Health Advice re Eczema/ Dermatitis and Aromatherapy treatments
In both eczema and dermatitis, areas of the skin become hot, itchy and dry, with an itchy rash that may lead to blisters and weeping scabs, or broken skin, in more acute cases. The skin can become flaky, and the skin pigment may become darker than surrounding areas.
Reasons for its appearance are variable, but some types are thought to be hereditary (atopic), with a link to sensitivity to gluten (in wheat products) and dairy products. It follows that reducing (or eliminating) dairy and wheat products may help. It is best to eliminate first one, then the other, to be sure which is causing the problem. Taking evening primrose oil as a food supplement internally can be helpful – you can buy this in capsule form from a health food shop or chemist.
People who suffer from rashes often also have a sensitive digestive system. Making soup with lots of onions, potatoes, leeks and carrots can help, as these are good blood cleansers. Provided you are not over-sensitive to dairy products, the use of ‘live’ pro-biotic yoghurt or fromage frais over a few days can be helpful in restoring the body’s natural digestive defences.
Stress is also a factor, and rashes usually reduce when the sources of stress are removed. Consider why the body is experiencing stress, and try to address or reduce the sources of the problems. People who are experiencing stress often feel over-whelmed, or out of control, so finding ways to re-establish control of your life, such as clarifying priorities for action (yours and other people’s), how to establish limits to expectations etc, can be a helpful way forward.
Some rashes are not hereditary, and arise when a person becomes sensitized to a particular chemical product, usually through repeated contact with a particular substance e.g. washing powders, washing-up liquid, anti-perspirant or shaving foam. If a rash appears only in a particular place, it is worth considering what has come into contact with that area, e.g. washing up liquid becoming trapped under a wrist-watch strap. Changing a washing powder or liquid or using protective gloves can also sometimes help.
Home application of essential oils or other remedies for eczema is not recommended unless you have had specific guidance from a qualified person, such as a doctor or nurse, qualified aromatherapist, or naturopath or herbalist. Some eczemas respond negatively to the application of oils, increasing the feeling of heat in the skin, so it is best to proceed with caution, and stop any treatment if it is not helping.
The following remedies should be available through a good chemist, or health food shop, and can be tried initially, for their cooling properties:
Aloe vera gel : to reduce inflammation in an existing rash, try using aloe vera gel (which is cooling and non-oily).
Calendula tincture can also be helpful, and can be combined with the aloe vera as follows:
Mix together (ideally in a small clean small glass pot) and stir well:
50 ml aloe vera gel
15 drops calendula tincture
Apply two or three times daily.
An application of a strong infusion of cold chamomile tea (dabbed on with a clean cotton wool pad) can also be helpful.
An aromatherapist can suggest a course of treatment, including methods of application, and prescribing a more specific blend of essential oils and carrier oils. Consideration will be given to a holistic profile of the person and their surroundings, and the nature of the eczema / dermatitis condition concerned. Only use such a blend following qualified advice – do NOT use a blend which has been developed for someone else.
Helpful essential oils include: german chamomile (matricaria recutita), carrot seed (daucus carota), rose (rosa centifolia, rosa damascena) sweet thyme (thymus vulgaris).
Useful carrier oils: calendula (calendula officinalis), rose hip (rosa rubiginosa), St John’s Wort (hypericum perforatum), evening primrose (oenethera biennis) and jojoba oil (simmondsia chinensis).