With the trend today falling more towards natural products for treatment of a myriad of problems, great and small, people are reaching for oils. When it comes to treating their skin for whatever ails it, whether that be acne, wrinkles, or a rash, the trend in natural skin care is to “oil up!”
But what should you do if you have a wound? Is it a good idea to apply oil to a cut? A scrape? An open wound? What about a scar? Because regardless of what stage you are in the wound-to-healing process, everyone wants to keep scaring to a minimum.
It turns out if you do your research and homework, there really are some oils that can be beneficial for different stages of wound healing.
Not All Essential Oils Are Equal
You can’t just open up your cabinet and slather on your favorite-smelling essential oil, cross your fingers, and hope for the best – especially when you’re dealing with something like an open wound. Not all oils are meant to be used on open cuts, or to be used without first being diluted.
We’ll talk about a few oils you may want to keep around in your medicine cabinet and in what stage of wound healing they’ll be helpful.
In all cases, proper preparation is necessary. You never want to apply oil over a dirty wound. Gently cleanse the area with a mild soap and water. Dry it well with a soft, clean towel.
If there is any chance that you suspect that a wound is or could be infected, always consult your doctor before treating it yourself. By applying oils over a wound, you could be sealing in bacteria, which would actually cause an infection, slow the healing process, and cause scarring.
Lavender is a great, all-purpose essential oil. It can be used for cooking, cleaning, mood stabilizing, sleep inducing, and a whole list of other things. There are also many benefits for the skin, least of all being wound care.
Lavender can be useful if you have a deep cut or wound. Because it has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties, it can help to protect the wound against microbes that could cause infections. It can promote cellular growth and stimulate faster healing. It also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relieving) properties. Because it can be applied to deep wounds, it may help to reduce the appearance of scars.
This gentle, yet powerful oil can be applied directly to the skin and wounds without the need to dilute it.
Rosemary essential oil has many similar healing properties as lavender, and can also be applied to a deep wound or cut. It’s been proven to help to speed the healing process. Rosemary has the added bonus of helping reduce muscle pain and promote healthy circulation. For this reason, some people recommend it as a good choice for abrasions attributed to road rash.
This is the only other essential oil that does not need to be diluted before applying it to the skin.
This essential oil, familiar from Bible stories, is able to work its magic on skin damage in two different ways. Firstly, it is an antiseptic, so it may help to clean the area and aid in preventing infection. It also can seal the wound, which can promote healing and block out any microbes that can cause damage.
This would be a good oil to reach for when you have multiple, smaller cuts or road rash.
Myrrh must be diluted with a healing carrier oil like aloe or coconut oil.
Helichrysum essential oil has great anti-inflammatory properties and can support the nervous system, helping to reduce the pain of a wound. It has the ability to stop bleeding and to promote cell regeneration, so it would be a good go-to in the beginning stages of treating a wound.
It also must be diluted before applying to the skin.
Vitamin E (Tocopherols)
Perhaps the greatest controversy surrounds the use of topical vitamin E for
wound care. “Vitamin E is more effective as a skin conditioner and protectant than a wound-healing agent,” says Harold Lancer, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills. “It doesn’t contain any antimicrobials or antibacterials, which are essential for ensuring a wound is healthy and can heal properly.” Smearing it on broken skin could possibly cause more harm than good, since about 30% of people will react with dermatitis when vitamin E is applied to an open wound.
It’s great once the skin has closed to help protect it and defend against oxidative damage, so it could be useful in helping the skin through the process of repair. It’s also “excellent at preventing scar tissue from forming by keeping the skin soft and supple as it heals,” says Lancer.
While the aloe plant is 99% water, it does contain two powerful chemicals that improve wound healing. Polysaccharides have been known to increase cellular movement, which leads to faster and more efficient tissue regrowth. Glycoproteins, are a pain reliever and help to control the inflammatory response.
Unlike the essential oils described thus far, Delta-5 oil by SciaEssentials is not an essential oil, but a true oil consisting of triglycerides. To better understand the difference between an essential oil and a true oil, please see this blog post.
Delta-5 oils have been reported to be valuable for aiding in wound repair, as reported in the section entitled, “Cuts, Abrasions, Rashes, Itchiness, and Scars”, on our Testimonials page.
As another example, Delta-5 oils may also alleviate the symptoms from both thermal burns and sunburns. See the section entitled, “Thermal Burns, Sunburns”, on our Testimonials page. Beauty blogger Cindy Batchelor (General/Anti-aging section of our Testimonials page) described the product as an “amazing all-in-1 luxurious high-quality antiaging skincare product” that ” not only minimizes fine lines and wrinkles and gives skin a lovely luminous glow, but it also reduces red inflamed skin, acne, sunburn, and is super hydrating for dry skin too!” It leaves skin feeling soft, smooth, and supple for a youthful appearance and relief from symptoms of dry/burned skin.