Many parents look for alternative treatment options for eczema. Essential oil is a common product that parents ask if it’s ok to give to their child with eczema. In this article, we will discuss what essentials oils are and whether they are safe. Also, we will discuss what to look out for in essential oils for baby eczema. If you are looking for alternative treatments for eczema, click here.

 

essential oil for baby eczema

 

How can essential oils help eczema in babies?

 

As we know, eczema is a skin condition common in babies and small children. We know that eczema can present as dry, itchy skin on various parts of the body. [1]. It’s important to control the itch, as scratching promotes more itching, which can lead to bleeding and infection of the skin. Essential oils are promoted to have anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties that can possibly help babies with eczema [2]. There may be some benefit to eczema from massaging with the essential oil as well. [3]

 

What is the purpose of essential oils?

 

Essential oils are used in a wide variety of products and they are very popular for aromatherapy [4]. Essential oils may help soothe irritated eczema and kill bad bacteria that can cause infection on the skin.[33]

 

 

How do you apply essential oil?

 

Blend with a carrier oil:

  • Essentials oils should not be applied directly to the baby’s skin. Direct application may cause skin irritation.
  • Diluting it with a carrier oil can help the essential oil to better penetrate the skin and can also provide additional moisture.
  • Carrier oil are unscented/lightly scented and do not interfere with the essential oil
  • Types of common carrier oils are discussed in the paragraph above

 

Spritz

  • Diluted essential oils can also be sprayed in the room as freshener
  • Be careful when spraying essential oil. Avoid spraying it directly on to the sheets, pillows, clothing since the oil can stain fabric

 

Diffuse

  • Diffusers or vaporizers with a few drops of essential oil can also be used to deliver the essential oil
  • One downside is that diffusers spread essential oil everywhere and if someone happens to be sensitive, it may be hard to clean up later if it’s dispersed everywhere.

 

 

How do you dilute essential oil?

 

Diluting essential oil helps prevent skin irritation as the concentrated amount of essential oil is very strong and can be harsh on the skin, eyes, and nose [31].

According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), the recommended dilution rate for aromatherapy massage for infants and children is:

  • 0.5-1% (which is 3-6 drops of essential oil) per 6 teaspoons of carrier oil. [32]

Also, it’s important to note that essential oil is NOT recommended for infants younger than 3 months old. [33]

Examples of carrier oil include: 

  • Coconut oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Apricot kernel oil
  • Sweet almond oil
  • Olive oil
  • Argan oil
  • Rosehip Oil
  • Black seed oil
  • Grape seed oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Sunflower oil

 

 

Are there risks of using essential oil? 

 

The downside of using essential oil for baby eczema is the possibility of skin irritation. [2]. Because essential oils are made from plants, it can cause allergic reactions to those who have allergies to certain plants.

 

The use of essential oil in babies is considered safe when used and diluted properly. Always do a patch test before applying the product to the whole skin to see if there’s an allergic reaction.[3]

 

Are essential oils safe for babies?

 

Essential oil is considered safe topically, BUT it’s not to be ingested. NEVER let your baby or child ingest essential oil.

 

Essential oil is not recommended for infants younger than 3 months old. [33]

 

What is the best essential oil?

 

The following are typically the BEST essential oil for children [35], [36]:

  • Chamomile oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Lavender oil

 

The “best” essential oil is an subjective statement, but these are considered the best because they are less likely to irritate the skin.

 

The following should be AVOIDED [34]:

  • thyme
  • oregano
  • citronella
  • cinnamon bark or leaf
  • bay
  • cumin
  • lemongrass
  • lemon verbena
  • clove bud
  • tagetes

 

The NAHA also recommends AGAINST using these oils during pregnancy and while breast feeding [34]:

  • aniseed
  • birch
  • camphor
  • basil
  • sage
  • parsley seed
  • tarragon
  • wormwood
  • wintergreen

 

Can I diffuse essential oils around baby?

 

The best answer I could find is by Dr. Anna Esparham, M.D., who is a pediatrician trained in aromatherapy. She states not to use diffused essential oil around children younger than 6 months old. [35]

 

What are the different types of essential oil and what do they do?

 

I compiled this list because I thought it was interesting what essential oils are available to consumers and what they do.

 

Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia): it has microbial properties (can kill fungus), but it can be toxic when swallowed [5].

 

Peppermint oil: It can be used to relieve muscle pain, headache, and stomach upset [6], but needs more research on whether it can help eczema.

 

Calendula oil: It has anti-inflammatory properties, but needs research if it help eczema [7].

 

Borage oil: It contains high amount of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. There are research articles supporting that it can help eczema [8].

 

Jojoba oil: It is widely used in skin care products such as moisturizers, shampoos, and conditioners. It is thought to help in retaining skin moisture [9].

 

Coconut oil: One study showed that coconut oil may help eczema better than mineral oil [10].

 

Sunflower seed oil: This oil contains vitamin E which supports skin health, but more research is needed to support that it helps eczema [11].

 

Thyme: It posses antimicrobial properties that fights against bacteria and fungi [12].

 

Clove: It may provide relief from itching  [13].

 

Rose:  It can help calm and relax [14]. It may also have antimicrobial properties [15].

 

Eucalyptus: It possesses antimicrobial properties [16].

 

Fennel: It has antimicrobial properties [17].

 

Rose geranium: It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe skin [19].

 

Chamomile: It has anti-inflammatory properties which can help eczema [21], and also has antimicrobial properties[22].

 

Turmeric: It can hydrate skin [23] and has anti-inflammatory properties [24].

 

Lavender: It has antimicrobial properties that can help eczema [25].

 

Black Pepper: The active compound, piperine, has antioxidant [26] and anti inflammatory [27] properties.

 

Bergamot: It can help relieve stress and anxiety [28] and possesses antibacterial properties  [29].

 

Not all of the oils mentioned above are recommended for eczema, but I wanted to include them in case people are interested in learning more about essential oils. I know for myself, this was very interesting to research after hearing so many things about essential oils.

 

Conclusion 

 

Based on my research, I could not find definitive research or information supporting that essential oil works for eczema. I did find information that says essential oil can be used on babies without eczema. When it comes to eczema, however, the skin is already compromised and essential oil can irritate the skin further. I personally tried borage oil and coconut oil on my child and they both made her eczema worse. I have also found during my research that many mothers did not experience good results with essential oil on their child’s eczema. Although it is ultimately your choice of whether to try essential oil for your child’s eczema, I personally would not recommend it for babies or children with eczema.

 

Check out this article that discusses other alternative methods to help eczema.