Essential Oils for Chafing to Calm Your Painful Skin
Ouch! Chaffing can be very painful, and depending on where you are chafing and why it can stop you from moving at all!
Do you have spots that rub and get irritated? Try essential oils to smooth the skin and speed the healing process!
There are three main ingredients for chafing – friction, moisture, and irritating fabric. This happens with repeated rubbing of the skin with those three ingredients present.
It happens from ill-fitting clothes, endurance sports, repetitive movements on hands while using tools or utensils, or even just wearing a skirt.
While essential oils can’t prevent this combination from happening, using essential oils can help to soothe and heal chafed skin.
Using essential oils for chafing helps to reduce redness, pain, swelling, and often speed cellular healing.
Since severely rubbed skin can cause bleeding, crusting, open sores, and swelling, it can also reduce the risks of any open areas becoming infected due to chafing.
Essential oils are safe to use whether the problem area is the thighs or underarms and can also be used on some of the more delicate areas such as the buttocks or nipples.
Where Do Essential Oils Come From?
Essential oils are extractions of the most powerful parts of a plant. Sometimes everyday plants and herbs like basil are used, and sometimes they are from more exotic plants.
These powerful parts are extracted via steam distillation or cold-press technique.
The result is powerful plant medicines that are highly concentrated versions of the plant’s healing properties and can be used to heal the body on various levels.
The Best Essential Oils for Chafing
This type of skin problem cannot be prevented with essential oils, but it sure can speed the healing process along nicely.
Additionally, these rubbed areas are subject to infection so you don’t want to leave it untreated. Here are some of your best bets to heal quickly:
1. Patchouli essential oil
It is a great antiseptic (think keeping a chafed area clean) and helps to numb the nerves on the skin surface.
See more oils I recommend for nerve issues (neuropathy) such as for trigeminal neuralgia here.
2. German Chamomile essential oil
It is just like the tea is super soothing and calming. Applying it to chafed skin can help calm the redness and stinging irritation of chafing.
3. Melaleuca (Tea Tree) essential oil
It is one of the best oils to have for all things skin. It’s a powerful antibacterial oil and it also has an instant numbing quality to it. Like many things, it can sting or burn when first applied – so have a carrier oil handy.
4. Lavender essential oil
It is a calming and anti-inflammatory oil that can cool the burning skin of chafing quickly. It also stimulates cellular turnover so you can heal faster.
5. Frankincense essential oil
It is popular for many physical issues, but it wins the prize for reducing inflammation. It’s made from distilling the gum or resin of the Boswellia tree.
This is great for any inflammation but particularly useful healing chafed skin especially when combined with other oils listed.
6. Palmarosa essential oil
It is a popular and cost-effective method for healing skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties that swiftly improve the health of even the most chafed skin. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2839398/)
How to Use Essential Oils for Chafing
It’s important when using essential oils for chafing to note that using them without dilution can make the symptoms worse.
Essential oils are very strong, which is a good thing because it means they are powerful healing tools, but if used without dilution in this case, it can make symptoms worse. There is a healthy amount of respect needed to use them safely. More isn’t always better.
The risk is particularly higher in this case because often the areas that chafe are sensitive skin areas anyways or they are adjacent to other mucous membranes.
Anytime you are applying essential oils to chafed skin whether the skin is healthy has tissue that is dry, you must remember to dilute them and to keep some extra carrier oil handy if things get too intense.
Water will not work for this, adding water to an area that is stinging or burning because of essential oil application will intensify the burning.
Essential Oils are hydrophobic – meaning they don’t mix with water.
This is one of those topical issues that you would only treat topically with essential oils, you will get the benefits of the aromatics as well, via the limbic system through your nose, but taking essential oils internally will not help your skin.
Topically means applied to the skin. You will also have an aromatic effect with this as well, but it isn’t very important to healing the skin in this case.
How to Use Essential Oils to Heal and Help Chafing
Again, for the people skimming, the most effective way to use essential oils for the skin is on the skin and diluted.
First things first, select your oils, you can choose one oil or pair them up, or even a combo of three. There’s not much reason to mix more than three oils. You can sometimes cause chaos and sensitivity reactions.
You can make a selection by checking with symptoms you need the most help with in the list of oils above. You will likely notice that many oils have similar healing abilities, so go with the one you have available or the one you are most drawn to.
Here are a few suggested pairings for maximum results:
1. Patchouli, Melaleuca, Lavender.
This is a beautiful combination for healing the skin quickly and preventing any secondary infections.
2. Melaleuca and Frankincense. Simple and soothing.
This combo is especially good when there is visible swelling involved.
3. Palmarosa, Lavender, Frankincense.
These three pack an anti-inflammatory and cooling punch to get your skin back on track.
An important thing to remember here is that you can’t break an essential oil blend. If you experiment with a blend and it doesn’t work then try again. You will learn what resonates most with your particular biology.
Application Methods for Fast Relief
Topical Application Essential Oil Recipe for Chafing
You are going to need a carrier or to start with. This step cannot be skipped. You must dilute your essential oils appropriately with a plant-based carrier oil such as grapeseed oil.
Coconut oil also works well for this because it stays on top of the skin and is absorbed slowly. If you don’t have either of those on hand, any plant-based kitchen oil will work just fine too.
Place 1 tablespoon of carrier oil (or plant-based oil of your choice) into a small glass bowl. Select your oil(s) from above and drop 2-4 drops of each oil or 4-6 drops total into the tablespoon of olive oil.
Stir the bowl lightly so that the oils mix. Then apply to the affected chafed area. Make sure you massage it in and have extra carrier oil on hand in case of increased burning or stinging.
Reapply this same formula 3-5 times daily until the irritation is gone.
Soothing Soak for Chafing
For the next technique, you can make a big batch of the recipe below and then use it daily until the irritation is gone.
You will need:
- 6 cups of Epsom salts
- 20 drops of Patchouli
- 25 drops of Melaleuca (Tea Tree)
- 10 Drops of Lavender
- Mix this together in a large airtight container.
Add 1 cup of the mixture to your soaking bath.
Sit for at least 15 minutes.
You can repeat this bath daily until the issue is gone.
Alternatively, you can use the Epsom salt mixture to create a compress and use it instead of an entire bath.
Compresses alone can help relieve the stinging, inflammation, and irritation on their own. But once we add Epsom salts and essential oils, you speed that healing to the next level.
The next time you are chafed, no matter the cause or frequency, reach for essential oils to ease the symptoms of chafing so that you can return to the outfit or sport that you love, pain, and irritation-free.
Essential oils combat the issues associated with skin irritations and can prevent it from becoming infections.
Remember to dilute so that you provide relief for your skin and not further irritation.