How to Treat Infected Eczema


For my two eczema warriors, their eczema is a constant itch-scratch cycle. The itch is usually bone-deep and in the nerves, not simply on the surface of the skin. So as they tear at their skin, raw wounds are a frequent occurrence, and they do get the occasional skin infection. Over time, we have learnt how to treat infected eczema with these natural remedies detailed below.

It may not be infected, it may be topical steroid withdrawal (TSW)

Before you self-diagnose as having an infection on the skin, do pause and give a thought to topical steroid withdrawal. Some people unknowingly become dependent on topical steroid usage on their eczema skin. The moment they stop using topical steroid, the eczema flares rebound with a vengeance, and these tsw warriors can feel so totally helpless and desperate, especially if they do not know this is happening to them. Do read this article on TSW, to find out more.

TSW symptoms can look like a full body infection on the skin. Red, angry, raw and oozing skin everywhere. Itch that is so intense it feels crazy. The flare can last for days, weeks or even months. Cycled with crusty and painful skin as the ooze dries up. Then, maybe dry, flaky and itchy skin that feels so tight you can’t move. And before you know it, the oozy flare starts all over again, with no apparent reason.

TSW has to run its course. The medicine is time, patience and love. Definitely not more steroids. If you’re going through TSW, the remedies below may still help to alleviate some of the symptoms. The only one that I really wouldn’t recommend is garlic water, as it will sting too much. Along with zinc balm, creams containing sulphur, and ginger bath, apple cider vinegar bath will also help tremendously in boosting the body’s efforts to purge out the toxins.


Zinc is critical in maintaining proper immune function and regulating inflammatory response during infections. In addition, it has been shown that zinc aids in wound healing. So if you think your eczema is developing into an infection, grab the balm or the cream, anything with zinc oxide should help. We have found that application of zinc oxide also serve to calm the itch very effectively.

Our favourite is the zinc balm by The Home Apothecary. This is made by a mother whose son went through TSW. It has helped her son through the worst times of suffering. You can find them through this link.

Another product that we highly recommend, based on personal experience with it, is Moogoo Nappy Balm. It contains zinc oxide, and is made from edible oils, and no chemicals.

Or if you are in urgent need, just grab any baby diaper rash cream at your nearest supermarket or pharmacy. They should all contain some zinc oxide, just confirm it through the ingredients list.


Sulphur is a naturally occurring mineral, found abundantly in our foods, including meat, poultry, fish, soy, and other legumes. Another form of sulphur, called methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), is found abundantly in many plants and herbs, like garlic, onion, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, etc.

Sulphur helps in maintaining the functions of connective tissues, including the skin. It is also a great anti-fungal agent. Another benefit is its ability to reduce pain. It has been used widely to soothe many skin conditions, including eczema and acne, by fighting bacteria, removing dead skin cells, and reducing inflammation.

Our personal experience with Moogoo Soothing MSM Cream has been awesome. It helps to close scratch wounds effectively. We tend to first use zinc oxide on open raw wounds, followed by sulphur as the wound is starting to dry up and heal.

Garlic water, and eating garlic (raw if possible)

Ok, before you try this, I really need to warn that this is not for the fainthearted. Especially if your skin is raw, this is going to sting like hell. But it works.

Garlic is well-known for being an antioxidant, with great anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. So you can rest assured it is going to wipe out any infection on your eczema skin. The question is, are you up for it? We have gone down the path of tough love, and applied it on our eczema warriors when their skin looked red, inflamed and infected. It cleared up the skin after one or two days. But not without having to first face their wrath and screams, which can be heart wrenching.


To reap the full effects of garlic, it has to be chopped up or crushed and left aside to sit for about 15 minutes. This is to allow the enzyme alliinase to convert alliin into alliicin. It is alliicin that gives the garlic its potency. The more finely you chop it, the more potent it is.

I would suggest 2 cloves for a start, after you experience its stinging potency, you can adjust according to your pain threshold. After the sitting time of 15 minutes, put the chopped garlic into one cup of water. Give it a few minutes to infuse, then strain out the garlic pieces, and the water is good to go onto your skin.

We usually apply it after bath, directly onto the damp skin. We use a small handkerchief, soak it in the garlic-infused water, and wipe it over the limbs, body, or whatever affected area. I would suggest that you try it on isolated patches for a start, before proceeding to larger areas.

We see quick results after one to two days, with just one application per day, right after bath time. The healing effects of nature never fails to surprise us.

Since we are on the topic of garlic, adding it into your food will also give your immunity a great boost. Just make sure you leave it to sit for 15 minutes after chopping it up, to give the enzyme time to do its job. Mix it into your rice or salad, and chomp away. My kids protest strongly against this raw version, as it stings their tongue and throat. So I would put it into the soup after the heat is turned off, so I’m not actually cooking it, but warming it so it does not sting so bad when we eat it.

Ginger water

Ginger is also an amazing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. The way we use it on the skin is similar to garlic, but for ginger, you have to boil it in water, for it to infuse effectively into the water. Then apply the ginger-infused water onto your skin directly, just like for garlic above.

Ginger water does not sting, in fact, it is calming and soothing, and leaves my eczema warriors’ skin feeling cool to the touch, right after their bath. Another way to use ginger water would be in your bath. More details on the preparation of ginger water can be found in this post: herbal treatment for eczema – ginger bath.

The thing about antibiotics

If you can, hold off the antibiotics prescribed for your infected eczema, and allow your body the chance to fight the infection on its own. This is no professional medical advice, just my personal take, and the stand I take with my own children too.

If you give your body the best fighting chance, by loading it with nature’s goodness in your daily diet, your body will build up the immunity to fight off infections and heal on its own.

The problem with antibiotics is that they have no eyes. They cannot differentiate the good guys from the bad. So as they clear your infection, they also wipe out the gut flora lining your digestive system. This wreaks havoc on your digestion and nutritional intake, and your gut health suffers. It takes time to build up your army of gut flora all over again.

But if you really have to take antibiotics, do follow up with a good probiotic AFTER you finish the course of antibiotic. Don’t waste the probiotic by taking it along with the antibiotic, as some of the good guys will get wiped out.

So I hope some of these suggestions can help you. Do share in the comments below if you have other natural remedies for infected eczema. Or if you are going to try out any of the remedies above, do drop by to let us know how it has worked for you!

In the meantime, continue to heal with nature’s gifts.

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16 thoughts on “How to Treat Infected Eczema”

  1. This article provides helpful information for fighting eczema. I remember well my teenage years as if they were yesterday. The pain both emotionally and physically were real. So many continue to fight this disease. Your healthy recommendations should be appreciated by many. The alternative are steroids and antibiotics. It is amazing what garlic and ginger can do instead.

    Thank you,

    • Hi Monique,
      I’m sorry that you suffered through your teenage years this debilitating condition. I hope you are well now.
      Yes, many people do not understand that it is an internal issue, rather than skin issue. The body is just trying to express some imbalance or ill health through the skin.
      Thank you for dropping by.

  2. Hi Joo,

    First off, that was a fascinating read. I found it sad that your little warriors are going through this. Will your treatment eventually cure this condition so they won’t have it their whole lives? Or at least lessen it so much that it is more than bearable. I hope so, I really do.

    When I was a kid there was a girl in our company. We was with some adults going to Pizza Hut or something like that. Anyways, they had to call an ambulance for this girl because her eczema flared up. She was intensely itchy. I remember this well because I felt so sad that she was going through this and she even started to cry. Terrible affliction and only feel blessed I don’t have it or anyone close to me does.

    My cousin did when we was kids but he longer seems to suffer it – seems like it will go away?

    I noticed chopped the garlic finely, which ultimately releases alliicin and then apply. However it stings. Then I notice you recommend garlic and seem treatment, but the garlic does not sting. Why then apply the garlic at all? Do they both work the same and if so why not just use the ginger – is there an extra benefit to garlic?

    One last question – what is gut ‘flora’ and what does it do?

    Did you know that humanity is getting immune to medicines and that people, if over use in life time and when they hit old age, if they really need these medicines to work – they may not because tolerance might be too high.

    I am lucky that I ‘might’ fall sick once every decade. Not even a cold or anything – nothing. Very lucky and I know that is relatively unusual. Problem is, when I hit old I maybe quicker to pass away than my counterparts because my immune system has not had the work out in life it may should have.

    I am looking forward to being alerted to your next article, especially if it is on natural home remedies.

    Perhaps you could do a post on how to grow our own cures in our own very back gardens – that is my dream one day. To have a huge garden growing with the ingredients for all kinds of ailments.

    Thank you again Joo for this fascinating look into how to treat infected eczema and I truly learned a ton of stuff here – things I won’t forget should I ever need to use them for someone else.

    Keep up the great work and all the best for now.



    • Hi Philip,
      Thank you for all the time and effort you took in commenting, I really appreciate it.

      Some people will outgrow their eczema, maybe when they hit puberty, while others get it worse due to all the hormonal changes. And there are yet others who get eczema at 60 years of age, which is such a terrible thing for older folks to be suffering from. My heart really goes out to them. I hope the girl from your childhood who had to get to the hospital because of her eczema flare is having a much better time now. Happy for your cousin too!

      For my two eczema kids, garlic really works wonders. So when I can sense an impending skin infection, I will use garlic on them, which wipes out any bad bacteria trying to multiply on their skin. But since it stings, I can’t use it as a daily application, only on those occasions that their skin gets really bad. Whereas for ginger, it is also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, but its effects on the skin is much more soothing and calming. So that can be used as a daily application, just for maintenance of the skin.
      Gut flora is actually the good bacteria, the microorganisms, found in our digestive tracts. There are tens of trillions of them. Some help to break down food, some inhibit the growth of harmful organisms that can cause infections, and others aid in synthesizing of vitamins and nutrients. They are essential to the proper functioning of our digestive system, and are also part of our immune system. In fact, chinese medicine as well as some alternative medicines believe that all diseases stem from the gut. So it is crucial to take care of our gut health.

      Wow it’s amazing that you only fall sick once every decade! I have never met anyone with such a strong immunity system! It means you must be doing all the right things with your diet and lifestyle, so keep up whatever you are doing. And no, I certainly don’t agree that you will be quicker to pass away than your counterparts. Please don’t say that. You will live to a healthy and fulfilling old age because you are knowledgeable and proactive towards your own health.
      Sure, I will give you a nudge when I next post on any natural home remedies. And your idea to do a post on growing own cures in the back garden is such an inspiration for me! I will definitely have to write about it one day!

      Thank you again for your sincere words and wonderful suggestions.

      • Hey Joo,

        Thank you so kindly for responding. You know, and incredibly, many sites online don’t even bother responding to their readers comments! I don’t bother commenting there again. I now always look to the comments section on any post to make sure there are responses, if not, I don’t bother – no one likes to be ignored.

        I understand now. I even had a whole conversation with a friend on your site about what I learned here and was even able to remember the active ingredient was ‘Alliicin’. I sounded so smart 🙂 haha. But the other person really learned something here as well and they really seemed intrigued so thank you for passing on this incredibly useful knowledge.

        I see now that Garlic is a preventative and then Ginger is for maintenance of this terrible affliction.

        However, I was wondering, how long do you need to boil the garlic/ginger? Oh, I re-read your post and I see you put the garlic sitting water for after leaving it sit for 15 mins. How long you leave it in cold water for?

        Thanks Joo – I am STILL looking to more on this incredible and free treatment on how to treat infect eczema 🙂 .

        Looking forward to your next post.

        – Philip.

        • Hi Philip,
          Thank you for coming back too! And for spreading awareness of these natural remedies to people who need it, thank you so much. It is my hope that all these information from our own experience and research can reach those suffering from the debilitating effects of eczema.

          That’s right, for garlic, after chopping it up and leaving it to sit for 15 minutes, put it into water, it can be applied on the skin after just 2-3 minutes.

          As for ginger, boiling time is about 10 minutes on low heat (simmering). You can find more details here:

          Thank you once again for all your kind words.

  3. This is great information about Eczema, Personally, I have had skin issues for a while and it worries me that I have to run for Eucerine and also betamethasone,I have been trying research how to treat it naturally and I am happy that finally, I have your article to turn to. Thank you so much for such a great post!

    • Hi Mercy,
      I’m sorry that your have eczema too. Eucerine is actually fine to use, if it works for you in keeping the skin hydrated.

      But I’d be concerned about the betamethasone, as it is a potent steroid. If you find that your eczema flares keep coming back once you stop the application of betamethasone, then it could indicate the skin’s over-reliance on the topical steroid. And you may want to read up more about our experience with topical steroid withdrawal, on this other post
      There are also other articles in this site which include natural healing of eczema, including through a clean diet, and cutting out dairy and gluten, etc.
      Do feel free to let me know if I can help in any other ways.

  4. Hi Joo – this is really helpful. I wish I had had this information 20 odd years ago when our children were young. Two out of our three children suffered with eczema – they are now aged 23 and 21 and the 21 year old still suffers with it from time to time. I’ll definitely recommend your suggestions on garlic water and ginger water. When it gets really bad my son tends to use steroid creams to clear up the infection but I’ll get him to try the garlic thing – especially when he’s home from university.

    Thanks again.

  5. I love that the examples you gave include all natural ways to treat eczema. Too often we rush to get prescription medications without even thinking about using something from around the house. I liked that you explained how to get the maximum benefits of garlic by crushing it or chopping it finely. Thanks so much for these helpful tips.

    • Hi Shantaye,
      I’m glad you find this helpful. I hope you don’t have to use this for eczema, but like you said, as a reminder that there are actually many natural remedies for lots of conditions.

  6. Hi Joo, thanks for this insightful post, I learned a thing or two. I have found that, with eczema, that nothing is ever certain. My little one’s eczema started when she started having cow’s milk at nursery school. Obviously, the pediatrician’s first reaction was a cortisone cream… which worked… for a while. When I tried to wean her off it, I found, well, that none of the other non-cortisone creams worked. It took me quite a few years to realize that petrolatum makes our eczema worse. Both hers and mine. Why? No idea. So do chemicals (swimming pool chlorine, certain detergents etc.). And eating the kind of food we can’t digest well, such as gluten, dairy, sugar, pork etc. And stress. And dry skin, like in winter time.
    The take-home message is: try, try and keep trying until you find something that works. So for us, it’s a strict diet, creams based on beeswax and natural butters, natural cleaning products and managing stress the best we can. It will be different for somebody else, though… that’s why doctors can’t help us. They wouldn’t know where to start! lol
    Thank goodness for people like you, who not only tackle the problem head on, but share their findings with the rest of us! You’re a gem… 🙂

    • Hi Isabel,
      You’re so right about eczema, I can’t agree with you more. It certainly takes lots of time and effort just to figure oneself out: the triggers, the remedies that will help, those that can make things worse, etc. It’s so individual, what is the elixir for one person may turn out to be poison for another.

      The bottomline is, we just got to keep trying, and having faith that our bodies are made to heal themselves, given the right conditions.

      Thanks for dropping by, it’s so great to see you in here.

  7. Hi Joo, is the ginger bath okay for a 4 month old baby? My lo has very bad weeping eczema and i’m thinking it’s tsw. Thank you for your time

    • Hi Ness, so sorry to hear about your baby’s eczema.
      I’m no expert, but I wouldn’t do ginger bath for such a young infant, for fear that it may overload the baby’s system.
      Maybe try oatmeal bath, that’s a more neutral ingredient.

      Hope your baby finds some relief soon.


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