Essential oils are often where we turn when we need solutions for chronic health issues. In fact, many believe their use can ease sleeplessness, soothe sore muscles and even strengthen immune systems.
However, using essential oils as an alternative to other ingredients carries its own risks if you have easily irritated skin. If you find yourself with inflamed, blotchy skin after using a certain product, you might be experiencing dermal sensitization or dermal irritation. Read on to see what these terms mean and which essential oils could be irritating your skin.
Dermal sensitization is a type of allergic reaction. It occurs on first exposure to a substance, but on this occasion, the noticeable effect on the skin will be slight or absent. However, subsequent exposure to the same material can cause a severe inflammatory reaction brought about by cells of the immune system (T-lymphocytes). The reaction will be represented on the skin as blotchy or redness, and could be painful to some individuals.
Once dermal sensitization occurs with a specific essential oil, it’s likely that the individual wil not be able to use it again without experiencing some reaction. If this is a concern of yours, the best way to avoid sensitization is to avoid applying the same essential oils every day for lengthy periods of time.
Some essential oils that could be to blame include the following list:
Anise | Bay Laurel |Benzoin | Cassia | Catnip | Cinnamon bark | Citronella | Clove | Fennel | Lemongrass | Litsea Cubeba | Melissa | Oakmoss Peru balsam | Peppermint | Pine | Star Anise | Verbena absolute | Tea absolute | Turpentine oil | Backhousia | Inula
A dermal irritant, on the other hand, will produce an immediate effect of irritation on the skin. The reaction will be represented on the skin as blotchiness or redness, which (again) can painful to some individuals. The severity of the reaction will depend on the concentration (dilution) applied.
Dermal irritants often include the following list of essential oils:
Allspice | Bay Laurel | Benzoin | Cassia | Cinnamon bark or leaf |Clove Bud | Citronella | Cumin | Eucalyptus | Ginger | Fennel | Fir Needle | Lemongrass | Lemon verbena | Oregano | Parsley | Sage | Spruce | Tagetes | Thyme ct. thymol
*bark is often more irritating than leaf
If you were wondering which essential oils could be irritating your skin, the above lists are a good place to start. As always, however, the above information is not going to be the same for every skin type and for every individual. It also doesn’t mean that these essential oils are dangerous to use – just that they should be used with caution if you suffer from easily irritated skin.
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