Eczema is a general name for a number of chronic, inflammatory skin conditions. While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, it’s believed to be the result of a genetic defect with a subsequent interaction between the immune system and environmental allergens.1
A common form of eczema is dyshidrosis eczema, also known as pompholyx. Dyshidrosis eczema occurs on the palms of the hands, sides of the fingers, and the soles of the feet. Small, itchy, fluid-filled blisters appear on the affected area and may last for up to three weeks.2 Eczema on fingers, hands, wrists, and upper chest can also occur as patches and small bumps.3
Another common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis eczema. Atopic eczema is a chronic inflammatory condition that most often starts before the age of two and affects 10-20% of children.1 Atopic eczema can continue on into adolescence and adulthood. Atopic dermatitis eczema on legs usually occurs on the inside of the knees and elbows and on the ankles. The skin may also appear thickened and cracked. Skin may become raw and swollen if scratched.3
Eczema may also appear around the eyes, ears or cheeks. Eczema in ears can be an irritating condition that can range from a slight dryness of the outer ear to an infection of the internal parts of the ear canal.4 Eye eczema typically occurs on the eyelids.3
It is difficult to get rid of eczema permanently as it is a chronic condition. However, atopic dermatitis eczema can subside for several years at a time. Some of the known allergens that exacerbate atopic eczema are stress, dry skin, sweat, solvents, dust and pollen, and air pollution. For infants and young children, some allergens can be eggs, soybeans, wheat, milk, and fish.3
Eczema flare ups are irritating and painful. As eczema on face and eczema on neck areas is visible, it can cause embarrassment in older children, adolescents and adults. Further, itchiness associated with eczema flare ups can lead to loss of sleep. Scratching the skin to relieve itchiness can lead to infections, typically Staphylococcus aureus bacterial infections, which can further worsen the condition.3
Removing allergens from the environment seldom prevents a flare ups. The more severe eczema eruptions can be treated with topical corticosteroids. Moderate to mild eczema is managed by treating the symptoms and lengthening the period of time between flare ups, which can be accomplished with the regular and liberal application of emollients, such as lotions, creams, and oils.1 Essential oils added to emollients help to relieve the pain, inflammation, and itchiness of eczema.
Essential Oils for Eczema
Treating eczema is essential to delay flare ups and to reduce the chances of secondary skin infections and scarring. To determine what essential oil is good for eczema will require some experimenting as everyone will react differently.
While there are a number of essential oils for eczema treatment, the best essential oils for eczema are those that can be used in recipes to moisturize the skin, heal the skin, and assist in the fight against bacterial infections. While how to get rid of eczema flare ups will vary from person to person, eczema relief begins with moisturizing the affected areas.
Home remedies for eczema can include single oils or blends. Essential oils for severe eczema can be used as a complementary treatment along with topical corticosteroids.
Tea Tree Essential Oil for eczema
The benefits of tea tree essential oil include being a natural disinfectant and exhibiting antimicrobial activity. In a 2013 study, researchers investigated the benefits of tea tree essential oil against drug-resistant bacteria. Results show that tea tree essential oil inhibited growth of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
The Staphylococcus aureus bacteria is often responsible for infected eczema areas. Tea tree oil and eczema relief preparations may help reduce the chance of re-infection and help break the natural cycle of eczema inflammation. Using tea tree oil for eczema may also providing a cooling effect on the affected areas.
Lavender Essential Oil for eczema
One valuable benefit of lavender essential oil is its pain-relieving properties. When administered to post-biopsy patients, oxygen infused with lavender essential oil resulted in better pain control when compared to a control group. Using lavender essential oil for eczema may help manage painful flare ups.
Another benefit of lavender essential oil is its natural anti-inflammatory activity.5 In a 2015 clinical trial, lavender essential oil was noted to significantly reduce inflammation in isolated cells with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and osteoarthritis (OA). Both conditions are forms of chronic inflammation, similar to eczema.
Helichrysum Essential Oil for eczema
Traditionally used for itch relief, the benefits of helichrysum essential oil include strong antibacterial properties and natural wound healing activity. In a recent scientific study, helichrysum essential oil was noted to inhibit growth of the Staphylococcus bacteria by as much as 75%. In a separate 2014 study, helichyrsum essential oil was observed to promote wound healing, reducing the appearance of scarring by up to 50% in some patients.
Palmarosa Essential Oil for eczema
There are several benefits of palmarosa essential oil including anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Palmarosa essential oil has historically been used as a skin tonic, and believed to help hydrate dry, delicate skin. The combination of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties may also help speed wound healing, making it a valuable ingredient in natural eczema relief recipes.
Lemongrass Essential Oil for eczema
Lemongrass is often considered as one of the top essential oils good for eczema. Lemongrass essential oil’s benefits include its strong antimicrobial activity and anti-inflammatory properties. When used in natural eczema remedies, lemongrass essential oil may provide relief for topical pain and help prevent infection.
Essential Oil Recipe for Eczema
Users can easily create their own natural remedies for eczema which can be applied to help ease pain, inflammation and prevent infection. Depending on your symptoms, you can swap out any of the essential oils for eczema listed above to customize the topical formula.
For users wondering how to treat eczema infections and inflammation, the following essential oil blend for eczema is considered particularly effective. Combine 1-2 drops of tea tree essential oil, 1-2 drops of lemongrass essential oil and 1 Tbsp. of carrier oil such as grape seed, coconut or jojoba in a small bowl. Apply the mixture to a clean soft cloth and dab on the affected area. Let the mixture sit on the affected area for up to 10 minutes before gently wiping off. Using natural remedies for eczema may help sooth skin and reduce symptoms such as itching.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Berke, R., Singh, A., & Guralnick, M. (2012). Atopic dermatitis: An overview. American Family Physician, 86(1), 35-42. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2012/0701/p35.html
- Mayo Clinic. (n.d.) Dryshidrosis. Overview. Accessed on April 23, 2017 at – View reference
- Mayo Clinic. (n.d.) Atopic dermatitis (eczema). Symptoms. Accessed on April 23, 2017 at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/eczema/basics/symptoms/con-20032073 – View reference
- National Eczema Society. (2015). Eczema Factsheet. Ear Eczema. Available at – View reference
- Rufin A. T., Ferreira, I., Judas, F., Salgueiro, L., Lopes, M. C., Cavaleiro, C., & Mendes, A. F. (2015). Differential effects of the essential oils of Lavandula luisieri and Eryngium duriaei subsp. juresianum in cell models of two chronic inflammatory diseases. Pharmaceutical biology, 54(8), 1220-1230. http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/13880209.2014.970701