As any parent of a child with eczema will tell you, it can be quite a struggle to get the skin condition under control.
But Dr. Douglas Leavengood, an allergist based in Biloxi, Mississippi, swears by a simple treatment found readily in the pantry: sea salt.
About 20 years ago, Leavengood noticed that many of his child eczema patients saw an improvement in their condition after spending lots of time in the ocean in the summer. Then Leavengood’s daughter tried it out. She began giving daily sea salt baths to her own kids with eczema, and their skin became less red and irritated.
Leavengood now recommends daily sea salt baths (about a handful in the tub) for all of his young patients, and commonly sees an improvement in redness, itchiness and dryness in as little as a week to 10 days. “It’s the most impressed I’ve ever been with a home therapy for anything,” he tells Allergic Living.
Scientific study would be necessary to conclusively prove that the treatment really works, as well as how it works. (Leavengood wonders if the salt may somehow help the skin to stay moist, or if perhaps it acts as an antibacterial agent.) What’s more, Leavengood’s patients often have severe cases, so they still require prescription creams and antihistamines.
Still, he says, “for a lot of mild cases, try this and a good moisturizing cream, and you’re good to go.”
See also: Bleach Bath for Eczema 
From the Fall 2011 issue of Allergic Living magazine.