before applying anything to your skin, be sure to spot-test each oil individually on a small area of healthy skin.