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When skin is exposed directly to dry heat you can be certain that it will let you know. Burns are one of the most common injuries sustained in the household, but this isn’t the only place they occur. Burns can also be sustained in a working environment or even on holiday.
Safeguarding ourselves and our families is always a top priority but when the unexpected happens, it’s comforting to have the right essential oil tools to hand, so minor burns can be treated immediately and lasting effects limited.
Disclaimer: This is not meant as a substitute for medical advice. Please seek professional medical help if available.
When to Treat a Burn at Home
Burns can happen to anyone. At some point in everyone’s life they will come into close contact with dry heat resulting in a burn to the skin. Whilst the kitchen is considered the most common location to sustain a burn, being home to heated pots, pans and boiling water, burns can also be sustained from chemicals and electric. That said, the burn we are most likely to have experienced at some point, is sunburn, a result of exposure to direct sunlight.
Minor burns can be treated at home. This means that burns that only have surface damage, and can be considered superficial, should not need medical attention. Effective home treatment will diffuse the heat in the burn, reduce swelling and speed recovery time.
When Does a Burn Need Medical Attention?
Whilst there is a selection of essential oils that are a great addition to a first aid kit, there are times when injury warrants professional medical assistance. Burns are a form of tissue damage caused by exposure to chemicals, radiation, electricity, heat or fire. When either of these elements are exposed to skin you will need to quickly assess the gravity of the burn.
There are three types of burns:
A first-degree burn causes minimal skin damage because it only affects the outer layer of skin. This is known as a ‘superficial’ burn.
Likely Symptoms will be:
- Red skin
- Minor inflammation or swelling
- No blisters
First-degree burns can be treated at home. Burns of this nature will heal within 7-14 days.
A second-degree burn is more serious because damage goes beyond the skin surface. This type of burn causes the skin to blister, becoming extremely red and sore. It is likely that some blisters will pop causing the wound to weep and appear wet.
Whilst minor second-degree burns can be treated at home, it is extremely important to understand that blisters can create open wounds, and open wounds are at risk of infection. Keeping the wound clean and protected with gauze will help prevent this.
Note: Burns more than 3 inches in diameter should be seen immediately by a medical professional.
Likely symptoms of a second-degree burn will be:
- Red skin
- Inflammation or swelling
- Blisters – they can be large or small/many or few
Some second-degree burns will require medical attention to ensure the affected area is cleaned sufficiently, that clothing is not caught inside the wound and for it to be dressed appropriately. The severity of a second-degree burn can be gauged on how bad the blisters are. If in doubt, please seek medical attention, as this will reduce the risk of infection, speed recovery time and reduce scarring.
Maintaining hygiene of a minor second-degree burn is achieved by cleaning and changing the dressing on a regular basis. This will also help the burn heal quicker.
Minor-second-degree burns can be treated at home, whilst more serious-second-degree burns will need medical help. Please note, that unless you are satisfied that the burn is only a minor second-degree burn it is always safer to get checked out by a medical professional.
A third-degree burn is the most severe type because they cause the most damage. A third-degree burn will affect every layer of skin. It is also likely that if the nerves have been damaged, it may be the least painful.
Depending on the cause of the burn symptoms of a third-degree burn could be:
- Waxy & white in color
- Dark brown color
- Raised leathery texture
- Blisters that do not develop
The length of time a person is exposed to dry heat, chemicals or electricity will also produce an estimation of the damage it could have on the skin.
Never attempt to treat third-degree burns at home.
Can I Prevent Scarring?
Depending on the severity of the burn, the answer is YES. For first and minor second-degree burns, given the right treatment is applied directly after the injury and ongoing recovery treatment is maintained, then the skin is unlikely to scar.
This can be helped massively by a selection of essential oils that are rich in anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling, anti-bacterial action to reduce risk of infection, analgesic properties to help with pain relief and that are rich in cell-regeneration, which is perfect for working with new scar tissue.
Some essential oils can even work to reduce the effects of older scars.
How to Treat Burns
All burns carry a risk of infection because bacteria can enter broken skin. When properly treated the outlook for first and second-degree burns is good. The goal of burn treatment is to reduce pain, prevent infection and heal skin faster. As the burn is tender, the use of essential oils is favourable over thick ointments because it is less invasive and lighter on the affected area.
A good rule of thumb is to follow the basic care practices of what to do when a burn occurs:
1. Cool Water – The first thing you should do is run cool water to the affected area for 15-20 minutes.
This doesn’t mean cold water. Cold water can actually make the burn worse by delaying the healing process. There’s a great essential oil recipe further down the page that will show you how to combine cool water with an essential oil remedy, putting a burn rapidly into the recovery process, reducing pain, swelling and the likely hood of scars.
2. Cool Compress – Once the wound is fresh from cool water, a cool (not cold) compress can be applied to the affected area in 5-15 minutes intervals.
This will not only soothe the burn but will apply anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and pain relief action.
3. Antibiotic Ointments – Essential oils carry just as good anti-bacterial properties as over-the-counter pharmaceutical alternatives.
It is possible to create your own ointment with natural ingredients that work well in reducing swelling, relieving pain and speeding recovery time. If using an ointment is your preferred method, this can be placed on the affected area and covered with cling film or a sterile (non-fluffy) dressing or cloth.
4. Aloe Vera is often referred to as ‘The Burn Plant’ as studies have shown evidence of its effectiveness in healing burns. This is also a great carrier oil to mix essential oils with so that the affected area, gets the very best in natural healing nutrients.
It is also important to avoid the sun. Make sure a burn is appropriately covered to avoid additional burning sensations or further cellular damage.
Continue to apply treatments daily, until the affected area is healed.
Essential Oils for Burns Comparison Table
Nine Essential Oils Remedies
Lavender essential oil is considered the most popular oil used in the world today due to its abilities to reduce swelling, clean cuts and burns, reduce pain and promote relaxation, which makes this essential oil the Number One go-to natural remedy for burns.
French scientist, Rene Gatterfosse, was the first to discover the healing properties of lavender when he severely burned his hands in a laboratory explosion. Rene found that it reduced pain, supported the healing process and promoted the regeneration of new tissue and cells. This is a must-have in any first-aid kit.
- Anti-inflammatory – The compounds in lavender essential oil have been proven to reduce inflammation and swelling which can occur with burns.
- Antibacterial – Fortunately, the threat of bacteria can be reduced when lavender oil is placed on minor burns.
- Pain Relief – Tests have shown that by rubbing lavender oil into the soles of the feet as well as the burned area of skin can reduce pain.
How to use Lavender Essential Oil:
- Topically: Mix 10 drops with a carrier oil (aloe vera) apply to burn and cover with gauze (not cotton wool). Mix Ratio 1:1
Neroli essential oil is great for healing both old and new scars caused by burns. Able to lower inflammation and pain, this oil will work well from the minute an injury occurs. It is known for its ability to regenerate skin cells and improve the elasticity of the skin.
- Anti-inflammatory – Reduce swelling caused by exposure to dry heat.
- Antibacterial – Has marked antibacterial activity to reduce the risk of infection.
- Pain relief – Can reduce central and peripheral sensitivity to pain.
- Scarring – Promotes skin regeneration.
How to use Neroli Essential Oil:
- Topically: Mix one ounce of rosehip oil with 10 drops of neroli essential oil. Apply twice a day. It is important to maintain a regular routine to promote the skin’s healing process. Old scars can take 3-6 months to heal.
Helichrysum Essential Oil is a great natural remedy for burns that have gone beyond the skin surface affecting the neighbouring tissues. This is power in the realm of cell-regeneration and is also big on pain management. Helichrysum essential oil works best on new scars.
- Pain relief – Adding this to any mix of essential oil remedies will boost the pain management compounds taking the sting right out of a burn.
- Anti-inflammatory – By reducing the swelling or inflammation around a minor burn, the skin’s natural healing process will take place at a faster pace.
- Antibacterial – Helps fight bacteria which can be infected by cell damage through burns.
How to use Helichrysum Essential Oil:
- For best results mix this essential oil with a carrier oil (sunflower oil is known to be rich in vitamin E which will help the skin to regenerate new skin cells), and you can choose a number of other oils such as lavender and tea tree to mix yourself a potent blend of nature’s power to heal.
- 4 drops of Helicrysum
- 4 drops of Tea Tree (Melaleuca)
- 10 drops of lavender
- 9ml of sunflower oil
- 10 ml bottle
- Apply to the wound, twice daily, cover with gauze if necessary and avoid cotton wool.
Peppermint Essential Oil has served as nature’s home remedy for kitchen scalds and burns caused through exposure to steam, heated ovens or stoves. The oil’s menthol cooling effects are thought to produce pain relief whilst helping it heal quickly.
- Pain relief – Applying this direct to a burn after injury will help to reduce the pain caused by dry heat exposure through the cooling properties of peppermint.
How to use Peppermint Essential Oil:
- Topically: Mix 3 drops with carrier oil (aloe vera) and apply to the area affected by the burn. Mix Ratio of 1:1
Tea Tree Essential Oil is also a great oil to remedy pain. Another brilliant addition to your first-aid kit, tea tree or otherwise known as melaleuca essential oil is considered highly helpful to relieve all types of pain. It is popular for its antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial properties making this one of the best options for preventing infection.
- Antibacterial – Due to the broken skin cells caused through direct exposure to dry heat, the burned area is at risk of bacteria entering through the skin. This essential oil is high in bacteria fighting properties.
- Antiseptic – Will ensure the burned area is clean and ready for treatment.
How to use Tea Tree (Melaleuca) Essential Oil:
- Topically: For best results mix with carrier oil (sunflower will work well due to its skin conditioning properties).
- 3 drops of tea tree mixed with carrier oil.
- Mix Ration 1:1
- Whilst this is brilliant to use on its own to clean the wound, it also works well mixed with lavender, neroli and helichrysum for a powerful natural burn remedy.
- 10 drops lavender
- 3 drops neroli
- 3 drops helichrysum
- 3 drops tea tree
- 9 ml of sunflower oil
- 10ml bottle
- Once the burn is clean, apply to the affected area and maintain a regular routine.
- May cover with gauze to protect from infection.
Geranium Essential Oil produces inflammatory responses in the skin which makes it perfect for applying to a burn immediately. The faster swelling or inflammation reduces, the quicker the body’s natural healing process will begin. It is also potent in antiseptic compounds which make this essential oil brilliant for cleaning wounds, and reducing the risk of infection to the burn.
- Anti-inflammatory – Even minor burns can be become inflamed due to the first layer of skin becoming damaged through dry heat exposure. Geranium essential oil generates fast responses within the skin’s natural healing process.
- Antiseptic – Perfect for making sure the burn is clean and all extrinsic fragments have been removed, reducing the risk of infection
How to use Geranium Essential Oil:
- Topically: Used in many skin care products, this essential oil is brilliant at working with skin. Mix 3 drops geranium oil with 3 drops carrier oil (aloe vera) and rub onto the affected area. Apply regularly and keep covered with a gauze to prevent infection.
Frankincense Essential Oil is made up of strong anti-inflammatory properties that have protection over skin cells. Also known for its skin strengthening compounds, frankincense essential oil helps skin appear younger, heals wounds and the appearance of scars, whilst throwing in a good measure of pain relief.
- Anti-inflammatory – Reduces swelling and increases blood flow to the affected area which helps to speed up the body’s natural healing process.
- Pain relief – As with all burns, pain management is at the top of the list. Add a little frankincense into your home mixture to ebb away first reaction pain symptoms.
- Scarring – Helps promote skin regeneration.
How to use Frankincense Essential Oil:
- Mix 5 drops with a carrier oil (aloe vera being good for the skin). Apply to burned area of skin once the wound has been cleaned.
- Place gauze over burn if concerned about contact and risk of infection.
- Apply regularly to help skin cell regeneration and reduce scarring.
- Mix with these oils to produce a blend that packs power:
- 10 drops Lavender
- 5 drops Frankincense
- 3 drops Helichrysum
- 3 drops Geranium
- Mix Ratio 1:1
Petitgrain Essential Oil is known as ‘men’s lavender’. Derived from the bitter orange tree petitigrain is known to not cause skin sensitivity and promotes skin wellness, which is why it’s a great natural remedy for burns. Sharing similar properties to neroli oil, petitigrain also works well with scarring.
- Scarring – Derived from the same tree as Neroli this essential oil promotes healthy skin regeneration.
How to use Petitigrain Essential Oil:
- Mix with a carrier oil (aloe vera). 3 drops. Mix Ratio 1:1. Can add with neroli to boost skin regeneration properties and create a scar depleting remedy that will boost the skin’s natural regeneration process.
- 3 drops Petitigrain
- 3 drops neroli
- Mix with carrier oil
- Apply to burn regularly (once or twice daily) until the scar is healed.
Calendula Essential Oil (derived from the Marigold flower) is a great natural remedy for treating burns, with its anti-inflammatory action to reduce swelling and a healthy dose of skin-regeneration compounds, it’s no wonder why calendula essential oil speeds up the healing process of burns and prevents scarring.
- Anti-inflammatory – Once the swelling has reduced on minor burns, the healing process will begin, making way for skin cell regeneration.
- Scarring – Skin cell regeneration is key to reduce the appearance of scarring.
How to use Calendula Essential Oil:
- Mix this essential oil with carrier oil (sunflower).
- 4 drops of calendula.
- Rub onto burn. Cover with gauze.
- Mix Ratio 1:1
- Can also mix with:
- 10 drops of lavender
- 5 drops of frankincense
- 4 drops calendula
- 9ml of aloe vera
- 10ml bottle
- Apply to burn area regularly to promote fast healing.
Essential Breakdown and Comparison
These top 9 essential oils come rich in anti-inflammatories, antibacterial, antiseptic, cell regeneration and pain relief compounds. Here’s a quick comparison table to help you see which oils work best for you.
|Lavender Essential Oil
|Neroli Essential Oil
|Helichrysm Essential Oil
|Peppermint Essential Oil
|Tea Tree (Melaleuca) Essential Oil
|Geranium Essential Oil
|Frankincense Essential Oil
|Petitgrain Essential Oil
|Calendula Essential Oil
- Anti-inflammatory (Reduce swelling, improve circulation, increase blood flow which increases skin’s natural recovery process)
- Lavender, Neroli, Helichrysum, Geranium, Frankincense, Calendula
- Antibacterial (This prevents the development of bacteria)
- Helichrysum, Lavender, Neroli, Peppermint, Tea Tree (Melaleuca)
- Antiseptic (Use to clean burn)
- Peppermint, Geranium, Tea Tree (Melaleuca)
- Pain Relief (Takes the sting out of the burn)
- Lavender, Neroli, Helichrysum, Peppermint, Frankincense
- Scarring (Promotes skin-regeneration)
- Frankincense, Petitigrain, Calendula, Neroli
Why Use a Carrier Oil?
Carrier oils dilute the components of essential oils to a level that the skin will be happy to absorb. A study has shown that when the oil is combined with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut, the skin absorbs the healing properties much faster than if the essential oil was applied direct.
This is due to the skin’s natural resilience. But mixed with a carrier oil, the skin absorbs it will little effort, meaning it gets into the blood stream faster aiding the body’s natural recovery process.
There are many essential oil brands to choose from. Firstly, you have the market leader of Young Living with a close second in DoTerra. Both of these brands provide crop to bottle service that you can count on. They farm the crops making sure that they are involved in the process every step of the way to be certain of their essential oil authenticity and richness.
However, these brands can be quite expensive!
Whilst all brands may not have the power to travel the globe to derive essential oils from the richest, healthiest specimens of indigenous crops, you’ll be hard pressed to find a brand that doesn’t boast 100% authentic essential oil ingredients.
Here are 10 more essential oil brands:
- Spark Naturals (BDS Recommended – USE Code “BACKDOORSURVIVAL” at checkout to save 10%)
- Rocky Mountain Essential Oils (BDS Recommended Alternate)
- Edens Garden Essential Oils
- Aura Cacia Essential Oils
- Healing Solutions Essential Oils
- Native American Nutritionals
- Mountain Rose Herbs
- Majestic Pure Essential Oils
- Radha Beauty Essential Oils
- ArOmis Essential Oils
Make Your Own at Home
For instant burn relief: If you’re looking for a quick fix remedy to make at home, then this recipe might be the perfect minor burn solution for you.
- 10ml spray bottle
- 10 drops of lavender oil (if a potent brand)
- For example: Young Living/DoTerra
- 0r 25 drops of lavender oil (if a less rich potency)
- For example: Rocky Mountain/Edens Garden/Aura Cacia
- Fill the bottle with cool water.
Spray onto burn as needed to cool down the skin or blisters.
Because burns are a common injury sustained in the household, on the beach, in the garden, or at work, it makes it crucial to arm your first-aid kit with natural essential oil remedies that have a proven track record with burns. Not only will you be equipped to deal with burns, but you’ll be ready to start the healing process, reduce pain and prevent scarring.
And if you have a scare from a burn that’s not so new, now you have the tools to let nature’s natural helpers promote skin cell regeneration – helping your skin return to its natural glow. There are other essential oils that you should add to your first aid kit, check them out in this article.
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