Hello, my name is Simon, son of Geoffrey. Geoffrey was an 90-year-old retired carpenter who has suffered from persistent eczema and psoriasis on his legs all his life.
Over the years he’s just about tried everything to relieve it, from the, all without much success. He was resigned to the fact that he would have to suffer with and be self-conscious about, this distressing skin condition for the rest of his life.
That was until one Christmas when I had made him the ‘joke gift’ of an ‘anti-aging skin cream’ I had made that contained a mixture of essential oils renowned for their skin-rejuvenating properties.
I bought the high-quality base cream from a wholesale supplier and, using my knowledge of aromatherapy and essential oils, added plant extracts that have a long-held reputation of smoothing out wrinkles and improving the health and appearance of the skin.
The Christmas Present that Changed his Life
On Christmas day, when my old dad unwrapped the ‘anti-wrinkle cream’ we all had a good laugh and I had a vague idea he might use it as a shaving cream or for his hands after he had been working on his allotment. Unknown to me at the time, instead of massaging it into his wrinkles, he started applying the thick, rich cream onto a patch of Psoriasis on his lower leg that had been there for decades and resisted all other treatments.
Now you have to understand that my dad is of the ‘old school’. A block of soap and some aftershave is all he ever used by way of toiletries. He’s also the most skeptical man on the earth when it comes to dubious claims made by face cream manufacturers and that suspicion has rubbed off on me.
Probably out of sheer desperation, he rubbed the cream into the affected area day and night for several weeks (one-pot goes quite a long way!) until one day, completely out of the blue, he happened to mention in conversation that his skin was looking and feeling a lot better.
Now I’ve seen my father’s Psoriasis occasionally and, to be honest, it wasn’t a pretty sight. The skin was red, inflamed, dry, and flaky but, with an incredulous smile on his face, he lifted up his trouser leg, and the area where his Psoriasis had formerly been, looked completely normal and healthy.
As I said before, my father has always been very suspicious of so-called ‘alternative’ treatments such as aromatherapy, so I was fairly certain there was no ‘placebo effect’ (the belief that something will work makes it work regardless of its actual effectiveness) at work here but I can’t say I was surprised that it works.
Here are the essential oils and other nourishing, rejuvenating natural ingredients I put into the cream that ‘cured’ my dad’s eczema and psoriasis and could do the same for you:
Frankincense (Boswellia Carteri)
Pale yellow or green in color, Frankincense comes from a small tree called Boswellia Carterii – a native to North Africa and some of the countries of the Middle East. When the bark of the tree is damaged or cut, the tree exudes a resin from which this essential oil is extracted. As mentioned earlier, Christians believe that 3 “wise men from the east” came to worship the newly born Jesus and brought the gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.
In those times, Frankincense was so precious; it was valued almost as much as gold and so was indeed a very great gift. Many ancient cultures burned it as part of their religious rituals; perhaps because its woody, spicy, and lemony aroma is known to have a calming effect and so may aid religious or spiritual contemplation and meditation.
The ancient Egyptians used it both in religious practice and to embalm their dead because the oil has always been known to have a remarkable preserving effect on the skin. You only need to look at how well preserved the bodies of some of the ancient King of Egypt are after thousands of years to realize Just take at how why it is still well known as a wonderful preserver for the skin and used in one of the more popular contemporary natural anti-aging creams!
In modern skincare Frankincense is known to be an excellent and effective rejuvenating tonic for skin of all ages, its remarkable properties helping to tone up slack facial skin, prevent the formation of wrinkles, and reduce those any creases already there. Its excellent moisturizing properties also mean it is very effective in restoring dry or chapped skin. Those in their teens, twenties, or thirties who do not yet show any sign of their age may still find it a great preventative treatment to preserving their youthful glow whilst the more mature may find it to be a wonderful tonic for a tired visage.
Frankincense contains monoterpene compounds that give the oil natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. No wonder then that in ancient times, long before the advent of modern, synthetic antiseptics, it was used to fumigate the sick. Today users will find that same germ-killing and healing properties useful for the treatments of skin ulcers, scar tissue, wounds, and inflammation.
Neroli (Citrus Aurantium)
Neroli is extracted from the flowers of the Bitter Orange or Seville Orange, is deep brown in color and has a bittersweet aroma thought to be one of the most beautiful of all the essential oils. No surprise then that it is widely used for commercial perfumes. The name is thought to be named after an Italian princess called Anne-Marie de la Tremoille, Countess of Nerola who used this oil both as a perfume and to scent her bathwater. It takes about 1000 lbs of orange blossoms to make just 1 lb of Neroli oil
Neroli oil contains the chemicals Pinene, limonene, Linalyl acetate, Linalol, Nerolidol, Nerol, Geraniol, and Citral making it particularly soothing and helpful for aging, dry or sensitive skin. It has the special property of being able to stimulate the grown of new healthy skin cells and therefore, like Frankincense, has certain rejuvenating abilities and so can help in the treatment of scar tissue and stretch marks. Its gentle nature makes it suitable for all skin types and, like most other essential oils, it also has an antiseptic, anti-infectious effect on the skin.
Lavender (Lavendula Vera)
Lavender is an evergreen woody shrub whose flowering tops yield the full flowery smelling oil. Lavender has been used therapeutically and cosmetically for thousands of years, either as an essential oil or by using the dried flowers.
The name Lavender is derived from the Latin word ‘lavera’ which means ‘to wash’. The Romans used Lavender extensively in their bath routine and it is thought it was they who brought the plant from their Mediterranean home to northern Europe where it is now widely cultivated as a cash crop.
As one of the most versatile of all the oils, Lavender has been continually used for a wide variety of medicinal, beauty, and hygiene purposes even when the other essential oils and aromatherapy itself fell out of favor. Some of you may remember your parents or grandparents using bags or socks filled with lavender flowers in clothes cupboards and drawers to keep their clothes fresh and the moths away, as it is an excellent insect repellent.
Lavender’s complex chemical structure of Borneol, Geraniol, Linalool, Lavendulyl acetate, Linalyl acetate, and Cineol, means that it is one of the more anti-septic, anti-bacterial, and analgesic oils in the aromatherapy pantheon, making it a particularly effective, gentle, and soothing treatment of burns, abscesses, acne, oily skin, boils, sunburn, eczema, wounds, insect bites, and stings. Lavender is also well known as one of the three most powerful oils in stimulating the growth of healthy, new skin cells and so may help to maintain a ‘fresh’ appearance.
Carrot Seed (Daucus Carrota)
An annual or biennial herb with hairy leaves and umbels of white lacy flowers with purple centers, the name is derived from the Greek ‘Carotos’.
The familiar bright orange carrot has been used as a medicinal plant at least since the first century AD and, as the name suggests, the oil is extracted from the seeds of the plant, not the edible root we all know.
The oil is a pale yellow color and has the characteristic smell of carrots. The presence of daucol, lomonene, pinene, and especially carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A. make it a very nourishing ‘skin food’.
In skincare this is an excellent oil. It improves the complexion due to its strengthening effect on red blood cells, adding tone and elasticity to the skin. It is said to promote a more ‘youthful’ appearance by restoring tone and elasticity whilst helping to reduce wrinkles and remove ‘age’ spots.
It is also said to assists in the removal of toxins and water build up in the skin giving it a fresher, firmer appearance, and can be an effective treatment for such skin conditions as eczema and psoriasis.
Sandalwood (Santalum Album)
Sandalwood derives from a small, evergreen tree that grows in India and the islands of the Indian Ocean.
The oil contains up to 90% santalol with the other chemical contents consisting of pinene, santalic acid, terasantalic acid, and santalone.
The color varies from yellow to a deep brown.
Sandalwood has been used in India as a perfume and incense for hundreds of years. Its medicinal applications include treatment for dry, persistent coughs, bronchitis and as a soothing sore throat medicine but it’s most popular use has always been as a perfume in toiletries and cosmetics.
It is beneficial for many different skin conditions but especially for dry and dehydrated skin. It is also extremely soothing on shaving rash and other skin irritations, relieving itchiness, and eliminating the bacteria that cause the rash.
Camomile (Anthemis Nobilis)
Camomile, like most medicinal plants, has been recorded as having been used in folk medicine and herbal lore for many hundreds of years and is one of the most widespread of the plant-based remedies.
The chemical composition of the oil consists of esters, isobutyl angelate, pinocarvone, chamazulene, and others, depending on which type of Camomile is used.
The distilled oil of the plant is blue in color has excellent anti-inflammatory, soothing and calming properties so is valuable in treating conditions where inflammation is present.
Camomile is very effective where the skin is very sensitive, red, dry, flaky, and itchy. It is also very calming emotionally and so helps ease any stress that may be felt due to abnormal skin conditions.
This attractive pink plant’s leaves contain an oil that promotes speeding healing of the skin. It also balances the production of sebum, the skin’s own natural oil, so in the case of skin that is over-dry (such as dry eczema), it will help bring the skin back to its natural balance.
One of the most common natural eczema treatments is the usage of coconut oil. It has been proven effective for people having dry eczema skin and has become the best natural eczema treatment available.
Compared to other oils, coconut oil has the ability to easily penetrate the skin which keeps your skin soft and smooth. Through this, there will be a reduction in the inflammation of your skin. It will also enhance the healing of wounds, blisters, and rashes.
Coconut oil has many uses in the treatment of eczema. These include:
- Reduces inflammation and redness of the skin;
- Enhances the tissue healing and repair process;
- Strengthens and improves the function of the immune system;
- Aids the effective utilization of essential fatty acids and gives protection from oxidation;
- Plays an essential role in maintaining the natural chemical balance of the skin;
- Instrumental in softening the skin and helping to relieve from flaking and dryness;
- Gives protection to the skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays;
- Facilitates digestion and absorption of nutrients such as vitamins, mineral, and amino acids.
Rosehip Seed Oil
Rosehip seed oil is extracted from the seeds of a rose bush called rosa moschata or rosa rubiginosa which grows wild in the southern Andes. It is unique among vegetable oils in containing retinol (vitamin A) in the form of retinoic acid which studies show reduces the appearance of wrinkles and brightens skin.
Rosehip oil also contains vitamin C and omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids, known to heal scar tissue. It is used for a variety of skin conditions, including dermatitis, acne, and eczema but it is in the field of anti-aging that rosehip oil is best known because of its ability to soften fine lines, fade irregular pigmentation and diminish the damage caused by sunlight.
Another key benefit is this oil’s ability to be absorbed into the skin without leaving a greasy feel. This is because it is classed as a ‘dry oil’ so it penetrates to the deepest layers of the skin where it regenerates skin cells and encourages the protection of collagen and elastin, the skin’s supportive proteins. This results in firmer, smoother, and more youthful skin with greater elasticity. Rosehip seed oil also contains a high amount of vitamin E, which further promotes healthy skin.
Black Seed Oil
For over two thousand years, the Black seed has been traditionally used by various cultures throughout the world as a natural remedy for several diseases and ailments and to improve health in general.
The seed itself contains amino acids (including eight of the nine essential ones), carbohydrates, fatty acids including linolenic and oleic, volatile oils, alkaloids, and dietary fiber, as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, sodium, and potassium.
Psoriasis is caused by an abnormal immune reaction in the body causing abnormal proliferation of the epidermal layer of skin. Black seed oil is well recognized to regulate the body’s immune cells (up-regulating some and down-regulating others) It also enhances the body’s ability to deal with abnormal cell proliferation.
Traditionally, black seeds have been applied externally for psoriatic skin to manage the general pain and patches of the eruption. A recent lab-based study examined the effect of nigella sativa seed extract on an animal model of psoriasis, they examined the histological (cellular level) effects and found that Nigella sativa has anti-psoriatic activity and concluded that the external application is beneficial in the management of psoriasis.
Black seed oil has fantastic emollient properties, forming a non-greasy film and providing nutritive factors the skin needs. A clinical trial that compared the effects of Nigella sativa oil applied twice daily compared to a conventional steroid cream (Betamethasone) for hand eczema found both to be equally effective in reducing symptoms. The clear benefit of black seed oil versus steroid use is its lack of side effects.
Avocado oil contains a high amount of proteins and unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants like vitamins A, D, and E plus a substance called sterolin, which studies have shown cause the skin to be more soft and supple and are thus particularly good for dry or aged skin.
Avocado oil applied topically helps relieve dry and itchy skin, eczema, psoriasis, nappy/diaper rash and speeds the healing of wounds.
Once applied, avocado oil is deeply absorbed by the skin, increasing the production of collagen, which helps keep the skin plump and decreases the effects of aging, thus making it an ideal moisturizer and skincare agent.
Because avocado oil tends to reduce itching and inflammation of the skin, people who suffer from very dry skin or from eczema often find avocado oil to have soothing properties.