Are you looking for the best carrier oils for eczema, then this article is for you. Of course, essential oils can help, which we’ve discussed in a previous article, but in this one, we will look at the best carrier oils. We also look at why and how they can help with eczema.
Carrier oils such as Jojoba and Calendula are soothing, nourishing, and hydrating for our skin. They can play an excellent role in reducing some of the itchiness, redness, and irritation associated with eczema. In addition, oils such as Borage and Tamanu can reduce inflammation and provide a protective barrier to the skin.
Before we jump into the best carrier oils for eczema, let’s have a quick look at what eczema is.
What Is Eczema?
If you’ve ever experienced eczema, you know how annoying it can be. And if you’ve experienced it, your children are more likely to as well, as there is a genetic element to it.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a condition that causes your skin to become dry, red, itchy, and flaky. It is just one of the many kinds of dermatitis. It is generally caused by stress, food allergies, genetics, environmental triggers (such as air pollutants, tobacco smoke, or some clothing fabrics), and immune system response or activation. Pinpointing the catalyst for you can help you manage the condition.
Stress can significantly contribute to eczema and is one where essential oils can support you. Many essential oils can help ease stress - look for oils known for their calming and relaxing properties. Lavender, Bergamot, and Chamomile would be a great place to start, but you can read more about stress, anxiety, and essential oils here.
Eczema damages the skin barrier function, and it's this loss of the barrier function makes your skin more sensitive and prone to dryness, irritation, and infection. It is a relatively common skin condition, and it is said that up to 20% of people will experience eczema at some point in their life. People with allergies or asthma are more likely to experience eczema, and while there is no cure, there are numerous topical applications to help ease its symptoms.
What is the Difference between a Carrier Oil and an Essential Oil?
In this article, we are referring to carrier oils before diving into the best carrier oils for eczema. First, however, we thought it would be best to share the difference between carrier and essential oils. Many people can and do misunderstand the difference between them.
Carrier oils are perfect for helping ease your symptoms as they provide hydration, nourishment, and healing properties. They are different from essential oils despite both being made from plant matter.
Carrier oils, also known as vegetable oils, are made from seeds, nuts, or kernels, whereas essential oils are made from flowers, leaves, roots, fruits, seeds, and the bark of plants. In addition, essential oils are steam distilled from the plant matter, whereas carrier oils are cold-pressed from the plant material.
Essential oils are highly concentrated, highly aromatic, and contain no vitamins or minerals. However, carrier oils can be applied liberally, have a minimal scent, and have vitamins and minerals. Carrier oils dilute essential oils and then carry the properties into the skin.
But which ones are the best? Let’s look at our Top 5 Best Carrier Oils for Eczema.
Grapeseed oil is cold-pressed from the seeds of grapes that are discarded in the winemaking process, and ‘the extraction of the seeds into oil has become a profitable by product of the wine industry’ (Fioravanti, 2011). Isn’t it wonderful that other industries can use an otherwise discarded product to make a fantastic product?
Grapeseed oil is known for its soothing and calming properties and is filled with omega chain acids and vitamin E, making it an ideal candidate for eczema support. When used in skincare products, it helps prevent moisture loss and is known as an emollient. It also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial actions. Grapeseed contains antioxidants and essential fatty acids, which can help promote wound healing. In addition, it is a light, odorless oil that absorbs quickly into the skin.
While Grapeseed is a beautiful oil, it is important to note that it does not have a long shelf life, so be mindful of the quantities you purchase for home preparations. You don’t want it to go rancid. Consider buying smaller portions more regularly than large ones and letting them go off.
2. Jojoba Oil
Technically this oil is a liquid wax that is cold-pressed from the nuts of the jojoba tree. It is one of the more expensive oils due to the number of nuts required to produce enough oils. It takes over 1200 whole nuts to make up to a pound of nuts, making about half a pound of jojoba oil.
The jojoba tree is a woody, evergreen desert shrub that grows in the Sonoran Desert in Southwestern America. Only the female tree bears the seeds, and not until her fifth year. After that, they can grow to a height of 7ft and generally reach maturity after 12 years.
Jojoba oil contains long-chain fatty acids, and because it is a wax, it has a long shelf life. Its shelf life can increase if stored out of light, heat, and air. Many First Nations people have used jojoba as part of their medicine to treat sores, cuts, and burns and heal skin conditions. It has a slightly nutty aroma and absorbs well into the skin.
It is used in many cosmetic formulations and is well known and admired for its ability to regulate the skin’s sebum layer and its emollient properties, all of which make it an ideal product for eczema. In addition, it is favored by many for its ability to hydrate the skin and not clog the pores as many others can.
3. Calendula Oil
While this oil comes close to the top of our list of best carrier oils for eczema, it is not a carrier oil in its own right. Calendula oil is made by infusing marigold flowers into a carrier oil such as Grapeseed oil, this process is called maceration, and you can read more about it here. However, it is well known for its anti-inflammatory, wound healing, and skin-repairing properties, which are great for conditions like eczema.
Calendula oil is said to contain a combination of lipophilic (fat-loving) and hydrophilic (water-loving) extracts, giving it its skin healing properties. As a result, many oil enthusiasts find it useful as a base for assisting with skin conditions such as eczema.
Calendula can be used safely by all age groups; however, if you are allergic to the daisy or aster family plants like ragweed and chrysanthemums, you should not use Calendula. Also, the shelf life of Calendula oil will depend on the oil base used.
4. Borage Oil
Borage is an annual herb native to the Mediterranean regions and known as a culinary herb as well as a healing one. While studies have shown variable efficacy with Borage oil, many have claimed that it has reduced the inflammation caused by eczema. It is rich in GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), said to reduce inflammation and be soothing and moisturizing to the skin.
Borage oil is composed of saturated fatty acids and is used in cosmetics because of its emulsifying and moisturizing characteristics. It also comprises stearic acid, which is a protective barrier and protects the skin from further damage.
Borage offers many benefits, such as being soothing to the skin, moisturizing, regenerative, and firming, and the plant material can also be used as a poultice to reduce inflammation. In addition, it feels light on the skin and doesn’t leave it feeling oily or greasy.
Aromatherapy author and researcher Jennifer Peace Rhind suggest that we should “use at up to 10% with other carriers,” meaning that we should use it with other carrier oils, and only 10% of the creation should be made up of Borage. So, if I make up a blend of 100ml, only 10mls of it should be Borage oil; the other 90mls would be other complementary oils to help support the healing.
Safety: Borage oil has a shelf life of up to 2 years if stored correctly. It is also recommended that this oil not be used during pregnancy.
5. Tamanu Oil
Tamanu is an ornamental tree native to East Africa and grows from the southern coast of India to Australia. The tree grows to a height of 6 to 9ft and has a thick trunk covered in dark, rough, and cracked bark.
Tamanu oil is cold-pressed from the kernel. The oil has a strong odor, which is thick and sticky, making it unsuitable as a massage oil and not suitable for dietary purposes. However, as a skincare product for topical applications, Tamanu is amazing.
Tamanu absorbs deeply into all three layers of the skin, where it has been demonstrated to regenerate new skin, repair nerves, and diminish scarring rapidly. It has a rich, woody aroma and can leave the skin feeling slightly oily.
It is one of the best carrier oils for eczema-prone infection. Tamanu is known for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibiotic properties. In addition, it provides healing to the skin and a protective barrier.
Safety: It has a shelf life of 1-2 years, and it is recommended that if you have sensitive skin, you do a patch test before using.
How To Use Carrier Oils for Eczema
So, we know a little more about the best carrier oils for eczema, but how do we use them in the best way.
With our best carrier oils, we can turn them into several other products, such as creams and balms, or we can use them alone. We can also use some essential oils to create a more effective solution.
For the best success, use your carrier oil as a moisturizer to lock in moisture once daily, ideally after a bath or shower.
Our Expert’s Best Carrier Oils for Eczema Recipes
1. Nourishing Oil
Method of Use: Use this oil once daily or more often if and when needed. Remember that as the essential oils absorb the bloodstream via the skin, you won’t need to apply this all over your body, only to the worse parts. The oils will work their way into your system.
Safety: Not suitable for use in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.
2. Nurturing Oil Blend
- ½ oz of Grapeseed Oil (Vitus vinifera)
- ¼ oz of Tamanu Oil (Calophyllum inophyllum)
- ¼ oz of Calendula Oil (Calendula Officinalis)
- 3 drops of Helichrysum Essential Oil (Helichrysum splendidum)
- 3 drops of Myrrh Essential Oil (Commiphora Myrrha)
- 3 drops of Geranium Essential Oil (Pelargonium asperum var roseum)
Method of Use: Use once a day or as needed. As essential oils absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream, you do not need to use oil all over your body, even if eczema is all over your body. Apply the oil to the worst parts and let the oils work their way into your system. You can apply the blend all over your body if you wish.
Safety: As this blend contains Myrrh, we suggest you do not use it during pregnancy.
Eczema often comes and goes, so it is crucial to understand what triggers it. Thankfully you can have some carrier oils on hand to help alleviate the symptoms if and when they arise. So ensure you have our best carrier oils for eczema on hand to help you next time an eczema flare occurs.
Access to different solutions to ease the symptoms is a part of good eczema management. Please see your primary healthcare practitioner for further advice and support if your symptoms get worse or uncontrollable.