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Dermatitis, Eczema, and Psoriasis

Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008

Summary

see also Acne, Athlete's foot, Boils, Chapped Lips, Impetigo, Jock Itch, Melanoma, Rashes, Ring worm, Scabies, Scar Reduction, Skin cancer, Skin cosmetic problems

Dermatitis and eczema are general terms for types of inflammation of the skin, whereas psoriasis is a more specific disease that results in similar inflammation. They all produce red, inflamed skin and the terms overlap and are sometimes confused. Medically to distinguish psoriasis from the other conditions will take elaborate testing. Here are some of the general characteristics of each. 

Dermatitis is caused either by an irritant or by an allergic reaction to something that comes in contact with the skin. An irritant can come from excessive contact with something like a soap or other cleaning agent, a chemical used in employment or even different types of hair or hygiene products.  An allergic reaction is different in that the contact with the allergen may only be casual and then the rash may appear 24 to 48 hours after contact. Allergens mentioned are things like nickel used in jewelry, dyes, adhesives, medications, preservatives, etc. The primary symptom is red itching skin in the area of contact.

Eczema, a type of dermatitis (most common form is atopic dermatitis) is believed to be the result of a genetic defect although the exact cause is not known. The rash is normally triggered by contact with some form of irritant or allergen. It is more common in infants and young children. The rash is characterized by red itchy skin but is not usually as “flaky” as psoriasis.

Psoriasis typically occurs in adults and is a life long condition. Some suggest it is an autoimmune disease. It is a result of internal conditions in the body rather than from contact with an irritant or allergen although it may be triggered by skin irritations or even weather conditions or emotional or physical stress. Because of imbalance in the body excess skin is produced so the red inflamed skin includes silvery white scales that flake off. These spots may become sore and burning.

With any of these conditions open lesions from cracking and itching can lead to secondary infections complicating the situation.  Finally, understand that skin irritations many times are triggered by toxins being eliminated from the body. So a common candida outbreak internally may well trigger an eczema or a psoriasis condition.

The Skin

Your skin, the protection between you and the outer world, is your body’s largest organ.  It is there to protect you from infectious agents, environmental extremes, bumps, scratches, or invasive objects.  It has a system of nerves to warn against impending dangers, a system of sweat glands for cooling, a capillary system that can bring nutritional helps to the blood stream, and a system to exude poisons from the body.  A marvelous gland and so important for our health and well-being.

The skin is made up of three layers:Skin Layers

The epidermis – This is the outer layer of the skin.  It the primary protective coating of the body and is primarily non-living cells (no blood is delivered to them) that are fed by the lower dermis layer.  The epidermis is continually being rejuvenated from the dermis with the outer layer being completely replaced every 3 to 5 weeks.

The dermis – This layer, immediately below the epidermis, has all of the working elements of the skin.  It has the outermost capillaries of the blood system, it is the location of the sweat glands, it includes lymph nodes housing immune system cells, it has nerve endings for our sense of touch, and the hair follicles.  Around the hair follicles are the sebaceous glands that produce sebum.  The proper amount of sebum, an oily secretion, lubricates and waterproofs our skin.  Too much sebum, common to adolescents, leads to acne.  Too little sebum, common to aging adults, leads to dry skin that promotes wrinkles. Interestingly enough this same sebum is also a very important element in the use of essential oils.  This fatty substance is nearly ideal for absorbing essential oils, which then allows them, if applied topically (directly on the skin) to quickly enter the bloodstream.  A demonstration by Dr. David Hill shows the effects of oils in the blood stream within a matter of tens of seconds.

The subcutaneous (hypodermal) layer – This is the innermost layer of the skin.  It is the insulation for the body and is composed mostly of fat cell (adipocytes).  Besides insulation these fat cells provide texture for a pleasing appearance of the skin.  As these fat cells are lost, often in aging, wrinkles appear and sagging occurs.

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends:  Topical BlendC, GeraniumEC, LavenderEC, MelaleucaC

Essential oils based products: GI Cleansing Formula, Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV), Detoxifying Blend

Also consider: FrankincenseC, Grapefruit, HelichrysumC, Lemon, Myrrh, Roman ChamomileEC

Note: to understand the E and C superscript go to Home and scroll to New Helps.

Suggested protocols:

ClearSkin blend is an ointment including 17 essential oils formulated to address a wide variety of bacterial, viral, fungal or protozoa type infections of the skin.

Self made blends may also be very effective. Consider including these oils:

  To relieve itching - Lavender

  To sooth and heal the skin - Geranium, Frankincense, Helichrysum and Myrrh

  For infection - Melaleuca, Protective Blend, Oregano (hot, use with caution)

  Blend with EVCO because of its benefits to the skin

For candida or internal conditions - GI Cleansing Formula/Probiotic Defense Formula, Detoxifying Blend or Lemon with water.

 

Some ointments suggested by others include:

Ointment 1:

·    1 teaspoon carrier such as Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

·     20 drops Lavender

·    20 drops Geranium

·    20 drops Melaleuca

Ointment 2:

·    1 teaspoon carrier such as Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

·    10 drops Lavender

·    5 drops Helichrysum

·    5 drops Myrrh

·    3 drops Melaleuca (if there is topical infection)

Use the ointments for direct topical application to the affected area.

For larger areas use a bath adding the 6 to 12 drops of the Lavender and the other oils as needed.

Finally, understand that skin condition problem's root cause is many times an internal infection and the skin irritation is only a manifestation of an internal candida problem.  Therefore, strongly consider using a cleanse like the GI Cleansing Formula/Probiotic Defense Formula or the Detoxifying Blend nutritional cleanse .  Couple this with the Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV) to balance nutrition.  In some reported cases of prolonged eczema the GI Cleansing Formula had to be repeated multiple times.

Experiences and Testimonials of others

Submissions directly to  EverythingEssential.me.  Our thanks to:

      Mona

Mona - My experience with healing Eczema. I had a dry crusty patch / Eczema show up on my stomach several years ago. I was scared to see it grow and grow to the size of my hand.  It itched and would bleed when I would scratch it uncontrollably. It would even wake me up at night, itching and me scratching. I tried every oil that was recommended, many times, trying to find the "right one" that would solve the problem.  I got NO relief. After several months, the thought came to me to work at it from the INSIDE.  WA - LA! Success at last! Here was my regime I followed for 3 weeks!

        LLVP
        GI Cleansing Formula for 10 days
        Probiotic Defense Formula following for 10 days
        Repeat
        Coconut oil - not fractionated, but the solid kind,
            1 TBS taken orally every morning and night.(Now I love the stuff)
            Also rubbed into the area morning and night.

The hand-size patch I had for years is completely gone!! Skin is same as surrounding healthy skin.

Mindy - I need eczema help for me! its just one finger and its spreading. it started after i had my second baby and just continues to get worse and worse. I am dairy, soy, sugar, and soy free have been for a while.

Natureworks - Grains are also a culprit with eczema.  Do your fingers split  open?  May not be eczema if so.

Steff - Celiac Disease has the Dermatitis (DH) version as well.  I would suggest eliminating gluten.

Mindy - Oh we are gluten free too.. we do rice flour mostly now. they don't split open. its dry flaky, scaly, or fluid filled itchy blisters that pop and turn into really really dry skin.  It now encompasses my entire 2nd finger but no where else.

Melanie - Ok, I do have eczema, and I have it pretty much under control with using essential oils, being gluten free, and drinking Lemon Peppermint water to clean my liver, and using the LLW.   However, I bought a new deodorant and just within 2 days of using it my hands broke out really bad, until I realized that it came from the deodorant not letting me sweat and so the toxins had to go somewhere. I stopped the deodorant and within a day it was healing.

Natalie - My experience is that all skin conditions are just a reflection of what's going on in the bowels. If this were my child I would be getting Probiotic Defense Formula into her. I would also work to eliminate the candida in her bowels by decreasing or eliminating dairy and sugar.  

Agoddard - My husband's sister has had this same issue. She used GX protocol followed by the PB. Since it seems chronic, I encouraged her (as does Dr. Hill) to repeat every month, maybe even twice the first month. I would avoid the yogurt and do the Probiotic Defense Formula. I would also look at emotional causes and refer to Karol Truman's "Feelings Buried Alive Never Die."

Pat - I would do a cleanse, starting with the GX. No matter what you are doing there is something else irritating your gut.

 

Rex - A friend has eczema that exhibits itself on his hands with very deep cracks and dryness.  We suggested doing the GI Cleansing Formula regiment and got him a bottle and Probiotic Defense Formula.  Within three days of taking the GI Cleansing Formula his hands were great, better than they had been in a long time.  Now he has finished the GI Cleansing Formula and the exzema is back as bad as ever. Has anyone been thru this experience?  Should we have him continue with another regiment of GI Cleansing Formula?  Would your experience suggest this would be on going?  btw He is a healthy guy, probably in his early 40s.  No other major health problems.

Natureworks - He's had this problem for a long time, so (unfortunately) one round of GI Cleansing Formula and Probiotic Defense Formula will not be enough.  He needs to keep going and he needs to add some essential fatty acids (EOMega) to the mix as well!  And I would use the Helichrysum in some FCO to apply topically.

Brooke - I know a 16 year old who had very severe eczema for over 10 years - and had done several cleanses, and changed diet, etc.. nothing was helping.  His mother finally put Oregano and Melaleuca directly on the area (spraying it on with FCO as carrier).  Tough kid for sure - but the next day it was 40% better and by the end of the week it was almost gone.  It all depends on how you want to attack it - I believe that because he had already done several 'internal' things - the 'external' was able to work faster.  Both have to be addressed!

Pat - I would have him repeat the GX and PB every 10 days, three times and then start the LLW. I would also have him purchase a natural based lotion and put Helichrysum in it. You could do the same with Coconut Oil and Helichrysum.

Dian - My son is an electrician and the oil that is used on the wire he pulls through houses is what causes the eczema on his hands. Is this person allergic to something he uses on a daily basis?

Rex – He is an airline pilot so I can’t think of anything, but I will check.  Thanks for the lead.

Rex (9 Sep) - Just a follow up on the fellow with eczema on his hands.  He got more GI Cleansing Formula and the LLV pack and started taking both.  Within 3 days his hands had cleared up again.  I have pictures I will post on www.EverythingEssential.me.  He will continue with one bottle of GI Cleansing Formula then try tapering off while continuing the LLV supplements. Thanks again to everyone.

Just for further information this fellow has been dealing with this problem for 10 or 15 years with lots of medical help.  Many prescription pills and salves and even shots directly into his hands.  Nothing had worked, so he is very happy at this point.  Before and after 1 week pictures below.

Adams eczema beforeAdams eczema after 1 week

16 Sep.  Jim emailed another photo (below) with this comment, "After 2 weeks of GI Cleansing Formula + vitamins. The stuff really seams to work. I haven't had this good of results with anything else I've tried. Major relief!"

Adams eczema after 2 weeks


Stephanie – I had this advice a while back, “… then I would add 3-4 drops of this mix to every teaspoon of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.  NOT the (...) carrier coconut oil. Why did you say not to use (...) coconut oil?

Rob – (...)’s fractionatied coconut oil is awesome, but the properties in extra virgin, hard white coconut oil are excellent for the skin.  (...)’s is great for use as a carrier, but a lot of coconut oils effective properties are cut away when it is fractionated. The Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is an awkward oil because it is solid at room temperatures (warm it slightly, even with your hands, and it becomes liquid.  Fractionated is easier to use because it is liquid. 

LaReita - Cold pressed, organic coconut oil  is what I have used on my 4 year old, and it is more effective than the fractionated (I used Myrrh and Melaleuca on him).  However, as a side note, I am beginning to wonder if eczema is really an internal yeast build-up.  Has anyone else seen this?

May – As a child and young adult, I had really bad eczema.  When I did a candida cleanse in my late 20's it all went away.  When I get itchy again, I know it is time to really watch my diet and do an herbal (now GX) cleanse.

Pat - You are right, eczema is from internal yeast. You can cut the end of the GI Cleansing Formula and squeeze it into a spoonful of applesauce. It really helps get rid of the yeast.

 

Vicky - I was just diagnosed with nummular eczema and wonder which oils are best to ingest and use topically for such a condition. No cause, no cure, so I may see it again. I am currently on an antibiotic and a cortisone cream, which are taking care of my problem, but are not the best for my body. Any suggestions?

Kirsten - You don't say how extensive the condition is or if you have a history of it, so I'll assume it is localized and that the skin has broken out in itchy red inflamed patches which might have a crustiness about them.  Very uncomfortable and unsightly if it occurs in areas that are exposed. Before we look at oils, lets have a look at the body systems which are involved in this disharmony, your circumstances, your diet and see what we can do to get a balance going.

·    If I were in your position I would take a look at how much stress I was under.  Is there something that has got "under your skin"?  Is there something (or somebody) that has got you really irritated or put your adrenals into high gear?  Your skin is an organ of elimination so is there something about your life at the moment which is "inflaming" you?

·    Are you eating an acid diet?  Lots of sugar, processed food, alcohol, sodas?  Try eating whole foods, cut out sugary foods and drinks and substitute with water which you can cheer up with Lemon slices and mint, vegetable juices such as carrot with celery or some soothing Chamomile tea.  Make sure you are not dehydrated.

·    If you have high stress levels, make some changes to give yourself a break.  If you're into meditation, set some time each day to sit quietly and play a good meditation CD while you diffuse some Lavender with Roman Chamomile and Myrrh if you have it.  Taking Bach flower essences such as Oak, Elm and Walnut under the tongue can also help or if something or somebody is really Firing you up internally, try Agrimony.

Now for the oils.  If I were taking antibiotics I would immediately be thinking about starting a course of GI Cleansing Formula and Probiotic Defense Formula and then the Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV) supplements.  I would need to replace the good gut flora which are currently under pressure from the antibiotics.

Topically I would use the Fractionated Coconut Oil as I suspect the skin is actually quite dry. I would try:

·    30 drops FCO

·    10 drops Lavender

·    5 drops Helichrysum

·    5 drops Myrrh

·    3 drops Melaleuca (if there is topical infection)

Also, I would put Grounding Blend on the bottom of the feet in the morning and Lavender and Roman Chamomile at night.

Brooke - What a wonderful answer!  I would second that about the GX cleanse and Probiotic Defense Formula.  Many people consider eczema to be an 'external' thing, but usually the source is internal.  I heard of a woman who had eczema for 6 years, and had tried everything!  Went to a naturopath, and he suggested doing a cleanse.  She thought he was crazy because she said - "...but it's on my arms!". She reluctantly tried it - and within 2 months the eczema was gone! Good luck to you - and let us know how it goes!

 

Maria - I was with my Dad today and he showed me his arms and they are covered with sunspots or eczema.  I'm not really sure what they are to be honest, but they look like eczema patches, but they stop where his shirtsleeve ends. He's outside a lot playing tennis and it seems like the sun has caused this, but it looks strange.

I instantly thought of the Candida blend of Oregano, Melaleuca and Lemon, but I'm also thinking he should take some Frankincense.  Are there other suggestions?

Pat - I think the Candida blend taken internally along with Lavender topically. The Lavender can be applied neat (undiluted) as often as convenient.  (Can’t apply too much)  

Oilhealer - Birch is specifically used for psoriasis and eczema.  Also, Melaleuca is used for anything relating to the skin.  I would layer them.

 

Sunny - I have a friend whose adult son frequently has bad eczema.  I've learned that Lavender, Frankincense, Geranium and Melaleuca are good to treat this skin condition.  I'd advise mixing Lavender and Frankincense in a carrier oil.  My question is, could you mix Geranium in it, too?  Could you mix Melaleuca in it?  And what proportions would be advisable?

Rob - The type of eczema depends on the cause and where it occurs on the body. The general types are:  allergies, rashes, and nutritional deficiencies. first you'll want to eliminate any internal cause of eczema as in non-contact allergies, rashes, and nutritional deficiencies.

For local causes of eczema such as contact dermatitis, you want to avoid having your skin come into contact with these things that might be the cause. It could be jewelry, perfumes, chemicals in any cosmetics, soaps, fabric softener, pesticides, latex gloves, lotions, soaps, metals, or other chemicals in various products.

Certain types of eczema can also be aggravated by Candida.

Also, people that have eczema might easily react to foreign substance on their skin, so always do a skin test with the oils before application.  (There are a couple oils that make me itch.)

So assuming that you have eliminated or treated the any of the above and you have a diagnosis of eczema...Yes your oils are right on (Lavender, Frankincense, Geranium, Melaleuca).  I would use any combination of these at a 50/50 mix (my favorite would be Frankincense and Geranium).  Then I would add 3-4 drops of this mix to every teaspoon of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.  NOT the (...) carrier coconut oil. You get EVCO or VCO at the health food store.  It is solid and white.  You need to melt it with low heat (NOT THE MICROWAVE). Add the essential oils then allow it to harden again.  I even sometimes let it harden in candy molds so I have little "buttons" of the mix. The VCO is important because it helps with healing just as much as the essential oils.  It is very good for the skin.

Keep the mix in an airtight container in your fridge (unless your home is 70 degrees or lower) and apply 3-4 times daily. You should see or feel a change within a couple days, but continue using for several days after the eczema appears gone. If it takes longer than a week or two, there might be further issues with Candida or other internal issues.  In this case consider Candida protocol or a cleansing diet such as the "Master Cleanse" or the "GAPS diet"  (Google them).

Finally, be consistent!

 

Anonymous - Why would you suggest the Candida blend for psoriasis or eczema?  I have dealt with this all my life, could Candida really be the underlying cause?

Pat - Anything that comes out through the skin like eczema or psoriasis is caused by Candida and/or inflammation in the system. The blend of Lemon, Melaleuca and Oregano will clear this all up.  Really!!

Rob - I have suggested Frankincense and Lavender for people with sunspots.  Not knowing for sure what it is, you might want to experiment a bit.  Neat or with EVCO a couple times per day would be good.  Be patient and give it some time.

Other good "skin oils"... Melaleuca, Geranium, Rosemary, Helichrysum

Kathy - I have had great success combining essential oils with VCO (virgin coconut oil - the hard white stuff).  Consider Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender and/or Lemongrass.  Find the oil or combination that works for you (there may be others) and make a salve to apply at least twice daily topically to the affected areas. (about 10 drops to every 1 tablespoon)  Also fight it from the inside with the Candida blend. Continue applications and internal protocol at least for two weeks after it is visually gone.  

Protocols folks recommend for children

Becca - My 17 month old little girl started breaking out in what I believe are eczema patches about a month ago.  I have tried many oils and nothing seems to be helping.  I'm thinking it could be a dairy allergy, but I'm not sure.  Any ideas on what might work? 

Pat - I would for sure take her off dairy until you get this condition under control. I think she is old enough to start taking the Probiotic Defense Formula, put it in some food and see if she can take it. Just one a day should help. You have to treat this inside to get the help on the skin. You will be able to tell if you get her off dairy and also too much sugary foods. Using too many oils isn't always the answer. When they are young you can use any oil but you do need to be cautious. I would get a very mild organic lotion, when you apply lotion to her after a bath, add a drop of Lavender and apply all over.

Natureworks - Sugar, dairy, grains and soy are all triggers for eczema.  Avoid them as much as possible.  Helichrysum is one oil that would be helpful.  Be sure to dilute with it with FCO.  And she needs essential fatty acids.

Becca - What are the best sources for fatty acids for a child that young?

Nancy -  I always like giving them sliced or cubed avocados {lightly salted/seasoned}.  Our 5 year old still enjoys avocados, especially cut up, plain with cottage cheese. Whoops, sorry about the cottage cheese; I just remembered she's supposed to be off dairy right now.

 

Stephanie - What can I recommend to moms when their baby gets cradle cap?  Also what to recommend when a breast fed baby is experiencing eczema.  

Rob - For baby cradle cap, I would try one drop of Lavender, Melaleuca or Geranium with a small amount of carrier, either coconut or olive.  Test the skin first because children can be very sensitive.  Don't use so much that it will run into their eyes.  If you can let it absorb into the scalp for a while before washing it.  It should take but a few applications to be effective.

With the infant eczema eliminate these possibilities.  The mother might want to do some testing with what she eats to eliminate the possibility that it is a reaction to her milk.  Then make sure it is not a contact dermatitis.  Always be mindful of dryer sheets, detergents, lotions, etc.  Beyond this the suggestions for eczema for adults but scaled appropriately for the age of the infant.

 

Diet and Nutritional complements to essential oils

 

What Science & Research are saying

Layman’s summary:

Trichophyton mentagrophytes is the technical name for a common found fungus that is the source of superficial infections on the skin of humans and some animals.  It  commonly infects the skin, hair, and nails being a frequent causative agent of chronic infection of the feet, nails, and groin.  The common names of such infections are jock itch and ringworm.

The study only explored exposing this fungus to the vapors of essential oils and did not explore direct (topical) application.  The essential oils tested in this research were Clove, Geranium, Lavender, Oregano, perilla, and tea tree (Melaleuca).  The findings were that they all were effective in killing this fungus.  Oregano was the most effective; Clove and perilla second most effective; and Geranium, Lavender and Melaleuca third.  Further Oregano, perilla, Melaleuca and Lavender were effective in 3 hours while Clove and Geranium required overnight exposure.

 

Original report (from SpringerLink):

The vapor activity of Oregano, perilla, tea tree, Lavender, Clove, and Geranium oils against a Trichophyton mentagrophytes in a closed box.

Inouye S, Nishiyama Y, Uchida K, Hasumi Y, Yamaguchi H, Abe S.

Teikyo University Institute of Medical Mycology, 256 Otsuka, Hachioji, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0395, Japan. s-ino@p08.itscom.net

The vapor activity of six essential oils against a Trichophyton mentagrophytes was examined using a closed box. The antifungal activity was determined from colony size, which was correlated with the inoculum size. As judged from the minimum inhibitory dose and the minimum fungicidal dose determined after vapor exposure for 24 h, the vapor activity of the six essential oils was ranked in the following order: Oregano > Clove, perilla > Geranium, Lavender, tea tree. The vapors of Oregano, perilla, tea tree, and Lavender oils killed the mycelia by short exposure, for 3 h, but the vapors of Clove and Geranium oils were only active after overnight exposure. The vapor of Oregano and other oils induced lysis of the mycelia. Morphological examination by scanning electron microscope (SEM) revealed that the cell membrane and cell wall were damaged in a dose- and time-dependent manner by the action of Oregano vapor, causing rupture and peeling of the cell wall, with small bulges coming from the cell membrane. The vapor activity increased after 24 h, but mycelial accumulation of the active oil constituents was maximized around 15 h, and then decreased in parallel with the decrease of vapor concentration. This suggested that the active constituent accumulated on the fungal cells around 15 h caused irreversible damage, which eventually led to cellular death.

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NOTE: The advice shared in this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. As members offer or look for answers, kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems.