Aromatherapy Treatment for Dermatitis

Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin that causes itching, redness, and skin lesions. It's difficult even for dermatologists to uncover the source of this bothersome skin problem. Some obvious causes, though, are contact with an irritant such as poison oak or ivy, harsh chemicals, or anything to which one is allergic. Stress also seems to be a contributing factor in many types of dermatitis. Essential oils that counter stress, soothe inflammation and itching, soften roughness, and are both antiseptic and drying are used to treat these skin conditions.

One type of dermatitis is eczema, a word that describes a series of symptoms rather than a disease. Eczema is characterized by crusty, oozing skin that itches and may feel like it burns. Psoriasis is a dermatitis with red lesions covered by silverlike scales that flake off. This condition can be hereditary, but its cause is unknown. It has an annoying tendency to come and go for no apparent reason.


One of the best vehicles for essential oils in these cases is an herbal salve that already contains a base of skin healing herbs such as comfrey and calendula. You can use a store-bought herbal salve or one that you make yourself. Stir in 15 drops (or less) of essential oils per ounce of salve. Because salves come in a two-ounce jar, that means adding no more than 30 drops; use less if the salve already contains some essential oils.

Secondary skin infections, which often occur with eczema, need to be treated with antiseptic essential oils, such as those suggested for acne.

Essential oils for dermatitis: birch, chamomile, lavender, peppermint (for itching), rosemary, tea tree

Diaper Rash

Aromatherapy baby oil and powder can help protect your little one from diaper rash. The oil repels moisture, and the powder absorbs moisture and prevents chafing. Use one or the other with every diaper change, or more often if needed. Baby oil is also good for the skin. Make your own baby powder from plain old cornstarch and essential oils.

Essential oils for diaper rash: chamomile, lavender, sandalwood, tea tree

To learn more about Aromatherapy and other alternative medicines, see:

  • Aromatherapy: Here you will learn about aromatherapy, how it works, what part essential oils play, and how to use aromatherapy.
  • Essential Oils Profiles: We have collected profiles of dozens of plants that are used to produce essential oils. On these pages, you will learn the properties and preparations for the most popular essential oils.
  • How to Treat Common Conditions With Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy can be used to treat a number of conditions, from asthma to depression to skin problems. Here you will learn how to treat some common medical problems with aromatherapy.
  • Home Remedies: We have gathered over a hundred safe, time-tested home remedies for treating a wide variety of medical complaints yourself.
  • Herbal Remedies: Herbal remedies and aromatherapy can be very similar, and they stem from similar historic roots. On this page, you will find all of our herb profiles and instructions for treating medical problems with herbal remedies.


Kathi Keville is director of the American Herb Association and editor of the American Herb Association Quarterly newsletter. A writer, photographer, consultant, and teacher specializing in aromatherapy and herbs for over 25 years, she has written several books, including Aromatherapy: The Complete Guide to the Healing Art and Pocket Guide to Aromatherapy, and has written over 150 articles for such magazines as New Age Journal, The Herb Companion, and New Herbal Remedies.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.