Eczema is a recurrent or chronic, inflammatory skin disorder also known as atopic eczema, or by its medical name, atopic dermatitis. It can appear as blisters that crust over to become scaly, itchy rashes, or as dry, thick patches of skin with scales. Although eczema is not contagious, it is very common. Estimates are that more than 15 million people in the United States have eczema. People with eczema often have a personal or family history of allergies. There is no cure, however, treatments can reduce symptoms and help prevent outbreaks.
The goals when treating eczema are to heal the skin, reduce symptoms, prevent skin damage, and prevent flare-ups. Developing skin care routines, identifying what triggers flare-ups, and avoiding these triggers are a large part of any treatment plan.
Treatments for eczema include: medications, surgery, nutrition and dietary supplements, herbs, homeopathy, massage and physical therapy, and essential oils for the skin. While there are numerous medical drugs that can be used topically for eczema, most of them have side effects and are only partly effective.
The best essential oils for skin disorders such as eczema include:
Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis), a native of North America, was brought to Europe in the 17th century. Evening primrose oil has been used since the 1930s as a folk or traditional remedy for eczema. The oil from this plant is high in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which is a rare fatty acid that nourishes the skin and is thought to correct deficiencies in skin lipids, thus reducing inflammation. Evening primrose is considered one of the essential oils safe for skin treatment.