Topical application of essential oils could be effective in relieving the inflammation, itching, and dryness, as well as in keeping your skin free from infection. You can use essential oils alone or in combination with other mainstream anti-eczema treatments. In this article, you’ll discover some of the best essential oils for eczema and a few healing recipes you can try.
- 1 What Is Eczema?
- 2 What Are the Symptoms of Eczema?
- 3 How Is It Treated?
- 4 Best Essential Oils for Eczema Relief
- 5 Home Remedies Using Essential Oils for Eczema
What Is Eczema?
It’s estimated that there are approximately 31.6 million Americans who have some type of eczema.  Eczema refers to a group of non-contagious conditions that cause inflammation and irritation of the skin. According to the National Eczema Association, there are eight eczema types, namely:
- Atopic dermatitis
- Dyshidrotic dermatitis
- Contact dermatitis
- Nummular dermatitis
- Stasis dermatitis
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Hand eczema
Among these eight, atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema is the most common. It often affects people who have altered skin barrier or a personal or family history of asthma, eczema, and hay fever.
Although it can affect any area of your body, it commonly appears on the face, hands, inner elbows, feet, and behind your knees.
What Are the Symptoms of Eczema?
The most common symptoms of eczema are itching, redness, deep cracks, scaling, and fluid-filled blisters (also called vesicles or bullae). The root cause of eczema is still unknown, but the theory is it’s due to an overactive immune response to an irritant, such as:
- Certain foods, such as wheat, peanuts, eggs, soy, fish, and milk
- Certain chemicals in products, such as laundry detergents, perfume, and soaps
- Hot water
- Prickly clothing, especially those made from wool and mohair
- Sun exposure
- Allergens, such as pet dander, pollen, mold, and dust mites
How Is It Treated?
Since there are no laboratory tests to diagnose eczema, you need to consult your GP or dermatologist. Your doctor will perform accurate history taking and examination of your skin to determine if you have eczema.
There’s no permanent cure for eczema. However, there are different things you can use to prevent flare-ups and keep its symptoms under tight control.
In most cases, the goals of treatment are to reduce the symptoms, such as itching and inflammation, heal the skin, keep the skin moist and hydrated, avoidance of potential allergens or triggers, and prevent infections.
A good treatment plan is multifaceted, which includes prescription or over-the-counter topical medicines, such as corticosteroids, antibiotics, and immunomodulators, and appropriate skin care routine.
Despite the medical treatments available, over 40% of eczema sufferers are still not satisfied with them because they’re costly, ineffective, or have harmful effects.  But, there are alternative treatments that you can use to reduce the symptoms or prevent future attacks, such as using essential oils for treating eczema.
Best Essential Oils for Eczema Relief
Carrot Seed Essential Oil
Carrot seed essential oil comes from the dried seeds of the wild carrot (Daucus carota). It’s usually yellow to light orange-brown in color. Its scent can be described as fresh, sweet, woody, and herb-like.
Excessive sunlight exposure can trigger or aggravate eczema. Carrot seed essential oil helps by neutralizing the damaging effects of free radicals, such as premature aging, skin dryness, and inflammation, and encourage tissue growth.
It has this benefit because it’s rich in natural antioxidants, which protect the skin from the inside out. 
Alpha-thujene and alpha-pinene are two of carrot seed essential oil’s major compounds that are responsible for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. 
Over 90% of eczema sufferers have colonies of Staphylococcus aureus living on their skin, which makes it more sensitive and the inflammation worse.  And since eczema lesions are dry and inflamed, people can’t help but to keep on scratching them. This then increases their risk for infection.
Carrot seed essential oil is generally safe, but you should never use it undiluted. People with epilepsy should avoid using it. Also, stay indoors 1 to 3 days after applying it on your skin because it can cause photosensitivity reactions. When going outdoors, cover the area of your body where you applied the essential oil.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is one of the most well-known and versatile essential oils today. Its health benefits include its ability to prevent eczema flare-ups and eliminate its symptoms. It’s a must-have essential oil for eczema sufferers because:
It keeps them calm and relaxed.
Emotional stress and sleep deprivation can trigger an attack or make the symptoms worse. Inhaling lavender essential oil will help promote better sleep and fight depression, anxiety, and everyday stress.
A study even suggests that its effect is almost the same with mainstream drugs for anxiety and depression, such as Valium, Xanax, and Prozac. 
It gets rid of the pain and inflammation.
Severe eczema can be chronic, debilitating, and painful. Lavender essential oil helps because it’s an anti-inflammatory and painkiller. In fact, a 2015 study compares its pain-relieving effect to that of tramadol, an opioid medication for moderate to severe pain. 
It keeps the skin free from infection.
Lavender essential oil is also an anti-fungal and antimicrobial. A study shows that it might have a weak antibacterial activity against certain strains of Staphylococcus aureus. 
A report published in the Science Translational Medicine says that children with eczema normally have larger colonies of Staphylococcus aureus living on their skin, while those without eczema tended to have more of the opportunistic bacteria called Staphylococcus epidermidis. 
Lavender essential oil is not known to cause serious side effects. But, it may irritate the skin of some people, so make sure to combine it with a carrier oil and perform a skin patch test before using it.
Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile essential oil is extensively used in making skin care products because of its ability to soothe and heal dry, inflamed, and irritated skin, as well as promote a healthy skin.
Both German (Blue) chamomile essential oil and Roman chamomile essential oil has beneficial effects for the skin, but the former is the most healing between the two.
German chamomile essential oil is best for treating inflammatory and histamine-related skin issues, such as eczema, because of its powerful anti-inflammatory effects. This benefit is due to its chemical component called chamazulene, which also gives its blue color.
Because of its chamazulene compound, German essential oil is useful for treating skin allergies, such as eczema. According to a study involving mice, this essential oil can alleviate atopic dermatitis because of its anti-histamine activity on the skin. 
Roman chamomile essential oil is best used for anxiety and stress. The scent of this essential oil goes directly to the brain, producing a feeling of calmness and relaxation. If you have inflamed, itchy, and red skin rashes due to overwhelming stress and anxiety, use Roman chamomile essential oil to calm your nerves.
Pregnant women and people who have allergies, particularly to plants belonging to the daisy family (ragweed, marigold, daisy, chrysanthemum, and chamomile) should avoid using chamomile essential oil.
Since some suppliers use a toxic herbicide and defoliant called Agent Orange to harvest the chamomile flowers, make sure to buy from trusted suppliers who use only raw organic materials for producing their essential oils.
Birch Essential Oil
Birch essential oil is extracted from the bark of the birch tree. Its color ranges from clear to light yellow. It has a fresh, minty, and sweet fragrance that reminds you of root beer.
For centuries, this essential oil has been used as an effective astringent. Its ability to support skin health is due to its main active compounds, methyl salicylate and salicylic acid.
It’s great for eczema for many reasons:
- If you apply it on your skin, it creates a cooling sensation that provides relief to an itchy and irritated skin.
- It contains methyl salicylate, which is effective in reducing mild to severe pain and swelling.
- It prevents and treats bacterial and fungal infections. Due to constant scratching, eczema sufferers may develop open sores. This allows bacteria, viruses, and fungi to enter the skin, which may result to an infection.
Due to its high concentration of methyl salicylate, you should use birch essential oil in small amounts and avoid using it on your entire body. Also, it should be highly diluted when applied on your skin to avoid negative effects.
Don’t use birch essential oil on the following individuals:
- People with certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, ADHD, and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- People who are taking medications for blood pressure and blood clotting problems
- People who are experiencing or just had the flu
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Children under the age of 12
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary essential oil possesses a strong camphor scent that calms the mind and body. It’s a great stress-reliever. According to a study published in the Psychiatry Research, inhaling an oil blend containing rosemary and lavender essential oils for five minutes could markedly decrease stress hormones called cortisol in the saliva of the study participants. This may lessen the dangerous effects of long-term stress on the body. 
It’s broadly used for hair care and skin care preparations because of its nutrients. It’s moisturizing and rich in antioxidants, which protect the skin from drying and the damaging effects caused by the sun and excess free radicals.
People with severe forms of eczema may develop painful and deep skin cracks or fissures. Findings of one study show that certain compounds of rosemary essential oil, particularly 1,8-cineole, alpha-pinene, and camphor, may contribute to its ability to ease pain if combined with other painkillers (paracetamol and codeine). 
What’s more, it has antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties—all of which help keep eczema wounds from becoming infected.  To use on minor cuts or open wounds, simply combine 3 drops of rosemary essential oil and 2 teaspoons of your favorite carrier oil. Then, apply sparingly on your eczema wound.
Although it’s usually safe, it’s still important to use rosemary essential oil with caution. It has camphor, which could cause undesirable effects on the body, such as vomiting, convulsion, spasm, and digestive issues.
Never ingest this because it could be fatal. Like with most essential oils, children, pregnant women, and people with blood sugar problems should stay away from rosemary essential oil.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is known as a cure-all essential oil. Traditionally, it has been used to treat diseases and infections found in the tropics due to its various therapeutic properties.
It’s great for preventing infections and itching caused by bacteria and fungi because it has antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties. Terpinen-4-ol is one of its major compounds that’s responsible for these effects of tea tree oil. 
It prevents bacteria from causing an infection by destroying their protective layer, causing the materials to leak out, and preventing respiration.  Bacteria need to “breathe” to get energy from food, such as glucose. Without energy, bacteria or fungi are unable to reproduce and eventually die out.
Tea tree oil also promotes faster wound healing—in case you scratch too much and end up with cuts or open sores—because of its ability to form scar tissues (cicatrizant property). And because of this cicatrizant property of tea tree oil, it can reduce the appearance of dark marks or scars left by eczema lesions.
The great thing about tea tree oil is you can use it directly on your skin. Plus, it has fewer side effects. It doesn’t cause skin dryness, burning, or itching.
Although it’s usually safe to use topically, this is still not recommended for people who have sensitive skin, autoimmune skin diseases, are pregnant or breastfeeding, and are taking antibiotics. Always dilute it prior to use to avoid skin irritations or blisters.
Geranium Essential Oil
The use of geranium essential oil for the skin dates to ancient Egypt. Today, people use it to beat anxiety, ease inflammatory conditions, and heal cuts and abrasions. It may also be one of the best essential oils for a variety of skin problems, such as acne, oily skin, and eczema. 
Linalool, alpha-pinene, geranyl acetate, limonene, myrcene, and menthone are some of the main components of geranium essential oil that exhibit anti-inflammatory activity.
An inflamed skin is a common symptom of eczema. If it becomes too severe, it could cause other undesirable symptoms, including redness, dryness, itching, and swelling.
It’s a great choice for wound healing, thanks to its mild nature and antibacterial properties. According to a recent study, geranium essential oil is an effective treatment for difficult-to-heal wounds because of recurrent and resistant infections. 
If you’re feeling anxious or stressed out, just take a whiff of geranium essential oil to calm and relax you. In one study, researchers dropped some rose geranium essential oil on the collar of women who are in active labor. Inhalation of this essential oil didn’t only reduce their anxiety levels, but it also reduced their blood pressure. 
Geranium essential oil is generally nontoxic, non-sensitizing, and non-irritant. As with any essential oil, you still need to dilute it with a mild carrier oil to lessen the possibility that you might develop rashes or feel burning sensations after applying it on your skin. If you have blood pressure problems, pregnant, or breastfeeding, avoid using geranium essential oil.
Cedarwood Essential Oil
Cedarwood essential oil has a calming and relaxing scent, which is often described as warm, woody, rich, and slightly balsamic. It possesses different properties that make it great for treating acne, oily skin, dandruff, and sleeping difficulties.
The main active compounds of cedarwood essential oil are alpha-cedrene, thujopsene, cedrol, beta-cedrene, alpha-selinene, cuparene, and widdrol. 
These bioactive compounds are responsible for its therapeutic properties, including anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, tonic, sedative, anti-seborrheic, diuretic, and expectorant.
Cedarwood essential oil is used for treating skin diseases, such as seborrheic dermatitis or seborrheic eczema. This common skin condition affects parts of the body where there are plenty of oil-producing (sebaceous) glands, such as the scalp, ears, face, and upper back.
This essential oil can help reduce the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis by reducing the inflammation, minimize skin peeling, cure the infection, and normalize sebum production. 
This essential oil is a common ingredient in many herbal creams for wounds because of its antiseptic properties. The easiest way to use this to keep your eczema lesions infection-free is to dilute a few drops using any mild carrier oil. You can try coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, and sweet almond oil.
Cedarwood essential oil can be irritating to the skin in high concentrations. Don’t apply it near or into sensitive areas of your body. If you’re on your first trimester of your pregnancy, consult your doctor before using this essential oil.
Cedarwood essential oil comes from the cedarwood tree, which has a botanical name Juniperus virginiana. When purchasing it, don’t mistake it for juniper essential oil.
Patchouli Essential Oil
Patchouli essential oil has a light yellow or brown color, with a strong, slightly sweet, and musky fragrance. In Asian countries, particularly Japan, China, and Malaysia, it has been traditionally used to treat various hair and skin problems, such as dandruff, oily scalp, eczema, acne, and dry and cracked skin.
The most important benefit of patchouli essential oil is its ability to keep wounds and ulcers free from infections and speed up their healing.  Also, it fades the appearance of scars or marks left by wounds.
It helps treat eczema symptoms in several ways:
- It soothes inflammation and irritation, thanks to its various compounds, such as patchouli alcohol (PA).
- It keeps eczema lesions from becoming infected because they can inhibit several strains of fungi and bacteria. 
- It helps ease anxiety, depression, and stress, which are possible eczema triggers.  To take advantage of this calming effect of patchouli essential oil, you can add a few drops to your diffuser or vaporizer.
Patchouli essential oil is not toxic or irritating. However, it may cause hypersensitivity reactions if you use too much of it. When using this essential oil, take note of the following:
- Don’t engage in activities that require mental alertness and focus, such as driving, because of its strong sedative properties.
- If you have an eating disorder or digestive problems, don’t use this essential oil because it can suppress your appetite.
- Avoid going outdoors and exposing the area where you applied this essential oil to sunlight because it can cause photosensitivity.
Myrrh Essential Oil
Myrrh essential oil has a long history of religious and medicinal uses, but one of its most valued uses is its ability to promote a healthy and younger-looking skin.
That’s why it’s a key ingredient in many anti-aging creams and cosmetic products for cracked or chapped skin. Traditionally, it was used for treating wounds and minor skin irritations and preventing infections.
Myrrh essential oil’s benefits for eczema can be attributed to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antifungal, and calming properties. The class of chemicals that are responsible for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities is called terpenoids. 
It puts you on a good mood when you inhale it due to its chemical compounds that trigger your brain’s limbic system, the “seat of our emotions.”
One of the best ways to use myrrh essential oil for your eczema lesions is to mix it with skin-friendly oils, such as sweet almond and jojoba oils before applying it to your skin. You can also add it to your over-the-counter eczema creams or unscented lotions.
Topical application of myrrh essential oil is possibly safe. For people with sensitive skin, it may cause allergic contact dermatitis. To avoid this, highly dilute it and perform a skin patch test first to test for allergy.
Ingesting myrrh essential oil, especially if it exceeds more than 2 grams, is highly discouraged. It could cause minor to serious health consequences, such as stomachache, diarrhea, kidney irritation and heart problems.
If you’re taking medications for blood clotting, avoid using this essential oil. Also, pregnant women, people who are undergoing surgery within 2 weeks, and people who have diabetes and heart disorders should not use it.
Sandalwood Essential Oil
The oil extracted from sandalwood, also called as East Indian sandalwood or Mysore sandalwood, has a light yellow to light golden color. Its aroma is often described as sweet, exotic, warm, and woody. One of its most valued benefits is its ability to promote healthy and beautiful skin.
Sandalwood essential oil has several compounds that may be beneficial for eczema sufferers—from anti-inflammatory properties to anti-infection properties to keep eczema lesions clean and healing properly. 
According to a 2014 study published in the Phytotherapy Research, the major active ingredient that’s responsible for sandalwood essential oil’s anti-inflammatory effect is called santalol.
The mechanism of action of this compound is compared to NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), but without the adverse effects. Thus, it might help ease the symptoms of eczema.
Another great quality of sandalwood essential oil is its ability to enhance your mood and keep you calm and relaxed.  Before going to sleep or whenever you’re stressed, just pour a few drops of diluted sandalwood essential oil to your home diffuser or on the back of your neck.
Sandalwood essential oil causes few side effects. But, people with sensitive skin might develop allergic reactions to this essential oil.
To know if you’re allergic to this oil, perform a skin patch test by applying a small amount of diluted sandalwood essential oil on your inner forearm and wait for at least half an hour for allergic reactions.
Sandalwood essential oil might also cause sun poisoning or photodermatitis. So, avoid exposing the area where you applied the oil to sunlight or UV light.
This is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, young children, and people who suffer from some type of health problem, such as liver disorder.
Also Read: Best Essential Oils for Pneumonia.
Home Remedies Using Essential Oils for Eczema
Homemade Eczema Cream
- 1 tablespoon lavender essential oil
- 1 tablespoon carrot seed essential oil
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil or almond oil
- ½ cup beeswax – This is great for reducing the symptoms of eczema for several reasons: One, it provides a barrier against environmental irritants. Second, it has anti-inflammatory properties that prevent or treat harmful skin infection. Third, it keeps your dry skin soft and smooth. And lastly, it contains vitamin A that keeps your skin fresh and healthy.
- Using a double boiler, melt the beeswax until it completely melts. Off the heat, stir in the almond oil until everything is well blended.
- Add the lavender essential oil and carrot seed essential oil. Whisk as the mixture begins to cool to create an even texture.
- Transfer the cream to an amber glass jar with lid then close it tightly. Store in a cool dark place and use within 6 months.
DIY Anti-Itch Cream
- 1 ½ tablespoons witch hazel
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 10 drops geranium essential oil
- 5 drops chamomile essential oil
- 3 tablespoons bentonite clay (should have grey or cream color) – This will remove skin impurities, germs, and toxins. Also, it helps hasten the healing time of eczema or wounds and eliminate skin infections.
- 8 tablespoons ground oats (Avena sativa) – Oats keep the skin moist and protected from possible irritants by providing a protective barrier. It also protects the skin from inflammation and sun damage.
- Grind the oats until they reach a powder-like consistency. Gradually add small amounts of witch hazel to your ground oats and bentonite clay. Stir until you make a creamy paste.
- Add geranium and chamomile essential oils and avocado oil. Keep stirring until well blended.
- Store in an amber glass jar, or any dark-tinted containers, with a tight-fitting lid. Use this within 2 to 3 weeks.
Natural Wound Healing Ointment with Activated Charcoal
- 10 drops tea tree oil
- 5 drops myrrh essential oil
- ½ cup (4 ounces) of any carrier oil, such as coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons white beeswax
- 3 ½ teaspoons of powdered activated charcoal – This amazing substance helps heal wounds by capturing harmful chemicals, toxins, and germs to allow your body to flush them out.
- Turn on your stove to medium heat then slowly melt the white beeswax using a double boiler. If you don’t have one, you can use a large saucepan filled with up to 2 inches of water.
- Add the carrier oil that you prefer. Stir until well blended.
- Remove your double boiler or large saucepan from the heat. Pour the powdered activated charcoal and essential oils into the mixture while whisking.
- Transfer to an amber glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Allow the mixture to cool before closing the jar. Store in a cool, dark place and use it within 6 months.
Essential oils can be a good addition to any eczema treatment plan, if you just observe the right way to use them. You can also do some basic things to help you prevent flare-ups or making the symptoms worse, such as:
- Know your triggers and try to avoid them, such as wheat, eggs, peanuts, and certain fabrics made from polyester, wool, leather, denim, and rough linen.
- Identify stressful situations and try to avoid them. If that’s not possible, learn techniques that will help you effectively manage your stress levels.
- Keep your skin moisturized using unscented ointments, lotions, or creams. Ointments are usually the first best choice because of their high oil content and ability to seal in moisture.
- Avoid becoming sweaty, excessive sun exposure, and scratching or rubbing your skin.
So, what effective essential oils have you used to treat eczema?