If you have eczema, chances are, you have had it for a long time. By now, you have probably tried all kinds of creams and routines for soothing and preventing outbreaks. Unfortunately many of the ointments prescribed by doctors to treat eczema only work temporarily as the body builds up a resistance. Treatments such as steroids work initially but train the body to become dependent on them, leading to more aggressive outbreaks once treatment stops.
If you are looking for an alternative to intense medications, essential oils may be your solution. Essential oils are concentrated extracts derived from plants, and have a myriad of uses and applications. They are often used in aromatherapy for respiratory health, or are mixed with carrier oils for topical use. They also have a long history of being used to treat various skin ailments, including eczema.
Managing your eczema typically consists of two goals: prevention and relief. You want to prevent eczema flare-ups before they can even occur, and find relief and healing for inflamed skin when they do.
Prevention: Using Essential Oils to Stop Eczema Before It Starts
As you work on a skincare routine that promotes eczema prevention, inflammation is key. Inflammation is the body’s natural way of fighting pathogens. Unfortunately, sometimes the body’s inflammation can go haywire and overreact, mistaking harmless ingredients and chemicals for danger. This is what leads to allergies and autoimmune diseases. This is also often the case for eczema. While a single cause for eczema has yet to be determined, scientists have concluded that it functions similarly to an autoimmune disorder. What does that mean for you? As someone battling eczema it means that fighting inflammation is, well, essential. As you integrate essential oils into your eczema protocol, you should look for essential oils that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Relief: Essential Oils for Soothing Skin
Eczema causes mild to severe outbreaks of an itchy, scaly rash. This rash often becomes dry and cracked which can lead to infections. An eczema treatment of essential oils can mitigate those symptomes by fighting off bacteria and encouraging the body’s healing processes.
As we continue to see the side effects of many strong medications, many people are turning back to nature for relief and remedies for common skin conditions like eczema. Essential oils are just one way you can use nature to have better physical and mental health. Sign up for our newsletter for more information on how you can incorporate natural healing into your life.
Harnessing the Power of Nature
When using essential oils, there are a few things to consider. While essential oils may provide relief, some people experience sensitivities, and may react negatively. Many essential oils can also be skin irritants if not diluted due to how concentrated they are. Before you use an essential oil for your eczema, you may want to perform a skin test and be certain of allergies. Always use essential oils as directed, and make sure you dilute them (using water or a carrier oil) if necessary. We recommend adding essential oils to your bath for full coverage and a relaxing experience.
In nature there is an abundance of powerful plants that hold medicinal and healing value. From the most popular of plants to the lesser known, here are 15 essential oils that may help your body regulate its inflammatory response and prevent outbreaks, and help heal and relieve eczema when it happens.
1. Amaranth Oil
First, we have amaranth oil, a must-have if you’re looking to return much-needed hydration back to the layers of your skin. This valuable oisl is also a natural anti-inflammatory, and can help bolster your body’s natural immune system protection.
Amaranth oil also helps to contribute valuable vitamins back to the body, including Vitamins C and A. Better yet, some providers of amaranth oil even add its healing effects to food items, including smoothies, salad vinaigrettes and even some juices. Put amaranth oil under your eyes to help naturally firm your skin, in your foods for a gluten-free flavor boost or on any eczema-ridden areas of your skin.
2. Chamomile Oil
Many people enjoy a cup of chamomile tea at the end of the day to wind down and relax. Chamomile is known for calming properties and for helping with sleep, but it can do so much more than that. Chamomile is also found in many skincare products and is known to treat eczema. The topical use of chamomile aids in eczema maintenance therapy, along with over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and steroid creams.
Known for its delicate scent, Lavender essential oil is one of the most versatile because of its many potent effects. It’s one of the most popular anti-inflammatory essential oils for eczema and psoriasis, including on the scalp. It may also reduce acne. Enjoy this fragrant essential oil in a bath to experience its effect on the skin, and before lavender before bed to induce sleep and soothe anxiety.
Commonly found in the spice cabinet for cooking, thyme is a warm and spicy essential oil that contains carvacrol, an organic compound which acts as a natural remedy for pain, infection, and inflammation. Thyme essential oil may increase blood circulation and boost the immune system. Use it as an antibacterial agent to treat skin ailments, including eczema.
5. Eucalyptus Oil
You probably recognize the scent of eucalyptus when you smell it, but it is more than just an air purifying essential oil. It may also be an effective addition to your eczema care regimen. Eucalyptus has been found to reduce COX-2, the body’s pro-inflammatory enzyme, by more than 20%. As eczema tends to flare up due to inflammatory responses in the body, this makes eucalyptus a big deal in eczema prevention. Research has also shown that eucalyptus has antimicrobial properties. Eczema flare ups, which usually consist of scaly, dry rashes, leave the body susceptible to infection when bacteria contaminates cracked skin. Eucalyptus oil, which long as has been used as an antiseptic, may help mitigate such infections and contaminants.
As eucalyptus oil is quite strong, it should not be applied directly to the skin without first being diluted. To apply it directly to the skin, first mix it with a gentle carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut. It is also effective when used in a bath! Not only does the hot water creates a gentle steam, which when mixed with eucalyptus aids respiratory health, but cleansing the skin with a eucalyptus bath assures that you get the full cleansing benefits of the oil.
Another word on eucalyptus: it is not to be ingested! While eucalyptus leaves may be a favorite snack of koalas, it is actually considered poisonous to humans. Keep this in mind if you have small children, who are more susceptible to the negative side effects.
Copaiba essential oil is an essential oil derived from the resin of a copaiba tree, typically found in central and South America. Copaiba essential oil promotes respiratory well-being, and can be used to relieve conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and congestion. By clearing space in your lungs, copaiba encourages better, deeper breathing. Copaiba is also good for the skin, soothing conditions such as acne and athlete’s foot. It’s also one of the recommended essential oils for eczema baths, as it is anti inflammatory, anti bacterial, and even anti pain: copaiba is a natural pain reducer. Use a few drops in the bath to help cleanse and nourish eczema plagued skin.
7. Rose Geranium
Rose geranium, a geranium plant whose blooms smell similar to roses, is native to South Africa. It has a pleasant fresh and floral scent, and its therapeutic properties make it great for skin care. Rose Geranium is known for its antioxidants, which are essential for the body’s healing processes that allow skin to heal on its own. These antioxidants have been found to have properties that may also encourage anti-aging. Rose geranium is also known for its antibacterial and antifungal activities. When included in eczema treatment, this suggests that rose geranium may help fight off infection to dry, cracked skin, as well as heal the damage brought by an eczema outbreak. A 2013 study on rose geranium essential oil found that it works wonders as an anti-inflammatory agent. Researchers applied a small amount of rose geranium essential oil to inflamed skin and found that swelling reduced by more than 70%.
Helichrysum is a lesser known essential oil, but is a potent antioxidant, providing anti inflammatory and antibacterial benefits. Extracted from a flower native to the mediterranean region, it has a spicy scent, making it a common ingredient in perfumes. Its most common uses include wound treatment and digestive relief; however it is also one of the most potent oils for treating eczema.
Jojoba oil is a common carrier oil for other essential oils, but it is a powerful ingredient on its own!
Jojoba oil is similar to sebum, the oil our skin naturally produces. Skin that suffers from eczema struggles to maintain its own moisture, causing eczema to flare up when it is dry. Jojoba oil can be applied directly to the skin to help skin absorb and maintain moisture. The Vitamin E compounds in jojoba oil help promote healthy skin and helps reduce the damaging effects of free radicals. Jojoba oil can be applied directly to your skin on its own or mixed with other essential oils. Worried about breaking out? Since it is non comedogenic, it is ideal for the face as it will not clog pores, so you can nourish the delicate skin on your face and prevent facial eczema without worrying about acne.
In addition to its nourishing properties, Jojoba oil also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can help prevent infection when dry skin gets cracked and irritated.
With a deep and fragrant blend of citrus and floral notes, neroli is a popular ingredient in many perfumes. For this reason, many people also enjoy this light essential oil as a facial moisturizer. It is also frequently used in aromatherapy for its soothing and calming characteristics: it can reduce stress and decrease blood pressure and cortisol levels.
Neroli essential oil may help reduce inflammation and pain. This makes neroli one of the recommended essential oils for eczema and psoriasis.
Known for its pleasant, peaceful scent, patchouli oil is often used as an insect repellent and for eliminating bad odors…but aside from warding off bugs, it is also popular for relieving inflammation—making it valuable in treating eczema. Patchouli essential oil can be used for medicating and preventing infections as well, as this soothing oil may speed up the skin’s natural healing process. It is also known to stimulate blood circulation.
Not only are roses beautiful to see and smell, but they also may play a valuable part in warding off eczema! This essential oil packs a powerhouse punch in the many ways it can be used. Not only can rose oil be used to treat wounds and ward off viruses, but this beloved oil also prevents:
- Depression and anxiety
- Excessive oil production
- Intestinal problems
- Liver conditions
- Excessive bleeding
It also has a simply wonderful scent when used in aromatherapy. Enjoy it in a bath or mix it with a carrier oil and apply it
Myrrh essential oil is an ancient remedy for several ailments and symptoms. This essential oil may guard against signs of skin aging and speed up the healing process of skin wounds and other skin conditions such as eczema. Myrrh also has respiratory applications, and is useful for reducing asthma, treating colds, and relieving sore throats.
The fresh-smelling juniper essential oil helps the body detox. It also has therapeutic properties, which may calm the mind and body. A few drops of this oil go a long way in providing positive benefits for the skin. It has natural antibacterial abilities for fighting skin irritations like eczema, as well as infections. As an antiseptic, juniper essential oil is also a home remedy for acne. Other people use juniper oil for hair and scalp problems such as dandruff.
Sandalwood oil is well-known in many cultures and religions. This popular essential oil also has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and disinfectant properties. Sandalwood essential oil soothes skin and heals scars and spots much faster than other remedies. It may also cure infections and relieve skin from inflammation and irritation. Many people also use it for meditation and relaxation. Try it topically with a carrier oil or in a bath as a way of treating eczema.
16. Tea Tree
Last but certainly not least is tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is often found in lists of essential oils for eczema and psoriasis, and for good reason. Studies have found the application of tea tree oil to be more effective than many other topical treatments in treating eczema. It has also been shown to reduce skin hypersensitivity. When the skin is hypersensitive to a nontoxic material, eczema may flare up. The topical application of tea tree essential oil relieves acne, sores, itchiness, and inflammation. Its antiseptic properties boost its ability to heal wounds and treat skin issues. Tea tree oil is also one of the most popular ingredients in treatments for dandruff, which is often caused by scalp eczema. As this is a fairly potent oil, it should be diluted before being applied to the skin (pure tea tree oil can irritate and even burn the skin).
As the cause of eczema has yet to be identified and medications lose their potency, people are resorting to alternative and natural treatments. Essential oils for eczema and psoriasis have skin-soothing and body healing properties, and may even prevent outbreaks before they begin.. Give them a try and see how they work for you. If symptoms persist, consult your physician.
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