Skin issues in children: Ayurveda Aromatherapy to the rescue

Skin issues such as eczema and dermatitis are highly prevalent among children and cause red inflamed patches which could be dry, flaky, and extremely itchy. It could be triggered by allergies, as a reaction to irritants and pollutants and household chemicals and even food. Some children may have a genetic predisposition to skin issues like eczema due to family history.
Ayurveda Aromatherapy presents an ideal complementary therapy for treating eczema in children as conventional allopathic treatments rely on topical steroids which has its own limitations and side effects. Before considering any treatment, it is best to ensure that preventive measures are in place like avoiding junk food and any edible item with added colors, ensuring adequate sleep and nutrition and addressing any underlying lactose and food intolerances.

Essential Oils. Photo credit Nisarga Farms Organic

A topical ayurvedic aromatherapeutic preparation for eczema or dermatitis can be made with a combination of carrier oils/ / plant butters and essential oils.
It is of utmost importance that essential oils be diluted in a carrier before use especially when it is being used on children. It is best to avoid the use of essential oil on infants and very small children under the age of 3 and instead opt for hydrosols which carry the water-soluble components of the essential oils and are mild enough for very small children.
Recommended carrier oils for eczema are virgin tamanu, calendula infused oil, golden jojoba oil, virgin coconut oil, virgin sweet almond oil and virgin apricot kernel oil. In plant butters shea butter and cocoa butter are great options as they are highly emollient, softening, and great for dry skin conditions.

As per Ayurveda Aromatherapy essential oils can be used in various ways for children

A gentle yet effective essential oil blend for eczema could include:
– German chamomile- the chemical components present in the essential oil make it a great anti-inflammatory. It has an amazing effect on inflamed skin, especially allergic rashes. It is also anti pruritic meaning it reduces itching to a great extent.
– Kashmir Lavender- is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anxiolytic.
– Cedarwood- anti allergic, anti-bacterial and good for skin issues.
– Helichrysum immortelle- is wound healing and good for allergic responses.
In the above blend, I would consider German chamomile, lavender and cedarwood as the core essential oil as well as harmonizer, helichrysum as the enhancer. Helichrysum, cedarwood, and lavender are also known for their effect on the psyche and may help soothe the distress and anxiety that a child or person may face while dealing with eczema and dermatitis.
And I recommend virgin tamanu and coconut oil as the base oil. If calendula infused oil is not available, then it can be replaced with tamanu oil.
A blend need not have more than 3 essential oils. However, other great choices that can be considered are:
– Patchouli- calming, anti-inflammatory and reduced scar formation
– Palmarosa- reduces itching and pain (in wet and pus-filled kind), anti-bacterial, supports immunity
– Rose- skin regenerating, healing compromised or damaged skin. It can be substituted with rose geranium too.
If the skin is affected by allergic reactions or hives, which are rashes that are very itchy, inflamed and hot or warm to touch, aloe vera jelly could serve as a cooling carrier. While using aloevera gel I would reduce the dilution a bit more than what I would use with a traditional oil or butter as aloe era enhances absorption more than oils.

The general guideline for dilution is 0.5-1% for children

The general guideline for dilution is 0.5-1% for children but it can be adjusted up or down as per age and severity of the condition. But it’s good to remember that less is more with essential oils and for children dilution need not cross 2.5%. A 0.5% dilution translates to 2-3 drops of the blend in 30 ml of the carrier.
While the above recommendations are focused on children, it would be equally effective for adults facing similar skin issues. You can contact Nisarga Farms Organic for Pure essential oils in India as well as outside India.
Written by Nirupama Ravindran & MSA Team.
Nirupama lives in Chennai, South of India, and is one of the instructors at Mysore School of Ayurveda Aromatherapy (MSA)
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You can connect to Nirupama at her instagram @aromatherapyandyou for consultation regarding Ayurveda aromatherapy, Children health and women health.
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