Weekly Essentials: Oils for eczema

Eczema is a skin condition that is inflammatory and causes uncomfortable dry, red, itchy, rashes. The most common type of Eczema is atopic dermatitis in which the skin can become inflamed and painful and bacteria can infect the damaged skin. There is no scientific evidence supporting the use of essential oil to treat eczema but some essential oils have anti-inflammatory or antimicrobial effects, which could help symptoms that helps with eczema. Before using any essential oil to treat eczema you may want consult with your doctor.



Eczema Causes

Eczema comes in different forms and there's no research indicating a fundamental cause, but there can be triggers and genetics. These are some variants of eczema:

  • Atopic dermatitis

  • allergic contact dermatitis

  • dyhidrotic eczema

  • neurodermatitis

  • discoid eczema

  • Stasis dermatitis


Most people with eczema have immune system that reacts when triggered which leads to inflammation. Inflammation can be red, itchy, and painful skin.


Genetics

You can inherit the genetics that cause atopic eczema and children who has parents or siblings with eczema are likely to develop the condition. If the skin cannot hold moisture, bacteria and germs can easily penetrate the outer layer of the skin. Filaggrin is the protein that helps protect the skin and maintain a barrier from bacteria. If the body doesn't produce enough filaggrin , the skin cannot hold moisture to protect the skin.


Food

Certain foods may cause an allergic reaction but you may be sensitive to certain foods that cause a reaction.


Irritants

Household cleaners, cosmetics even some natural substances can cause eczema flare ups. Common irritants include:

  • Some fabrics

  • metals

  • Soaps

  • Fruit juice

  • Frangrances

  • Disinfectants

  • Detergents

  • Antibacterial ointment

Dust mites, pet fur, pollen and mold can also cause irritants.


Stress

Emotional stress can also trigger eczema and affect the skin barrier function, leading to deteriorating eczema symptoms.


Hormones

Women can experience eczema flare ups during their periods or during pregnancy. Also, during menopause eczema flareups can happen due to the drop in estrogen, which affects how the skin retain moisture.


Medications

Nummular eczema is caused by ingredients in certain medications.


Injury

Post traumatic eczema is caused when the skin has damages, the inflammatory response or any localized infection can cause eczema.



Oils for Eczema


Essential oils are concentrated and the effects varies based on the plants you use. Up to 90 essential oils are documented for dermatological use and work slowly and generally have very few side effects. These essential oils below have potential to alleviate some eczema symptoms:


  • Chamomile

May soothe and calms eczema inflammation and skin infections.

  • Clove

Have anitimicrobial and anti inflammatory, clove also contains eugenol which has anesthetic properties. Improves itch severity.

Geranium shrub contains over 12 active ingredients that are anti inflammatory and antimicrobial.


Has antioxidant and antimicrobial effects. Tea tree oils can be use as a topical eczema treatment but tea tree can also cause allergic dermatitis.


Using these essential oils for eczema

Inhaling these essential oils is called aromatherapy which also can be applied to the skin, it's best to get the oils from reputable sources. Essential oils should not be ingested and may cause liver or kidney damage. Also, take precaution when using oils around pregnant women or nursing should be especially cautious about their usage.


Diluting essential oils

Before using any oils make sure you do not have any allergic reaction by testing it first on a small portion of your skin. Carrier oils are great for diluting essential oils, oils such a coconut, jojoba, olive, and sweet almond are great carrier oils. After diluting your essential oils you can add the mixture to your skin, creams, lotions or bath products.


Inhalation

A few drops of essential oils can be added to hot water an used in a diffuser.


Side effects

Essential oils can be highly toxic if used in high concentrations and some people can report allergies. There are studies that concluded that tea tree, ylang ylang, peppermint, and lavender oils can affect you adversely, which range from mild to severe.


Contact a doctor

If your eczema worsens by developing a yellow crusting or pus-filled blisters, this may indicate a bacterial infection and you may need a antibiotic cream.


Painful, fluid filled blisters indicate herpeticum, and are rare but severe complications caused by herpes simplex virus. If you think you have herpecticum seek immediate medical attention.


People with Excessive itchiness and oozing blisters and chronic flare ups should seek immediate medical attention as well.


There isn't any scientific evidence to support the medical use of essential oil for eczema. The oils mentioned, tea tree, geranium, clove and chamomile have shown evidence to be anti inflammatory or antimicrobial. These properties may ease eczema symptoms.


Leave a comment and let us know what you use for eczema or any other skin condition you may have.

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