Categories
Natural Health News and Articles

Essential Oils & other Natural Treatments for Eczema

Reviewed & edited by Dr. Jeffrey C. Lederman, DO, MPH and Julie A. Cerrato, PhD, AP, CYT, CAP

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that usually occurs in children (often starting before age 5) but that can occur at any age. Eczema usually lasts for years but tends to flare up and subside.

Symptoms

Symptoms include cracked, dry or scaly skin that itches, often getting worse at night; red or brown patches, commonly inside the bend of the elbows and knees and, in infants, on the face and scalp; small, raised bumps on the skin that may leak fluid when scratched; and red, swollen skin that’s irritated from scratching.

Causes

Researchers haven’t identified a definitive cause of eczema but believe that the condition could be hereditary. Eczema may be a result of a gene variation that affects the performance of the epidermis, which is the outer layer of the skin that acts as a barrier to protect the body from the irritants, allergens and microbes of the outside environment.

Another possible cause of eczema is a dysfunction of the immune system, which generates an inflammatory response to environmental factors.

For years, people blamed eczema on allergies, but eliminating allergens has been found to rarely help clear the condition.

Treatment

Doctors usually treat eczema with prescription creams that contain steroids and antibiotics. They also recommend antihistamines, hydrocortisone and prescription-strength moisturizers. While pharmaceutical treatments are helpful, they only suppress symptoms and do not heal the root of the problem.

Instead, consider essential oils like lavender oil and tea tree oil, which can act as restorative agents to the skin as well as provide aromatherapy to aid in relaxation and reduce stress.

Lavender oil has antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties that act to restore the skin. Lavender oil gently eases irritation while working to promote a healthy balance of nutrients on the skin.

Tea tree oil acts as a protective agent for the skin with its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It also has been shown to help reduce the appearance of scar marks, which may result from constant scratching.

Essential oils are potent and highly concentrated, which means that they may cause skin irritation. Consider combining the oil with a water or oil-based substance to reduce potency.

The aromatic compounds of the lavender and tea tree oils act as a stress reducer, which also is important because stress is one of the primary causes of eczema skin flare-ups. To maximize the aromatic benefits of these essential oils, consider an aromatherapy diffuser.

Other ways to manage eczema

  • Choosing mild soaps and detergents without dyes or perfumes and making sure to rinse the soap completely off the body when bathing
  • Moisturizing the skin at least twice a day, especially after bathing, to ensure that the skin stays hydrated
  • Avoiding excessive bathing, which can cause more dryness
  • Wearing cool, smooth-textured cotton clothing
  • Avoiding rough, tight or scratchy clothing such as wool
  • Using a humidifier if indoor air is hot and dry
  • Reducing or eliminating stress

Written by Jessica Braun. Jessica is a health writer at WholesomeONE. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[ dot]com.

REFERENCES

  • http://www.uptodate.com/ contents/treatment-of-atopic- dermatitis-eczema?source= machineLearning&search=eczema& selectedTitle=1~150& sectionRank=2&anchor= H55642999#H55642999
  • http://www.uptodate.com/ contents/treatment-of-atopic- dermatitis-eczema?source= preview&search=eczema+ children&language=en-US& anchor=H4&selectedTitle=1~150# H4
  • http://www.uptodate.com/ contents/epidemiology- clinical-manifestations-and- diagnosis-of-atopic- dermatitis-eczema?source= search_result&search=eczema+ and+epidermis&selectedTitle=2~ 150
  • http://www.mayoclinic.org/ diseases-conditions/eczema/ basics/definition/con-20032073
  • http://www.mayoclinic.org/ diseases-conditions/eczema/ basics/symptoms/con-20032073
  • http://www.mayoclinic.org/ diseases-conditions/eczema/ basics/causes/con-20032073
  • http://www.mayoclinic.org/ diseases-conditions/eczema/ basics/complications/con- 20032073
  • http://www.mayoclinic.org/ diseases-conditions/eczema/ basics/alternative-medicine/ con-20032073
  • http://www.mayoclinic.org/ diseases-conditions/eczema/ basics/prevention/con-20032073
  • http://www.mayoclinic.org/ diseases-conditions/eczema/ basics/lifestyle-home- remedies/con-20032073
  • https://wholesomeone.com/ news-articles/simple-lavender- oil-treatments-eczema
  • https://wholesomeone.com/ product-category/essential- oils/tea-tree-essential-oils
  • https://wholesomeone.com/ product-category/essential- oils/lavender-essential-oils
  • https://wholesomeone.com/ product-category/essential- oils/aromatherapy-diffusers

[/themedy_accordion]

Categories
Treatment

Simple Lavender Oil Treatments for Eczema

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.

  1. Add 10 drops of essential oil to one cup of water (distilled or tap water work fine).
  2. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and close tightly.
  3. Shake well and spray on affected areas.

Or make lotion supplemented with lavender oil.

  1. Buy a fragrance free lotion containing Shea butter or vitamin E (Burt’s Bees Fragrance Free Shea Butter & Vitamin E Body Lotion works well).
  2. Add 10-15 drops of lavender oil to the container.
  3. Mix well with a spoon.
  4. Rub lotion into the skin gently.

In addition, you can also make a vegetable oil-based treatment.

  1. Purchase a nut or vegetable oil (coconut or sesame oil, for example) to use as a base.
  2. Add 15-20 drops of lavender oil to the container.
  3. 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.

[themedy_toggle icon=”” heading=”References” onload=”closed”]

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

Related Products

[products ids=”14348, 14345, 14337″ columns=”3″]


Categories
Natural Health News and Articles

Massage and Insomnia: The Healing Power of Touch

A gentle massage can do more than just relieve pain and discomfort in the body. If you have chronic difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep because of insomnia, massage can help establish a pattern of restful and rejuvenating sleep.

As we move throughout our daily lives and experience stress, we store a lot of tension in our muscles and ligaments without knowing it. Restlessness at bedtime could be a result of anxiety, overwork, overeating, indigestion, an empty stomach, smoking, or an excessive intake of caffeine or sugar. Feeling angry, upset, resentful, afraid, or unsafe can also contribute to sleeplessness. Through massage, pent-up energy due to stress is released from targeted parts of the body.

Studies have shown that massage enhances relaxation and improves sleep patterns, especially when used in tandem with essential oils. Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) in particular may result in improved sleep quality, reduced anxiety, a more stable mood, and increased mental capacity, reports a study conducted at University of Maryland Medical Center.

That being said, certain types of massage may be more effective for particular people. Swedish Massage, the most popular type of massage, is both relaxing and stimulating as it combines movement of joints with soft, kneading strokes to massage the topmost muscle layers. Thai Massage, on the other hand, uses yoga-like stretching and puts gentle pressure on energy lines in the body called meridians. It is similar to Shiatsu Massage, which means “finger pressure” and involves the therapist using rhythmic pressure on precise acupressure points. Shiatsu massage focuses on restoring the flow of the body’s vital energy, called chi.

In addition, Neuromuscular Therapy Massage and Deep Tissue Massage are used in cases of chronic pain and severe stiffness. They target underlying causes of discomfort in the muscular and nervous systems. Chair Massage offers a 15- to 20-minute seated massage of one’s neck, head, shoulders, back, arms, and hands.

Edan Harari of Kinetic Massage Therapy says, “A good thing about massage is that while it’s recommended that you see a professional for complete and more effective one hour sessions, you can also benefit greatly from having your partner or a loved one give you some nurturing and gentle massage before you go to sleep.”

Regardless of which massage therapy you choose, the therapeutic qualities of massage can help manage insomnia. Be sure to maintain regular massage treatments until symptoms of sleeplessness subside.

Written by Nicole Kagan

Reviewed by Edan Harari, LMT

References

  • Benefits of thai massage. (n.d.).
    suphattrasretreat.com/Benefits.aspx
  • Insomnia. (2012, January 20). Retrieved from
    umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/insomnia-natural-treatments
  • Massage therapy styles and health benefits. (2012, May 10). Retrieved from
    webmd.com/balance/massage-therapy-styles-and-health-benefits