Eczema is a common skin condition in children, but it can also occur in adults, causing itchy, red, dry, cracked and sore patches to develop on the skin. The condition is usually long term, but can improve greatly over time. In children it can sometimes clear up completely as they grow older. Doctors can prescribe treatments for eczema, while creams and ointments can also be bought over-the-counter. But as the condition is long term, symptoms can be hard to treat, especially during periods of flare-ups.
How well certain treatments work depends on the severity of eczema, with various treatments working better for some people than others.
It may therefore be necessary to try out a range of different products until you find one that works for you.
Natural remedies, ranging from oils to certain foodstuffs, are increasing in popularity for the treatment of eczema, especially with people who want to avoid chemicals.
One natural remedy that some experts recommend for the treatment of eczema, is honey.
According to health food store Holland & Barrett, manuka honey contains “naturally strong antimicrobial elements” that can help kill off pathogenic bacteria.
Eczema can develop when pathogenic bacteria penetrate the skin and killing them off can reduce itching and infection.
Holland & Barrett recommends applying manuka honey topically, in a mixture of equal amounts of honey, beeswax and olive oil, or taking it internally.
“Its antibacterial properties help to reduce inflammation, which in turn can help the body heal itself, also reducing the symptoms of eczema,” said Holland & Barrett.
Medical website netdoctor also recommends manuka honey as a treatment for eczema, noting its antibacterial properties.
“If you’re struggling to find something to put on your sensitive skin, honey (particularly Manuka), can be a helpful alternative because it naturally contains antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties so can help support the immune system,” said netdoctor.
The medical website advises eating small amounts of honey each day, or applying it topically to the skin.
According to health website WebMD, all types of honey have antibacterial properties which can protect against damage caused by bacteria.
In most types of honey it is hydrogen peroxide which provides the antibiotic qualities, but manuka honey also contains other ingredients with antibacterial qualities, making it more potent in fighting bacteria.
“The major antibacterial component in manuka honey is methylglyoxal (MG). MG is a compound found in most types of honey, but usually only in small quantities,” said webmd.
“In manuka honey, MG comes from the conversion of another compound, dihydroxyacetone, that is found in high concentration in the nectar of manuka flowers.”
“The higher the concentration of MG, the stronger the antibiotic effect.”