What is eczema?
Eczema is the common name for a condition called atopic dermatitis – a skin condition that affects approximately one in three Australians at some stage in their life. The affected skin will become dry, itchy, scaly and red in colour – in extreme cases it may bleed and/or weep causing ‘crust-like’ scabs on the skin’s surface.
Even though eczema can affect people of all ages, it most commonly occurs in babies between two and six months of age and usually disappears by the time a child is six years old.
Most kids will simply grow out of the condition, but a small number can continue to experience eczema right through to their adult lives.
What are the symptoms of eczema?
- itching skin
- recurring rash - dry, patchy, cracked or red skin
- (in infants the rash will normally appear on the face or behind elbows and knees)
- weeping skin
- crustiness on skin
What causes eczema?
Eczema is one of those frustrating conditions for sufferers because usually the exact cause is unknown. However, it does appear to be linked to the following factors:-
- foods – eg, nuts, seafood, eggs, wheat or particular chemical food preservatives or additives
- a family history of asthma or hay fever (if both parents have suffered from eczema before there is an 80% chance their children will suffer also)
- irritants such as air conditioning, chemicals, tobacco smoke, etc
- allergens – eg, grasses, pollens, dust mites, pets, soaps, shampoos, washing powders and certain cosmetics and toiletries
Does tea tree oil help to cure eczema?
Yes, tea tree oil does help to cure eczema. Tea tree oil has been used for thousands of years by the native Aboriginal people of Australia (you can read about the history of tea tree oil here). The natives used to bathe in water – where the leaves had dropped – to help heal common skin conditions and ailments.
The oil from the tea tree plant – Melaleuca Alternofolia – has natural antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic qualities, meaning it will be of great benefit to help cure itching and redness caused by the eczema skin condition.
The best thing about using tea tree oil to treat eczema is it’s an all-natural remedy as opposed to using creams and lotions that can potentially contain harmful chemicals (such as corticosteroids) that will further irritate the symptoms.
How do I use tea tree oil?
There’s a couple of different ways you can use tea tree oil to relieve your skin from eczema:-
Tea tree oil bath
- Add about 15 drops of 100% tea tree oil to a warm bath.
- Then add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or sweet almond oil to the water.
- Stir the water thoroughly and bathe in this solution once or twice a day.
Tea tree oil solution
- Add about 20 drops of tea tree oil to half a cup of a carrier oil of your choice (you can use extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil or sweet almond oil).
- Mix thoroughly then apply directly to the affected areas twice a day.
Using either of the above methods, you should see results within one to two weeks.
Where can I find tea tree oil?
Tea tree oil can be purchased from most pharmacies or drug stores – even some supermarkets and variety stores will stock the oil. Make sure you always buy 100% pure essential oil. Check the label carefully as it should not contain any other ingredients – if it does, it’s a blend of the oil and will not work as well.
You can buy creams and lotions that have been manufactured to contain tea tree oil, so these might be worth investigating to help cure your skin of eczema.
Safety precautions when using tea tree oil
Tea tree oil should only ever be applied topically to the skin, although some people can be sensitive to the oil. If this is the case, you can halve the amount of oil needed in the above treatments and see how that works.
Tea tree oil should never be swallowed as it can cause a toxic reaction with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness and in very severe cases it can cause coma.
If you are pregnant you should always consult with your health professional before using any type of essential oil – if any negative side effects are experienced from using tea tree oil consult your doctor straight away.