Eczema is a specific form of dermatitis. The word eczema, or atopic dermatitis is generally used to describe internally-provoked inflammation of the skin, usually due to allergies, which may affect some people more than others and is usually aggravated by stress. It tends to come and go and often travels with other allergic conditions such as asthma. Dermatitis, on the other hand also includes conditions that are caused by external factors and affect everybody in the same way, such as sunburn. Eczema is a chronic skin condition that can range from wet blisters to dry flakes. It is usually itchy and can occur on any surface of the body.
There are many types of eczema:
Seborrheic eczema – this type affects adults and young infants in different ways. In adults, the creases from the sides of the nose to the corners of the mouth may become red, flaky and itchy, in men, this inflammation may extend to the beard area and the hairy parts of the chest and back. The condition may also affect other skin creases such as the groin, armpits, and under the breasts. If it is found in a fold of skin and is moist, it is also known as intertrigo. Seborrheic eczema in a mild form also causes dandruff. The cause of seborrheic eczema is not known. It tends to run in families, and usually comes and goes over several years.
Housewife’s hand eczema – people who are constantly using dishwashing liquids, detergents, household cleaners, and shampoos often damage the skin on their hands. The skin becomes dry, rough and reddened, particularly over the knuckles. It may thicken, crack, flake and itch. A similar type of eczema occurs among people whose hands are exposed to irritant chemicals on their jobs.
Irritant eczema – the skin of an elderly person tends to be dry, particularly on the legs. This can lead to mild redness, flaking and irritation. If you take hot showers, you may get this type of eczema.
Dyshidrosis – in this type of eczema, itchy blisters erupt on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Some of the blisters may burst and weep, and the surrounding areas may become inflamed and tender. Other blisters do not burst, but die down to form a flat brown spot under the skin. An attack of this type of eczema usually lasts two to four weeks and then clears up on its own, though attacks tend to recur.
Discoid eczema – discs of red, flaking, weeping, itching skin appear, most commonly on the arms and legs. The condition lasts for several months, then usually clears up on its own, permanently. Its cause is not known.
Contact dermatitis – this condition is caused by an allergy to certain substances that may touch the skin.
Top Notes: basil, bergamot, cajeput, eucalyptus, niaouli, sage, thyme, yarrow
Middle Notes: chamomile, geranium, hyssop, juniper, lavender, Melissa
Base Notes: benzoin, cedarwood, clove, frankincense, immortelle, myrrh, patchouli, rose, sandalwood
*Synergistic Blend for Eczema:
Blend the following ingredients into 30 ml vegetable oil:
- 30 drops jojoba oil
- 10 drops evening primrose oil
- 10 drops German chamomile
- 5 drops yarrow
- 5 drops tagetes
Apply the blend to the affected area twice a day.
*Source: Worwood Valerie Ann, The Fragrant Pharmacy. Bantam Books, 1991
Essential Oils Blended into a Skin Mousse:
**Making a Skin Mousse
Take a clean glass jar that is big enough to hold up to 20 ml /4 tsp of the finished mousse. Add 15 ml / 3 flat tsp Aloe Vera gel, then 5 ml / 1 tsp jojoba carrier oil and stir the mixture with a small spoon. The oil and gel will start to combine and thicken. At this point, add another 2.5 ml / ½ tsp Aloe Vera gel and keep stirring. The mixture will suddenly go smooth and slack, taking on an opaque, pale cream colour. You will have approximately 20 ml / 4 tsp mousse in total – enough for around ten applications to the face.
You can use the mousse unfragranced, or, if you prefer, you can add essential oils to the mousse blend and stir again. The mousse will last between four and six weeks at a cool room temperature and will leave your skin feeling calmed, restored and soft.
**Source: Harding Jennie, The Essential Oils Handbook. Duncan Baird Publishers, 2008
- To heal acne, eczema or damaged skin, add 2 drops patchouli, 4 drops myrrh, and 4 drops frankincense to 20g / 4 tsp Skin Mousse and apply it to the affected areas.
- To heal cracked or damaged skin, or eczema, apply 2 drops benzoin resinoid, 2 drops German chamomile and 6 drops lavender in 20g / 4 tsp Skin Mousse.
- To repair skin that has been damaged by psoriasis, eczema or ulceration, add 2 drops immortelle, 4 drops Roman chamomile and 4 drops frankincense to 20g / 4 tsp Skin Mousse and apply it to the affected areas daily.
- To soothe eczema or psoriasis, or to heal skin sores, apply 2 drops spikenard, 4 drops yarrow and 4 drops immortelle in 20g / 4 tsp Skin Mousse to affected areas.
- To heal eczema, add 2 drops Rose Otto and 2 drops lavender to 20g / 4 tsp Skin Mousse; apply it to the affected areas.
- To heal wounds or ulcers, or relieve eczema or skin infections, add 2 drops violet leaf absolute, 4 drops yarrow and 4 drops myrrh to 20g / 4 tsp Skin Mousse and apply it to the affected areas.
- Eczema on the hand will improve if you wear rubber gloves over white cotton gloves when in contact with any irritants such as dish water.
- Dry your hands thoroughly after washing them, and apply an unscented hand cream several times a day.
- Eliminate milk and all milk products from the diet
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
- Try visualization or hypnotherapy to take advantage of the mind / body connection in allergic skin disorders.
- Explore methods of stress reduction
- There has been great success in cases of severe eczema by the use of hot spring therapy.
- Blackthorn, blueberry leaf, hawthorn berry and rue – all contain flavonoids that are excellent for reducing inflammation.
- To relieve itching and promote healing – mix goldenseal root powder with Vitamin E oil, then add a little honey until it is the consistency of a loose paste, apply to the affected area.
- A localized castor oil pack – very effective for relief of the itching, aids in the dryness of the skin, and promotes healing
- Take 500 milligrams of black current oil or evening primrose oil twice a day. This takes six to eight weeks to produce the desired effects.
- Try Aloe Vera gel and calendula lotion or creme on irritated skin
- Lotions made from chaparral herb Larrea divaricata can be very effective.
- Apply lotions after warm baths or showers before the skin dries out.
Gemstones for Healing:
Place on the affected area - 2 weeks
Reflexology areas to emphasize:
- Endocrine glands – esp. thyroid and adrenal glands
- Kidney / lymphatic glands – along with the skin, these systems contribute of the body’s waste elimination process.