Eczema is one of the most frequent skin disorders. It affects millions of children and adults all over the world. It is often characterized by dry, itchy and sensitive skin. This type of skin usually reacts to almost everything, especially commercial creams. Fortunately, there are a few natural ways to help with this problem. One of them refers to treating eczema with essential oils.
Learn a bit about eczema and the symptoms of its 3 main types in the first paragraphs of this article. You will also get a few tips on how to control it. After getting all this info, I invite you to find the one that best describes your eczema and find out how to treat it. I’ve made it as simple as I could, with 5 easy steps to follow towards a successful experience.
In the last part of the article, I will also give you a few eczema blends to help you soothe it.
Introduction on Eczema and How to Control It
Eczema is a skin inflammation that doesn’t really have a cure. Doctors don’t know exactly what may cause it, but they think that the surrounding elements may contribute to its symptoms. From stress and living area to diet and sleep pattern, these can all trigger eczema. They also believe allergies can worsen its breakouts.
Eczema is usually characterized by dry and itchy skin, with blisters and redness. Even though there is no cure, there are ways to improve its aspect and even prevent it from appearing again. There are many essential oils with anti-inflammatory and soothing qualities. But there are also vegetable oils (carriers), which are rich in omega fatty acids that can help.
The eczema affected skin needs a lot of hydration and moisture. It also needs protection from bacteria and germs that may attack the wounded skin. Essential and carrier oils can give the skin what it needs.
How can oils help treating, improving or preventing eczema outbreaks?
On the one hand, essential oils are very concentrated substances. They have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. They can also hydrate and nourish the skin, protecting it. Some of them even have sedative properties and help the skin tissue regenerate.
On the other hand, carrier oils are full of essential fatty acids like omega 3 and 6. Some studies have found that these fatty acids can reduce and prevent eczema. They are highly nourishing and hydrating for dry skin.
Carriers get absorbed into the skin, restoring its protective barrier after a few applications. Treating eczema with essential oils is possible, and sometimes this treatment may be your only chance.
Read more about eczema and how to prevent it with 10 essential oil blends.
Main Types of Eczema
Eczema is a general term that often describes any type of eczema. However, there are 3 main types that best describe its symptoms. Knowing which type upsets you will help in finding a proper treatment.
Those 3 types of eczema are called atopic, contact (dermatitis) and seborrheic.
- Atopic eczema.
It is the most common type of eczema. It affects mostly children (90% before the age of 5) and sometimes infants too.
This atopic condition reacts to allergens like dust mites, pollen, animal hair or dandruff, etc. There might also be a hereditary connection here. It has been noticed to affect patients where at least one member of the family has it.
It can be recognized by:
- Skin hives.
- Hay fever.
- Food allergies.
It can usually be seen on hands and feet, neck and ankles in adults. In babies, atopic eczema can be seen around the mouth, cheeks or shoulders. When it comes to teenagers, this one can be seen around the eyes too, or the back of their knees and elbows. Treating eczema with essential oils may help a lot to improve its symptoms and aspect.
- Contact eczema (dermatitis).
Just like its name, this type of eczema happens when a sensitive person touches certain products for skin or hair care. It may also occur when touching various metals (jewelry or coins), saliva or sweat.
It usually looks like a skin irritation. It can happen right after touching the object or the product, or within a few hours. Contact eczema may be an allergy or just a reaction to a certain substance.
The symptoms may vary from a mild irritation and redness to ulcers.
- Seborrheic eczema.
Generally speaking, this type affects the scalp. It looks like yellowish fatty scales (dandruff) that form on the skin. It may affect adults and infants alike. If left untreated, this eczema type may spread to the face (eyebrows, ears, chest, and nose).
There are many fungi that live on the skin. When an imbalance occurs, some start attacking the skin right away. For seborrheic eczema we have the Malassezia fungus that does the damage. This is a good opportunity to start treating eczema with essential oils. Especially with those that have strong antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities.
Now that you have an idea on how those major eczema types look like, you can find the proper treatment for your own. Keep reading this next chapter to find out the necessary steps for your treatment to be successful.
Treating Eczema with Essential Oils and Carrier Oils
A 5-Step Guide
Usually, it is quite easy to take care of your skin. But when you suffer from any type of eczema, some extra precautions are in order. It can be pretty overwhelming when the outbreaks occur. When that happens, I may be of some help.
How? By showing you how to prepare and treat your inflamed skin step-by-step. You might even get to prevent them from ever happening again if you keep at it.
The First Step
This is a very important part. You ought to find out exactly what type of eczema you’re suffering from. Please consult a dermatologist and make sure he tells you the type.
You could also do some in-depth research to be sure you’ve got the type right. Monitor your skin for a while and check out what you’ve found out from your research.
Symptoms and reactions may vary from one person to another. Once you’ve identified the correct type of eczema you suffer from, it’ll be much easier to start treating it.
The Second Step
This is the part where you start to prepare your skin for its treatment.
- Wash it with a mild BIO foam gel. Soap can over dry the skin and cause it more damage.
- Avoid using those products that contain synthetic fragrances and lanoline.
- If possible, try making your own soap from natural fatty acids.
- Avoid long baths and hot water.
- If you have hard water your skin could become more irritated. Try adding a small glass of vinegar in your bath water to soften the water.
- Apply a natural moisturizer after each shower or bath.
Useful tip: you could add in your bath water carrier oils mixed with essential oils in a cup or two of milk. This blend will also nourish and soothe your dry skin. Massage it gently onto the affected areas. This is also where treating eczema with essential oils starts.
The Third Step
Prepare your blends to use after each bath.
The best carrier oils for eczema are:
- Evening Primrose
- Hemp seed
- Wheat Germ
You can also use vitamin E here. Add a few drops when your blend is ready, for extra nourishment and protection. These are all oils rich in essential fatty acids that can restore the protective barrier of the skin.
Evening Primrose and Borage oils have already been tested and proven efficient against eczema.
The best essential oils against eczema are:
- Roman Chamomile
- True Lavender and Spike Lavender
- Tea Tree
- Rose Geranium
- Black Pepper
All these oils have strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities. They will help with tissue regeneration. They can also soothe the itching skin. Treating eczema with essential oils is not painful and it can have effects on the mood as well.
Here are 3 blends for each type of eczema:
1. Essential Oils Blend for Atopic Eczema
- Palmarosa essential oil: 12 drops
- True Lavender ( angustifolia): 12 drops
- Roman Chamomile: 12 drops
- Thyme essential oil: 12 drops
- Wheat Germ oil: 1 Oz. (30ml)
- Borage oil: 1 Oz. (30ml)
Blend all the oils together and shake well before use. Apply on the affected areas twice a day. One time would have to be right after you showered.
2. Blend for Contact Eczema
- Helichrysum essential oil: 10 drops
- Frankincense essential oil: 10 drops
- Roman Chamomile essential oil: 10 drops
- Spike lavender essential oil: 10 drops
- Juniper essential oil: 10 drops
- Tamanu oil: 1 Oz. (30 ml)
- Hemp seed oil: 1 Oz. (30 ml)
After blending all the oils, shake the bottle well before each use. Apply this blend each time you get the irritation. Use it 4 times a day until the symptoms disappear or they improve significantly.
3. Blend for Seborrheic Eczema
- Palmarosa essential oil: 15 drops
- Rose Geranium essential oil: 10 drops
- Tea Tree essential oil: 10 drops
- Clove essential oil: 5 drops
- Neroli essential oil: 5 drops
- Nigella oil: 1 Oz. (30 ml)
- Evening Primrose oil: 1 Oz. (30 ml)
Apply this blend on all the affected areas, morning and evening. Keep doing it even after the symptoms have gone. But make sure you take a 7 days break once you’re feeling better. The skin has the tendency of getting used to what you put on it. The break I mentioned will prevent this from happening.
The Fourth Step
-How to deal with eczema breakouts-
Eczema skin is always dry, so it needs constant hydration. During breakouts it would be better if you don’t apply any blend at all. Instead you could spray some floral water on the affected skin. Almost each essential oil has a floral water (hydrolate).
This one is a by-product of the steam distillation and it’s much gentler with the skin. It doesn’t need to be diluted, but it needs to be kept in the fridge after opening. Floral waters are very sensitive to microbial growth.
During these breakouts, treating eczema with essential oils must be carefully monitored. Choose one of the floral waters among the essential oils list I gave you above.
The application methods must always be gentle. Make sure you never scratch your eczema to avoid blisters and the thickening of the skin. If you use an essential oil blend, then apply as per recommendations in each of the recipes above.
The Fifth Step
Learn to manage your eczema and prevent it by following a few simple tips.
You now know that it is possible to improve the aspect of eczema. But here are a few tips on how to control it too:
- Keep your nails very short so you can’t damage the skin.
- Don’t irritate the skin with more than one daily shower. In the cold season, you can even cut down on the frequency of your baths. Try to use lukewarm water so you don’t over dry the skin.
- Don’t use soap or bath foam.
- Don’t rub your skin when drying. Instead, try to pat your skin with a soft towel.
- Stay away from wool or synthetic clothes because they can further irritate the skin. Try wearing cotton instead.
- Wear long pants or sleeves when you sleep.
- Make sure you let fresh air in every day to clear out the dust mites.
- Finally, moisturize your skin twice a day with a very emollient oil blend. Treating eczema with essential oils requires a lot of hydration and moisturizing.
In conclusion, eczema can be improved with the help of natural oils. You can either use carrier oils or essential oils, or both. The idea is to make a concentrated blend that focuses on those specific eczema types.
We’ve seen that there are three types of eczema: atopic, contact and seborrheic. The best way to find out which one you suffer from is by going to a specialist.
Make sure you always keep your skin hydrated. Also, take into consideration the advices and tips from the fifth step to avoid any breakouts and inflammations. Treating eczema with essential oils may be possible, but it requires a lot of care and patience. Sometimes, it even requires a lifestyle change. For that you need to consult your doctor once again.
What kind of oils have you used for your eczema so far? Did it work?