Skin inflammation is a common issue that affects most people at some point in their lives. Whether the inflammation comes from sunburn, psoriasis, or something else, the result is the same: itchy, painful skin that may look unpleasant and leave you feeling self-conscious.1
Skin inflammation can be caused by a number of issues, including dermatitis, allergic reactions, drug reactions, injury or damage to the skin, erythema nodosum (EN), and granuloma annulare.
Remedying Skin Inflammation
Rashes are a common problem, and they can sometimes be the result of minor illnesses or day-to-day activities. If a rash is not itchy or weeping, then self-medicating with a mild emollient may be sufficient to manage the inflammation while your body heals. If the rash does not get better after a couple of days, is painful, starts to weep, or is accompanied by other symptoms of illness, however, then you should seek professional medical advice.2
Depending on the cause of skin inflammation, your doctor may recommend topical steroids, emollients, or anti-inflammatory creams to manage the problem. Creams to stop the itching allow the skin to heal while moisturizing it.
If the rash is caused by something minor, such as eczema or contact dermatitis, or you have cracked, dry, or inflamed skin from handling equipment as a part of your job or from an intensive sport, then you may want to try relieving the inflammation yourself. Using essential oils to moisturize your skin and bring the inflammation down is a good starting point.
The Best Essential Oils for Inflamed Skin
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil is an antiseptic, antifungal, and immune-boosting oil that also acts as a gentle analgesic. This makes it a good choice for use on inflamed skin. It can also help prevent the damaged skin from becoming infected and reduce some of the soreness.
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There is some evidence to suggest that it can help to relieve dandruff, too, which is a mild variety of seborrheic dematitis.3
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is one of the most versatile essential oils, and it’s popular for reducing anxiety, soothing pain, and for treating burns, boils, and scars. This is a popular home remedy that is used in many family first-aid kits.
Studies show that it can help accelerate wound healing and also to soothe inflammation in the case of skin irritation or mild allergic reactions.4,5 These studies used a diluted solution of lavender applied directly to the skin to relieve inflammation.
Geranium Essential Oil
Geranium oil is usually favored for its calming and soothing effects, but it has other benefits too. Among these is its ability to act as a powerful anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, which can be helpful for managing a number of minor skin conditions.6
Citrus Essential Oils
Citrus oils, such as lemon or orange, are often used as cleansers and toners. These are astringent, making them good for greasy skin and for soothing breakouts and acne.
Studies show that orange oil can be beneficial for remedying acne.7 It is thought that the acetic acid in the oil is the primary active ingredient that produces these benefits.
Rose Essential Oil
Rose is a mild and gentle oil that is cooling and relaxing. It is often added to creams which are designed to help treat broken capillaries. Rose oil is useful for dry skin and has strong anti-inflammatory properties as well.8
Safety Tips for Essential Oils
If you decide to use essential oils to treat skin conditions, it is important that you do so carefully. Seek advice from your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking prescription medication. Do not use essential oils to treat severe rashes if you do not know what has caused the rash. If you are suffering from any other symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, or nausea, then see a doctor to determine the cause of the illness.
Do not use essential oils on broken or weeping skin. Additionally, as a general rule, you should never apply essential oils directly to the skin without diluting them first. Consult a dilution chart for the appropriate ratios.9
Use essential oils on unbroken skin only, and keep them away from the eyes and from mucous membranes. Always conduct a “spot test” to check for allergies when you are using new essential oils, and if irritation occurs, stop using the oil immediately.10
Moisturizing your skin regularly with mild, unscented cream and using gentle soaps is a good way to protect your skin from irritation. In addition, try to use sunscreen whenever possible, and cover up if you are out in the sun for long periods.
Otherwise, try some of the essential oils highlighted above if you’re looking to remedy mild skin inflammation, and you’ve gotten the go-ahead from your healthcare provider. You’ll be surprised by the improvements that these natural plant essences can provide.
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