Itchy skin is theÂ 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 thereâ€™s no cure. But good news, thereâ€™s a totally natural source of relief out there: essential oils. As the purest form of plant extracts, essential oils are loaded withÂ 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.Â â€śYouÂ neverÂ want to apply essential oils directly to itchy skin because their intensity could exacerbate irritation,â€ťÂ Galper notes.
Start with any these 10 essential oils for itching, for instant relief:
1. Tea Tree
Tea treeÂ (available at Faithful-To-Nature) is incredible for relieving itching but in very limited situations: â€śYou should only use tea tree oil if your itch is the result of an infection, bug bite, or rash, since itâ€™s really great at drying up problem-causing bacteria,â€ť says Galper. (Thatâ€™s why itâ€™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. â€śItching can also stem from anxiety, and the scent of lavender has been shown to be calming to the nervous system.â€ť 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.
â€śDry or irritated skin often comes from your skin being out of balance, from the weather, stress, or even your hormones,â€ť says Galper. â€śGeranium oil contains elements that help restore the bodyâ€™s equilibrium.â€ť If youâ€™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 youâ€™ll really feel like youâ€™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. â€śItching 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,â€ť 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 â€“ 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. â€śThis combo makes it incredibly soothing to irritated skin by calming overexcited nerves,â€ť Galper explains.
Patchouli shares a lot of similar properties with tea treeâ€”theyâ€™re both antiviral and antimicrobialâ€”but unlike tea tree, it doesnâ€™t contain a group of molecules that make it super astringent. That means you get all the relief but none of the dryingâ€”a total win for parched winter skin.
This article was originally published on Beauty Tips.
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