Exploring Plant-Based Oils as a New Treatment for Eczema

Greg Howard
7th May, 2024

Exploring Plant-Based Oils as a New Treatment for Eczema

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Chitkara University found essential oils may help treat eczema by reducing inflammation and itching
  • Essential oils like lavender and patchouli could improve skin health by maintaining moisture and protecting against irritants
  • These natural oils might also aid in managing eczema by potentially influencing the body's immune response
Atopic dermatitis (AD), also commonly known as eczema, is a chronic skin condition that causes dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. It's a problem that affects millions worldwide and can significantly impact a person's quality of life. The condition is particularly troublesome because it tends to flare up periodically and can be difficult to manage with conventional treatments, which often include antihistamines, immunosuppressants, and glucocorticoids. These treatments, while effective, come with a host of potential side effects, especially when used over a long period. Researchers from Chitkara University have presented a compelling alternative to synthetic drugs for treating AD[1]. They have turned their attention to essential oils—naturally derived plant extracts known for their medicinal properties. Essential oils such as lavender oil, patchouli oil, and frankincense oil have been used for centuries in traditional medicine, but only recently have they been subjected to rigorous scientific scrutiny in the context of modern dermatology. The study suggests that these essential oils could be beneficial in the treatment of AD due to their anti-eczematic, anti-inflammatory, and antipruritic (anti-itching) properties. The bioactive compounds in essential oils are thought to work by inhibiting the release and activity of inflammatory mediators and immunological responses that contribute to the symptoms of AD. Understanding the skin's barrier function is crucial when considering new treatments for AD. The skin's outermost layer, the stratum corneum (SC), is responsible for a range of protective functions, including permeability barrier homeostasis[2]. This layer helps to prevent the loss of moisture and protects against environmental stressors. In the context of AD, the integrity of this barrier is compromised, allowing irritants to penetrate and moisture to escape, leading to the dry and inflamed skin characteristic of the condition. Furthermore, the link between psychological stress and the onset of AD has been established in earlier studies using animal models. For instance, NC/Nga mice exposed to psychological stress developed AD-like skin lesions, suggesting that stress management could be a component of AD treatment[3]. This insight is particularly relevant when considering the calming effects often attributed to essential oils in aromatherapy. It is also important to note the immune system's role in AD. The condition is marked by an overactive immune response, with certain immune cells contributing to the inflammation seen in AD. This has opened the door to targeted therapies that aim to modulate the immune system[4]. Essential oils may offer a dual benefit in this regard, both soothing the skin directly and potentially affecting the immune response due to their bioactive compounds. In children with AD, skin functions such as pH, capacitance, and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) fluctuate with disease activity, and even skin not currently showing lesions can be affected[5]. This suggests that treatments need to address the skin's overall health, not just the visibly affected areas. Essential oils, with their various therapeutic properties, could provide a holistic approach to improving skin barrier function and overall skin health. In summary, the research from Chitkara University offers a promising natural alternative for the treatment of AD. Essential oils could provide a more sustainable and less harmful option for managing this chronic skin condition. As with all treatments, further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms at play and to develop safe and effective protocols for the use of essential oils in dermatology. Nonetheless, this study adds to a growing body of evidence that natural remedies can play an important role in modern medicine, particularly for conditions like AD where patients may struggle with the side effects of long-term drug therapy.

HerbsMedicinePlant Science


Main Study

1) Unveiling the phyto-restorative potential of ethereal distillates for atopic dermatitis: an advanced therapeutic approach.

Published 7th May, 2024


Related Studies

2) Stratum corneum defensive functions: an integrated view.

Journal: The Journal of investigative dermatology, Issue: Vol 125, Issue 2, Aug 2005

3) Psychological stress can trigger atopic dermatitis in NC/Nga mice: an inhibitory effect of corticotropin-releasing factor.

Journal: Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Issue: Vol 33, Issue 3, Feb 2008

4) Contrasting pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis and psoriasis--part II: immune cell subsets and therapeutic concepts.


5) Objective assessment of the skin of children affected by atopic dermatitis: a study of pH, capacitance and TEWL in eczematous and clinically uninvolved skin.

Journal: Acta dermato-venereologica, Issue: Vol 75, Issue 6, Nov 1995

Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload đź—™