Eczema treatment: The natural oil shown to ease inflammatory skin conditions
Atopic eczema is the most common form of eczema, caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. One natural oil has been shown to reduce inflammation, could it help dry and irritated skin?
In atopic eczema, an inherited defective skin barrier leads to dry skin.
This is because the skin is unable to produce enough fats and oils to cement the outer layer of skin cells together.
People without the skin disorder have an effective skin barrier, where adequate amounts of fats and oils seal the outer skin cells together.
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Additionally, the skin cells attract and keep water inside, while the fats and oils help to keep the moisture in.
Those with a defective skin barrier (eczema) the skin is unable to hold onto moisture.
Unfortunately, household products such as soap, bubble bath and detergent can dehydrate the skin further.
When gaps open up between the skin cells (as there’s not enough fats or oils), bacteria and irritants can easily pass through.
The body responds to these intruders by triggering an immune response – inflammation.
It’s this inflammation that causes red-looking skin and is an example of an eczema flare-up.
Borage seed oil – made from the Borago officinalis plant – beholds a high gamma linoleic acid (GLA) content.
Researchers from California State University conducted a review on the effects of borage oil on the skin.
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The study noted that borage oil “contains high levels of essential fatty acids that are important in skin structure and function”.
And they identified its GLA content “contributes to its therapeutic actions in atopic dermatitis”.
Interestingly, the application of borage oil on people with atopic dermatitis “has been shown to normalise skin barrier function”.
The results came from an experiment where people with the skin disorder were part of a double-blind, placebo-controlled study whereby undershirts with the seed oil were applied.
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Additionally, there were no side effects found in the test subjects after exposure to borage oil.
The researchers concluded that borage seed oil does have a positive impact on those with atopic dermatitis.
Other known topical applications for eczema are emollients (medical moisturisers) and steroids.
Emollients can come in the form of soaps too, which will help to protect the skin.
After bathing, the National Eczema Society recommends patting the skin dry with a soft towel before applying emollient creams.
Additionally, it’s helpful to apply the cream in the direction of hair growth, avoiding an intense itch associated with rubbing the limbs.
While going out and about your normal daily routine, it’ll be helpful to have emollient cream to hand.
Even if eczema symptoms subside it’s still vital to continue using emollients to prevent flare-ups.
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