DIY Eczema Cream with Colloidal Oatmeal
This DIY eczema cream recipe features:
- colloidal oatmeal – soothing, protective and anti-inflammatory (source, source, source)
- shea butter – emollient, anti-inflammatory (source)
- sunflower oil – shown to repair skin barrier, improves hydration (source, source)
Eczema is a miserable condition that causes skin to be intensely itchy and inflamed. Atopic dermatitis (AD) is one of the most common forms of eczema, so you’ll sometimes see the two terms interchanged.
I had severe eczema as a kid and still get the occasional flareup in winter, plus my son also suffered from eczema when younger, so I’ve spent a lot of time trying different remedies out.
One of the keys to helping relieve the discomfort of eczema is to use a cream that soothes, moisturizes and helps protect the skin’s barrier. It’s also important to use it consistently.
Treatment for eczema is very individualized; what works well for one person, won’t necessarily work well for another.
There are usually allergies and other factors to consider too, but here’s one eczema cream recipe featuring colloidal oatmeal that you can try. (More to come in future blog posts!)
Ingredients for DIY Eczema Cream with Colloidal Oatmeal
You’ll need a kitchen scale to make this cream. (I use THIS ONE from LotionCrafter.)
- 65 g distilled water
- 1 g (almost 1/2 tsp) colloidal oatmeal (I bought mine from Bramble Berry)
- 15 g sunflower oil
- 10 g shea butter
- 7 g vegetable emulsifying wax
- preservative of choice (see note)
- optional – few drops of lavender essential oil
Colloidal oatmeal is the star of this cream and is used at 1% in the recipe.
THESE TWO CLINICAL STUDIES showed that a 1% colloidal oatmeal cream alone was effective in reducing symptoms of mild to moderate atopic dermatitis (eczema).
Wondering what colloidal oatmeal is and if you can make it at home? Check out THIS excellent article over on the LisaLise blog.
Directions to Make
Weigh out the distilled water in a heatproof container. (I use small jelly/canning jars.) Add the colloidal oatmeal and mix well.
Weigh the sunflower oil, shea butter and vegetable emulsifying wax in a separate heatproof container.
Place both jars down into a saucepan containing an inch or so of water, forming a double boiler of sorts. Turn the burner to medium low and heat until the wax and butter are fully melted – about 10 to 15 minutes.
Pour the hot water/oatmeal and melted wax/butter/oil together into a clean jar and stir, stir, stir with a fork. Stir frequently until the lotion starts to thicken as it cools.
I place the container down into a bowl of ice water to help speed this step up and to make sure the shea butter cools quickly, to reduce the chance of grittiness.
Once cool enough for your preservative of choice, stir that in, then add the lavender essential oil, if using, and mix well.
I used 2 or 3 drops of a lovely lavender essential oil that was gifted to me at Christmas – it’s from The English Lavender Farm in Oregon and it smells sooo good!
This cream will start off thinner and more lotion-like, but it will thicken into a lovely cream after several hours.
Pour into lotion containers or jars.
Notes About Preservative Choices
One of my favorite nature-derived preservatives is Leucidal SF Complete – derived from Lactobacillus & coconut ferment, used at a 2 to 4% rate, which is 2 to 4 grams in this recipe. (I usually go with 4%.)
It usually gives me a shelf life of at least 3 months, though I’ve heard from a couple of readers who’ve only gotten about 1 month shelf life when using. (Storage conditions and other lotion ingredients play a large role as well.)
For more preservative options, be sure to check out my article:
10 Natural Preservatives for Homemade Skin Care
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I would like to buy a jar of this already made cream to see if it works on my 5 year old granddaughter
Hi Lorie! I’m not set up to sell products, but you might be able to find something with good ingredients and reviews on Etsy:
I can make this for you. You can contact me. Thanks!
Jan if this isn’t okay please let me know. I love everything I have made from your web site thank you so much! Great stuff!!
Hi Lisa Renee, Sure! Thanks for providing a source for readers to check out! :)
I had to figure out somewhere to store my oils, ointments, etc. and I bought an under-the-bed tupperware on wheels that holds a ton of bottles. I went from having eczema to full body plaque psoriasis. Parts of me look like alligator skin and it has made my hair fall out in patches. I’ve tried all my essential oils and last month I got desperate and grabbed my pestil and ground up dandelions, mixed with grapeseed oil and lavender. There is not one thing short of the despised cortisone cream that helps and even THAT’S losing its ability.
Hi Dana Joy, I’m so sorry to hear about your eczema/psoriasis. That sounds like such an ordeal to have to go through. I hope you’re able to find something to give relief! *hugs*
Hi Dana Joy & Jan !
I can completely relate to your situation.. I’m a Registered Nurse as well as an Herbalist, and Totally LOVE everything Jan has Blogged, Written. And Shared thru the years I’ve Been Following her!! THANKS SO MUCH JAN! You have been an Inspiration for many of my choices! 🙂
Dana, I have felt with not only A terriable out break of Excezma a couple years ago, but I was also Vomiting everything I was eating , I went from 110 pounds to 89 pounds… I tried Fixing the painful Excezma on my Right hand it would start to clear and flair up again. So, I began to look at what types of foods I was eating.. I eat “Clean” Organic Food, I Thought! This Excezma flailed up at the end of August and it was about the same time I was not able to keep food down.. Searching all my intake, I finally figured out What had happened! On the weekends, our family would get together at the beach for a cook oust every Saturday & Sunday, what I didn’t realize was that the food my father-in-law was cooking was NOT organic. Everytime I ate the food a few hours later, I would get sick and stay that way for most of the week.. once I would start feeling better, Iwe get together for the weekend and it started all over again! So, I stopped eating that food… it took a while, but my body started to heal itself and I was holding food down, and the Treatments to clear up my Excezma on my and Began to work! And it started clearing up! I began taking Organic Burdock,Trace minerals & l-Lysine as supplements. And Using My OrgNic Lemon Balm Cream during the day and my organic Healing Salve with a glove at night! After a few months it continued to improve ! Stress has a lot to do with outbreaks as well! So distressing before bed is Imperative! A cup of Organic Ashwaganda Tea in the morning & afternoon and a Cup of Organic Camomile Tea before bed with some honey helped me! Soaking the parts of your body that have Excezma/ Pssoriasis in a warm/tepid soak of Oatmeal, Lavender & Thyme, also helped me as well. You can also use that solution as compresses. Understand this.. you have to treat these two terrible skin conditions not only from the outside, but also from the inside.. remember too, We are what we EAT… I hope this Helps out your situation! Do your research, see what has worked for others, and Try it.. there IS a Healthier Alternative than Using Pharmaceuticals.. You just have to keep looking till you find what works for you! But DONT GIVE UP!! The Answers are out there!! Sometimes, you just have look a little Harder … Good Luck to You, I hope things all turn out Healed & Healthy!!
Thank you for sharing your story Marykaye! I’m so glad that you’re starting to feel better! :)
Hi ! I have a psoriasis and started a new diet call Keto a couple of weeks back . I don’t have to use steroids and creams . Worth a try . Sometimes we need to heal our body inside oit
Hi Monika, That’s a great point; there are often internal causes for skin conditions. I’m so glad that you’re finding relief with the keto diet! :)
You have lovely recipes for your human friends? Do you have any for my fur friends? My sweetie pup has dry, flaky skin! Any ideas for a soothing oatmeal shampoo?
Hi Lisa! I have a dog shampoo recipe or two floating around in books/ebooks; I’ll put that on my list to get one on the blog too! What also works great for my dogs is Pine Tar Soap – it leaves their fur soft and shiny. :)
Would it be fine to use chamomoile tea in place of the water? It’s not distilled then, obviously, so I’m not sure if it would affect anything.
Hi Kristen! Yes, you sure can. Herbal teas tend to shorten the shelf life more than distilled water, so I’d use the max range of preservative and keep a check on it before each use. :)
Hi can I use germall plus preservative as a replacement?
Hi Ann, Sure! If using Liquid Germall Plus then you’d add up to 0.5 grams to the recipe.
On the lotioncrafter.com site under the European Union (EU) restrictions it states Liquid Germall Plus is “Not to be used in body lotion and body cream”. Do you know why it states this? This makes me think it isn’t safe to use?
Hi Susan! I’ve wondered about that too and when I looked into it, I found this great article at Swift Crafty Monkey that explains more:
For myself & my crunchier friends, I like using the Leucidal products, but they do have a shorter shelf life to monitor and be aware of.
When I’m making things for relatives that absolutely can’t risk bacterial contamination (I have several that are health care professionals, dealing with immune compromised & very ill individuals), then I use Liquid Germall Plus for their lotions/creams.
They’ve assured me that they’re exposed to far stronger substances & chemical solutions on a daily basis, and would rather have it in their lotions than chance of bacteria.
I test everything I make on myself and have to say that my sensitive skin hasn’t had a bit of irritation from it nor have I noticed any ill effects, so while I really do prefer using the nature-derived substances 99% of the time, I also don’t mind occasionally using a lotion with just a tiny 0.5% of Liquid Germall Plus in it.:)
Do you sell this eczema cream on your web site? Before I get into buying ingredients to make my own, I would love to try it out first. Thank you.
Hi Aulene! I’m not set up to sell products at this time, but thanks for checking!
I do see some colloidal oatmeal creams for sale over at Etsy that you might want to browse through & check reviews on:
What preservative other than leucidal I can use? My baby is allergic to milk so Lactobacilus based preservative could a disaster for her. Thanks
Hi Silviana! That’s a great question! I haven’t fully researched ingredient origins in all of the preservatives yet (though it’s on my to-do list!)
What you could do is explore the preservative options at LotionCrafter or Formulator Sample Shop and see what they have listed in the ingredients.
Then to be certain, you could always contact them and see if they can verify the milk-free status. Most vendors should be able to find that kind of thing out for you.
Or, if you have a natural lotion that your baby already uses, you could check their ingredient list & see what they use as a preservative, then check its availability for purchase.
Hi Jan, what exactly is colloidal oatmeal and how is it different from plain old oatmeal? Thanks!
Hi Donna! Colloidal oatmeal is a super fine and silky version of oatmeal. The LisaLise blog has an awesome article that explains all about it: :)
Can I substitute water for an oil or something else? I want to avoid the preservative.
Hi Silvia! I’ve seen people add colloidal oatmeal to oil-based salves & balms, so I’d start with a recipe for one of those instead of trying to adapt a lotion recipe.
Just make a salve or balm recipe that you like and stir some colloidal oatmeal into the melted oils. Stir occasionally while cooling so it won’t settle in a layer on the bottom of the container.
If you try it out, I’d love to hear how it goes! :)
Thank you! Can beeswax be substituted for the emulsifying wax?
Hi Lisa! Beeswax won’t substitute for emulsifying wax because beeswax acts differently in lotions/creams and can’t hold the large amount of water like e-wax can.
Instead, you can find a beeswax based lotion/cream recipe you like and just add the colloidal oatmeal to it for a similar effect. :)
To Dana Joy, I also have psoriasis and the only thing I found that helped wasMG217 ointment! And hydrate your skin with Vanacream cream lotion! Both can be purchased at Walgreens! More effective than steroids that are very expensive !
Could you swap the Shea butter for mango butter without affecting the beneficial effects in eczema? I hate the smell of the stuff so much I used mine up in CP soap.
Hi Anne, Yes, you sure can! I know what you mean about the scent of unrefined shea butter; it’s not my favorite either so I try to mask it with essential oils, or as you did – use it in soap. :)
Hi, I’m wondering if any particular temperature that both oil and water should stay at in order that they can blend well together?
Hi V! Usually by the time the wax is completely melted, it’s at a good temperature for blending. However, some people like to monitor and aim for a specific temperature of about 158 degrees F for highest chance of success at emulsion.
Thanks so much for your info, I’d like to say the cream is lovely. I like the texture very much which is fine and delicate, it’s nourishing that can be smoothly and easily spread on the skin.
Hi V, I’m so happy to hear that you like the cream! :)
How much of the leucidial liquid SF do I use ? 1oz bottle canes with a dropper.
Hi Issbel! They suggest using 2 to 4%; I like to go with the maximum of 4%. In this recipe, that’s about 4 grams which roughly equates to about 1 teaspoon.
I made this cream for my toddler’s eczema and in just 7 days eczema was gone! Gone! I can’t believe it. I bought so many creams and none of them worked.
I make a batch every two weeks so I don’t have to use a preservative. My husband also tried it, he has a little eczema on his face this winter, and he got the same amazing results.
Thank you for this recipe and I am so glad I gave it a chance.
Hi Silvia! I’m so happy to hear you’ve had such great results with the cream! That’s wonderful!
Hi Jan! Thank you for this recipe! I just made it for the first time to replace the store-bought lotion with colloidal oatmeal that we have been buying. It’s my first time making my own skin product, and the everything came together perfectly, but it is very thing – basically liquid-like.
I stirred the mixture (while resting it in the ice bath) until it was completely mixed and cooled (which happened quickly because of the ice bath). Do I need to stir it longer? I would like to try making it again, but would welcome any suggestions first.
Hi Emily! Lotions made with emulsifying wax often take a full 24 hours to thicken up, so it may have just needed more time. How is your lotion doing now?
Hi, I made this cream for the first time last week for my little one and I love it! My husband has asked if I could make him one too, but he wants his slightly less cream-like and more lotion-y. If I sub some of the oil for water would that work?
Thanks so much – you have a lovely blog!
Hi Verity! So happy you like the recipe! :)
For a more lotion-like texture, you can remove the shea butter from the recipe and replace it with more sunflower or other liquid oil. The shea butter plays a big part in making it thicker so this should help a bunch.
You could also further drop the oil about 2 grams and replace those with more water.
So the new recipe might have:
23 grams of oil
7 grams of emulsifying wax
1 gram colloidal oatmeal
67 grams water
Hi, I tried making this today. I followed your directions to the letter and used a digital scale to make sure I measured everything correctly. I could not make this blend together. The water/oatmeal never mixed with the wax/oil. I’m very disappointed, can you give me some hints as to what may have gone wrong?
Hi Gail, I’m so sorry to hear that happened! That sounds like a problem with the emulsifier. Can you let me know the type/name of emulsifier you used and/or where you bought it from? That can help us pinpoint the trouble better. :)
I am trying to use colloidal oatmeal to make body cream for my son but I did feel grainy and left some of oatmeal on his body..
Is this colloidal oatmeal really melt in the cream?
Hi Aya! It might depend on the type of colloidal oatmeal you bought. The kind I use from Bramble Berry is a super fine silky powder that dissolves right into the water. If the oats aren’t that finely powdered then it may be why it ended up grainy.
What you could do is dissolve the colloidal oats into the water as much as they will for several minutes, and then strain through a sieve if needed to catch any grainy bits, before proceeding with the recipe, and just add more distilled water to make up the lost tiny bit of weight when you strained.
I hope that helps and that your next batch is more cooperative for you! :)
Hi,my son suffered from eczema and I met a person who advices me about this receipt so I got the African Shea butter 100% pure and colloidal oatmeal finely ground so could you please tell me the exact amount of each and the rest ingredients I should add to it to make it for my son he is teenagers and can’t take the smell of it.
And how many times should I apply it on the eczema ,
And how we clean it after
Thank you so much for helping us
We been really suffering from eczema with my son
Hi Joseph, I’m so sorry to hear about your son’s eczema! I can completely relate with not liking the smell of pure shea butter – it is very strong!
I often use refined shea butter which has much less scent and it can also work well.
You could make this recipe in the article, but if you’d like it to be all shea butter (instead of oil + shea butter) then you could do this instead:
65 g distilled water
1 g (almost 1/2 tsp) colloidal oatmeal
25 g shea butter
7 g vegetable emulsifying wax
It will make a thicker cream with more shea butter. You can apply lotions and creams with colloidal oatmeal & shea butter as often as you like. It works especially well to apply it after bathing, to help seal in the moisture in the skin. You don’t have to clean it off afterward, it will soak into your skin.
I was hoping to make a solid lotion bar with the benefits of oatmeal—oatmeal has done so many good things for my eczema and my skin overall for years! Do you have any recommendations for how to go about this?
Hi May! You could experiment with adding colloidal oatmeal to a lotion bar, but oatmeal works best with some type of water to activate it.
What you could try is adding a small amount of oatmeal to your favorite solid lotion bar recipe, and just rub it over your skin while it’s still damp from a shower or bath.
At worst case, the oatmeal might settle to the bottom of the lotion bar or not mix in well (though it might! I’m just not sure) or it might not give the benefits you’re used to with it in water-based products.
However, it could be worth a small test batch and see what your skin thinks! If you give it a try, let us know how it goes! 😊
I just developed eczema a month ago at 65 years of age due mainly to stress i believe. I make a lot of diy skin products and have most ingredients in my cupboard. My question is instead of sunflower oil can i use grape seed oil? Grape seed oil alone seems to calm my eczema and since i have it on hand, I’d love to make it ASAP. Thank you and everyone else for all your ideas for this newbie.
Hi Dolphin! Yes, you can definitely change up the oils to suit your skin type. Grapeseed oil is lovely and I bet it would be very nice in this recipe. 😊
Would Bees Wax work? I have that on hand at the moment.
Hi Summer! Beeswax won’t work in this recipe, since it needs a different ratio of oils and water (less water, more oils/butters).
What you could do instead, is use a favorite beeswax recipe that you already like, and then just add the colloidal oatmeal to it. :)
I hope uou don’t mind this suggestion, but eczema and psoriasis are usually a build of of yeast in the body and comes out in dry patches on the skin since the skin is where we eliminate a lot of toxins. Usually patches around joints. That toxin builds up and causes pain in the joints. Takes a while to rid the body of the yeast, but you can do it. Most doctors aren’t gonna tell you this is what it is. Yeast cleaners take a month or so and yeast adapts to what’s killing it. Start a cleanse and when you are 2 weeks away from being done, start a totally different cleanse. This way you trick the yeast and kill it more effectively. After 2 give your body a couple week break then go again the same way. Hopefully this will help someone.
I stumbled upon your page, and as someone who has struggled with eczema their entire life, and am so excited to try this remedy. I did want to ask what the best storage is for the cream. Should it always be in the fridge or is out okay to store it room temperature?
Hi Olga! If you have a preservative in it, then it’s fine to keep at room temperature.
If you don’t want to use a preservative, then you’d keep it in the fridge and try to use it up within the week, or ideally sooner. :)
Jan, thank you for this recipe! You mentioned using a ‘small’ jar. Can you tell us what size? 4oz, 8oz? I totaled the ingredients, and it looks like about 3.5oz so I am wondering if the 4oz jar will work.
Hi Darlene! Sorry I forgot to put the size in! Yes, that’s a 4 ounce jar I’m using for this recipe. 😊
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