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Is Tallow Balm Good for Eczema?

Tallow balm is a great natural treatment for eczema. Tallow is proven to moisturize dry skin and repair damaged skin barriers. Tallow is also lavishly nutrient-rich and free from harsh chemicals that could make skin irritation worse.

Our ancestors used animal fats like tallow to treat eczema and other skin conditions. Modern scientific research suggests this traditional skincare practice isn't just an old wives' tale. I've also seen firsthand how tallow balm has helped my customers find relief from eczema and other conditions that cause dry, irritated skin.

Below, I'll explain why tallow balm is one of the best natural alternatives to commercial eczema treatment. I'll explore the science behind the benefits of tallow balm for eczema. I'll also offer my expert tips on choosing the right tallow balm for your skin, as well as a recommended natural skincare routine to relieve your symptoms and maintain healthy skin.

Benefits of tallow balm for eczema

Atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema, occurs when an overactive immune system weakens your skin barrier, allowing allergens and irritants to enter your body.

As invasive substances like dust, pet dander, bacteria, and detergents penetrate your weakened skin barrier, your body triggers a further immune response, leaving you with skin that's cracked, itchy, and sore.

Tallow balm treats skin irritation naturally. It provides relief to eczema symptoms, repairs your damaged skin barrier, and protects your skin without exposing it to the harsh ingredients found in most commercial products.

Top benefits of tallow balm for eczema

Tallow is one of nature's best moisturizers

Tallow relieves dry skin by balancing fatty acid levels

Tallow helps repair your skin barrier

Tallow balm is gentle on your skin

Tallow is nutrient-rich and absorbable

Tallow is one of nature's best moisturizers​

Studies show that people suffering from eczema find more relief and see results faster when they keep their skin moisturized. Moisturizing your skin relieves itchiness and irritation, allowing your body to heal.

Tallow balm is one of the most effective natural moisturizers. Tallow has a slightly waxy texture that prevents it from rubbing or washing off easily. The balm forms a protective layer over your skin, locking in moisture and protecting it from pollutants. It's also high in stearic acid, which protects your skin against water loss.

Tallow actually has a similar molecular makeup to human sebum, or the surface oils in your skin. (In fact, the Latin word for tallow is sebum.) Tallow's molecular structure makes it more absorbable than most commercial products, as well as natural products made from plant oils.

Tallow relieves dry skin by balancing fatty acid levels

Tallow balm relieves dry and flaky skin because it contains key nutrients that restore balance to your skin's fatty acid levels.

Your skin needs a specific ratio of fatty acids to remain healthy and support optimal skin barrier function. Having the right balance of fatty acids keeps your skin hydrated, makes it soft, and stops it from becoming dry, scaly, and wrinkly.

Some of the fatty acids your body needs are present in saturated fats, others are found in unsaturated fats. Your body produces these fatty acids naturally, but research shows that people with eczema have elevated levels of unsaturated fats and not enough saturated fats.

Elevated levels of unsaturated fats are associated with skin redness, irritation, cracking, and even pimples. This suggests replenishing your skin's saturated fat levels can relieve the pain, irritation, and dryness you experience during an eczema flare-up.

Tallow is high in saturated fatty acids like stearic acid and palmitic acid. When you moisturize your skin with tallow balm, your body can absorb these nutrients and your cells can hydrolyze the fats — making those fatty acids bioavailable. As your body absorbs these nutrients, it restores balance to your skin's fatty acid levels, supporting healthy skin.

Tallow balm repairs your skin barrier

Tallow balm helps repair your skin barrier when it's weakened by skin diseases like eczema.

How eczema damages your skin barrier

Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and the skin barrier (or epidermis) is its first line of defense against invasive pollutants and allergens.

The epidermis is made up of a precise ratio of fat, fatty acids, and active bacteria. It forms a "physical, chemical, immunological, neurosensory, and microbial barrier between the internal and external environment," according to a study in the Journal of Dermatological Science.

Eczema weakens the skin barrier, leaving it vulnerable to allergens and irritants. There's increasing scientific evidence that these invasive substances actually cause eczema flare-ups.

That same study in the Journal of Dermatological Science observed that "natural environmental allergens and man-made pollutants are associated with an increased likelihood of developing [atopic dermatitis]." It also found that a compromised epidermal barrier leaves your skin vulnerable to further damage from these substances.

How tallow balm helps repair your skin barrier

Tallow balm helps repair your skin barrier naturally, restoring your body's defenses against the invasive substances that trigger eczema flare-ups.

In addition to hydrating your skin and relieving inflammation, tallow balm forms a cocoon over the dry and damaged areas of your skin, preventing further damage from allergens and pollutants. This gives your skin cells an opportunity to repair themselves, and it lets your body renew your skin's microbiome.

Although scientists haven't tested tallow's effectiveness at repairing the human epidermis, one study concluded that a mixture of tallow, lard, and fatty acids was remarkably effective at treating eczema in mice. Scientists not only found that the tallow mixture decreased redness and itchiness, but also observed overall improvement in skin barrier function.

Tallow balm is gentle on your skin

Unlike many commercial eczema treatments, tallow balm is gentle on your skin. It's all-natural and chemical-free, so it's less likely to cause harsh reactions than products that contain preservatives and other toxic ingredients.

Unfortunately, most modern eczema treatments are full of unnatural ingredients.

Some commercially available eczema products like lotion are formulated as an emulsion of water and oil to promote fast absorption. The problem is that water and oil won't stay together naturally, so these products must include preservatives to keep the emulsion stable.

Even non-absorbing products like Vaseline contain parabens and other artificial ingredients that many people want to avoid putting on their skin.

Many people find that these artificial ingredients actually make their symptoms worse. But when you use tallow balm, you don't have to worry about putting toxic preservatives or harsh ingredients on your already-vulnerable skin.

Tallow is nutrient-rich and absorbable

Tallow balm is nutrient-dense and absorbable, providing your depleted skin barrier with the vitamins and fatty acids it needs to recover from an eczema flare-up.

Studies show that beef fats like tallow are loaded with vitamin D and vitamin E. The general consensus in the natural health community is that grass-fed tallow also contains vitamins A, B1, and K2. These vitamins protect your skin against premature aging and help your skin cells replicate properly, helping you maintain smooth, soft skin.

Tallow also contains important fatty acids like stearic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid. These fatty acids coat your skin with a protective barrier, enabling it to retain moisture.

Tallow balm is also highly absorbable, ensuring the nutrients in the tallow are able to nourish your skin. In contrast, commercial treatments like Vaseline and other petroleum jelly-based products don't absorb into your skin — they just sit on top of it. (And as discussed above, commercial treatments that are absorbable usually expose your skin to toxic preservatives, parabens, and other artificial substances.)

Who shouldn't use tallow balm for treating eczema

cows at sunrise
Tallow balm is made from beef fat, so people with a beef sensitivity or ethical concerns about animal-based products may need to consider other natural eczema treatments.

Tallow balm is an excellent eczema treatment option for most people, but it may not be right for you if you have a beef sensitivity or ethical concerns about using animal-based products.

People with alpha-gal or a beef sensitivity

Tallow balm is typically made from rendered beef fat. If you have a beef sensitivity like alpha-gal, your skin may be sensitive to tallow balm too.

To avoid an adverse reaction, patch test a small amount of tallow balm to see how your body responds, or use an alternative treatment to avoid an allergic reaction.

Vegans and vegetarians

Vegans and vegetarians will understandably have ethical concerns about using tallow balm because it is an animal-based product. But it's important to note that animals typically aren't killed for their tallow. Animal-based skincare products like tallow balm are actually environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Most tallow is a byproduct of the meat processing industry, and over half of the live weight of animals killed for meat is either incinerated or ends up in landfills. This large-scale waste of animal byproducts (including tallow) contributes to environmental contamination.

Since these animal byproducts already exist, researchers say that using them in natural skincare products like tallow balm promotes sustainability and reduces the environmental impact of the meat industry.

Alternative natural eczema treatments

If your skin is sensitive to tallow balm or you have ethical reservations about animal-based products, there are other natural skincare treatments that offer some of the same benefits as tallow.

Look for a natural salve or balm that includes coconut oil, olive oil, or beeswax as its primary ingredient. These ingredients have a similar fatty acid profile to tallow, so they can help restore your body's skin barrier.

Natural eczema treatments to avoid

Avoid so-called "vegan tallow balm alternatives" and other products made from seed oils. The reality is that there's no such thing as a "vegan" tallow balm. Tallow is animal fat, plain and simple.

Most products being marketed as vegan tallow balm alternatives are actually made from seed oils like grapeseed oil or sunflower oil, which make them a poor choice for treating eczema.

Seed oils are high in polyunsaturated fats. But people with eczema already have elevated levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids on their skin. Treating your skin with products derived from seeds oils could put your skin barrier's fatty acid ratio further out of balance, potentially worsening your symptoms.

Processed seed oils are also unstable at a molecular level, which means products derived from them have a greater risk of going rancid than ones made up of highly saturated fats, like tallow, or monounsaturated fats like olive oil, both of which are much more stable at a molecular level.

How to choose the right tallow balm for eczema

tallow balm
I recommend starting with an unscented tallow balm, especially if you have severe eczema symptoms.

If you're planning to use tallow balm for eczema relief, choosing the right product will make a huge difference in how successful the treatment will be.

Most of the tips we give everybody on choosing a tallow balm still apply here:

  • Only buy grass-fed tallow balm

  • Avoid products made from processed seed oils

We also recommend that eczema sufferers start with an unscented tallow balm, especially if you have severe symptoms. Scented tallow balms — even ones made with natural ingredients like essential oils — can cause irritation if your skin barrier is already weakened.

Note: Unscented tallow balms often have a "beefy" odor that some people find unpleasant. Odor intensity varies a lot between companies, usually due to the quality of the tallow in the product and how the company processes it. If possible, smell the balm before you buy it, or read customer reviews to see if other people complain about the odor.

We've worked hard to eliminate the beefy odor from our unscented tallow balm, and many Hearth and Homestead customers have told us they love our balm because it smells like butter, not a fast food restaurant.

How to treat eczema with tallow balm

Treating eczema with tallow balm is simple, but you need to use it consistently to achieve the best results.

Apply the balm to the irritated area as needed to keep your skin covered and moisturized. How often you apply it depends on the severity of your symptoms — it could be twice a day, or it could be five times a day. Re-applying as often as needed will keep your skin hydrated and protected from external irritants.

Continue to use tallow balm as long as your eczema symptoms persist. I also recommend continuing to use tallow balm regularly as part of a natural skincare regimen to support your overall skin health.

That said, I'm not a medical professional. Consult with a dermatologist or health care professional you trust if you have any concerns about using tallow balm (or any skincare product) to treat your eczema. Always patch test products you've never used before, especially if you're sensitive to any of the ingredients, and stop treatment if irritation worsens.

It's also important to note that to prevent future eczema breakouts, you need to diagnose and address the root cause of the disease. Tallow balm can relieve your symptoms during an eczema flare-up and restore your skin barrier. But it can't resolve the digestive issues or environmental factors that trigger the breakouts in the first place.


Tallow balm is a highly effective natural alternative to commercial eczema treatments.

Scientific studies suggest that tallow-based products can:

  • Reduce redness and irritation

  • Repair your skin barrier and protect it from further damage

  • Nourish your skin with rich vitamins and fatty acids.

  • Using tallow balm regularly as part of a holistic skincare routine can provide relief to eczema symptoms and help you achieve healthy, glowing skin.

Start with an unscented tallow balm if you have severe symptoms, and only buy grass-fed tallow balms that contain quality ingredients.

If you have any questions we didn't address here, message me using the chat box! I'm happy to answer any questions you have and help you choose a tallow balm that's right for your skin.

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