If you suffer from eczema and are sick of taking medication that only provides short-lived relief, lavender oil may be a new option for you. As an alternative to conventional treatments that merely suppress symptoms, lavender oil can be used as an all-around restorative agent.
The oil’s antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties benefit mild cases of eczema (atopic dermatitis), as well as create a sense of stability for balanced skin. Lavender oil has been valued for hundreds of years as a natural remedy for skin conditions, as it brings circulation to skin cells that suffer from irritants and stress. It is especially rich in aromatic molecules called esters, which are antispasmodic, tonic, and pacifying. Its cicatrizant properties, which assist restoration through formation of scar tissue, help heal all kinds of wounds and burns. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory for the skin and was even used as an antibacterial in hospitals during World War I.
Lavender oil is effective at soothing eczema and the variety of symptoms that accompany it. While the most common sign of eczema is an itchy rash, eczema sufferers also exhibit bumps, blisters, redness, scaling, and abnormal pigmentation. Doctors usually treat these symptoms with prescription creams that contain steroids and antibiotics. They also recommend antihistamines, immunosuppressants, hydrocortisone, immunomodulators, prescription-strength moisturizers, corticocosteroids, and ultraviolet light therapy to patients who need more support.
While pharmaceutical treatments are helpful, they only suppress symptoms and do not heal the root of the problem. As a result, patients tend to rely on medication for symptom alleviation.
Lavender oil can provide a broader spectrum of relief to eczema sufferers. Unlike the common antibiotic and steroid creams that can be addictive for people with eczema, lavender oil addresses the skin from the inside out. Lavender oil gently eases irritation, works to promote a healthy balance of nutrients on the skin, and acts as an effective stress-reducer. This powerful healing property of lavender oil is due to the aromatic compounds that enter into the bloodstream and travel to the limbic system, the part of the brain that is often called “the emotional brain.” Lavender oil’s treatment of stress is especially vital as stress is one of the primary causes of eczema skin flare-ups.
For a simple eczema treatment, make a homemade spray following three simple steps.
- Add 10 drops of essential oil to one cup of water (distilled or tap water work fine).
- Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and close tightly.
- Shake well and spray on affected areas.
Or make lotion supplemented with lavender oil.
- Buy a fragrance free lotion containing Shea butter or vitamin E (Burt’s Bees Fragrance Free Shea Butter & Vitamin E Body Lotion works well).
- Add 10-15 drops of lavender oil to the container.
- Mix well with a spoon.
- Rub lotion into the skin gently.
In addition, you can also make a vegetable oil-based treatment.
- Purchase a nut or vegetable oil (coconut or sesame oil, for example) to use as a base.
- Add 15-20 drops of lavender oil to the container.
- Shake well and use the mixture topically on eczema when needed.
While you could also apply pure essential oil in ‘neat form’ directly to small affected areas without dilution, this may be too harsh for skin due to the oil’s strength and purity. Start with one of the techniques that combines lavender oil with a water or oil-based substance, and see how skin reacts from there.
Keep in mind, too, that lavender oil should be avoided for people who are pregnant, have epilepsy, or a fever. Some essential oils contain miniscule amounts of neurotoxins, which may have a convulsant effect. Because essential oils are potent and highly concentrated, they can have a significant impact on a system prone to sensitivity. As always, be sure to consult your physician before use.
Lavender oil’s multifaceted healing properties—whether antispasmodic, antibacterial, or anti-fungal—can be used to supplement existing eczema treatments. Lavender oil allows skin to restore, renew, and heal in a natural and gradual way.
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Written by Nicole Kagan
- Lavender uses. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.netherfield.co.nz/lavender-uses.php
- The Franklin Institute Resources for Science Learning (2004). The Human Brain-Stress. www.fi.edu/learn/brain/stress.html