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Natural Approaches For Eczema and Psoriasis

by Elena Schalburg(more info)

listed in skincare, originally published in issue 91 - August 2003

Our skin is our largest organ and a very protective one. It is our mask to the world, and creates well-being when it looks and feels good. It is said that every fifth person suffers from eczema, psoriasis or some form of allergy and these often run in the family. Personally, I feel they are also ailments of the 21st century, caused by stress, eroded boundaries, related to our environment, i.e. foodstuffs or pollution, to name but a few. It may even be evolutionary. Other research indicates that the cells in the skin, called Langerhans cells, are not functioning properly – in atopic eczema, they seem to be over sensitive.[1]

Living with eczema or psoriasis is a nightmare, day and night – an endless round of itching and scratching, often reducing the sufferers' self esteem, well-being, concentration span and focus, and causing despair.

The only treatments offered by GPs are steroid creams and greasy emollients, but, today, most people would like a natural alternative.

In my view, a topical treatment of the skin is vital, as the red, hot, itchy dry skin can be unbearable. It is also important to heal the individual from within, if this is where the problem originates, using, for example, homeopathy. Many homeopaths advise the use of my range of soap/shampoo, oil and creams during their treatment and after, as we are complementary. Most of our customers come to us via word of mouth, which is the BEST recommendation.

Elena with some of her products
Elena with some of her products

It all began seventeen years ago, when working as a Burns and Plastics Nurse; I began to see amazing results from trying my hand-made cream on my burns patients, naturally with their full consent. I had always had a fascination with the skin and a passion especially for people with skin problems, and wanted to develop a range of products from natural, vegetable-based ingredients, with the intention of making a major impact on controlling the effects of eczema, psoriasis, burns and scars – in fact, any skin problem. What the eczema sufferer needed was not only a natural alternative which enabled them to actively take part in their own 'treatment', but also useful, caring help advice and tips. And so, Elenas Nature Collection has organically grown, over the past 17 years, into a small cottage industry, offering what is needed for the eczema sufferer seeking a totally natural alternative for their eczema or psoriasis.

Fate would have it, however, that mothers with young babies and children came to me, and this has since become my niche. By following the advice and regime I give them, I can proudly say I run an 80-90 percent success rate according to my clients.

The first product to evolve was my Day Cream Special, which contains a natural ingredient to take care of the itching so common with both eczema and psoriasis. It also contains Oil of Lavender, known for its healing and calming properties. This was quickly followed by the Night Cream Extra, containing Oil of Geranium, amongst others, to soothe, calm and moisturize the skin through the night, and the Bath and Body Oil to lubricate the skin. I do not use paraffin, Vaseline, lanolin or petroleum based by-products in my range because these ingredients are barrier products in my view.

Facts about these products:

• They are by-products of the chemical industry;
• They are not absorbed by the skin;
• They contain no vitamins;
• They seal the skin like plastic;
• They prevent proper oxygen uptake through the skin;
• They create dryness and dependency;
• They are non-edible;
• They are broken down slowly, so pollute earth and water;
• They do not go rancid.

Facts about vegetable oils:

• They are natural;
• They are absorbed by the skin;
• They contain vitamins A, D and E;
• They protect the skin by aiding and improving its natural function;
• They are edible, hence giving nourishment and energy to the body;
• They are biological and biodegradable;
• They can go rancid, are fragile and expensive.

Having invented a daily routine which gave the eczema sufferer a large amount of control over his/her condition, I realized that the next problem was flare-ups and stubborn areas. The flare-ups tend to happen during spells of high central heating in severe cold weather, bouts of influenza, teething, nappy rash, low energy levels, hormonal changes, high anxiety and stress levels, bereavement, worry and extreme challenges. During the following eight years, I managed to invent a very substantial cream without any of the petroleum by-products previously mentioned: A 'First-Aider', a safety net – EUREKA!

At this stage, my clients informed me that there was no soap suitable for their red, sore, itchy skin. It is of utmost importance to prepare the skin properly, hence I set out to formulate such a soap. With the help of my faithful clients, who are always willing to test any new product that will finally become part of the collection, Trinity Soap/Shampoo was born two years later.

The idea was to create an antiseptic cleanser for daily use on the affected areas, full of tea tree oil (known for its antibacterial properties), Oil of True Blue Camomile (known for its anti inflammatory properties), Lavender, Geranium and Frankincense, copious amounts of Danish seaweed to soften and replenish the skin and Panthenol (often described as Pro-vitamin B5 – another vitamin booster). This has now become an essential part of the daily routine I advise people to follow and usually ends up being used by the whole family, because of its delicious smell and multi-purpose action.

This was quickly followed by the Body Lotion, which was developed to maintain the skin, once the client was happy. The majority of sufferers find their skin improves in the warm weather, either during the summer months or on holiday in a hot country.

Alongside the products in the range already mentioned, I also offer two sorts of Solar Protector, a Factor 20 and a Full Sun Block, as more and more people are looking for natural sun protection, after realizing the dangers in chemical-based solar protectors. In April 2001, The Department Of Environmental Health in Denmark (my home country) advised that all sun factor products produced from chemicals be taken off the shelves in all the shops, the reason being that, in a research survey from Switzerland, they found that these chemicals were actually disturbing the hormone balance of the human body. Only two ingredients, namely Titaindioxide and Zincoxid were acceptable, so I am proud to announce that I have been advocating the use of these two ingredients ever since I commenced producing Solar Protectors – long before this incident! An increasing number of clients have found their way to me after severe reactions in their children to 'high street' brands, especially in young children and babies, but also for the red, hot, dry itchy skin of eczema sufferers. It is interesting that my research has shown that the ingredient Titaindioxide, a natural product found in the earth (also found in beetroot) used in my Solar Protectors has actually been known to improve red, dry, itchy skin as well. I was horrified to discover Baby Wipes available with solar protector in them, after reading the ingredients list. I now advise my clients that an easy way to apply my Solar Protectors to a wriggling baby or toddler is to purchase plain cotton baby wipes and apply my Solar Protector to that and then on to the child.

This year, I have also added a Lip Balm to the Collection, ideal for dry, cracked lips. The predominant oil used in this is Monoi de Tahiti, which is a traditional natural product, made by soaking Gardenia blossoms in rich, purified coconut oil. The smell is delicious! It has been used for centuries for many types of skin ailments. After a swim, it provides protection against the effects of seawater and the effects of the sun. Ideal for a Lip Balm.

Of course, once the skin is under control, the stress levels reduce, and hopefully improve the quality of life for the eczema/psoriasis sufferer. Then you can begin to look at what triggers the eczema.

With some people it can be the weather, with others it is triggered by certain foods. All factors have to be taken into consideration, and what better place to start looking than at your daily diet. Certain foods are known triggers, for example, tomatoes, citrus fruits, peanuts, wheat, yeast, strawberries, food colourings and preservatives. Dairy products may also exacerbate eczema. Eczema may occur after the triple vaccine, but so far there is insufficient evidence to prove anything. Therefore, a healthy diet, containing Omega 6 (found in sunflower oil and vegetable oil) and Omega 3 (found in rapeseed oil, walnuts and oily fish, such as sardines and salmon) are very beneficial. Fish oils are also an excellent source of vitamins A and D. Also eat plenty of garlic, which is good because of its antiviral and antibacterial properties.

This, in my view, means that each family must look for their own answers and follow their own instincts. I do feel that environmental factors are also related. Our newborn babies are refusing to tolerate a lot of ingredients in baby foods. What makes a product a baby food? Is it just a name?

On a research note, I'm presently looking into the value of Hemp Oil. For many political reasons, growing hemp is a much-disputed topic.

Being extremely versatile, this is a great shame. The plant can grow very well here in the Northern hemisphere with no pesticides. It can be used for fuel, clothing, food, rope, cosmetics, medicines, building materials, paint, paper and soap. Hemp produces high quality cellulose for making pulp and paper products. It is estimated to provide four times more cellulose over 20 years than an equivalent acreage of trees. Hemp has been recommended as a way to slow down and reverse the Greenhouse Effect. At present, the medical world is running trials using the leaves for pain relief and control.

What an amazing plant! As our ozone layer in the Northern Hemisphere is much more damaged and thinner than that in the Southern Hemisphere, it would seem a good idea to let this plant help us in more ways than one. My research focuses on the value of the oil as external topical oil in my products. However, so far, the value of Hemp oil taken internally is enormous, with its high content of magnesium, potassium, sulphur and chlorophyll. However, if the diet is extremely rich in fish oils, for example, herring, mackerel, sardines and sprats, it may not be necessary to take hemp oil as well.

The inner reflects the outer. What we all need to learn is to be ourselves and recognize who we really are. From the centre of our being, our all shines forth. Once we have established that deep inner connection, a natural boundary is established. A boundary created by a deep self-love. We then slowly learn to relate to the world through this self-love and love is reflected back. At that point a deep stillness and security prevails from which trust emerges. Possibly the first real trust. At this point, the skin emanates a healthy glow – a radiance of light. All beauty comes from within.


1. Atherton DJ. Atopic Eczema in Young Children. Exchange 93. June 1999.

Further Information

To complement Elena's product range she offers a help line between the hours of 9 to 5 Monday to Friday on 01435 882092 through which you can also place orders. Her interesting and informative 76 page website contains all her research tips, regime and testimonials and a shopping basket - She issues newsletters when there is enough new information worth mentioning and through these, mums and people in general can find help via spiritual advice, philosophies, new good book referrals, inspiration and a dash of magic. Please note Elena's Nature Collection is available on prescription at your GP’s discretion. Please telephone or visit the website to purchase an information pack with two 10g samples for you to try.


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About Elena Schalburg

Elena qualified as a nurse (RGN) in 1983 at the Kent and Sussex Hospital. Spurred on by her passion for dermatology and the healing process of the skin she qualified as a Burns and Plastics Nurse (ENB264) at Queen Victoria Hospital. Here she developed a moisturiser. Her main goal was to ensure that it worked. Indeed it did and Elena’s Nature Collection was born.

People worldwide, of all ages contacted her for help. This created an enormous success rate and her business is inundated with letters and emails from satisfied customers who are over the moon with the results, especially from parents with babies and young children.

‘Elena’s magic creams’ is a phrase often mentioned. She thrives on the success rate of her products. Elena was determined to make a difference and indeed customer feedback proves that. 25 years of research has been spent perfecting a range which is also safe and suitable for people who may be prone to eczema or psoriasis. Using ingredients in the correct quantities to create the desired effect is what gives Elena’s Nature Collection a high success rate. They are chemical free, natural, organic and enriched with vitamins and minerals, pure and from highly respected sources. Elena’s Nature Collection may be contacted on  Tel:01435 882092; pharmacy helpline: 01435 884090; 

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