itchy eczema

Atopic dermatitis is an overreaction of the immune system that results in itchy eczema. People who are prone to hay fever or asthma are also more susceptible to this condition that produces red bumps on the skin, significant itching and thickened, scaly skin where the problem has been most serious. Allergies to food or other substances may play a role. Are there any simple remedies that can help?

Listerine to Soothe Itchy Eczema:

Q. I know from personal experience how annoying eczema can be. My hands and face get red, itchy spots. To control it, I put amber Listerine on a cotton ball and dab it on the area with the eczema several times a day. It is not a cure, but it does control the itching.

Why Does Listerine Ease Itchy Eczema?

A. Doctors do not know exactly what causes eczema (atopic dermatitis). They suggest, however, that scratching can set up a vicious cycle of itch-scratch-itch more. There is growing suspicion that disruption of the microbial ecology of the skin could play an important role in the development of itchy eczema (British Journal of Dermatology, Nov. 2017).

Listerine contains several essential oils that have both antibacterial and antifungal activity, including thymol, menthol, eucalyptol and methyl salicylate. Perhaps this combination of ingredients helps to re-establish a more comfortable and diverse range of bacteria on the skin. That might possibly explain your success with this unorthodox use of mouthwash. We haven’t found any studies of Listerine to treat atopic dermatitis, however.

Other Botanical Approaches to Eczema:

Listerine is not the only common remedy that can help calm the redness and itching. Some readers are enthusiastic about Noxzema, which has some of the same ingredients as Listerine. Researchers have found that Mahonia (Oregon grape holly), Hypericum (St. John’s wort) and Glycyrrhiza (licorice) can be helpful against itchy eczema when applied topically (Reuter et al, American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, Aug. 2010).

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  1. Betsy l

    Any ideas for lessening the itching and inflammation of the auto immune disease lichen planus?
    Medication, moisturizing lotions itch creames, and Noxzema have not worked.

  2. Donna
    North Carolina

    Blue Star Ointment works for me.

  3. Jen

    Certainly seems like “Different strokes for different folks” is very applicable for eczema itching. I have a basketful of lotions and ointments, but have been most successful with an ointment a family member was given while hospitalized: Calmoseptine Ointment.

    I ordered it from amazon since I was not eager to check the many local stores to see if it was available. It’s not perfect, for sure. But has helped me.

    Also, I use a cooler containing cold packs and put it next to me bed every night, just in case. The cold helps the itching. Eczema-itching is maddening! Anything not too expensive is worth a try – I think.

  4. Susan

    Listerine works amazingly on genital herpes for pain and itching. A doctor gave me that advice some 30 years ago! Really helps

  5. Karen C.
    North Carolina

    I’ve found eczema improves for most people when underlying yeast overgrowth is resolved. An organic acids test from several different labs can test for byproducts of yeast overgrowth that is found in the urine. When the yeast is treated, the skin improves significantly.

    • Linda

      Does your Primary Care have to order this test and if an overgrowth of yeast is found in the urine what is used to treat it?

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