May 20, 2019

 The word for eczema comes from a Greek word that means “to boil out.” It’s commonly used for inflammation of the skin. It can produce a wide variety of symptoms that vary between individuals. In general, if someone has dry, itchy, and sensitive skin they are usually diagnosed as having eczema. Sometimes symptoms can include dark discoloration, swelling, oozing, blistering, or red and warm skin. Experts estimate about 30 million people in the US suffer from eczema. No one knows exactly what causes this skin condition, but many think it is associated with asthma and hay fever. For some, symptoms subside periodically, only to return later. A flare-up can be triggered by your surroundings. Some triggers include:

  • Chemical irritants often present in soaps, disinfectants, cleaners, detergents and shampoos
  • Allergens from pollen, dandruff, mold, or pet dander
  • Temperature changes when the weather heats up, sweating during physical activity, or changes in humidity
  • Micro-organisms like bacteria, fungi, and viruses
  • Clothing made from synthetic fibers or wool
  • Food allergies from eating seeds, nuts, wheat, eggs, soy or dairy products

Sometimes, symptoms of eczema can be reduced by avoiding known triggers. They can at least be managed by avoiding certain clothing or foods.

Treatment Options for Eczema Symptoms

There are a number of treatment options for those who suffer from eczema. Medical professionals often prescribe topical steroids, immunosuppressants, phototherapy or various over-the-counter creams. Nearly half of sufferers are not satisfied with their treatments. Most say they are not effective, cause other side effects, or are too expensive. Thankfully, there are a few natural alternatives. Plants and herbs can have medicinal properties. Essential oils can help by addressing underlying issues like anxiety or hormone imbalances.

Using Essential Oils for Eczema

A broad definition of inflammation includes redness, tenderness, pain, and swelling of body tissue. It is often in response to a trigger like an injury, chemical irritants, or infection. It’s an immune response that dispatches immune cells to affected areas. This causes blood vessels to expand which allows more blood at the site of injury. Usually, inflammation can be healing. However, during an eczema flare-up, the immune system attacks healthy tissues by mistake. Over-the-counter or prescription medications don’t always help or have adverse side effects. There are several essential oils that can be beneficial for treating eczema. These essential oils can help suppress COX-2.

Thyme Essential Oilcontains a compound called carvacrol. This component provides a natural defense against inflammation, infection, swelling, and pain. It has been found to reduce COX-2 expression by as much as 65%.

Clove Essential Oilis comprised of about 90% eugenol. This substance is often used by dentists as an antiseptic and an anti-inflammatory. It relieves pain and swelling following dental surgery. It can also help suppress COX-2 by about 40%.

Rose Essential Oil is sweet, flowery, and uplifting. It’s often used for its anti-depressant properties. It contains eugenol which can help fight off inflammation.

Eucalyptus Essential Oilhas a wide variety of benefits. It’s often used in mouthwashes, insecticides, and cough suppressants because of its main ingredient eucalyptol. Studies have recently revealed that eucalyptus EO is effective for treating pain and inflammation making it a great choice for treating eczema.

Fennel Essential Oilhas powerful anti-inflammatory properties because of the presence of anethole.

Bergamot Essential Oilis a citrus based EO that can boost your mood and your energy. It is also beneficial for reducing inflammation which makes it a great choice for treating the symptoms of eczema.

Rose Geranium Essential Oilis from an African flower. Since ancient times it’s been used on the skin due to its soothing effects. It was recently discovered to have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Just a small amount of this potent EO can help reduce inflammation on the skin.

Chamomile Essential Oilprovides a calming, sedative effect. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it was used for a test on eczema specifically. A topical application of chamomile EO decreased inflammation and when used for maintenance therapy it performed better than over the counter steroid creams and NSAIDs.

Tea Tree Essential Oilis distilled from the leaves and foliage of the Melaleuca alternifolia leaves. They were used in Australia to treat cold symptoms, skin ailments, and infections. It’s got numerous beneficial uses but is specifically great for promoting healthy skin by reducing itchiness, inflammation, sores, and acne.

Turmeric Essential Oilis part of the ginger family and is comprised largely of curcumin. This is what makes it look yellow and provides its earthy aroma. Curcumin is known for its anti-inflammatory effect.

Black Pepper Essential Oildoesn’t make you sneeze. It is much easier on the senses and yet offers a spicy effect because of the presence of piperine. This compound inhibits the molecules that cause pain and inflammation.

Lavender Essential Oilis one of the best known and most versatile EOs. It’s often used to remedy sleeplessness, depression, poor digestion, pain, and lots more. It’s also beneficial for helping to reduce inflammation and studies recently found it is a very potent option.

Carrier Oils to Use on Sensitive Skin

When applying any essential oils topically, it is important to dilute them with a carrier oil. If you have sensitive skin or are susceptible to developing eczema. Carrier oils have therapeutic qualities and help carry potent essential oils to the skin. Try these carrier oils:

  • Sunflower Seed Oil contains large quantities of vitamin E. It can help reduce inflammation, improve skin barrier, and soothe itchy skin.
  • Coconut oil has anti-bacterial properties because of the fatty acids that are present. These are great for moisturizing the skin and helping heal damaged areas.
  • Borage seed oil is non-irritating and gentle. It is useful for sensitive or extremely dry skin.
  • Sweet almond oil is hypoallergenic and a very mild option which can help hydrate the skin and alleviate itching.
  • Evening primrose oil helps reduce itching, swelling, crusting, and redness often experienced with eczema.
  • Jojoba oil is technically a wax. It’s similar to the oils naturally produced by the skin. It helps the flesh retain and absorb moisture.
  • Rosehip seed oil is beneficial for moisturizing the skin, creating a barrier, and reducing itchiness.
  • Baobab oil is rich in vitamins E, D, and A. It’s a non-greasy option that is absorbed into the skin quickly. It helps improve the skin’s elasticity and encourages healing.

Make Your Own Hydrating Recipes to Help Eczema

Ideally, it’s best to avoid flare-ups, to begin with. Keeping the skin well hydrated can help prevent a flare-up or help cope with the symptoms. Showering everyday and moisturizing immediately afterward can help. Here are four ways to use essential oils to help with eczema symptoms.

  • Add six drops of your favorite EO to a warm tub of water. Try two drops each of geranium, lavender, and chamomile EOs. Remember to combine the oils with a carrier oil prior to adding them to the bathwater.
  • Add 20 drops of essential oil to eight ounces of shea butter to make an effective hydrating lotion.
  • Make your own massage oil using four drops of essential oil and one tablespoon of carrier oil of your choice. Try blending eucalyptus and thyme essential oils with a tablespoon of rosehip seed oil.
  • Make an anti-itch spray by mixing 12 drops of each: tea tree, lavender, rosemary, and clove EO with four ounces of carrier oil. Once mixed, transfer it to a spray bottle.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.