10 Essential Oils That Instantly Relieve Itchy Skin
Itchy skin is the worst. The more you itch, the more you scratch, then the more you itch again. And short of slathering yourself with a heavy medical cream, it can seem like there’s no cure. But good news, there’s a totally natural source of relief out there: essential oils. As the purest form of plant extracts, essential oils are loaded with therapeutic properties. And a little bit goes a long way, says Amy Galper, founder of the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies.
To soothe itchy skin caused by dryness (thanks, winter!), always mix essential oils into a base oil, like jojoba, coconut, or olive oil. If your itch is more severe and feels raw or tender, add a few drops to an aloe vera gel instead. “You never want to apply essential oils directly to itchy skin because their intensity could exacerbate irritation,” Galper notes.
Start with any these 10 essential oils for itching, for instant relief:
1. Tea Tree
Tea tree (available at Faithful-To-Nature) is incredible for relieving itching but in very limited situations: “You should only use tea tree oil if your itch is the result of an infection, bug bite, or rash, since it’s really great at drying up problem-causing bacteria,” says Galper. (That’s why it’s so popular in cleansers and shampoos.) The problem? The dryness it creates can exacerbate itchiness caused by a lack of moisture in the skin, so don’t use it there’s no underlying infection to blame.
The quintessential plant helps soothe inflammation and has analgesic, pain-relieving properties, making it a standout star for inflamed skin. “Itching can also stem from anxiety, and the scent of lavender has been shown to be calming to the nervous system.” In other words, the floral essence packs a double punch, making it one of the best essential oils for itching.
Perhaps you know chamomile in tea form, as a herbal (caffeine-free) option to drink before bed for relaxation and better shuteye. But the oil works great for relaxing skin too, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
“Dry or irritated skin often comes from your skin being out of balance, from the weather, stress, or even your hormones,” says Galper. “Geranium oil contains elements that help restore the body’s equilibrium.” If you’re consistently itchier during certain times of the month (perhaps when you have your period, or right before it), a bottle of this stuff could be your tiny saviour.
As a root oil, vetiver has a heavy, viscous consistency, which makes its antifungal and antibacterial properties exceptionally great for healing wounds (itching often follows torn skin) and boosting recovery. Plus, it has a lovely earthy, deep, cologne-esque aroma, so you’ll really feel like you’re pampering your skin.
Made from tree resin, frankincense has been worshipped since ancient times for its powerful ability to alleviate pain and regenerate cells. “Itching and scratching definitely cause cellular disruption, so this oil not only helps in the moment but also continues to help as your skin repairs itself,” says Galper.
7. Copaiba Balsam
Like frankincense, this tree-resin (a.k.a. sap) extract boasts wound-healing and regenerative properties. If you suffer from post-acne irritation, you might want to give this oil a shot, as it’s a bit unique from other essential oils for itching.
Not only does this oil help recovery from trauma (injury, bruising, severe scratchiness), it also has antiviral and anti-inflammatory elements that can fend off irritation and infection. Helichrysum – try some.
A thick, gooey oil, petitgrain comes from the leaves (not the fruit) of an orange tree and has a sweet-meets-tart woodsy scent. “This combo makes it incredibly soothing to irritated skin by calming overexcited nerves,” Galper explains.
Patchouli shares a lot of similar properties with tea tree—they’re both antiviral and antimicrobial—but unlike tea tree, it doesn’t contain a group of molecules that make it super astringent. That means you get all the relief but none of the drying—a total win for parched winter skin.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com