For centuries, people have been struggling with the frustrating rash, dryness, flaking skin, redness, and itching associated with eczema or dermatitis. While there’s currently no cure for eczema, there are many natural remedies that may reduce the flare-ups; one of these is essential oils.
For the uninitiated, essential oils are the highly concentrated form of natural oils distilled from the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, or fruits of a plant. These oils have been used throughout history for their unmatchable medicinal values. In fact, they have earned accolades in reducing itching, irritation, and inflammation caused by eczema.
While many essential oils meet ‘eczema remedy’ criteria, here are 15 essential oils that are extremely powerful.
15 Essential and Natural Oils For Eczema
1. Lavender Essential Oil
It is no secret what lavender essential oil can do to the body and mind, which is why it is the go-to essential oil for eczema. With the acclaimed antiseptic and soothing properties, lavender oil addresses the eczema flare-ups from the inside out.
It doesn’t stop there, though. The complex mixture of phytochemicals present activates the ‘emotional brain’ to relieve stress and anxiety. Being an amazing sleep aid, the oil is great to use at nighttime when itch and pain make you an insomniac.
2. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Alleviating the irritation, swelling, and redness, fighting off the viruses, preventing inflammation – you name it, tea tree oil (TTO) does it all. Derived from the foliage of Melaleuca alternifolia, tea tree oil contains over 100 different terpenes – especially, terpinen-4-ol and alpha-terpineol – that work synergistically against pathogens.
More than just another essential oil for eczema, TTO is also great in purifying the air, just what is needed to prevent allergens from worsening the flare-ups and itching.
3. Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense essential oil, which has rejuvenating properties, is extracted from the resin inside the Boswellia tree. It naturally heals wounds and scars and improves skin tone hence ideal for repairing eczema-damaged skin. It has a sedative sweet, spicy, resinous scent with a slightly camphoraceous top note that is great for calming the senses. In addition, this lovely oil has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties.
4. Sandalwood oil
Obviously, no list of essential oil for eczema would be complete without sandalwood oil— a stellar oil that’s widely accepted for its moisturizing, soothing, anti-inflammatory and anti-itching properties. Though it has all components to calm dry, irritating, and itchy skin from an eczema flare up, a patch test is highly recommended.
A 2014 study even revealed that sandalwood oil can mimic painkillers like ibuprofen without causing side effects – a great remedy for painful sores.
5. Bergamot Essential Oil
This oil is obtained from the Citrus bergamia and has the ability to combat inflammation, heal the inflamed skin, add elasticity, regulate sebum secretion, and eves out the skin tone. In doing so, Bergamot essential oil heals eczema and other skin problems. It is also proven to be an excellent antidepressant in treating eczema related stress.
Word of caution: Bergamot essential oil contains furanocoumarins – the compound responsible for sunlight-induced skin irritation. Hence use it in the evenings or at night.
6. Geranium Essential Oil
Who knew one of the most reputable essential oils for eczema was in our garden all along? Known for its astringent, antiseptic, styptic, deodorant, hemostatic, vermifuge properties, the sweet-smelling geranium essential oil has earned accolades in eczema treatment, too. Best of all, it effectively balances the sebum secretion and soothes the dry, scarred skin.
7. Helichrysum Essential Oil
With plenty of cytophylactic (new cell generation), and cicatrisant (skin healing) properties, Helichrysum Essential Oil reduces eczema scars. Since the active ingredient arzanol has incredible anti-inflammatory properties, the oil speeds up the healing process.
The oil can even reduce irritation and prevent dehydration and cracking, thanks to its moisture-locking ability. In fact, this oil is also said to be effective in treating cellulite acne, dilated pores, stretch marks, and dark circles. Barring its hefty price tag, this oil stands out for its healing ability.
Note: The ‘italicum’ species has the most therapeutic properties among the 500 different Helichrysum species.
8. Chamomile Essential Oil
Soothing to both the skin and the senses, chamomile essential oil is a boon for anyone suffering from eczema. While both German and Roman Chamomile essential oils are great for calming and soothing eczema, Roman chamomile oil is especially effective for calming young children’s irritated skin.
German chamomile oil contains chamazulene the anti-inflammatory compound that calms dry and irritated skin, wards off infections, and promotes regeneration of damaged tissues from inside out. Aside from its antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties, German chamomile oil provides relief from sore muscles, migraine, and arthritis.
9. Juniper Essential Oil
Juniper essential oil is known for its cleansing and stress relieving effects. The anti-inflammatory compounds present in the oil may treat not only the dry, itchy, inflamed skin patches of eczema but may also heal the skin faster and keeps the skin protected from further infections. Juniper oil is equally potent enough to reduce the appearance of eczema scars and even acne.
Word of caution: Usage of pure form is not recommended. For topical application, always mix juniper oil with a carrier oil in a 1:1 ratio. Do not use if you are pregnant or nursing.
10. Tamanu Oil
Enriched with moisturizing omega-6 and 9 fatty acids and skin rebuilding friedelin, canopyllic acid and canophyllol, xanthones, and coumarins, Tamanu oil is really the heart of Melanesian skincare treatment. Various benefits to eczema affected skin can be observed when using Tamanu essential oil.
It not only can promote wound healing and scar reduction, but it also reduces swelling and pain, rebalances moisture level, and restores skin elasticity. You can also use tamanu oil to protect skin from UV radiations.
11. Patchouli Essential Oil
Patchouli essential oil is known to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. This oil may help alleviate the irritation and itchiness associated with eczema. It also has antiseptic properties which prevent the affected areas from getting infected.
In addition to moisturizing and softening the skin, it also calms the mind and reduces anxiety, depression, and stress that may worsen eczema. Diluting it with coconut oil, almond or jojoba oil is recommended for topical application.
12. Neroli Essential Oil
Known for increasing skin elasticity, stimulating cell rejuvenation, and speeding up scar healing, Neroli oil’s glory dates back to time immemorial. This oil helps address skin itching, irritation, and pain associated with eczema thanks to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and calming action.
In addition, its sweet and spicy fragrance reduces stress and uplifts the mood. Studies also show that inhaling Neroli oil might reduce the severity of menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms – added bonus!
13. Thyme Essential Oil
If pain, swelling, redness, never-ending inflammations are what that is bothering you, look no further. Thyme essential oil is a powerhouse of antiseptic and anti-inflammatory compounds to keep your skin free from inflammation. When put to the research, a 2012 study revealed the capacity of 3% thyme essential oil in treating eczema-like lesions.
Thyme has an organic compound called carvacrol, which defends pain, swelling, infections, and inflammations naturally. In fact, the compound targets COX-2 – the key mediator involved in the inflammatory pathways in the body. For optimum results, it’s recommended to dilute thyme essential oil in water or a water-based emulsion before application.
14. Hyssop Essential Oil
Hyssop essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties that help heal the inflamed skin in eczema patients. It is also known to have astringent, antiviral, and anti-bacterial properties that help kill irritants and pathogens that may enter the skin. The terpenes compounds like Eucalyptol, pinene, myrene etc boost the growth of new cells in addition to lightening the scars and dark spots on the skin.
For use, apply a mixture of hyssop essential oil and carrier oil in 2:3 ratio on to the affected areas.
15. Benzoin Essential Oil
Eczema often causes sores or wounds. These can be treated with the vulnerary (wound protecting) properties of benzoin essential oil. Because of the vanilla aldehydes present it the oil, it is often suggested as a mood lifter, a deodorant or a respiratory ailment. Benzoin is great for promoting tissue renewal and healing, fighting the redness, itching, irritation, and warding off the pain.
Best ways to use essential oils for Eczema
Nourishing Bath: Add 1-2% dilutions to a warm bath and soak for 20 -30 minutes.
Cooling compress: Add 2 drops of essential oil to a bowl of water, stir well, and sock a soft cotton towel in it. Squeeze it and pat the towel on affected areas to reduce itching or irritation.
Essential oil spray: Mix essential oil and carrier oil in the ratio of 2:1 and mix with water taken in a spray bottle.
Soothing Lotion: Add few drops of essential oil to Shea butter or moisturizing lotion.
Massage Oil: Dilute the essential oil with the carrier and gently massage onto the affected area.
The herbaceous essential oils, when used properly, are effective remedies to soothe and heal eczema. But remember that some oils may not work for everyone due to different skin properties, inflammation levels, dilution ratio etc.