9 Proven Essential Oils for Itching

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Countless people turn to essential oils for itching skin because they work quickly, have limited side effects and possess anti-inflammatory, sedative, analgesic and antioxidant properties. Itching of the skin is simply defined as the uncontrollable urge to scratch or itch a certain part of your skin. Also known as pruritis, this condition can be caused by dozens of different things, some of which are normal and avoidable, while others are more serious and may require medical attention. Itching skin can be extremely annoying and even painful if the inflammation doesn’t stop. Some of the most frequent causes of itching include dry skin, mosquito and bug bites, eczema, sunburn, pregnancy, anxiety, psoriasis, a wide range of allergies, exposure to an environment toxin and allergic reactions, as well as more serious causes, such as cirrhosis of the liver, gallstones, hepatitis, kidney disease, scarlet fever or parasitic infections, among many others. [1]

While the underlying causes are nearly limitless, the symptoms are typically the same – an annoying urge to scratch a portion of your skin. Itching can cause a mixture of pleasure and pain, and will often make the same spot even itchier in the future. When you itch a spot on the body, it can increase the inflammation in that region, which can cause a cycle of itchy skin, scratching and additional inflammation. This can also slow the healing process, making the pruritis last even longer. There are many salves, creams and pharmaceutical solutions for itchy skin, but the use of essential oils for itching is also extremely effective. [2]

List of Best Essential Oils for Itching

When it comes to powerful essential oils for itching relief, your best options include bergamot, eucalyptus, frankincense, peppermint, lavender, myrrh, patchouli, rose, tea tree, and helichrysum.

Rose Oil

While many people don’t think of stress as a major culprit behind itchy skin, it is quite common. When you are nervous, you tend to sweat more, and fuss and scratch with anxious energy. Rose oil can help to calm the mind and soothe the muscles, preventing the uncontrollable urge to scratch. [3]

How to Use – For this particular remedy, you only need to inhale some of the powerful aromatic compounds from a bottle of rose oil. Some people also diffuse 3-4 drops of this oil throughout their room/home for all-day relaxation.

A young woman suffering from itching, scratching her neck

Itching can occur due to many reasons like insect bites, allergies, or uncomfortable clothes. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Myrrh Oil

When it comes to moisturizing the skin, boosting antioxidant levels and prevent skin infections, most oils pale in comparison to myrrh. This oil can prevent itching by optimizing skin health, and if something is already irritating your skin, the anti-inflammatory compounds can quickly eliminate the discomfort. [4]

How to Use – Some people use an essential oil diffuser to benefit from myrrh oil, as topical applications can often result in discomfort. This can help to coat your body in a healthy, anti-itching shield, while also helping to improve the efficacy of your immune system and prevent overreactions to allergens and irritants.

Bergamot Oil

This extremely powerful oil is known as a general anti-inflammatory tonic, which can benefit the body both inside and out. When it comes to itching as a result of stress, inflammation or environmental irritants, this oil can counter those urges with a mild anesthetic effect. [5]

How to Use – For itching, the best way to use bergamot oil is to diffuse it throughout the room, or add a few drops to steam distillation to fight against inflammation and itching from the inside out.

Frankincense Oil

As a well-known skin tonic, the effects of frankincense essential oil on itching are mainly to prevent it from happening. With elasticity-increasing properties, as well as antioxidant effects that can prevent infection and eliminate old, unhealthy cells, this oil can prevent many of the factors that lead to itchy skin. [6]

How to Use – Blend 4-5 drops of this oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut or olive oil, and then apply to the itchy area. The relief can be very quick, but you should still gently massage the oil into that area for long-lasting effects.

Patchouli Oil

There is a serious immune boost in every drop of patchouli oil, and for the skin, it has antibacterial, antiseptic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It can moisturize and prevent dry skin, while also fighting any infections or conditions that may cause itchings, such as eczema or psoriasis. [7]

How to Use – You can apply undiluted patchouli oil to the skin, although some people choose to dilute it in jojoba oil. Once you topically apply the oil to the itch, rub it gently, warming it under your fingers, until it fully absorbs.

Tea Tree Oil

Known as one of the best anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory compounds on the market, tea tree oil is ideal for countering itches. Regardless of the cause behind the itching, unless it is a serious medical condition, tea tree oil can numb the pain and discomfort, and help to rejuvenate healthy skin cells. [8]

How to Use – For itching, topical application of this oil (always diluted in a carrier oil!) is the most popular use, and it can be re-applied 2-3 times per day, or until the itching and inflammation dissipates.

Helichrysum Oil

This isn’t the most common essential oil on your shelf, but it is one of the most powerful. Packed with anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic and analgesic properties, this oil can promote healing, reduce the inflammation of bug bites or rashes, speed the regeneration process of new skin cells and tightening the skin to prevent infection. [9]

How to Use – Never consume this oil, but it can be added to a diffuser (2-3 drops) for long-term treatment of inflammation or itching. That being said, mixing 4-5 drops of this oil with olive oil and applying directly to the site of the itch is also very effective.

Peppermint Oil

This is one of the most soothing essential oils for itching, and it has been in use for thousands of years. It is able to numb certain areas, while also reducing inflammation and attacking any underlying infections that may be causing it. [10]

How to Use – There are few limitations to this oil, although it should always be used in moderation. It can be added to warm tea for internal effects, topically applied to the site of the itch, or diffused throughout the room for all-day effects.

Eucalyptus Oil

This oil is known to reduce swelling and inflammation throughout the body, and also benefit the health of various organ systems, including the kidney and liver, which can be connected to unexplained itching. By using eucalyptus oil, you can treat the symptoms, and possibly the deeper cause. [11]

How to Use – Similar to peppermint oil, this essential oil should always be used with caution, but it can be consumed in very small quantities with food, applied directly to the skin, or inhaled in a steam inhalation treatment.

A Word of Warning

Itching may seem like a rather harmless condition, one that can be easily remedied with the topical use of certain essential oils for itching, but there are some health concerns you should be aware of. Firstly, the topical application of essential oils can lead to skin inflammation and irritation, perhaps even worse than the original itch, particularly in people with sensitive skin. It is important to understand your potential allergies before using essential oils to treat itching and inflammation. Use a small amount on a patch of skin and wait a few hours to see if any negative reactions occur. Furthermore, if itching is not cleared up by these at-home solutions, it could be indicative of a more serious health condition. In this case, it is important to seek formal medical treatment to identify the underlying cause.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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