The People's Perspective on Medicine

Will Listerine Soothe Your Itchy Eczema?

The herbal oils in amber Listerine appear to help ease itchy eczema. Could it be due to their effect on skin bacteria?

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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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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I have read through the few comments listed above, but do not find any replies to questions asked/typed. Where can I find responses that would benefit my queries? Thank you.

Amber Listerine has definitely helped my itchy back. I swim three times a week in a pool, and the pool chemicals make my back even more itchy. As soon as I get out of the pool and shower off, I use a back wand with a detachable foam pad, which I saturate with Listerine and then apply to my back. I then let my skin air dry. It doesn’t completely solve the problem but it really helps control the itching.

___on another problem that seems to affect so many of us..Dry mouth. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. I wake up all night and my tongue is rough and uncomfortable. My teeth coated. Gum helps best, but of course, not at sleep time. The products over the counter have not helped at all. I drink water constantly. both lips and mouth are affected. Help!

Listerine’s manufacturers have recently been modifying the traditional, dark yellow formula by adding and subtracting various oils and chemicals. There are now more than a half dozen different formulas (and colors!) available, and not all have the same combination of medicinal oils and strengths as the original.

I used to suffer from eczema on palms of my hands. It was maddening! It started in my 20’s , (I am now 62.) back then, My dermatologist did not know what it was and did a biopsy. She tried 20 some creams and nothing worked. I couldn’t touch paper, everything hurt to touch I had no moisture in my hands everything felt like sandpaper, I wore white cotton gloves just to be able to handle paper at my job. Things effected me like fingernails on a chalkboard. The only thing that finally made it go away was prednisone. It was my dermatologists last resort-after a month of agony. (By the way why does this seem to work for everything? ) 15 years ago I started taking muscadine grape seed supplement and I have not had an eczema outbreak since. My allergies are gone too and I have more energy. This supplement seems to help whatever ails you. Especially arthritis!! When I don’t take them my arthritis pain in my hips and fingers return. I’ve heard others say it cures their migraines, helps vision problems, less sickness. A lot of research is being done on this grape berry showing very positive results in areas of cancer and cardiovascular.

Where did you buy the supplement? Muscadine grape seed? I would like to find a very good one.

My symptoms are drastically relieved by taking probiotics, fish oil and keeping my skin well hydrated.

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.

Aloe Vera applied topically gives me temporary relief

Blue Star Ointment works for me.

Lidocaine ointment soothes my lichen sclerosis… It burns at first and I think that is why it helps to interrupt the itch cycle. Ice can also help. The itching can drive you INSANE!!!

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.

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

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.

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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