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skin lesions, boils, carbuncles, ulcerations 

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


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


Skin Lesions is a term that can be used to describe a number of different skin disorders including malignant types. Skin cancer is discussed in more detail on another page.  Benign lesions can be of a very large variety (see www.merck.com and search skin lesions) and described with terms such as papules, plaques, nodules, vesicles, bullae, ... just to name a few.  Here we will discuss those where we have seen specific essential oils information and experiences.

Boils are an infection of the skin that usually start from an ingrown hair but may result from a sweat gland or even a splinter.  The infected area usually reddens, becomes tender and a pus filled center core forms as the body fights the infection with white blood cells.  The most common is a deep staph (bacterium staphylococcus aureus) infection forming a single infected area.  There are other types of boils including cystic acne which is similar to the acne common to teenage years but penetrates deeper into the skin.

A carbuncle is the same staph infection as a boil but it has multiple cores or is a cluster of boils. 

Skin ulcerations is a term used to describe a variety of conditions including a variety of open sores or even pressure sores, such as bedsores.  Some of these conditions are described on other pages of this website (see the list above).  On these pages we will include those experiences that are more related to skin lesions.

PCT (porphyria cutanea tarda) may result in skin lesions or blisters but the root cause is a is an enzyme deficiency, that then causes excess porphyrins to accumulate in the liver and these then are expelled by the liver through the skin causing the symptomatic lesions on the skin. 

Helpful background material:

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:

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. Skin Layers

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 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.


[search helps: boils, carbuncles, lesions, skin ulcerations, skin ulcers, contusion, ulcerated, open sores]

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Suggested protocols:

Skin lesions in general:

Oils & Blends:  Topical Blend, FrankincenseC, Geranium, Helichrysum

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

·    Topical Blend (roller bottle), apply directly to the area 2 or 3 times daily. 

·    If not available make a blend of equal parts Frankincense, Geranium, and Helichrysum applied directly to the area 2 or 3 times daily. Consistency of application seemed to be important and results were shown in 3-4 weeks.


Skin ulcerations (open sores):  

Oils & Blends:  FrankincenseEC, LavenderEC, HelichrysumC, Detoxifying Blend

Essential oils based products: GI Cleansing Formula/Probiotic Defense Formula, Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV), Detoxifying Blend Detoxification Complex

Also consider: BergamotE, Topical BlendC, CloveE, CypressC, EucalyptusE, GeraniumEC, MyrrhEC, PurifyC, Roman ChamomileC, RosemaryE

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

·    Lavender applied topically works well for simple ulcerations

·    For more serious blend Frankincense and Helichrysum and apply at least 2 times daily, topically to the affected area.  Consistency of application is important. 

·    Also recognize that the root cause of some skin ulcerations can be a candida or other internal problems.  It is wise to couple the topical application with internal cleansing.  For this see Detoxification.


Boils and carbuncles:

Oils & Blends:  FrankincenseC, LavenderEC, Oregano, Rosemary, ThymeE

Also consider: BergamotE, Clary SageEC, LemonEC, LemongrassC, MelaleucaC, PurifyC, Roman ChamomileC

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

·    4 drops each of Rosemary, Thyme and Oregano in a capsule 3 times daily.

·    For the sores on the skin apply Lavender and Frankincense directly on the irritations to help soothe and then Helichrysum to regenerate the tissue and minimize scarring after the sore is closed and clearly healing.


PCT (porphyria cutanea tarda):

Oils & Blends:  Clove, FrankincenseC, Helichrysum, Lavender, Melissa, Detoxifying Blend

Essential oils based products: GI Cleansing Formula/Probiotic Defense Formula, TerraZyme,  Detoxifying Blend Detoxification Complex

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

·    Dr. Hill recommended 1 drop each of Clove, Frankincense and Melissa taken  internally in a capsule 2 times per day or rub on the bottom of the feet

·    Since this a liver problem taking the TerraZyme supplements and the Detoxifying Blend cleansing protocol should be considered.

·    For the sores on the skin apply Lavender and Frankincense directly on the irritations to help soothe and then Helichrysum to regenerate the tissue and minimize scarring after the sore is closed and clearly healing.

Experiences and Testimonials of others

 Skin Lesions

Jennifer -  Seborrheic keratoses.These are common skin lesions (looking like barnacles) that run in my family. They are benign, but highly annoying - and unsightly to boot. Does anyone have any recommendations for oils that might "dissolve" these? The only other treatment for them is freezing them off, which does not prevent future growth and can be quite painful, depending on the location.

Nancy -  DSAP (Disseminated Superficial Actinic Porokeratosis).  This is a rare skin disorder that affects more women than men. It appears as spotty skin lesions, usually on the legs. A friend's mother has this and I told her I would see what I could find in reference to essential oils.

Joni - Can anyone please tell me what to do for those scaly, little precancerous skin lesions?  

Deborah -  I use Geranium, Helichrysum with the Frankincense, it will take some time, but you will see a difference over time.   I apply the 3 oils 2 times a day, 1-2 drops each.  Don't forget Helichrysum because it has great tissue regenerative properties!  I began to see marked improvement within 4 weeks.

Pat – Because there may be an internal problems also consider one of the cleansing protocols (GI Cleansing Formula, Detoxifying Blend, Candida protocol, Lemon oil protocol).  Follow this with the LLW (LLV).  For healing oils topically  apply Melaleuca and Frankincense to the affected area.

Rob – I would consider Helichrysum, Frankincense, maybe Lavender, Geranium or Sandalwood.  I would be careful with Protective Blend or citrus oils because they are photosensitive and with a skin growth it may be irritating.  Whatever you try, try it consistently  (2 -3 times daily) for at least a 2 weeks.


Deborah - I have a friend that is having problems with her old C-section incision (from about 25 yrs ago) where periodically it becomes inflamed, irritated and ulcerated.  She is looking for a treatment approach that is more holistic rather than pharmaceuticals (she doesn't tolerated pharmaceuticals very well).  Anyone have ideas for using essential oils as her treatment? 

Jan - Use Lavender oil neat! It's perfect for any kind of skin irritations.

Deborah - She had been using Lavender, but it is not really working out for her, so she needs something a little more aggressive.  She truly does not have just skin irritations, per say, rather they are ulcerated lesions, so something more is going to be needed for her situation.

Jan - Frequency is the key. Also, for a more aggressive approach, use Frankincense and Helichrysum.

Julia - The ulcerated lesions and the age of the scar make me suspect that it could possibly be a yeast issue.  Editor's note: Go to the page on Candida and looks under the tab Diet & Nutrition for Julia's experience solving a Candida infection.


Ulcerations (open sores)

Samara - My dad is using oils for the first time in his life.  He is using Lavender on the sores he has on his legs and after just a few days, they are healed!  His legs haven't looked this good in years! 

Samara - Just to ease your mind my dad uses (...) Lavender for his diabetic sores on his legs and to help him sleep.  He has only had wonderful results.  I just found out tonight that my mom started putting Lavender and Frankincense on some cancer type spots on his ears and they have been going away and/or falling off.  He had a large spot melanoma on his face last year and had to have it surgically removed, so to be able to treat these spots without them getting out of hand is so exciting and comforting for his family.


Maria - My aunt had a pedicure done about 7 months ago and got an infection that has been named "Ulcerated Granulated Tissue."  It's a big open sore on the side of her foot. I am not sure what oils to use on this infection.  Any recommendations would be appreciated.

Pat - Drop Cleansing Blend and Lavender directly onto the sore, continue 3-4 times a day. If she keeps it covered put some oil on the bandage. I have found this to work in some case.  

Rob - Frankincense is great for open sores.  Some combine equal amounts of Frankincense, Melaleuca, and Rosemary for an awesome synergistic blend. Lavender is great too.

Deborah - Helichrysum is absolutely excellent for something like this because Helichrysum regenerates tissues.  I use a combination of Helichrysum, Melaleuca, and Lavender on my old C-section scar when it becomes ulcerated from time to time.  Works like a charm!!



Submissions directly to  EverythingEssential.me.  Our thanks to:


Colleen - I had been feeling "off" for a about two weeks when the first sores started to appear. I thought the first sore was an ingrown hair on the bikini line.  Then a few more small sores appeared within the same area, which I though was strange.  I knew I needed medical intervention when the first excruciating painful boil appeared. I could not walk or sit or function without major pain, and was still experiencing some flu like symptoms. I could feel the boil growing rapidly, so I called the doctors office for an immediate appointment.

The gynecologist decided a lancing was needed on the original boil and another one that had started since that morning that I was unaware of.  The pain that followed ranks right up there with child birth. The first boil was the size of a quarter and very deep once the doctor was able to open it up. I was prescribed two forms of antibiotic, one for a gerenal infection, and one for MRSA. A culture was taken of the infection and I was told to start both meds and to discontinue one once the culture was reviewed. I was also given the warning that these meds will reek havoc on my stomach so be prepared for that with other over the counter meds to offset the hard core antibiotics.  Lastly I was told to apply heat to the area to help draw out the infection, disinfect everything in my bedroom, and watch my family close since most likely this will spread to all of them. I was so weak at this point, I could barely function.

I filled the prescriptions, applied a heat pack, took the first dose of antibiotic, and started digging in to the Internet for research on these pills and other ways to heal. I read many stories from this site of using oils when the antibiotics where insufficient to wipe out the infection.  Within 6 hours of coming home from the doctors office, my original boil had closed back up and was larger and more painful than what it was at the doctors office. I knew there was no way I could stomach an additional lancing, followed by packing the wound, which I knew was next. Instead, I chose to follow the lead of others and use my oils. I started with melaleuca applied to a sterile gauze pad directly on the two active boils. I also made a capsule with the suggested protocol listed on this site and another mixture of oils for my spouse to rub on my back and feet. Once this was done, I went to sleep for the nit. When I woke up, to my complete astonishment and pleasant surprise, my massive boil had reduced from the size of a half dollar to a dime. And the pain in that region was gone. I was feeling so much better that I was able to continue with my normal schedule for the day. I continued this regime for a week, never taking another pill.  No more sores appeared. The lab results came back a week later, confirming the MRSA infection.

I also had my feet massaged daily by a .... foot zone therapist during this healing process, who was been able to help stimulate the affected organs to help the infection move on and out of my system. As a college administrator, professor, wife, and mom, the month of August is an incredibly bad time to get sick. Using the oils and reflexology of the feet, I missed a total of three hours from work over a 3 week period of this infection. I am so thankful for this site, the suggestions and stories from others, and the power of oils in my life.

Julia Ann - I have read questions and comments and I will now wade into this discussion with a story of my mother.  In Nov 2006 mom went through severe trauma and started with a small area the size of a nickel on her neck/shoulder area, right side.  I told her not to scratch it, and to use Lavender, but it itched...so she scratched, and within a week it was a necklace around her neck.  Shingles!  I treated her for about a month and when my family found out they had a fit, demanded that she see a doctor, and when we took her to a dermatologist, she contacted MRSA from his office.

Now she was covered in boils (some were the size of quarters) and shingles from head to toe within just a month.  Medicines reacted and made her worse, 3 doctors later and much duress and anxiety from the family....( I had backed off and just went with the flow so as not to seem a know it all,...but thinking all the time that we had almost had the shingles issue licked before the family waded into the picture), my mother came to me and said that she had had enough and that if she continued to cave into the families pressure she would soon be dead.  I agreed!  

She asked me if I would take her back on and I asked her these questions.  "Do you trust me?"  "Do you trust my judgment?"  "How much do you trust me?"  "Do you have enough faith in me and God that we can get you thorough this?"  She answered all the questions with what I needed to hear to know that her faith in me and God and nature would take us through.  I told her that we had a long hard fight in front of us but we would pull her through with God's help and a lot of grace.

We immediately started using this formula that I came up with after talking to some other essential oils experts.  4 drops of Rosemary, 4 drops of Thyme, 4 drops of Oregano in a capsule 3 times daily.  We literally started seeing immediate results within just a few days.  She was taking detoxification baths with Geranium, Helichrysum, Lavender, Roman Chamomile...etc oils in them.  Each night was whichever she wanted and felt like using that night.  We made up a bottle of Geranium with a carrier oil for topical application and she alternated the topical oils as she felt they were helping with the boils and itching.   I don't mind telling you it was nothing short of a living nightmare!!  We did poultices constantly, using Clay baths, herbs, etc, everything I had ever learned as a herbalist I pulled out of the cabinet and we worked steady for a year.  She lost the whole year of 2007...did not leave the house for anything...and was mostly bed bound....but today would I say that it was worth everything we had to do for the results of her being with us now??  ABSOLUTELY!!


Shannon - I had a boil on my leg that was lanced about 1 1/2 years ago. I have had a scar there ever since. The last two days it has gotten tender again and today I can feel a small lump. I'm sure the boil is returning so this morning I started to apply Helichrysum on it. Is this the best oil, or is there something else I should be using/doing to help it go away so I don't have to get it lanced again?

Rob - I have heard reports that Frankincense, Melaleuca, and citrus oil are all good and the Helichrysum is perfect.

John - My experience suggest a rotation between Frankincense and Protective Blend.  I would also use VCO as a carrier.  Apply 3 times daily. Don' t lance it unless is gets obviously infected or the oils don't begin to reduce the boil.

PCT (porphyria cutanea tarda)

Natalie - I have a friend whose husband has Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (PCT) and his symptoms are most often seen as skin lesions or blisters.  Can you tell me if there are any essential oils that may help treat the underlying condition and the skin symptoms?  

Rex - I saw your submission last July about a friend with PCT.  The symptoms reminded me of a problem my granddaughter had while visiting a few weeks ago.  I posted it with pictures on www.EverythingEssential.me under impetigo and ecthyma, the tab Procedures.  There were very ugly skin blisters and when we finally went to INTERNAL GI Cleansing Formula it was healing immediately and gone in a week.

The symptoms for PCT sound very similar.  But, I read some on PCT and my 'take away' is that there is an enzyme deficiency, that then causes excess porphyrins to accumulate in the liver and these then are expelled by the liver through the skin causing the symptematic lecions on the skin.  I am not a medical professional but that is my lay understanding of what I read.  That suggests to me that there are three levels to use oils and oil  products.

1) The skin symptoms:  as you have done with healing oils for the skin such as Lavender or Geranium that may provide some ease in the discomfort

2) The overload of porphyrins in the liver:  The cleansing protocols including GI Cleansing Formula address this but more importantly those cleanses that are for the liver, etc.  Hence the new (...) Detoxifying Blend seems a natural for this.  Also there are a number of other liver cleanses.

3) The root cause seems to be the enzyme deficiency.  I know very little about this but I do recollect the Dr. Hill and Rob Young discussion on the product TerraZyme and how many enzyme supplements were in this protocol.

If I were this fellow I would start taking the TerraZyme, I would do a Detoxifying Blend protocol, and then use healing topical oils to regenerate the damage done to the skin, (Geranium, helicrysum)

Natalie - I very much appreciate that you took the time to compose and send it. I spoke to Dr. Hill recently and he suggested an interim approach of:

1 drop of Frankincense, 1 drop of Melissa and 1 drop of Clove Bud in a capsule 2 times a day to address the internal issues.   If he doesn't want to take in internally he can rub it on his feet and then put socks on immediately.

His suggestion is Lavender and Frankincense directly on the skin to help soothe and regenerate the tissue.

Protocols folks recommend for children



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.


Wound care with essential oils after enucleation of a chronic abscess

Forsch Komplementmed. 2009 Dec;16(6):400-3. Epub 2009 Nov 6.   Steflitsch W.   Osterreichische Gesellschaft für wissenschaftliche Aromatherapie und Aromapflege (OGwA), Wien, Osterreich.




Advances in wound care over the past years have led to a growing number of products, techniques and interventions which are extremely costly and tend to neglect the individual patient and their specific needs.


The present case report describes the post-operative care of a chronically infected wound by use of essential oils.


In October 2007, a 41- year-old woman suffered a minor, non-bleeding lesion between toes IV and V of her right foot during gardening. Within a few hours, an extensive phlegmona of the right forefoot developed extending almost up to the ankle. In April 2008, Corynebacterium diphteriae was identified in the pus. In May 2008, it was decided to enucleate the chronic abscess that had developed despite several oral antimicrobial therapies. Wound care with essential oils was started 5 days after enucleation of the chronic abscess and continued until July 2008.


Granulation tissue and epithelisation were growing quickly and without complications, and scar formation was fine. The scar is bland, slim and at skin level.


The essential oils applied were selected according to their antiinflammatory, analgesic, and antimicrobial properties as well as their capacity to promote wound healing. Applied medical aroma therapy makes use of these properties to support wound healing.



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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.