Eczema, also known by the medical name atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition that causes red, ithcy, flaky skin, according to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Eczema is most often found in infants and young children, though it may also persist into adulthood. While some people use honey as a way to control the itchiness or discomfort associated with eczema, you should always talk to a physician or health care provider if you're considering using any home remedy.
Honey and Eczema
While there is no cure for eczema, some people use a mixture of honey and beeswax as a way to treat the itchy symptoms that accompany the disease. The University of Alabama at Birmingham reports that one strategy for coping with eczema symptoms includes using a lubricating cream or ointment on the affected skin areas at least once a day. There are a variety of ointments available, including some honey-based varieties.
Honey has long been used as a wound treatment and is known to contain antibacterial properties, according to a 2004 study published in the "Journal of Wound Care." For eczema sufferers, a honey ointment made from a mixture of honey, beeswax and olive oil can relieve the itchy symptoms of the disease, according to a 2003 study published in "Complementary Therapies in Medicine." In the study, 80 percent of the honey ointment users who had no prior treatment experienced significant improvement in treating their eczema symptoms. The mixture was made from equal parts of unprocessed honey, beeswax and cold-pressed olive oil.
Apart from honey, there are other non-medicinal techniques people with eczema can use to alleviate the symptoms. According to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, people with eczema should avoid contact with common irritants after identifying them with their physician. Eczema sufferers can also bathe or shower with lukewarm water and refrain from using harsh or abrasive soaps. Dressing in lightweight and lightly colored clothing to reduce sweating can also be beneficial, and refraining from scratching the affected areas is always a good idea.
Using honey treatments for eczema is not without its risks, especially in some specific populations. According to Colorado State University, raw or unprocessed honey can carry toxic botulism bacteria. Infants under the age of 8 months are especially susceptible to the bacterium, and honey use for children of this age is not recommended.
Roger Thorne is an attorney who began freelance writing in 2003. He has written for publications ranging from "MotorHome" magazine to "Cruising World." Thorne specializes in writing for law firms, Web sites, and professionals. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas.