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Skin is a strong and yet delicate human organ. Just remember how many times you scraped your knees and elbows when you were little. And, how easy it is to get a bruise or a paper cut.
Little cuts and scrapes that we get by doing daily chores do not pose a significant risk to our body as they heal pretty quickly on their own. But have you ever wondered how would you treat an open wound if there was no medical help available?
Take your inspiration from people who used essential oils to treat battle wounds long before the pharmaceutical industry was in the picture.
Having a couple of antiseptic essential oils in your survival kit could help you prevent life-threatening infections (sepsis). The world is full of germs and, as we all know, natural disasters set breeding ground for infectious diseases – epidemics.
Keep on reading to find out what essential oils are best at restoring and protecting our natural defense barrier that is skin.
How Essential Oils Heal Wounds and Scrapes
Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. To give you a better perspective of how potent essential oils really are, it takes about 256 pounds of peppermint leaf to create a single pound of oil while petals of 30 roses yield one drop of essential oil.
Needless to say, essential oils are packed with antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties that can increase your chances of survival in most compromising conditions. Essential oils will assist you on your way to recovery by:
- disinfecting your wound from disease-causing pathogens,
- fighting bacterial infections,
- slowing down bleeding,
- reducing pain and inflammation,
- promoting healthy cell regeneration, and
- minimizing scarring.
How to Prep Your Skin for Home Treatment
Assess the severity of your skin injury before trying any at home treatment. If your wound is deeper than ½ inch and if you are bleeding severely, seek professional medical assistance immediately.
Your medical specialist will stitch your torn tissue so it can heal back into its normal state and function. Since there is always a possibility of being in a situation where there is no medical help available, you should try educating yourself on basics of suturing by taking a class or reading a book on the topic.
Once you have determined the state of your injury, you should proceed with these steps:
- Stop the bleeding and swelling with direct pressure and elevation.
- Wash and dry your hands before touching the scrape or open wound. Wear disposable gloves if possible.
- Clean your open wound with running water to remove dirt and other impurities. You can use antibacterial soap to clean minor wounds as well.
- Gently dry the affected area with a clean towel. Do not use materials that can stick to the wound.
- It is recommended not to use alcohol for disinfecting. Alcohol kills bacteria but it also damages new cell tissue (granulation tissue) which can lead to prolonged healing process. Since essential oils have naturally occurring alcohol in them, it is safer to use them once the wound has slightly healed. Lavender essential oil may be an exception to this rule.
- Dilute antiseptic essential oil in a sufficient amount of carrier oil and apply it to the affected area. If possible, gently massage the oil into the surface of the scrape.
- Wrap your scrape/wound in a sterile dressing, a plaster or a bandage.
- Make sure to change your wound care dressing and reapply essential oil remedy at least two times a day.
- Once the wound has healed, use essential oils to minimize the appearance of the scar.
Essential Oil Comparison Table
Tea Tree Oil
Helichrysum Essential Oil
5 Best Essential Oils for Healing Wounds and Scrapes
Tea tree essential oil also known as melaleuca oil is an old Australian remedy that should find its place in your survival kit. The antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties make the oil suitable for treating a variety of skin conditions and injuries; especially open wounds, cuts, and scrapes.
When topically applied to the wound, tea tree oil prevents harmful pathogens from entering the bloodstream and causing infections. The scientific research also suggests that tea tree oil reduces inflammation and encourages the activity of leukocytes, white blood cells that protect us from infectious diseases.
Keeping the wound free of infection should be your number one priority. A clean wound free of bacteria and puss will heal quicker without abnormal scarring.
HOW TO USE:
- Each time you change your wound care dressing, apply a few drops of tea tree oil to it.
- You can create disinfecting rinse by adding 2 drops of tea tree oil to a tablespoon of aloe vera gel, another great natural healing agent. Top both ingredients with a cup of hot water. Mix well and let the remedy cool slightly. Clean your wound with the rinse using gauze or a towel.
Lavender essential oil is one of the most versatile natural remedies there is. It can be used for repelling insects and for treating major and minor illnesses, from sleep deprivation, common cold to scrapes and open wound. If there is one essential oil worth having in your survival kit and medicine cabinet, it is definitely lavender essential oil.
Antimicrobial activities of lavender oil have been studied time and time again. The research has shown that lavender oil successfully fights against Staph aureus and Candida albicans, two germs responsible for bacterial and fungal infections.
Lavender essential oil may be safe to use in the early stages of healing. A 2016 study published in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found out that lavender essential oil promotes collagen synthesis and the formation of granulation tissue.
TIPS FOR USE:
- Dilute a little bit of lavender oil in distilled water and use it to disinfect your hands before touching the affected area.
- Dilute 12 drops of lavender essential oil in an ounce of carrier oil. Use a carrier oil that promotes healing, for instance, coconut oil or rosehip seed oil. Store the remedy in a dark glass bottle and use it on affected skin to accelerate the healing process.
- Antimicrobial activity of lavender oil is enhanced when paired with clove or tea tree essential oil.
You have probably heard of calendula cream, a remedy that parents love to use on their children. Calendula essential oil is another excellent product made from bright orange pot marigold flower. The only difference between both products is that the essential oil is a much more potent version of the cream.
If you already love using calendula cream for treating minor cuts and scrapes, then you will be just as impressed with the healing abilities of the essential oil. In fact, a 2009 study published in the Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology concluded that calendula based topical ointments have potent wound healing ability.
The influential chemical makeup of the oil increases blood flow to the affected area, bringing vital oxygen and nutrients necessary for cell regeneration right to the spot.
Dermatology and cosmetic industry have both fully embraced calendula anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, so why wouldn’t you? Having at least one calendula based product in your medicine cabinet is a must, especially if you are a clumsy person, are about to have a surgery, or have children.
HOW TO USE:
- Use sunflower oil to dilute calendula oil. Sunflower oil rich in vitamin E, linoleic acid (48-74%), and oleic acids (14-40%) strengthens the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of calendula oil. Linoleic acid can inhibit the growth of these Gram-positive bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Micrococcus kristinae, B.subtilis, andpumilus.
Helichrysum essential oil is another amazing essential oil for treating minor wounds, scrapes, and cuts. Helichrysum essential oil might be expansive but its antibacterial and antiseptic properties are worth every penny. Besides, a drop of essential oil goes a long way.
Essence extracted from the Helichrysum italicum plant offers therapeutic effects strong enough to suppress skin inflammation, skin allergies (hives) and bacterial infections. A 2017 study published in the Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal tested the antimicrobial activity of helichrysum oil on 12 bacteria, 4 fungi, and 2 yeasts. Helichrysum inhibited the growth of all tested germs except 3 bacteria.
Having such strong bactericidal remedy at your disposal when you most need it surely pays off. Helichrysum essential oil can be a great addition to your home survival kit, especially if you are a self-reliant person who likes to treat minor skin injuries at home.
TIPS FOR USE:
- Dilute helichrysum essential oil with a carrier oil of your choice. A 2% dilution is considered safe for adults.
- Use diluted helichrysum essential oil to reduce the appearance of the scar after the wound has healed. You can use it on your acne scars as well.
Frankincense is a resin sourced from the Boswellia tree native to Arabian Peninsula and Somalia. One of the most valuable byproducts of this resin is frankincense essential oil, a remedy known for its stress-relieving and skin rejuvenating properties.
Frankincense essential oil is a wholesome natural remedy that can assist you in your casual everyday life and in survival situations. Both aromatherapy and topical application can help you relieve inflammation and pain caused by a wound or aching muscles.
Frankincense oil is a natural anti-aging extract used for reducing redness, irritations, and appearance of wound scars and stretch marks. Feel free to use diluted oil on your new and old scars left from your childhood adventures.
HOW TO USE:
- Make sure not to apply frankincense oil to your fresh wound. It is recommended that you use frankincense oil once the scab has formed.
- Use 2% dilution to assist the healing process and prevent significant scaring. Try using anti-aging carrier oils to amplify the rejuvenating properties of frankincense oil, argan oil, sweet almond oil, and pomegranate seed oil to name a few.
This essential oil is not only known for disinfecting wounds but also soothing any stinging sensations and mild pain. Myrrh is a tree resin so it is thicker than a lot of the essential oils so many people are used to. The thickness of the oil means it sticks to wounds easily and can even help stop bleeding by sealing the wound.
HOW TO USE:
- Some people do not like the smell of myrrh by itself. If it is unpleasant to you then you can blend with other healing oils featured in this article.
- According to Healthline, you should use 3–6 drops of essential oil per 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of carrier oil for adults. For children, use 1 drop of essential oil per 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of carrier oil, which is a 1% dilution.
This is an affordable oil that can help out with cuts and scrapes. Rosemary oil can also help reduce stress when used in a diffuser. Some people use it to enhances respiratory health as well. Those that are feeling sluggish may benefit from rosemary oil since it has been found to enhance mental clarity.
HOW TO USE:
Babies: 1 drop per tablespoon of carrier oil
Children: 1 drop per teaspoon of carrier oil
Adults: 3-6 drops per teaspoon of carrier oil
Cypress is a very common tree in the Southern United States. The essential oil contains camphene which offers natural antiseptic properties that can aid in reducing the odds of infection. Cypress is also known to help with coughs.
HOW TO USE:
- Mix with a carrier oil. Start with a drop or two and see how your skin reacts. Cypress oil is very concentrated. Most people only use a drop or two. For more information here is a link to the Healthline post that goes into great detail on the many uses of Cypress oil.
Not only does rose oil smell wonderful, but it also contains a lot of good properties that benefit your skin. It can help reduce redness and inflammation. Rose oil offers astringent and antiseptic properties as well. Sometimes wounds result in dry and flaky skin. Rose oil helps to moisturize and prevent drying and cracking.
HOW TO USE:
- Mix a few drops in a carrier oil and apply topically.
- For a soothing bath, add 10 drops to a carrier oil and then add to bath water.
Palmarosa oil is derived from a native grass of India. It is not as well known as many essential oils but it has some interesting properties that you should be aware of. Palmarosa can help with viral and bacterial infections and also offers moisturizing properties.`
HOW TO USE:
- Add 2-3 drops to a carrier oil and apply topically
- Add a few drops to your favorite healing ointments for additional antibacterial protection.
3 Home Remedies for Wounds and Scrapes
Note: Following essential oil remedies are not a substitute for the treatment provided by your medical specialist!
1. Wound Care Balm
- 2 drops of tea tree essential oil
- 2 drops of lavender essential oil
- 2 drops of helichrysum essential oil
- 2 drops of frankincense essential oil
- 2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons of beeswax (optional)
- Melt coconut oil and beeswax in a double boiler.
- Once melted, add essential oils to the mix.
- Mix well to combine all ingredients.
- Carefully pour the mixture into a 1 oz tin.
- Place the remedy in your refrigerator and allow it to solidify.
- Use the balm on cuts, scrapes and minor wounds.
2. Aloe Vera Healing Toner
- Aloe vera gel
- 4 drops of tea tree oil
- 4 drops of lavender essential oil
- 4 drops of frankincense essential oil
- Fill a 2-ounce bottle almost to the brim with aloe vera gel.
- Add essential oils to the bottle.
- Close the lid and shake well.
- Use the toner to assist the healing process of scrapes, cuts and minor wounds.
- This remedy is safe to use on children as well.
3. Anti-Scar Elixir
- 2 tablespoons of rosehip oil
- 2 tablespoons of argan oil
- 5 drops of frankincense essential oil
- 4 drops of lavender essential oil
- 3 drops of helichrysum essential oil
- Combine all ingredients in a tinted glass dropper bottle.
- Shake well to emulsify all ingredients.
- Add a drop or two of elixir to your fingertips and rub it into your scar.
- Leave the treatment on for at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight.
Skin is our natural defense barrier protecting us from countless environmental threats. Scrapes and wounds compromise this defense system which instantly makes our body more susceptible to infections.
Even if our body is capable of healing minor skin traumas on its own, it is always recommended to have trusty essential oils in your medicine cabinet. They are great at killing germs, preventing infections, accelerating healing, and preventing abnormal scarring.
As with any other medicine, essential oils have to be used properly and with caution. Here are some last safety tips that will ensure your speedy recovery:
- If your wound is deeper than ½ inch and if you are bleeding severely, seek medical help immediately.
- Always dilute essential oils before topical application. 2% dilution is sufficient for adults. Add 12 drops of essential oil per every fl. oz. of carrier oil.
- It is recommended not to apply essential oils on fresh wounds. It is safer to use essential oils once the wound has started healing.
- Do a skin patch test to make sure you are not sensitive or allergic to the homemade remedy.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult with your doctor prior to use of essential oils.
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