5 Essential Oils That Alleviate Eczema-Effected Skin And How To Use Them
What is Eczema?
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is dry and itchy skin commonly found alongside a red rash. Often a chronic condition, it prevents living everyday life without the constant need to scratch, which in turn infects the area and only makes matters worse. My mom, the inspiration for this blog, has suffered from this condition for years as it flares up every winter. The cold air dries her skin and she struggles to find creams that actually work to alleviate her pains. That is until I got into essential oils. I looked up a few options and ended up giving her lavender, tea tree, and eucalyptus essential oils along with some coconut oil that I’ve been using to condition my hair. Neither of us expected much from the first trial run, but the next day the redness was hardly visible and the itching was minimal. Excited that we found something that truly works, I decided to continue my research and share it with those who continue to struggle with eczema.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are all-natural products that people have been using for thousands of years. They are hydrophobic (meaning they don’t dissolve in water) concentrated plant extracts with aromatic scents. Used throughout history for their medical and health properties, they are making a comeback as an inexpensive and safe method to help treat all types of mental and physical illnesses.
A few disclaimers...
* Please note that when buying essential oils, make sure they are 100% pure and organic, otherwise you may end up with something in the bottle that you don’t want.
* I always recommend doing a small patch test first. Dilute a drop of the essential oil with a carrier oil and apply a coin size over your inner forearm. Wait 24 hours and see if you have any adverse side effects.
* If you have any side effects at any point, wash out the oils immediately.
* Too much of anything is not good. Overusing any oils may cause oil build-up and may lead to other unwanted issues.
5 Essential Oils to Ease Eczema
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree may just be the essential oil you need, especially if you itched a little too hard and now have an infection. Known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, tea tree essential oil has been found to cleanse the skin of various bacterial strains such as the common, Staphylococcus aureus strain. In a study from 2011, tea tree essential oil was found to be more effective at reducing eczema than clobetasone butyrate, a chemical often found in eczema creams. So if creams aren't helping soothe your skin, try using this essential oil. Find the essential oil here.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is a well-known mood enhancer, which is great for eczema as it can be brought on or triggered by stress. In addition to that, lavender seeps into the skin to provide treatment at the root of the problem. This essential oil contains anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Many find that it helps get rid of redness and brings balance to the skin by soothing the scaling and itchiness. According to a 2016 study, lavender essential oil also works well as a healing agent and has been found to significantly decrease wounds when applied topically. Find the essential oil here.
Helichrysum Essential Oil
If you have painful, itchy blisters, keep helichrysum essential oil in mind as a natural alternative to other pain-reducing methods. Helichrysum has powerful healing properties that have been used for centuries on all sorts of wounds like burns, scrapes, bruises, and skin irritations just like eczema. Eczema areas are often itched until open, giving way to bacteria that will only make matter worse. Luckily, helichrysum essential oil was found to contain antimicrobial properties that prevent further infections and minimize scarring. In the same study, the essential oil also acted as an anti-inflammatory which would allow for faster wound healing. Find the essential oil here.
Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile essential oil is known for its soothing nature, and with eczema, that’s often the most important thing. The skin gets dry and scaly, then when you itch it and feel a few mere seconds of relief, the pain and blistering sets it. Chamomile essential oil can help prevent all of that. Applying it to the dry skin will moisturize it and decrease the itching. This essential oil also possesses antioxidants that contribute to relieving skin irritation. In addition, it contains antiseptic, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties that will benefit the healing process while fighting bacteria to keep the skin clean. A study conducted on mice with simulated dermatitis (eczema) in 2010 found that chamomile oil significantly reduced scratching and even the dermatitis serum itself when compared to the control groups. Find the essential oil here.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil contains flavonoids that act as a natural anti-inflammatory. It may be used on the skin that is affected by eczema to reduce redness and prevent further scarring. It is also a natural moisturizer that should reduce itching and allow the skin to hydrate. A study from 2019 tested the ability of eucalyptus extract on people with dry skin during the winter. The results were that the oil greatly reduced the dryness as well as increasing the level of hydration. Find the essential oil here.
Keep in mind that you really don’t more than a few drops of essential oils. They are highly absorbent, so the best way to use them is to mix a few drops with a teaspoon of carrier oil. A carrier oil is an oil that is used in slightly larger quantities so it may dilute the more potent essential oils. Examples of carrier oils are coconut oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, etc.
Using The Essential Oils On Your Face
Pick the essential oil(s) of your choosing and mix them with a carrier oil. Use your fingers to massage the affected skin at least 2 to 3 times a week. For more frequent flare-ups, use more often.
Carrier Oil Recommendations
Virgin Coconut Oil
Virgin coconut oil is the most recommended carrier oil to use for skin irritations like eczema. It works as a natural moisturizer for the skin and has anti-inflammatory properties that help with faster healing. In a 2008 study, coconut oil was found to greatly reduce Staphylococcus aureus, along with various other viruses and fungi making it a great choice to moisturize and heal irritated skin.
Jojoba oil is another excellent option for treating eczema. It has often been used with success to treat constant itching and dry skin, both common factors in those with eczema. Jojoba oil acts as an antiseptic which is perfect for trying to prevent infections, and it even creates a protective barrier to shield the skin from anything that may further damage or irritate it. It has also anti-inflammatory properties that soothe irritated skin.
Antunes Viegas, Daniel et al. “Helichrysum italicum: from traditional use to scientific data.” Journal of ethnopharmacology vol. 151,1 (2014): 54-65. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2013.11.005
Ishikawa, Junko et al. “Dry skin in the winter is related to the ceramide profile in the stratum corneum and can be improved by treatment with a Eucalyptus extract.” Journal of cosmetic dermatology vol. 12,1 (2013): 3-11. doi:10.1111/jocd.12019
Lee, Soon-Hee et al. “Effect of German chamomile oil application on alleviating atopic dermatitis-like immune alterations in mice.” Journal of veterinary science vol. 11,1 (2010): 35-41. doi:10.4142/jvs.2010.11.1.35
Mori, Hiroko-Miyuki et al. “Wound healing potential of lavender oil by acceleration of granulation and wound contraction through induction of TGF-β in a rat model.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine vol. 16 144. 26 May. 2016, doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1128-7
Verallo-Rowell, Vermén M et al. “Novel antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult atopic dermatitis.” Dermatitis : contact, atopic, occupational, drug vol. 19,6 (2008): 308-15.
Wallengren, Joanna. “Tea tree oil attenuates experimental contact dermatitis.” Archives of dermatological research vol. 303,5 (2011): 333-8. doi:10.1007/s00403-010-1083-y