There are 2 categories in dermatitis causes:
Exogenous – Caused by an allergen that provokes an allergic reaction when in contact
Endogenous – Not directly related to external causes; biological causes
In contact dermatitis, the location of allergy often suggests the cause. Example: the scalp suggests hair tints or shampoos; the face suggests cosmetics products and the hands suggest cleaning substances or chemical that may have been handled during work. Even though the dermatitis can be confined to the initial site of contact, the irritation can cause the dermatitis to spread to other parts of the body.
Atopic dermatitis or Eczema refers to a hereditary background or tendency to develop one or more conditions such as allergic rhinitis, asthma, eczema and skin sensitivities. Atopic eczema is a constitutional condition marked by papules, especially of the flexural surfaces of the knees and elbows, with itching. Itching is often extremely severe and prolonged, leading to emotional disturbances.
Using essential oils to combat dermatitis and eczema have been proven effective over the years. The application of antipruritics such as Lavender (more info | product) and Sandalwood (more info | product) will reduce the sensations of itching. This will also reduce the degree of physical trauma caused by scratching. Chamomile (more info | product) is also often applied to many itchy skin concerns. It’s soothing and anti-inflammatory qualities make it a very gentle and kind oil for the eczema sufferer.
Cedarwood provides strong antibacterial, antifungal and insecticidal properties while helping the skin contract to keep hydration locked in.
If an infection is present, it will be necessary to include essential oils with antimicrobial properties such as Tea tree(more info | product), Lavender (more info | product) or Mandarin (more info | product) oil. Mandarin Essential Oil can also help the eczema skin by assisting in the maintenance of hydration within the skin. Detoxifying oil such as Rosemary (more info | product), Eucalyptus (more info | product), Peppermint (more info | product) should be used in a blend if the treatment strategy is to assist in the elimination of toxins.
In situations where eczema and dermatitis are triggered by stress, click here to read which oils are suitable to use for stress.
The basic rule for treating eczema is to use wet dressing that have been bathed in solutions containing essential oils. Apply for 30minutes three or four times a day. Moist compresses are needed until the weeping stage and acute inflammation have passed. The compresses should be loose, moist, and allow plenty room for evaporation.
With chronic dry lesions the essential oils are best applied topically using ointments and emollient creams. Essential oils such as Roman chamomile, Sandalwood, Geranium, Lavender, Palmarosa and Patchouli are beneficial and should be used in 1% dilution.