Using Essential Oils on the Skin
Applying concentrated essential oils directly to the skin is rarely a great idea. Instead, you’ll want to restrict your dose to a few drops mixed into a cream, oil, water, or other neutral solution to help you spread it out on your skin evenly and safely.
Every oil is different, but it’s usually best to start with two or three drops in a spoonful of carrier oil, or a bowl of water, and apply sparingly until you know how your skin will react. Make the most of your therapy with these tips for safe and effective use:
If you want to calm your skin, why not drop a bit of oil in a warm bath, and soak your skin for a while? You’ll hydrate your body, treat your problem patches, and breathe in the soothing (or energizing) scent while you get rid of any stress that may have built up over the day.
Alternatively, try an aromatherapy massage to trigger the relaxation response while you treat your skin. If you’ve never tried therapeutic massage for psoriasis, or you’re worried about friction on sensitive patches, look for a registered massage therapist who has worked with psoriasis patients before, or is familiar with skin issues and knows how to work around them.
Essential oils may be plant-based, but they’re also highly concentrated compounds that are more powerful than they seem. Many oils, including tea tree and peppermint, are simply too string to put directly on the skin — they can cause more irritation, or other surprisingly unpleasant side effects.
Using a carrier oil or cream is a good practice when applying essential oils to the skin, and be sure to follow the recommendations on the bottle (along with your doctor’s guidelines) so you aren’t adding too much. Often, just a few drops mixed into a neutral base will be all you need to enjoy the effects.
Research Each Oil You Use
Different oils are derived from different plants, and will therefore bring different benefits — and potential reactions. Do your homework, and thoroughly read up on any oil you plan to use on your skin, and don’t be afraid to consult with your doctor about possible drug interactions.
If you treat essential oils like medicines, you are less likely to run into trouble.
Balance the Risks With the Rewards
One of the major problems with aromatherapy treatments for chronic conditions is the lack of solid evidence.
Very few studies have been undertaken to determine just how safe and effective essential oils are for medical conditions like psoriasis, and even fewer have been well-controlled.
In turn, most of the success stories come from other patients who have found relief, which is helpful, but not exactly scientific.
If you’re ready to give essential oils a go, keep in mind they may not work as well for you as they did for someone else. If your skin is particularly sensitive, proceed with extreme caution: essential oils are technically volatile organic compounds, a category that includes a range of fragrances and powerful natural chemicals, and they can trigger even more inflammation in susceptible people.