Mrs. Read's Magical Home Remedies for Eczema
Mrs. Read was an important person in my life. She had been a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse on the prairies in the early nineteen hundreds. She and her husband had previously owned the business that my parents now own. When I was a child, she was retired, a widow with no children, living on the east coast. I wish I had questioned more, or listened more back then. There is so much more I could have learned from her.
My sisters and I often spent Sunday afternoons in her backyard garden or went to the beach with her, where we sat on driftwood and did poetry readings. She explained how the salt in the Atlantic was good for eczema-damaged skin. I still remember rubbing that wet salty sand all over my hands and really don’t know how much it helped, but it definitely felt good.
How did we make her lotion?
I think I was about ten when she first showed me how to make her favourite rose water and glycerin lotion. We picked fresh roses from her garden, then kept the petals barely simmering for what seemed like hours. I can still smell those simmering rose petals. There was no using old or dry petals, only the fresh flower, just picked from the rose bush was good enough. After cooling and straining, we would add the glycerin. It came in a brown bottle with no real label, just a prescription-like drug store sticker with the name typed on it, so I knew it must be the magic ingredient. As it turns out, it does have almost magical properties. It’s a humectant, and anything that could draw moisture into my dry irritated skin must be magical. I still add it to my moisturizer. Beeswax and honey was another one she made that seemed to help.
Why did I stop making homemade skincare products?
I went through a number of years when I made all my own skincare products, as well as custom-made gifts for my family and friends based on their skin type. I even had a herb garden for a time. Mrs. Read would have been proud! But melting beeswax, getting the right amounts of oils, selecting which essential oils or herbs worked best, emulsifying everything, eventually became more work than pleasure. Besides, some lovely people with more knowledge than I, now make and sell these kinds of things at local craft fairs and Saturday markets.
How do I make my own facial moisturizer now?
My recipe for today’s easier facial moisturizer starts with a product found in a tub in the baby aisle: Vaseline Problem Skin Therapy. It’s a little too thick and heavy for the face as it is, but it’s a great base. To this, I add water, either boiled or distilled, a bit of either olive oil or light mineral oil, glycerin, and some aloe vera. I don’t measure these, just add them until it feels right. I have occasionally added vitamin E, thinking it helps heal almost everything, but now my latest allergy testing showed vitamin E has become a contact irritant for me.
Have you tried the old fashioned, perhaps time tested and proven, lotions and potions in your quest for something, anything, that could help your atopic dermatitis?
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