If you are looking to find out about the best essential oils for eczema, you have come to the right place. But, while there are some great essential oils that can help, carrier oils are even better. So, in this post, we’ll break it down a bit. As ever, we’ll work off a list of the best essential oils for eczema. Then we’ll look at each one in turn. We’ll think about why each one is good, or in some cases, why they might not be a good fit for you. Finally, we’ll have a look at an essential oils recipe for eczema or two.
10 Best Essential Oils for Eczema
- German Chamomile essential oil
- Lavender essential oil
- Helichrysum essential oil
- Myrrh essential oil
- Cajeput essential oil
- Melissa essential oil
- Rose essential oil
- Geranium essential oil
- Tea tree essential oil
- Calendula absolute
Legally, botanical medicines are closely governed in terms of what we, as suppliers can say they can and can’t do. We are able to say they have certain properties, or that traditionally other people have used a certain plant to do something in the past. However, the usage of german chamomile is so widespread across the globe, it is one of the few plants which is not governed by this legislation. German chamomile is so soothing, and is used for digestive problems, teething...you name it, and luckily for us, it is one of the best essential oils for eczema.
Itching is probably the most troublesome aspect of eczema. Then we scratch skin that is often already inflamed and broken.
German chamomile contains chemical constituents called azulenes, which act like liquid anesthetics, calming and almost numbing the skin.
Azulenes are excellent for redness and soreness too.
Strictly speaking, lavender is NOT one of the best essential oils for eczema long term, because it will eventually make your skin even drier. Lavender instructs skin sensors to reduce sebum, the oily substance that protects and conditions our skin.
That said, lavender is tremendously calming and soothing, so if you have a bad breakout it can be a good choice just to stop scratching.
When considering the best essential oils for eczema though, we must remember that the normal rules do not apply here. Usually, we use lots of lavender but here, we want to use little and rarely.
If you imagine skin cells as bricks that belong to an enormous building, they would need iron rods between each brick to strengthen and support the structure. The equivalents to the rods in your skin are called corneodesmosomes. The corneodesmosomes are then held together by lipids. Lipids are fats in the molecules that act like mortar between the bricks.
However, consider how an eczematose skin barrier would be thinner than “normal” skin is. This is made worse by the steroids that the doctor gives you which strip away the top layers. Now, there is nothing to protect the iron rods. It’s a bit like someone has abandoned the construction site. The roof has been left open and there is no tarpaulin. So the skin’s support system is left wide open to the elements. With no protection, these corneodesmosomes deteriorate and will eventually snap. This snapping is what causes the flakiness in eczema.
The skin has many functions, one of which is to keep infection and pathogens out of the body, but now, with all these breakages, the skin breaks more easily allowing foreign bodies into the system. Helichrysum essential oil is high in a constituent called Neryl acetate, which is wonderful for skin healing. Depending on where the plants were grown, the amount of neryl acetate in helichrysum varies. The higher its content the better the essential oil will be for skin healing. Helichrysum is one of the best essential oils for eczema, not only because it heals the skin, but also because it is tremendous at fortifying the system overall, and fighting infection.
As we have seen, this perpetual breakage of the skin is problematic. If you are a parent of a child who is suffering with itching and scratching, it's tremendously upsetting too.
Myrrh, along with galbanum, is one of the best essential oils for eczema that is cracked and broken. We would choose myrrh oil for eczema that is suppurated and weeping. It is an incredibly speedy skin healer.
As ever, please be mindful that you do not use myrrh essential oil during pregnancy because of its strong action on the uterus. Although it did not make it onto our list of the best essential oils for eczema, galbanum essential oil can make a very good alternative that you could use after the first 16 weeks of your pregnancy have elapsed.
5. Cajeput Essential Oil
So few people talk about cajeput essential oil but it is one of the best essential oils for eczema and psoriasis. Psoriasis in particular responds well to cajeput. Not only does it heal the skin well, but it also has a powerful antimicrobial action that protects against infection.
Melissa made it onto the list because it is one of the best essential oils for eczema connected to allergies.
Ideally, the skin needs to be slightly acidic to make it difficult for fungi or bacteria to grow. We call this the Acid Mantle and it should have a ph value of around 5.5. In people who have eczema, (and in cases of seborrhoeic eczema, particularly) this ph tends not to be acidic enough. Consequently, its defense against allergens like dust mites and cat hairs is lowered and fungal breakouts like Malassezia are more common.
Helichrysum and tea tree are brilliant antifungals but Melissa essential oil has anti-allergenic properties.
7. Rose Essential Oil
Rose is wonderful for dry skin, which makes it one of the best essential oils for eczema on the face or on the scalp. Scalp issues are also really helped by patchouli essential oil.
Rose is also a hormonal balancer, but its most important action for eczema is on the emotions.
There seems to be a kind of theme in the kind of emotions that set eczema off. In her book, When The Body Speaks The Mind, Deb Shapiro tells how people who suffer from skin outbreaks sometimes seem to consider their character a bit flaky too.
Our skin is the organ we show to the world. It is what people see, and the body will often paint how we feel about life all over it. Think of how it starts to get dull and lifeless when we are stressed and how we flush and glow when we’re happy.
Rose is specifically for grief and depression, but it also helps us love ourselves a little more too.
Again, like in all cases, where we can’t afford to use rose oil to nourish the skin we could choose geranium instead. But its worth is much higher than that. This is one of the best essential oils for eczema that seems to follow stress or hormonal pattern.
Stress is a dreadful enemy to the skin, at the best of times, but for someone with eczema, the ravages are much worse.
Eczema and The Stress Response
When we panic or worry about something, or worse if we keep ruminating, long term. The amygdala, an almond-shaped part of the brain, perceives stress. When it thinks that we are in danger it sends a signal to the hypothalamus which then instructs the pituitary gland to send out hormones. Those hormones order the adrenal glands to activate the stress response
The response draws away any energy from systems in the body that it thinks we don’t need so that it can turn everything we have into glycogen to fuel our muscles. This worked well when we were cavemen and women because if there was a saber tooth tiger chasing us, it meant we could leg it at great speed, hopefully in time to jump up a tree. But in those days when the tiger was gone, or hopefully, our wife had managed to stick a spear in it and roast it for dinner, we could then relax and our parasympathetic nervous system could let everything wind down. Nowadays though, how many days can you think of when you felt no stress at all?
The problem an eczema sufferer has, is the body deems our skin to have no function in hiding from tigers, so if we are stressed it always has resources taken away from it. There is nothing looking out for it, and biologically, if this stress cascade continues, another part of the brain, the pre-frontal ventromedial cortex (VMPFC) also switches off.
Why Does Stress Make Eczema Worse?
The VMPFC only has one real job, to babysit the amygdala and say, hush now, calm down, we aren’t as stressed as you think. But the longer the stress goes on, it just gives up cajoling and just doesn’t bother anymore. Consequently, the body is flooded with cortisol until the adrenals have got nothing more to give, and so all that happens is the skin gets drier and more brittle.
There are several reasons why geranium is one of the best essential oils for eczema breakouts. It supports the adrenals, but is also incredibly calming, encouraging the amygdala to breathe and fetch himself a cup of tea! The VMPFC takes over, the parasympathetic system can start back up and the whole body calms down. When that happens, normal business in the skin factory is resumed, the nursemaids go in to assess the damage and healing can take place. Coming full circle, geranium nourishes the dry brittle skin and has antifungal properties too.
Very short and sweet. Strictly speaking, tea tree is probably not one of the best essential oils for eczema. However, it has antibiotic properties as well as being antiviral, antiseptic, and antifungal. Just one drop in your blend can really do wonders
10. Calendula Absolute
Calendula is a marigold that grows readily in most gardens and is one of the very best treatments you can use for skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. However the absolute is incredibly expensive and calendula flowers pass their properties very well into carrier oils. So if you visit our grapeseed carrier oil it tells you how to make your own calendula maceration, which works every bit as well as the absolute. This is a wonderful way to start making your own tremendous oil to carry your essential oils.
How Carrier Oils Can Improve The Results of The Best Essential Oils for Eczema
Hopefully, if I have done my job properly, it should be clear now how carrier oils can help.
When the lipids are now exposed, they crack, so there is this continual cycle of skin breakage. The barrier crumbles and so the barrier is even more compromised so it is then constantly open to allergens and infections.
If we go back to the original idea of the building, with its bricks, we are back to the mortar that holds the bricks together, being made of lipids. These have now dried out so by using the oils we refer to as carrier oils in aromatherapy, we can replace this lipid barrier. The correct name for carrier oils is fixed oils (actually in truth, not all carriers are fixed oils, but it serves for this purpose) and these are lipids too.
Great carrier oils to choose from are almond oil which is incredibly nourishing and rich, apricot kernel, avocado, or coconut oil. Tamanu would be wonderful if you keep on picking up infections.
One last tip though, because nothing is ever straightforward in aromatherapy! If you put too much carrier oil onto your skin, too regularly, the sensors start to think they are making too much sebum and so stop producing the one last thing keeping the skin supple. The way around that is to use jojoba. Jojoba isn’t strictly speaking an oil, it is a wax, so that is less likely to happen and has the added benefit of having a similar ph to the skin too.
For the best success, mainly use a moisturizer, but simply use a carrier oil as a means to lock in moisture, once daily, ideally after a soothing bath.
- 2oz Aqueous Cream (Available from the pharmacy)
- 3 drops Helichrysum essential oil (Helichrysum splendida)
- 2 drops German Chamomile essential oil (Chamomilla matricaria)
- 1 drop Myrrh essential oil (Commiphora myrrha)
Method of Use: Use up to five times daily, or as and when required. Incidentally, remember that essential oils absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream. If you have eczema all over your body, just choose a couple of the worst parts and the cream will start to do the job on the entire system. There is no need to smother it all over your body unless you want to of course!
Safety: Not suitable for use during pregnancy (Myrrh)
Once A Day Nourishing Oil
- 4fl oz of Calendula maceration made into Grapeseed Carrier Oil
- 10 drops Helichrysum essential oil (Helichrysum splendida)
- 10 drops Rose Geranium essential oil (Pelargonium roseum x asperum)
- 2 drops Myrrh essential oil (Commiphora myrrha)
Method of Use: Use a day, or as and when required. Incidentally, remember that essential oils absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream. If you have eczema all over your body, just choose a couple of the worst parts and the cream will start to do the job on the entire system. There is no need to smother it all over your body, unless you want to, of course!
Safety: Not suitable for use during pregnancy (Myrrh)
If you would like to learn more about the best essential oils for eczema, consider reading The Aromatherapy Eczema Treatment by The Secret Healer. Here are the links:
- The Aromatherapy Eczema Treatment Box Set. Series 1:Essential Oils for Beginners to Advanced Healing: The Complete Course of Healing Eczema, Itchy Skin ... (The Secret Healer Series Book 12345) Kindle Edition
- The Complete Guide To Clinical Aromatherapy and Essential Oils of The Physical Body: Essential Oils for Beginners (The Secret Healer Book 1) Kindle Edition