Essential oils are becoming more and more widely used to remedy a host of medical issues and this article will explore their ability to remedy the painful and irritating symptoms of eczema.
Eczema or dermatitis is one of the most common skin diseases affecting thousands of men and women of all ages. It can appear on every body part, but is most typically seen on arms, legs, knees, elbows, cheeks, and forehead. Although doctors are still not sure what exactly causes the redness, swelling, itch, dryness, flaking and even bleeding of the skin, it is believed that it is an overreaction of our body to certain allergens.
What Causes Eczema
Experts are not absolutely certain what exactly causes eczema. They do know that it is more common in families with a history of asthma or other allergies. The Symptoms of eczema might occur in response to any of the following irritants or conditions:
- Soap or detergents
- Shampoo or bubble bath
- Washing up liquid
- Dust mites
- Hot weather
Essential Oils for Eczema
To prevent the need for constant medication, you can use specific essential oils to reduce the itching, pain and uncomfortable feeling. There are more than a few essential oils that can help treat this skin condition.
Sweet almond oil is one of the most used carrier oils as it is quite light and is widely available. Almond oil is traditionally cold pressed but much of the almond oil available for sale is extracted using solvents. This oil is a great emollient and nourishes dry skin. It is beneficial in relieving the itching caused by eczema.
Hemp Seed Oil
Don’t worry, hemp seed oil doesn’t contain any psychoactive properties! In fact, hemp seed oil is another rich source of essential fatty acids and has been found to provide relief from the itchy symptoms of eczema.
Borage Seed Oil
Produced here in the UK, borage is a prolific self-seeder and produces thousands of tiny little black seeds which are pressed for their oil. It is one of the best known sources of Gamma Linolenic Acid, an essential fatty acid. Although a recent study found that borage oil and evening primrose oil when taken internally do not have any significant effects on eczema (Bamford et al. 2013), it is a non-irritating oil so can still be beneficial for dry and sensitive skin.
Tea Tree Oil
This may be one of the best essential oils for eczema. It decreases pain and is healing to the skin. It also has antibacterial properties, helping to prevent infection due to excessive scratching and irritation. Unlike most essential oils, tea tree oil can be safely used directly on your skin, although it can also be used in a carrier oil or in a bath along with other essential oils. It also combines well with most other scents.
This oil is obtained by infusing calendula’s orange petals in another vegetable oil in order to extract its properties. This process is known as maceration. Calendula is known for its great skin properties and can be used to treat bruises, cuts and eczema. It is also useful for chapped and dry skin.
This essential oil decreases pain and inflammation, soothes itchy skin and helps skin heal. It also soothes irritated nerves and helps promote restful sleep, which can be very helpful if severe itching has been driving you crazy and keeping you awake at night. It’s often used in a bath for infants or children with eczema, since it’s a very gentle essential oil.
The Safflower looks a lot like a thistle and its seeds produce an oil that resembles sunflower oil in its makeup. Safflower oil is used in skin-softening cosmetics and is helpful against eczema and rough skin.
The walnut produces a deep golden brown oil which is most often used in cooking. Walnut oil is also frequently used in hair and skin preparations and is said to be effective in treating eczema. It is an excellent emollient.