This evening I was a bit too enthusiastic in applying some essential oils on my kids to help them overcome their coughs and colds, and ended up with an itchy, stinging rash forming on my left index finger which is prone to dyshidrotic eczema, also known as pompholyx. I knew if I didn’t intervene soon, those dreaded itchy blisters would form and I’d be scratching them till they’d weep, just to get some relief.
So I made an oat and calendula tea bath / poultice to apply on my finger, and within 10 minutes it stopped itching completely. Here’s what I did, and you can too:
1. Place the following in a little drawstring pouch that can take the heat of boiling water (or at a pinch, a stocking or sock will work pretty well too):
- 4 teaspoons of ground oats (whole rolled oats probably works just as well, I reckon)
- 4 heads of dried calendula flowers (optional, but I happened to have some handy so in they went along with the oats!)
2. Steep the bag in water that’s just off the boil for about 3-5 minutes.
Note: If you don’t have a drawstring bag to put the ingredients in, don’t fret – just follow the rest of the instructions by using just a mug, and dip a small washcloth in the resulting tea to apply on your skin instead.
3. Drain off the hot water, and replace it with cool water and ice cubes to cool down the bag. (If you are doing this without a drawstring bag, then just add ice to the resulting tea and wait for the mixture to cool.)
4. When the bag is cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water from it. You now have a poultice.
5. Apply the poultice on the affected area. It will feel slimy and slightly sticky – this is normal. The itch may or may not subside at this point.
6. Continue applying the poultice on the affected area for about 5-10 minutes, occasionally dipping it back in the ice water to cool it down again.
7. Allow the skin to air dry naturally–try not to wipe off the oat water from the surface of the skin.
8. When the skin finally dries, you will find that the oat water would have left behind a protective film over your skin which feels dry and perhaps very faintly powdery, but comfortable. By now the itch (in my case, at least) was completely gone.
I hope that this can help some of you with your occasional brush with severe skin irritations and itchy outbreaks. It may not work for every kind of itch, because the causes vary (for example, I'm not entirely sure if this works for mosquito bites because I haven't tried it for that purpose). If you do give it a go, let us know in the comments if it worked for you.