Ayurvedic Treatments for Eczema | Remedy | 3 Stages of Treatment

It’s estimated that one in ten people will develop eczema during their lifetime, which is most common in childhood but often lasts into (or emerges during) adulthood. From severe itching to painful dryness, eczema can be an uncomfortable condition to live with – but Ayurvedic principles can help to identify the root causes and, often, provide relief.

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What is Eczema

Eczema is one of the most prevalent skin conditions globally, affecting 40% of the population (or one in five children and one in twelve adults in the UK alone). ‘Eczema’ comes from the Greek word ‘ekzein’, meaning ‘to boil out’.

Healthy skin cells are plumped up with water, fat and oils, forming a protective barrier against infection and helping our skin to retain moisture and maintain body temperature. If you have eczema, your skin is less able to retain water and produces less fat and oil, allowing bacteria and irritants to pass through more quickly. There is a flare-up, with the skin becoming itchy, irritated, cracked and inflamed.

Symptoms of Eczema

Eczema symptoms include itching, dryness and even chronic lesions, most commonly on the hands, face and legs (although it can spread across the body). Eczema can worsen in hot or cold temperatures, after sweating, on contact with irritating chemicals (like harsh laundry detergents), during stress or when allergens are in the air.

There are several types of eczema, the most common being atopic dermatitis. Others include seborrhoeic dermatitis (eczema resulting from dandruff), contact dermatitis (resulting from contact with a skin irritant), xerotic eczema (characterised by extreme skin dryness), and more.

What is Eczema according to Ayurveda?

Ayurveda Eczema

Ayurveda describes eczema as ‘Vicharchika’, with symptoms including intense itching, blisters and boils, pigment changes, dry or rough skin, and secretion.

Ayurveda recognises the skin as consisting of three essential layers, each governed by one of the three doshas. The outer layer (known as ‘Apicharma’) is in constant contact with the outside world and tends to get dry and irritable. People predominantly Vata dosha are likelier to suffer from skin disorders at this superficial layer, such as dry eczema and dandruff. The second layer of skin is warmer, consisting of connective tissue and blood vessels. Pitta people are more prone to inflammatory eczema here, rosacea, and other inflammatory skin conditions. The third layer comprises connective tissue, fat and blood, containing the most moisture. Disease at this layer is less common and often more chronic, such as Psoriasis and wet eczema, and tends to affect Kapha people the most.

Most skin conditions originate from deeper bodily imbalances, excessive heat and toxicity, exacerbated by stress and seasonal changes. Ayurvedic practitioners can address these using holistic treatments to radically improve a patient’s quality of life.

Causes of Eczema

According to Ayurveda, eczema is thought to occur when your doshas are out of balance. This can be caused by several things, stretching across diet and other lifestyle factors, as well as emotional stress and genetics. Some dietary factors that may cause eczema include:

  • Eating too much fatty, oily or salty food (particularly junk food).
  • Eating food that is difficult to digest, such as dairy products.
  • Eating too much seafood.
  • Eating a lot of sesame.

Some lifestyle factors that may cause eczema include:

  • Too much stress over an extended period of time.
  • Poor levels of personal hygiene.
  • Suppressing the natural needs of our body, as well as our feelings.
  • Performing intense physical activity frequently.
  • Showering with cold water after a day in the sun.
  • Eating when we are still full from a previous meal.
  • Frequently sleeping during the day.

Ayurvedic medicine believes that any or a combination of the activities above can cause the doshas to become aggravated, causing skin dryness and inflammation.

Ayurveda Eczema

Ayurvedic Treatments for Eczema

Ayurvedic treatment for eczema will usually start by determining whether the skin condition is Vata, Pitta or Kapha dominant. While any of the dosha can be dominant, Pitta is almost always a factor in eczema as it governs the liver, blood and digestion – all of which affect the texture and health of the skin.

Once the root imbalances have been determined, an Ayurvedic practitioner will determine a treatment path, including healthy food and lifestyle changes to support ‘Brahmacharya’: energy management. In Ayurveda, Brahmacharya is the third pillar of life. The word derives from ‘Brahma’, meaning God, and ‘Charya’, meaning conduct. In that way, Brahmacharya means ‘conduct motivated by the search for God’. In other words, Brahmacharya is about staying connected with ourselves and our environment to make the best choices for our entire being.

Ayurvedic practitioners often recommend that you avoid spicy, oily, sour, fried and fatty foods, including red meat, coffee and alcohol, and instead eat a plant-rich diet, choosing a cooling and astringent food and drink to pacify Pitta. For severe itching (suggesting Kapha involvement), a practitioner may also suggest reducing sugar and dairy. Vegetables from the nightshade family, such as tomatoes and aubergine, can also contribute to inflammation.

People with eczema need to stay hydrated, consuming plenty of water alongside liquorice tea and aloe vera juice.

Nutrients including zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C and essential fatty acids can help to ease symptoms, along with herbs including cardamom, turmeric, Triphala, neem and Indian sarsaparilla. Tea tree oil and neem oil can also help to relieve itching and reduce redness, while aloe vera gel and coconut oil can soothe dry lesions.

Alongside these dietary changes, an Ayurvedic doctor might suggest other lifestyle adjustments, such as daily exercise, meditation and breathing exercises to relax the nervous system, avoiding daytime naps, and maintaining good personal hygiene. To avoid further irritating the skin, gently dry after washing using tapping movements and wear loose clothes made of natural fabrics. Some practitioners recommend consuming ghee butter daily to reduce toxins and soothe skin problems.

Panchakarma Treatments

One of the core treatments for eczema (as well as other skin conditions like acne) in Ayurvedic medicine is Panchakarma therapy, cleansing and rejuvenating the mind and body.

Panchakarma is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘five actions’ or ‘five treatments’. The system balances the three doshas (Tridosha), removes toxins and supports the immune system. Usually, the body can efficiently process and remove waste materials, including the vitiated doshas. However, bad habits like poor eating or exercise patterns can disorganise the metabolic system and hormones. This, in turn, can lead to an accumulation and spread of toxins, which cause disease (this is called ‘Ama’).

Panchakarma is a bio-cleansing regimen intended to eliminate toxins from the body and increase the effectiveness of therapeutic regimens like Rasayana (Rejuvenation) and Vajikarana (Aphrodisiac). Thus, Panchakarma therapy is believed to prevent the development of disease-causing factors and maintain dosha equilibrium.

There are three steps to doing Panchakarma.

  1. Preparatory procedure (purva karma )
  2. Operative procedure (pradhana karma )
  3. Post-operative procedure (paschat karma)

The first stage is Purvakarma, where oleation therapy (a full-body massage with ghee, herbs and oils) and intense sweating loosen excess doshas and toxins accumulated in the body.

During the second stage, specialised treatments are administered to expel impurities and revitalise the system. These include

  • Vamana (medicalised vomiting)
  • Virechana (purging focused on the small intestine)
  • Nasya (nasal purging)
  • Vasti (colonic irrigation)
  • Raktamokshana (bloodletting)

The final stage of the treatment process is Paschathkarma, where a rehabilitation plan is prescribed, including a nourishing diet, rest, relaxing therapies and lifestyle modifications.

Panchakarma has many benefits, including:

  • Helping you to maintain mental and physical hygiene and balance.
  • Improving your overall health and wellness
  • Strengthening your immune system
  • Slowing down your ageing process
  • Enhancing your strength, energy and mental clarity
  • Helping you to relax deeply
  • Opening blocked channels in the body.
  • Improving the strength of your digestive juices.
  • Rejuvenating your tissues and helping you lose weight.

How an Ayurveda Retreat can help

Not everyone responds to conventional Western methods of treating eczema using topical steroid creams; sometimes, these treatments can have adverse side effects. When administered by practised Ayurvedic doctors in a relaxing retreat environment, such as Sen Wellness Retreats, Ayurvedic natural healing therapies can support your body to rebalance and heal fully without any lingering side effects.

At the Sanctuary, each guest is welcomed into a personalised care plan designed by our in-house Ayurvedic doctor following a private consultation. This individualised plan, tailored to suit your unique constitution and existing imbalances, encompasses a variety of treatments and herbal medicines. Our proficient Ayurvedic therapists, equipped with the expertise to carry out various traditional treatments, are on hand to cater to your specific health requirements, including skin disorders such as eczema.

In the realm of Ayurveda, these therapies and supplements are designed to work in harmony with a balanced diet, the practice of yoga, and meditation. This is the essence of the Sanctuary’s holistic approach that promotes overall well-being, focusing on balancing your entire being. A vital aspect of this approach is the inclusion of specific treatments and routines that help manage and potentially alleviate conditions like eczema. Furthermore, we provide long-term guidance, enabling you to sustain this enhanced health and harmony according to your personal constitution.

Excellent4.8Based on 169 reviews from Ayurveda EczemaElisa B.1701430042 ★★★★★ I just came back after spending a week at Sen Wellness, and the experience was above my expectations.The location is beautiful, immerse in nature and with an amazing beach available.Yoga and meditation classes vary every day, and I can say I learnt so much.The main feedback I’d like to leave is about the team: all of them did everything in their power to make us guests happy, they personally cared about our wellbeing.I can say I came back relaxed, but also changed and nourished internally, I’m looking at problems with a different perspective.I am already planning to be back!Ayurveda EczemaPia S.1697801887 ★★★★★ All I could have asked for in an Ayurveda retreat. Beautiful place and nature, with lovely people and a lot of thought and intention in the programs.Ayurveda EczemaRichard S1697016861 ★★★★★ hat an incredible place and lovely team and special stay. Situated between the beach and the lagoon you are surrounded by wildlife and feel completely isolated from the outside world. The treatments, food and yoga/meditation work together to ensure an incredibly restorative and nourishing stay. Ten days seemed a good length of time to stay to maximise the benefits.Thank you to all the team at Sen for a magical stayAyurveda EczemaMithi T.1694508202 ★★★★★ Heaven on earth. A must-visit if you wish to disconnect and self-connect.Ayurveda EczemaIrene Boñal B.1693817075 ★★★★★ I came for the second time to this place and it can never disappoint… a truly healing place where you can connect with yourself and with others. I have met some amazing people here both times I have come. The staff really care and worry about you. Thank you ♥️ the first time’s review (last year’s) is just below which still applies.Mind-blowing experience. I am so happy I came to this place - I was planning for 5 days and stayed 10! All the team made me feel like home since I arrived. The kitchen staff are super nice and the food is amazing and healthy! The doctor and masseurs listened to me and gave me a therapy adapted to my needs from the very first day. The doctor, managers and reception were also always there for everything I needed. The yoga teachers are amazing healers that guided me through my journey in the sanctuary and for my home. I know I’ll apply their yoga and spiritual teachings in mind for my daily life. On top of that, a monk comes every week to have a 1-to-1 session with you. Personally, this was a very productive session for me!Moreover, the mini pool in the beach has an amazing sunshine - I’d recommend everyone to go one morning when in here!Amazing place to reconnect with myself which is what I was looking for. I’ll definitely come back😊Ayurveda EczemaElaine L.1693770775 ★★★★★ The most nourishing, relaxing and healing week I have ever experienced in the most beautiful setting!! 7-day Ayurvedic and Yoga retreat left me feeling like a new person. I will definitely be returning.Ayurveda EczemaJill L.1693328040 ★★★★★ My two trips to the Sanctuary were equally special. Both were in January, one in 2016 and then again in 2020. It was a perfect way to start the year. The sheer beauty of this part of Sri Lanka is restorative in itself, but when coupled with the luxury and care of the Sanctuary, it becomes a deeply healing experience. I will go back again as soon as I can.Ayurveda EczemaDi S.1693132092 ★★★★★ I arrived exhausted and frazzled from a flight that had lost my bag in transit with the clothes I left London in and raging sinuses from the plane's insanely fierce aircon. Within days the sinus infection was healed with Ayurveda. This was the start of a 10 day healing journey that was pure magic. I stayed in an eco cabana - bed super comfy! - waking up to amazing birdsong. The nature here is lush (bring your mozzie spray!) , the complex open and airy, the food delicious (mainly veggie). Everyone on the team - from the Ayurvedic doctors and practitioners, the amazing manager, the chef and his crew, the yoga teachers to the boys who do the cleaning know what they're doing and radiate positive energy. Days are structured but the vibe is relaxed, open and easy. The Cacao ceremony was amazing. The Fire ceremony also. I'd go back in a heartbeat.Ayurveda EczemaEmma C.1692720436 ★★★★★ I came to the sanctuary at a difficult time for me personally. I came home feeling mentally and physically restored. It was just the tonic for me.The sanctuary is set in a beautiful and peaceful location, a stone’s throw from the sea and never-ending empty beaches.I loved the daily yoga sessions - I had a brilliant teacher the week I was there - which has an open front so we often saw monkeys swinging by.But it were the Ayurvedic treatments and meals, made with fresh local produce, that were out of this world.The communal dining is such a great idea, particularly if you come on your own like I did. And the sanctuary is run by a fantastic and caring team who went out of their way to make my experience truly unforgettable.I really do hope to return again one day.Ayurveda EczemaStephanie U1692379552 ★★★★★ Sen Wellness is really a Sanctuary where you can really connect back to you, your body and nature. The 10 days Spring Retreat was so fantastic, the breathing, moving and the food was always great. The location is far off from everything and you pretty much have the beach to yourself. All the animals like baby turtles, monkeys, squirrels, peacocks combined with nature was just magical. Also all the staff took great care of everyone induvidually. I will definitly be back!!Ayurveda EczemaLara Y1692369607 ★★★★★ My husband and I stayed at Sen Wellness Retreat for 11 days in February 2023. We highly recommend Sen Wellness. It is not a resort, it’s a true retreat. Our stay was an absolute dream come true. From the moment we passed through the gate, took our shoes off, and set our feet on the grounds, we found ourselves in a serene atmosphere that washed away all the stress and worries of everyday life. It was an absolute peaceful heaven with calming sounds of the ocean and nature. We stayed in eco-cabana. The blend of natural materials and elements with simple but modern amenities created a perfect balance between rustic charm and contemporary luxury. The room was daily cleaned and had everything we needed for our stay. After meeting with doctor on the first day, our Ayurvedic treatments were tailored to our individual needs, and they were the best part of the experience. Our yoga teacher Thilini was local and made our yoga sessions very meaningful, connecting our body and mind. We still do yoga with her over Zoom ever since we returned home. In a week, we had a new teacher Megan coming. She wasn’t local but she had an extensive knowledge about Ayurveda, local culture and she was great too. The people we had a pleasure of meeting during stay were from all over the world and truly exceptional. The best part was having all meals together around the table and having conversations. Every meal was a delightful journey of flavors and nourishment. The food had many varieties and left us both satisfied and intrigued to try more. Thilini explained to us each food ingredients and shared many stories and information about the local culture. She even took us to the beach late at night for stars gazing and listening to the sounds of the ocean. The staff was very caring, attentive, and tried to provide the best service. By the time we had to leave, we felt so much genuine care and felt like a part of a close-knit community. After returning home, I had a question about medicine for the doctor. Davia sent my question to Dr. Harnika and she replied to me. We left retreat feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, deeply relaxed, and with determination to change our lifestyle.Ayurveda EczemaRahela R.1691383170 ★★★★★ My time at SEN Wellness Sanctuary for the Ayurvedic retreat was an incredibly relaxing experience. The immersion in pure nature, the sights and sounds of flora and fauna wildlife, and the rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatments made it a standout wellness sanctuary worldwide. Daily yoga and meditation sessions, as well as a meeting with a monk, added a spiritual dimension. The wholesome meals were a delight, and the romantic boat ride they arranged for our wedding anniversary was unforgettable. The staff's warmth and dedication created a peaceful, welcoming atmosphere that truly fostered a deep connection with nature. The private beach felt like a personal paradise, offering an exclusive bond with the ocean and sand. My stay at SEN Wellness Sanctuary was truly transformative.Ayurveda EczemaGhurair S.1691373696 ★★★★★ Our time at SEN Wellness Sanctuary was like discovering a whole new world during the Ayurvedic retreat. Every second felt like a soothing melody of relaxation and refreshment for both of us. Being surrounded by untouched nature was like a dream, with all sorts of plants and animals creating a calming atmosphere. The Ayurvedic treatments were like magic, making this place stand out as one of the best wellness spots globally.Each day, we got to do calming yoga and meditation. We even met a monk, which was pretty cool and added a special vibe to our days. The food was delicious and healthy, giving us energy and making us smile. The cherry on top was a romantic boat ride on our anniversary, showing how much they cared about our happiness.The staff was incredibly friendly and worked hard to make the place feel like a peaceful escape. It was like they understood how much we needed to connect with nature. The private beach felt like our own little paradise, where the waves and sand seemed to give us their full attention.And guess what? We're already planning our next visit to SEN Wellness Sanctuary. Our stay changed us in a big way. It felt like we were woven into a beautiful story that mixed nature's beauty, calming activities, and friendly vibes. This experience is something we'll always remember and it inspires us to bring more harmony and renewal into our lives.Ayurveda EczemaKristine S.1691073416 ★★★★★ I was looking to fill my cup with good energy and that’s exactly what I got from Sen Wellness. Highlights for me were the delicious healthy food, the setting surrounded by nature and a protected nesting-turtle beach, the soothing Ayurvedic treatments and the daily yoga/ meditation sessions in peaceful settings or gentle dips in the seaside pool. The staff are superb, treating you like family in their lovely home. The cabanas were super comfortable and had everything I needed. Bring lots of insect repellent, camera storage for all the baby turtles you might witness, and a positive attitude and you’re golden. Worth the three-hour trip from Colombo!Ayurveda EczemaShamail S.1691069614 ★★★★★ Amazing place! Location with the beach on one side, a lake on the other and dense green in between is spectacular. The inclusive meals, daily ayurvedic treatments, and highly attentive staff make this place extraordinary. Looking forward to going back.Ayurveda Eczema

The Final Word

Eczema can affect the mind as well as the body, causing sufferers to feel even more anxious and stressed, which in turn makes their symptoms worse. Ayurveda aims to provide holistic support in line with individual needs by removing toxins, releasing stress and restoring balance. This, in turn, can radically improve a patient’s quality of life.

In the words of Sen Wellness practitioner Dr Harnika: “Never be ashamed of your skin; it simply means you were stronger than whatever stress or tiredness hurt you. Do not allow your skin to turn you into a person you are not.”


Ayurveda Eczema
Sam Kankanamge

Sam Kankanamge BSc (Hons) Osteo, DPO, Dip.Acu is an exceptional, world renowned healthcare professional, with over 25 years-experience transforming patients’ health.