Essential oils help address one of the central problems in eczema – dry skin. According to experts, the cornerstone of eczema treatment is keeping the skin supple and soft, as well as moisturized. Essential oils applied directly on the skin create an oily layer that keeps moisture locked within the skin structure. They also prevent the entry of allergens, bacteria, and irritants, thus effectively preventing the worsening of symptoms.
There are also other benefits in using essential oils for eczema. Some of these oils have inherent soothing properties, which help relieve itching and irritation. Some have anti-inflammatory effects, making them capable of reducing redness and sensitivity.
The following carrier oils are known for their positive effects on eczematous skin:
01. Almond Oil
This carrier oil is among the most widely used oils for it offers a multitude of benefits. Sweet almond oil is light on the skin, and is effective in keeping the skin moisturized without the heavy oily feel. It works great as an emollient and helps relieve itching.
Studies have revealed that the benefits of sweet almond oil are mainly due to the presence of oleic and ursolic acids. These compounds reduce inflammation on the skin and support skin tissue repair. Apply the oil in liberal amounts all over the skin as a moisturizer. Some apply sweet almond oil all over the body before taking a shower or bath. This method creates an oily protective barrier over the skin, providing protection from the drying effect of hot water.
02. Coconut Oil
Virgin coconut oil contains lots of essential fatty’ acids, vitamins, minerals and other compounds that help in providing relief from eczema. These compounds help relieve itching and pain. These also help in reducing inflammation and irritation. Some of the mild acids in coconut oil help to protect the skin against bacterial infections. Coconut oil also helps soften and moisturize the skin, preventing dryness and further irritation. To use, just apply a liberal amount all over the skin. Reapply throughout the day as necessary.
03. Apricot Kernel Oil
Apricot kernel oil is similar to almond oil in terms of molecular structure. It is also an excellent emollient that can help relieve symptoms of eczema. It is easily absorbed by the skin, making it soft and supple. It is also a nourishing oil that supports healthy cell growth. Apricot oil is not as widely used as almond oil mainly because it is more expensive.
04. Jojoba Oil
Here’s a fun fact-jojoba oil is actually a kind of liquid wax. It is a rich source of fatty alcohols and long-chain fatty acids that help keep the skin soft and healthy. The structure of its molecules is almost the same as that of the skin’s sebum. The skin naturally produces sebum or oil in order to keep itself well hydrated. The similarities between sebum and jojoba molecules make this carrier oil very easy to absorb. Also, it does not leave any greasy feeling after application.
05. Hemp Seed Oil
There’s no need to worry because oil from hemp seed does not have psychoactive properties (which are often associated with the plant’s leaves and flowers). Hemp seed oil is actually rich in essential fatty acids. Studies have proven that topical application of this oil effectively provides relief from itching due to eczema.
06. Borage Seed Oil
Borage seed oil comes from borage (Borago officinalis), a prolific self-seeder that produces a huge amount of tiny black seeds. These seeds are pressed to release the oils.
Borage seed oils are among the best sources of one special essential fatty acid-gamma linolenic acid. It has a lot of potential health benefits, including relief from eczema symptoms. This non-irritating oil helps in resolving conditions linked with sensitive and dry skin.
07. Evening Primrose Oil
Similar to borage oil, evening primrose oil is a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids help in repairing and maintaining the skin tissues. This oil is also among those essential oils frequently added to cosmetic products. Primrose oil is good to use on dry skin, and is believed to help with eczema symptoms and wound healing.
08. Chamomile Oil
Chamomile is best known as one of the best teas for health. Macerated oils with flowers of Roman or German chamomile are another good option for anyone battling eczema. Chamomile extracts and oils have fungicidal and anti-bacterial, as well as anti-inflammatory, effects on the body. These help ease irritated skin, all while reducing the risk of secondary infections that can develop during eczema flare-ups. Results from clinical trials show that chamomile oil is also effective in preventing episodes of dermatitis.
09. Calendula Oil
Calendula oil is extracted by infusing the blossoms orange petals with vegetable oil- a process called maceration. The oil is known for its great benefits on the skin. It has long been used as part of treatments for cuts and bruises, as well as for providing relief from eczema symptoms. Calendula is also helpful in treating dry and chapped skin.
10. Kukui Nut Oil
The plant is also called the “candlenut” plant. Kukui nut is a common tree in the tropics, especially in Hawaii and Polynesia. In Hawaii, oil from kukui nut has been used for hundreds of years inprotecting and healing skin that’s exposed to the elements.
11. Perilla Seed Oil
The seed is harvested from the Perilla herb. The oil contains large amounts of vitamins, amino acids, and unsaturated fatty acids. Perilla seed oil is used on dry, eczematous skin as a means of adding moisture and creating a protective oily layer.
12. Rosehip Oil
This fantastic oil has numerous healing properties. This oil is commonly added to cosmetics. Its most notable component is retinoic acid, which is very effective in healing eczema-affected skin, as well as those damaged by burns and scarring.
13. Sesame Oil
Sesame oil is popular in Asian cooking. It is high in vitamins such as E, A and B. It is also a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. Sesame oil is added to cosmetic products for its soothing and softening effects, making it perfect for those battling eczema.
14. Wheatgerm Oil
Wheatgerm oil is a rich source of vitamin E. This oil contains about 3,500 ppm of vitamin E; most other plant oils only contain around 250 to 600 ppm. Vitamin E is also a natural antioxidant that comes with all sorts of benefits. It is also known to boost overall skin health. In addition, vitamin E has very potent anti-aging properties. So, when applied on the skin, wheatgerm oil softens the skin, while supporting cell regeneration to replace damaged skin cells.
Before using any of these essential oils directly on the skin, know these safety reminders first:
- Essential oils are all natural but may still contain a few compounds that can trigger allergic reactions or worsen eczema. Perform a skin patch test before applying any oil on the affected skin areas. Get a few drops of the oil and apply it over a small skin area, such as on the inner surface of the forearm or upper arm, or on the skin behind the ears. Wait for 24-48 hours and observe for any signs of irritation.
If no redness, swelling, irritation, or any negative reactions are observed, then it is safe to continue using the essential oil. If adverse reactions occur, refrain from using the oil. Most people who have allergies to seeds or nuts may have allergic reactions when seed or nut oils are applied directly on their skin.
- Always consult a doctor first before trying any essential oils. Some of these oils may react with prescribed skin medications. Some may hinder the effects of topical steroids, while some may increase the potency of these drugs.
- Avoid applying essential oils on bleeding or seriously damaged skin. Consult a doctor before applying these over extensive skin areas, or over lesions.