Painting of a women struggling with eczema

Does Tallow Balms Help with Eczema?

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    Does tallow balms help with eczema? That is the question that's been bubbling up in the natural skincare community, especially among those tirelessly seeking relief from the tight embrace of eczema's itchy, red patches.

    It's intriguing, really — tallow, the traditional skincare secret that's suddenly become the talk of the town. Yet, despite its rising fame and flurry of social media praise of the benefits of tallow for skincare, beef tallow's relationship with eczema remains largely unexamined by the realms of rigorous science.

    Why? Well, it's simple economics. Big skincare brands can't mass-produce tallow-based products on the cheap, so funding for research doesn't exactly flow freely.

    Despite this, there's a growing dossier of personal victories and testimonials singing tallow's praises. In this article, we're going to sift through the hearsay and shine a light on tallow’s potential for soothing eczema-flared skin.

    And here's a snapshot for the eager reader:

    • Tallow, with its remarkable resemblance to our skin's natural oils, beckons with promises of moisture and relief for eczema-afflicted skin.
    • However, skin is a personal matter, and tallow's effects are no exception; it's a hit or miss, depending on individual reactions and conditions.
    • A little spot test might save you a lot of guesswork, letting you gauge how your skin takes to this nostalgic nod to skincare simplicity.

    What causes eczema in the first place?

    Painting representing the multiple causes of eczema

    Before we look into how tallow can help with eczema, let's first look at the causes of eczema.

    Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is akin to a skin rebellion — a chronic, inflammatory condition that leaves its mark in the form of red, itchy, and sometimes oozing rashes. At its core, eczema is the result of a complex ballet between genetics, the environment, and the immune system. 

    Imagine your skin as a brick wall for a moment. In individuals with eczema, this wall has gaps, allowing moisture to escape and irritants to sneak in. This is known as 'skin barrier dysfunction', and it's pivotal in the tale of eczema. With the barrier compromised, the skin becomes a playground for allergens and microbes, triggering inflammation and that all-too-familiar itch.

    Environmental factors, the invisible strings that can either cause a flare-up or bring relief, play a significant role too. From dry air to harsh soaps, countless elements can provoke eczema's wrath, while others, like humidifiers or gentle cleansers, can help manage the condition.

    But let's not forget the twists in our DNA. Genes can hand us down the propensity for a weaker skin barrier or a more zealous immune system — both contributors to eczema’s development.

    In a nutshell, whether sparked by a genetic predisposition or an environmental irritant, eczema's emergence is a tale of disrupted harmony in the skin.

    Understanding the 'why' behind eczema is the first step to talking back to this boisterous intruder — and potentially, tallow might have a line or two to say in this dialogue.

    Is Tallow Good to Treat Eczema Symptoms?

    Can Tallow Balms Help With Eczema

    As we untangle the puzzle of eczema, it's natural to be on the lookout for allies. Enter tallow, a humble and traditional balm that has been cradling skin long before synthetics claimed the spotlight. Given its resurgence, many are curious – can tallow be the soothing partner in the dance against eczema?

    Tallow's composition is uncannily similar to our skin's own sebum, the natural oils that maintain moisture and fortify the skin's barrier. It's this kinship that makes tallow a compelling candidate for treating eczema symptoms.

    By potentially reinforcing our skin's defenses, tallow might just offer a shield against the environmental insurgents that exacerbate eczema's irritation.

    Anecdotal evidence – the testimonials of those who’ve turned to tallow in their eczema struggles (including me) – often tell of relief and comfort.

    Social media and online forums burgeon with personal success stories, before and after pictures portraying tallow as a skin whisperer, calming the tempest of eczema's itch and dryness.

    Yet, while the chorus of positive experiences grows louder, it's worth remembering the science behind these claims is still catching up. What we have, instead, are tales of individuals, each with their own unique skin story, finding solace in a jar of pure, simple, and unassuming tallow.

    Pondering tallow balm as a treatment for eczema symptoms can be a glimmer of hope, especially when conventional methods have left you wanting. It's an exploration worth embarking on, with mindfulness and patience as your guides.

    Why Use Tallow Balms For Eczema?

    How tallow balms can be good for eczema watercolor

    Tallow balms are rich in nutrients that the skin craves, particularly when waging the weary battle against eczema. Not only it is good on it's own (when we first started we used our classic whipped tallow balm) but also when it is combined with other great eczema soothing ingredients(aloe vera and oat for example) like we did in our whipped tallow balm for eczema formula. 

    The potential of tallow as a balm for eczema-laden skin actually finds some backing in the world of scientific research. It's all about the fatty acids—those indispensable architects of the skin's barrier. Tallow, as luck would have it, is rich in these fatty acids, which are crucial in building and maintaining the wall that guards against irritants and locks in moisture.

    A 2020 research review(see references) shone a spotlight on the role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in combatting inflammatory conditions of the skin, highlighting how omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may contribute to improvements in dermatitis symptoms. Not coincidentally, these are the very omegas that tallow brings to the table.

    Tallow's proficiency as an emollient can also be a game-changer for keeping the skin hydrated. It has the all-important job of trapping moisture where it's needed most, helping to alleviate the dryness that so often accompanies eczema. Reflecting on this, a small 2022 study pointed out that emollient creams containing glycerol could markedly boost skin moisture in those with atopic dermatitis—a noteworthy finding considering glycerol is one of the fats present within tallow.

    While this paints a promising picture of tallow's components and their individual effects on skin conditions like eczema, it's crucial to recognize the gap: there's currently no direct research on the application of tallow itself for eczema in humans.

    Nonetheless, the pieces of evidence fitting together suggest that tallow, with its fatty harmony and moisture-retaining prowess, might just have a place in the eczema care repertoire. It's a connection that, while not clinically confirmed for tallow alone, raises a hopeful eyebrow towards the potential relief it might offer to those with eczema.

    Why Sometimes Tallow Doesn't Work for Eczema

    Painting of why tallow balms sometimes doesn't work

    Despite tallow's promising attributes for soothing eczema, it's not a silver bullet for every sufferer. The path to managing eczema is as individual as the patterns of our skin and particular bodies and immune system, and what works wonders for one person might not for another.

    There are a few reasons why tallow might not be the miracle worker for some.

    Firstly, individual differences in skin types and conditions play a significant role. Just as our fingerprints are unique to each of us, so is our skin's response to treatments. Some may find tallow too rich, potentially leading to blocked pores or a feeling of heaviness on the skin, while others might find it not quite enough to quench their skin's thirst.

    Allergies and sensitivities also weigh in. Although rare, some individuals may have sensitivities to beef products, including tallow. This can result from a unique immune system response that interprets certain substances as threats, leading to adverse skin reactions rather than the desired relief.

    Another consideration is the impact of lifestyle factors, such as diet and stress, which can profoundly influence our skin's health and its reaction to various treatments. Tallow, as part of an external approach, may not address the internal contributors that sometimes play a part in eczema flare-ups.

    Moreover, the quality and purity of the tallow itself cannot be overlooked. Not all tallow is created equal, and impurities or additives in lesser-quality products could potentially exacerbate skin issues. Ensuring that the tallow is sourced from grass-fed animals and is rendered and purified with care are crucial measures for maximizing its beneficial potential.

    Finally, tallow may not be a one-stop solution for everyone with eczema. It's crucial to adopt a mindful approach when introducing any new product into your skincare routine—watch for your skin's feedback, give it time, and consider all factors that contribute to your unique skin situation. Tallow may still hold valuable benefits for many, but a tailored approach will yield the best chance for relief and comfort.


    In conclusion, whether using tallow balm is a fitting remedy for eczema is a deeply personal discovery. Its rich nutrients and skin-friendly properties make it a compelling option to explore, particularly for those who favor natural, traditional skincare solutions. However, individual reactions and experiences vary, reminding us that the journey to managing eczema is as unique as our own skin.


    - Omega-3 Versus Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in the Prevention and Treatment of Inflammatory Skin Diseases (PubMed)

    If you're considering using tallow balms for eczema, approach it as an informed experimenter—start with a patch test, monitor your skin's response, and be attuned to its needs. 

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