Having itchy skin is probably something that most of us have experienced at least a couple of times. Many different conditions can cause itchy skin. And although many of them are pretty simple, this uncomfortable sensation can be incredibly annoying for anyone.
Some of the most common causes of itchy skin include:
- Dry skin
- Fungal infections
- Bacterial infections
- Atopic dermatitis
- Insect bites
Systemic conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, and thyroid conditions, can also cause itchy skin or pruritus. In many cases, you will need to get medical treatment for the underlying condition that is causing the itching. If you have a medical condition, you should never stop your medication without consulting your doctor first.
But it is also true that essential oils can help relieve many skin conditions. Using the right essential oil can help you boost the effects of your treatment. They could also be all you need to treat mild cases of certain skin conditions.
Different agents cause different skin conditions – from microorganisms such as fungi to autoimmune diseases, and even external injuries. This means that you need different treatment plans to fight each condition, and the same principle applies to essential oils. You need to understand what is causing your itchy skin before choosing an essential oil. It is also necessary to know how to use essential oils to treat skin conditions safely.
Let’s talk more about how to choose the right essential oil to treat your itchy skin.
Do essential oils work for itchy skin?
It is imperative to understand that essential oils won’t be able to treat all causes of itchy skin. Some causes, such as bacterial or fungal infections, can require medical treatment and should be evaluated by a physician.
But in many cases, you might be able to use essential oils alongside your traditional medical treatment. For example, if your doctor prescribes a round of antibiotics to treat a bacterial skin infection, you shouldn’t suspend your treatment. Instead, ask them about using essential oils to bolster the effect of the procedure.
Many essential oils have shown to have a beneficial effect on certain skin conditions. Some of them can even help you maintain a radiant, healthy complexion in the long run.
What are the essential oils suitable for itchy skin?
If you are unsure about what is causing your symptoms, it is always a good idea to visit the doctor to get a proper diagnosis. Once you discover the root of the problem, it will be much easier to pick the right essential oil for your condition.
Without further ado, let’s talk about the ten best essential oils for itchy skin!
Lavender essential oil is a powerful antiseptic and can help soothe irritated skin.
This powerful oil also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe itchy skin. It can also reduce anxiety and mood disorders, which can be a common consequence of having an uncomfortable skin condition.
Chamomile essential oil can reduce inflammation and relieve dermatitis and minor burns.
Chamomile essential oil has been traditionally used to help treat eczema, psoriasis, cold sores, and minor sunburn.
This essential oil has the potential to reduce the production of pro-inflammatory substances, such as histamine. It can also potentially reduce the urge to scratch your skin, and it could help relieve dermatitis. Chamomile essential oil could also help accelerate burn healing.
Chamomile essential oil contains flavonoids that have been shown to penetrate into the deeper skin layers. There, it can act as an anti-inflammatory agent by decreasing the production of pro-inflammatory substances, such as prostaglandins and cyclooxygenase-2.
Sandalwood essential oil can help treat psoriasis, skin inflammation, and acne.
A 2017 study showed that sandalwood essential oil could help significantly reduce the severity of psoriatic plaques and inflammation markers. Psoriatic skin samples used in this study reverted to a healthy skin structure after sandalwood oil treatment. This treatment also caused a significant reduction in epidermal inflammatory substances.
Another study showed that a combination of sandalwood oil and salicylic acid could be an effective treatment for acne lesions. It has also been shown to be active against different strains of fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Sandalwood essential oil could also help treat eczema and dermatitis.
Sandalwood essential oil contains α-santalol and β-santalol, which can reduce the production of inflammatory markers inside skin cells. Sandalwood oil can even mimic the effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) when applied topically.
Tea tree oil has been used to treat many skin conditions for thousands of years – and with good reason!
Tea tree essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties have been extensively researched for many years.
Tea tree oil possesses antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Traditionally, this oil has been used to treat skin ailments such as acne, herpes, cold sores, insect bites, and burns, amongst many others. Research suggests that it could help relieve psoriasis, too.
Tea tree essential oil contains terpinen-4-ol, which has been shown to be able to decrease the production of several proinflammatory substances. It has antifungal activity against many strains of fungi.
A 2011 study found that tea tree essential oil can reduce allergic contact dermatitis. Tea tree oil can also help repel insects and prevent insect bites, which can cause itching. It has also been found to improve skin healing after sun exposure.
Thyme essential oil can help you battle many different skin conditions which can cause itching.
Thyme essential oil has many benefits for your skin. For starters, it has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help heal your skin. A 2015 study also found that thyme essential oil can relieve atopic dermatitis, especially when combined with lavender oil.
Thyme oil can also inhibit the growth of several multi-resistant bacterial strains, and it is more effective when combined with oregano and lemon oils. Thyme essential oil contains carvacrol, which has been shown to reduce edema, swelling, and inflammation. Carvacrol and thymol, another compound found in thyme, can also boost the effectivity of antifungal preparations.
The cinnamon essential oil can fight harmful bacteria and inflammation to relieve your itchy skin.
A 2017 study demonstrated that cinnamon essential oil can help combat the bacteria that live on your skin and cause acne and other skin infections.
Research has also shown that cinnamon oil has potential as an anti-inflammatory agent since it can decrease the production of several inflammation markers. The cinnamon essential oil can also promote wound healing and help regulate immune responses. This essential oil also has antifungal properties.
Oregano essential oil is one of the most powerful natural treatments for fungal, viral, and bacterial infections.
The antiseptic properties of oregano essential oil have been widely recognized by scientific research. Oregano oil also exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which can help soothe your itchy skin.
Thanks to its antiseptic properties, oregano oil can also help speed up the healing process.
Rosemary essential oil can prevent insect bites, and it can help hydrate dry skin.
A 2016 study found that rosemary oil is the most effective essential oil when it comes to repelling insects. Rosemary essential oil also has antifungal properties. Another study showed that rosemary oil is also effective against different strains of bacteria.
This essential oil has also been shown to improve skin elasticity and hydration.
Eucalyptus essential oil is also a powerful insect repellent and antifungal oil.
Eucalyptus essential oil is also a very good insect repellent, and it could be a more effective antifungal than certain medications. This essential oil can also be effective against many different types of bacteria. Eucalyptus oil also exhibits anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties which can help soothe your irritated skin.
Peppermint essential oil is a great way to relieve chronically itchy skin.
Studies have shown that peppermint oil can relieve itchy skin. A 2016 study demonstrated that peppermint oil can help relieve pruritus caused by chronic health conditions, such as kidney disease and diabetes.
Peppermint oil also has antifungal, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties which can help relieve your symptoms.
How do you use essential oils for itchy skin?
There are several ways in which you can use essential oils to relieve itchy skin. The simplest and most common way to use them is to apply them topically. It is always important to remember that you should never apply undiluted essential oils to your skin since they can cause irritation and burns. We will discuss this more in-depth in the next section of the article.
Some carrier oils can also be beneficial for itchy skin since they have moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties. Carrier oils that can benefit your skin include:
- Olive oil
- Sunflower seed oil
- Grape seed oil
- Coconut oil
- Safflower oil
- Argan oil
- Soybean oil
- Peanut oil
- Sesame oil
- Avocado oil
- Borage oil
- Jojoba oil
- Oat oil
- Almond oil
- Apricot kernel oil
- Rosehip oil
You can also combine your preferred essential oil with a base lotion to create your own lotion for itchy skin. You could also try using shea butter or cocoa butter as a base for an all-natural alternative.
You might also want to try adding essential oils to a warm bath. This way, you will ensure that the essential oils reach every inch of your skin. The warm water can also help you relax and it can soothe your skin.
If you want to reap the relaxing benefits of certain oils, such as chamomile or lavender, you might want to use an essential oil diffuser. These simple devices vaporize the oils into a fine spray that you will be able to inhale easily and safely.
What are the risks of using essential oils for itchy skin?
Essential oils might be completely natural; there are still a few risks that you need to keep in mind. Just because a substance is natural, it doesn’t mean that it is always completely safe to use, or that it should be used indiscriminately.
Essential oils can still cause allergic reactions, especially if you don’t dilute them before using them. It is a good idea to do a patch test on a small area of skin before using the (diluted) oil on larger parts of your body.
You should always remember that essential oils shouldn’t be consumed orally. There is not enough evidence to support this method of consumption. Taking essential oils by mouth can cause negative side effects, and they might interact with any medications you are taking.
It is also important to keep in mind that you should never give essential oils to children or teenagers. Younger people have a higher risk of developing adverse reactions to essential oils, and their safety hasn’t been established during development.
Please remember to ask your doctor about any possible interactions between essential oils and any treatments you take. You should never replace medical treatment with essential oils without talking to your physician first. In most cases, it is better to combine both types of therapy to get the best results.
Final thoughts on Essential Oils for Itchy Skin
Before thinking about using essential oils to treat your itchy skin, you will need to understand what is causing your symptoms. Once you have an accurate diagnosis, you will be able to find the essential oil that will work for you.
Different essential oils can treat various skin conditions, from psoriasis to fungal infections and dermatitis. It is also essential to choose a high-quality carrier oil that provides even more benefits for your skin.
Please remember that you should never suspend your medical treatment without consulting your doctor first. When used properly, essential oils can become a wonderful compliment that will help soothe your itchy skin in no time.
Andrea, M.D is from Valencia, Venezuela. She is passionate about sexual health and education, and public health and global health. Additionally, she enjoys researching and learning about beauty, skincare, and cosmetic innovations. She has also volunteered in several NGOs in Venezuela. In her free time, Andrea enjoys reading, drinking copious amounts of coffee, making desserts for her family, going to the beach, and spending time with her dog, Dorito.