Dermatitis, or Eczema, Is A Common Skin Complaint

What is Dermatitis or Eczema?

Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin.  Atopic Dermatitis is called Eczema.  

It usually begins in childhood under the age of 5.  Mostly by teenage years the worst of the symptoms are over but it can flare up at any time in life, often triggered by stress, allergens, external circumstances or poor health.

Although not contagious it is incurable.  However, the symptoms can be managed naturally by using essential oils.

It is mostly found in folds of the skin like the neck, bend of the arm and back of the knee.  It can also be found on hands and feet. 

Dermatitis generally affects people with dry skin so maintain a good moisturising routine and avoid dry climatic situations.

For Essential Oil Recipes Please Click Here

Types of Dermatitis 


When an alkaline or acidic substance comes into continual contact with your skin it can become inflamed leading to itchy, painful and red skin.  

This form frequently takes a long time to develop and often is the result of an occupational hazard using chemicals. 


An allergic reaction would be to a certain allergen.  This is not always easy to pin down as the swelling and rash may take time to develop after exposure. 

And not everyone will react the same or at all to the allergen.

The location of the rash may help with diagnosis as it must be an exposed part of the skin. 

The skin becomes itchy, covered in small clear blisters which can weep.  Sometimes the skin hardens, cracks and infections set in.

If you react to metals in your clothes, paint clear nail polish on the underside.


Dyshidrotic or Pompholyx Eczema occurs on the hands and soles of the feet

They are tiny and extremely itchy water blisters.  They can cause the skin to harden and crack allowing for infection to set in. 

It is a chronic condition and frequently triggered, strangely, by powerful changes in the weather or from emotional upheaval.

Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic Dermatitis is the most common form of dermatitis and affects 1 in 4 children.  It seems to be hereditary and affects those who are already susceptible to asthma and hay fever. 

Most children outgrow the worst of the symptoms but the condition will never go away. 

It may flare up at any time during life, however the symptoms can be managed.

Symptoms of Eczema

It is characterized by a dry, itchy, scaly and inflamed skin.

Causes of Eczema

There are some thoughts of it being an auto-immune disorder or an allergic condition.  

There are recognizable triggers: 

  • Stress,
  • Infection,
  • Medications, 
  • Certain foods (see below),
  • Irritants or allergens.  

Only time and observation will show what affects you.


If you have eczema try to eliminate the common food allergens:  

  • Milk,
  • Eggs,
  • Peanuts,
  • Fish,
  • Soy,
  • Wheat,
  • Citrus, and
  • Chocolate 

and see if any of them are causing the symptoms.

Try to use:

  • Chemical free soaps,
  • Avoid very hot water,
  • Air conditioners,
  • Keep your skin moist and
  • Wear natural fibres in clothing to allow the skin to breathe.

Stress can aggravate dermatitis so use LavenderGeranium or Bergamot in a diffuser.

Types of Eczema


Nummular or Discoid eczema most frequently only affects older people.  It can appear anywhere on the body but most predominantly in the lower leg. 

Small, round or oval red patches with tiny blisters or scabs will form and are very itchy. 

The cause is unknown,  it is a chronic condition and resistant to treatment.


This is a common allergic condition which manifests as superficial reddened scaly eruptions and small lumps on the skin, particularly on the scalp, cheeks, neck, armpit and groin.

Causes are uncertain but diet, hormones, stress and yeast infections are possibilities.

It can commence at any time, either in childhood or adulthood and is a recurring condition for life.

In children it is called cradle cap, in adults it is called dandruff.  This usually appears in folds of the skin where there high numbers of oil glands and seems to be triggered by yeast that breaks down the oil in the skin.

Use natural shampoos and chemical free soaps. 

Use natural shampoos and chemical free soaps. 


Varicose or Stasis Eczema is usually associated with varicose veins and located in the lower legs and ankles. 

Beginning with an itch, over a period of time the skin can turn dark brown as the blood pools and fluids build up.  The skin can crack and open forming painful ulcers. 

Improvement can be achieved by wearing compression stockings and exercise.

Essential Oils for both Dermatitis and Eczema

Recipe One


  • 6 drops Clary Sage essential oil
  • 4 drops Fennel essential oil
  • 6 drops Tea Tree essential oil
  • 2 drops Thyme essential oil
  • 3 tablespoons carrier oil


Mix all essential oils and carrier oil together and store in a blue or amber bottle.  

Use the compress method to cover the affected areas.

1. For very itchy skin add 2 drops German Chamomile to any of these recipes.

2. For weepy skin add 2 drops Patchouli to any of these recipes.

Recipe Two


Equal quantities of 

  • Clary Sage,
  • Thyme,
  • Juniper and 
  • Grapefruit.  


Then put 2 drops of the combined essential oils into a bowl of boiling water.  

For eczema on the face or neck follow the Inhalation instructions then end by splashing the face with cold water.

Add Lavender or Chamomile to the bath to help with itching.

Recipe Three


  • 2 drops of Chamomile essential oil
  • 2 drops of Tea Tree essential oil
  • 2 drops of Calendula essential oil
  • 2 drops of Geranium essential oil
  • 125ml cool water.  


Soak a hand towel in the liquid, squeeze out the excess and place over the affected area. Repeat daily, at least.