Essential oils are concentrated extracts from various plants. Scientists have recently begun investigating the use of these oils in treating health conditions, including skin conditions.
People around the world use plants and plant extracts in their traditional medicines. In the United States, such practices are sometimes referred to as aromatherapy and naturopathy.
Some scientific evidence suggests that certain essential oils have antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. These properties could make essential oils useful in a medicinal setting, although scientists need to do more research on their benefits.
In this article, we investigate whether essential oils are helpful for skin conditions. We’ll also look at essential oil usage and the potential health risks.
Researchers are studying the use of essential oils in treating various skin conditions, including:
Eczema is a skin disease that affects 15–30% of children and 2–10% of adults. It causes a person’s skin to:
Researchers need to do more research on essential oils and eczema. Some studies suggest that essential oils can improve symptoms of eczema, while others disagree.
For example, a small study in children with eczema looked at whether a standard treatment combined with a massage with essential oils or a massage alone is more effective. There was improvement in eczema symptoms in both groups, suggesting that essential oils did not make a significant difference.
Other research suggests chamomile extract might be slightly more useful in relieving eczema symptoms than 0.5% hydrocortisone, a common drug used for eczema. However, because the study did not use a double-blind method, the results could be unreliable.
There is little research to suggest that essential oils could help with dry skin.
However, if some essential oils help with eczema, they can also improve dry skin in general. This is because dry skin is a symptom of eczema.
Some people have chronically itchy skin, also known as chronic itchy skin. This condition can be very uncomfortable and is sometimes difficult to treat.
Scientists may have found evidence that some essential oils can help with chronic itching.
For example, a 2016 study suggests that using peppermint oil in petrolatum significantly improves chronic itching compared to petrolatum without peppermint oil. A 2017 study found similar results with clove oil.
There is no scientific evidence that essential oils reduce rashes. Since essential oils can potentially cause allergic reactions, they can potentially cause skin rashes.
Essential oils are the concentrated extracts of raw plants. The different oils come from different plants. Manufacturers sometimes sell them in pure form and sometimes dilute them in a carrier oil.
There are two main techniques for extracting essential oils. The first is steam or water distillation. This is the case when people pull the extract out of the plant by forcing water or steam through the plant material.
The second is cold pressing. This is the case when humans often use mechanical assistance to compress the plant material, forcing the plant material to release its essential oils.
The two main methods of using essential oils are inhalation and topical application.
Depending on a person’s preferences, they can inhale essential oils using a variety of methods. You could infuse entire rooms with essential oils using diffuser containers, sprays, or oil droplets. By using steam massages or steam baths, you could inhale essential oils in a more controlled manner.
It is also possible to apply essential oils topically by massaging them into the skin. However, because it is not safe to apply undiluted essential oils directly to the skin, a person must dilute the essential oils in a carrier oil. Popular carrier oils are almond oil and olive oil.
People shouldn’t take essential oils. This can lead to organ damage and side effects. Scientists note a near-fatal case in which a person became very unwell after ingesting peppermint oil.
Essential oils are extracts from natural products. However, this does not automatically make them secure even when used properly. Like many other natural things, essential oils can pose health risks.
For example, some people might have allergic reactions to essential oils. First time essential oil tasting, only a small amount should be used. You can then wait and see if they develop allergic reactions, such as:
- Irritation and burning sensation on the skin
- Asthma attacks
- Difficulty breathing
People also sometimes report nausea and headaches as a result of inhaling certain essential oils.
There is scientific evidence that overexposure to certain essential oils can lead to various health complications. For example, the use of essential oils in aromatherapy can lead to dermatitis. Seriously, some people have experienced seizures while participating in the commercial preparation of:
- Sage oil
- Hyssop oil
- Thuja oil
- Cedar oil
People have long used essential oils as natural medicines. However, scientists need to do more research before they can confirm the health risks and benefits of these oils for skin conditions.