The Top 12 Essential Oils for Eczema (Backed by Studies)

The Best Essential Oils For Eczema
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If you suffer from eczema, you know that this itchy, inflammatory skin condition can cause a lot of distress. Eczema (dermatitis) causes red rashes on the arms, elbows, face, backs of knees, and ankles that can become dry and thickened. These red patches of scaly skin can cause a lot of itching and in time fluid may leak from the eczema sores and crust over. Too much scratching can cause damage to the upper layer of the skin and even put you at risk of developing a secondary skin infection.

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There are many essential oils for eczema skin conditions that are great for relieving the symptoms of eczema. For example, essential oils like tea tree oil, lavender oil, and chamomile oil have soothing, anti-inflammatory properties that can help to stop itching and reduce inflammation associated with eczema. Many essential oils also help to treat bacterial infections on the skin that can make eczema symptoms worse.

The healing properties of essential oils for eczema are boosted by combining them with high-quality carrier oils. Natural oils like virgin coconut oil, jojoba oil, and olive oil help to moisturize irritated skin and speed up the healing time. A combination of essential oils and natural oils can help to reduce the appearance of redness, scaling, and inflammation on skin affected by eczema.

In this article, you will find out about the best essential oils to manage eczema that are backed by research. You can also learn how to use essential oils to treat outbreaks of itchy red skin to prevent your eczema symptoms getting worse. First of all, let’s look at what eczema is and what causes it.

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a broad term for a number of inflammatory skin conditions that cause red, itchy, dry, scaly, and bumpy skin. According to National Eczema Association, the most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis. This results in skin inflammation that itches a lot, becomes red and scaly, and may develop into crusted sores that “weep.”1

However, many people also suffer from contact dermatitis when irritants or allergens cause skin redness, swelling and an itching or burning sensation.1

Eczema is not contagious and it can’t be passed on via physical contact. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that the most common areas of the body that eczema affects are the folds of the elbows or knees, wrists, hands, eyelids, and neck. Infant eczema very often affects the face and scalp.2

Causes of eczema

Doctors don’t know what exactly causes eczema, however, Dr. Debra Jaliman on WebMD says that it could be the body’s immune system causing an overactive response to certain triggers.3

Some factors that can make eczema worse and trigger outbreaks are coming into contact with irritants, being too hot or cold, or stress. Staff at the Mayo Clinic say that the Staphylococcus aureus strain of bacteria on the skin can also trigger eczema.4

The Best Essential Oils for Eczema

Some of the best home remedies for eczema include essential oils to help soothe itchy patches of irritated skin that are dry and scaly. These essential oils can also reduce inflammation and help to dry out weeping sores that dermatitis causes.

You should remember that essential oils should always be diluted with a carrier oil before applying to the skin. This is especially important when treating an irritated and inflamed skin associated with eczema. At the end of the article, you will find recipes to use combinations of these oils for managing eczema and its symptoms.

1. Tea tree oil for eczema

The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil make this is a great essential oil for treating eczema outbreaks.

For example, the book Herbal Treatments for Dermatologic Disorders reported that remedies containing tea tree oil kill off various strains of bacteria on the skin including Staphylococcus aureus.5

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A study into the medicinal properties of tea tree oil found that it reduces inflammatory skin reactions caused by histamine. This is a substance that is released by the body during an allergic reaction. An application of tea tree oil reduced skin redness and swelling.6 Scientists know that histamine is connected with outbreaks of atopic dermatitis.7

Read more about the top 5 medicinal uses for tea tree oil.

2. Lavender

Lavender essential oil can help to deal with eczema in a number of ways. For example, it has powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties to reduce skin infections. Lavender is also a natural stress reliever and stress is a known eczema trigger.

A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that lavender oil has an anti-inflammatory and calming effect on swollen irritated skin. Lavender also helped to reduce pain in damaged skin.8 Other studies have shown that lavender oil possesses antimicrobial activity that can prevent skin infections from getting worse or spreading.9

You can read more about this oil in my previous article about the top 10 uses for lavender essential oil.

3. Chamomile to soothe dermatitis

Chamomile is another well-known soothing essential oil that you can use to soothe the effects of dry skin and swelling caused by eczema. Home remedies containing chamomile oil also help to get rid of itchiness and irritation associated with eczema. Chamomile essential oil is also one of the best essential oils for skincare.

A study published 1998 found that chamomile was just as effective as hydrocortisone cream and can help to improve the symptoms of contact dermatitis. Hydrocortisone creams are commonly prescribed to reduce itching and redness associated with eczema. Added to that, chamomile oil also helps wounds to heal faster and inhibits inflammation.5

4. Thyme

You can reduce redness and swelling in outbreaks of atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis by using thyme essential oil. Thyme oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can also help prevent secondary infections in the eczema-damaged skin.

The Journal of Lipid Research found that essential oils extracted from thyme help to suppress enzymes (COX-2) that cause inflammation and pain.10

5. Frankincense essential oil for eczema

You can use frankincense oil for treating chronic skin patches of eczema because it contains properties that reduce inflammation and help treat infected skin sores.

The Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine reported that frankincense oil is used to reduce skin irritation and redness. Frankincense oil can also help to improve skin tone and has a “steroid-like” effect to help repair damaged skin.11

Frankincense essential oil is also one of the best essential oils for allergies.

6. Rose geranium

To help reduce the red to brownish-gray patches of dry skin that eczema causes, you can use rose geranium oil together with a carrier oil. Rose geranium is another anti-inflammatory essential oil for relieving skin itchiness.

Research carried out on the healing properties of rose geranium oil has shown that it can help reduce inflammatory responses in skin infections. One study showed that rose geranium can help to soothe contact dermatitis and prevent infections of the skin.12

7. Basil oil

Essential oil extracted from holy basil (Ocimum sanctum) contains soothing properties that can help to relieve discomfort from itchy skin. A combination of basil oil and carrier oil can help to get rid of red skin patches caused by eczema.

Clinical trials found that holy basil essential oil help to reduce skin inflammation and pain.13

8. Helichrysum

If you have red, itchy dry skin patches of eczema that have blisters, you can use a natural remedy containing Helichrysum oil to get relief from the discomfort. One of the reasons that Helichrysum oil is good for skin affected by eczema is that it is anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic. Applying Helichrysum oil can help painful, fluid-filled blisters to heal quicker.

The International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents reported that helichrysum extracts also kill off various bacterial strains. For example, it can prevent Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA from causing skin infections. When used topically, helichrysum didn’t show any allergic reactions.14

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Helichrysum essential oil has many other benefits – read about them in my other article.

9. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus essential oil can be very effective in treating eczema and other inflammatory skin conditions. For example, eucalyptus essential oil has compounds that help to treat dry skin and improve the appearance of damaged skin that is associated with eczema.

Research published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology reported that when eucalyptus extracts are applied topically they create a protective barrier to moisturize the skin. The researchers said that eucalyptus is useful to improve dry skin conditions and reduce roughness and scaliness.15

10. Bergamot

Bergamot essential oil is another great eczema remedy that you can add to a carrier oil. The benefits of bergamot oil to patches of chronically itchy, dry, thickened skin are that it helps to soothe inflammation and kill off skin infections.

The anti-inflammatory effect of bergamot was reported in a research paper published in 2007. The researchers found that bergamot oil has “promising anti-inflammatory activity.”16

11. Turmeric essential oil

Turmeric essential oil contains a number of properties that make it an effective natural remedy for eczema. Turmeric extracts are used for their anti-inflammatory benefits. However, the herb is also antibacterial and contains powerful antioxidants.

Therefore, turmeric essential oil can help to soothe itchy patches of scaly skin and help infected skin heal quicker. You may find that turmeric essential oil can help to speed up the healing process of blisters that weep and have crusted over.

Various studies have shown that turmeric possesses powerful compounds that inhibit inflammatory responses. This is due to curcumin – the compound in turmeric that gives it its strong yellow color. The research has shown that also when applied topically, turmeric has anti-inflammatory activity.17 A study from 1999 also found that turmeric oil can help kill off bacterial infections.18

Turmeric may also help reduce inflammatory responses in your skin when taken internally. So, you could try cooking with more turmeric to reduce inflammation and keep your body healthy.

12. Sandalwood oil

Sandalwood essential oil can help to relieve patches of eczema that are itchy, thickened, and scaly.

A study published in 2017 found that sandalwood essential oil alleviates inflammation in inflammatory skin conditions. Researchers found that applying sandalwood to the skin helped treat symptoms of scaling, dry skin, redness, swelling, and inflammation that are typical of psoriasis.19

The Best Carrier Oils For Eczema

When using essential oils to treat eczema at home naturally, you should always dilute them in a carrier oil. Here are some of the best carrier oils to use that will boost the healing power of essential oils.

Virgin Coconut oil

Virgin Coconut oil is one of the best oils to use for eczema and other dry skin conditions. Coconut oil acts as a natural emollient for the skin and will help to moisturize and nourish damaged skin. Coconut oil together with essential oils act as a powerful natural eczema treatment.

For example, research published in the journal Dermatitis found that the antibacterial effect of coconut oil makes it a great treatment for atopic dermatitis. The components of coconut oil helped to kill off bacterial skin infections and keep the skin well-hydrated.20

Shea butter

You can also mix essential oils with shea butter to make a natural anti-eczema salve to heal damaged skin. The effect of shea butter on inflamed skin is that it reduces redness, swelling, and acts as a protective moisturizing barrier.

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The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology reported that shea butter is a rich source of anti-inflammatory compounds. Among these are various fatty acids with antioxidant properties which can help treat atopic dermatitis inflammatory flare-ups.21

Avocado oil

Avocado oil is rich in fatty acids that assist in nourishing skin showing signs of eczema. Avocado oil helps to alleviate skin irritation and redness and can help to reduce the appearance of scaly skin patches in eczema.

The Journal of Wound Care reported that avocado oil contains many vitamins and minerals that benefit the skin. These compounds are excellent for dry, damaged, or cracked skin and can help skin wounds to heal faster.22

Olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil is an excellent oil to use for treating dermatitis. Its effectiveness in helping to treat eczema is boosted when you add any of the essential oils mentioned in this article.

The journal Dermatitis also reported on the soothing effect of olive oil as a natural eczema ointment. Olive oil helped to reduce and prevent Staphylococcus aureus bacterial skin infections and also moisturize dry skin.20

Vitamin E oil

Many of the carrier oils mentioned here contain vitamin E. However, to help quickly get rid of an eczema flare-up from your skin, you can mix some essential oils with pure vitamin E oil. You can buy vitamin E oil capsules and break them open to get the oil out.

The Journal of Molecular Medicine reports that vitamin E is needed to keep your skin healthy. Vitamin E has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin and it helps to destroy free radicals and prevent skin thickening.23

Other studies into the using vitamin E oil to treat eczema recommend supplementing your diet with vitamin E. One study found a 62% decrease in patients with eczema-related skin inflammation.24

For more information on how to use vitamin E to boost the health of your skin and protect it from damage, please read my article on vitamin E to benefit your skin, hair, and health.

Sweet almond oil

Another oil that is great for getting rid of skin lesions associated with atopic dermatitis is sweet almond oil.

According to the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, almond oil has traditionally been used to treat chronic dry skin conditions like eczema. Almond oil acts as a natural emollient and can even help protect the skin from scars forming.25

Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil has many amazing benefits for your skin including helping to treat chronic itching and dry skin that eczema causes. Jojoba oil is also a natural antiseptic ingredient that can prevent skin infections from becoming worse.

The reason that jojoba oil is so effective for managing eczema flare-ups is that it is anti-inflammatory in nature. The journal Pharmacological Research reported that skin inflammation can be reduced by applying jojoba oil.26 Other research has shown that jojoba oil also kills off infections making it a natural treatment for eczema.27

Rosehip oil

If you want to get rid of dry, itchy patches of skin that are red and cracked, you can try rosehip oil. The therapeutic effect of rosehip oil on eczema skin lesions help to soften crusty rashes and help them heal faster.

According to various studies, extracts from rosehip contain powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Although many studies look at the effect of rosehip powder in reducing inflammation in the body, extracts from various parts of the rosehip plant have antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects.28

How to Use Essential Oils for Treating Eczema

It is very easy to make your own home remedy for treating the symptoms of eczema using essential oils. Remember that we all have different and unique skin types, so what works for other people may not be the ideal treatment for you. Always try the bellow remedies on a small patch of skin first to see how it reacts.

Quick and Easy Essential Oil Recipe for Eczema

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  1. Take 1 tablespoon carrier oil of your choice and add 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Apply the natural eczema remedy to your affected skin to help reduce the severity of the skin inflammation, and soothe the itchiness and dry skin associated with eczema.
  4. Repeat 2-3 times a day until signs of your eczema have gone and your skin has healed completely.

Apply regularly

Eczema is a chronic skin condition so you will need to continue with the application of the natural remedy on a regular basis. However you may only need to do it once a day after the skin has healed. Regular application can help to prevent future eczema flare ups. If you do have eczema flare ups, use the remedy more often to help your skin heal faster and reduce itchiness.

Experiment with different carrier oils

You can try mixing and matching some of the oils together to find the perfect remedy for your eczema. For example, you can use some virgin coconut oil with the oil from a vitamin E capsule and a few drops of 2 or 3 essential oils.

Don’t use too much essential oils

You should be careful not to have a higher concentration of essential oils in your mixture. Essential oils are very powerful and can cause skin irritation. You should aim for 2-3 drops of essential oils for every tablespoon of carrier oil.

Try to use just a carrier oil (without essential oils)

You may find that your skin is so sensitive that even a little amount of essential oils causes skin irritation. In this case, just use the carrier oil of your choice without combining it with essential oils. This will help to moisturize your dry, itchy skin which is associated with eczema.

Other Essential Oil Home Remedies for Eczema

There are other ways that you can use essential oils in home treatments for getting rid of eczema. Here are some of the best ways to help soothe eczema symptoms and reduce the urge to scratch. The medicinal properties of the essential oils for eczema will also help to calm inflammation and stop skin infections.

Calming bath with essential oils

To get relief from eczema if it covers a large area of your body, you can soak in a bath with essential oils.

How to use:

  1. Fill a bath tub with warm water.
  2. Add 2 drops chamomile oil, 2 drops rose geranium oil, and 2 drops lavender oil and mix thoroughly with a tablespoon of a carrier oil.
  3. Add the oil mixture to the bath water and soak for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Use whenever you need relief from large patches of itchy, dry skin on your body.

You can also try a blend of different essential oils and carrier oil.

Skin cooling compress for eczema

You can blend some essential oils in cool water to make a cooling compress to soothe especially itchy skin that is caused by eczema.

How to use:

  1. In a bowl, mix 1 quart of cool water with 2 drops chamomile oil, 1 drop lavender oil, and 1 drop helichrysum oil.
  2. Soak a clean cloth in the bowl, gently squeeze out excess liquid and hold on the affected skin area for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Apply 2-3 times a day for instant relief when you have any eczema flare-ups.

Try using a combination of different essential oils until you find out what works best for your type of dermatitis.

Essential oil soothing spray for eczema

You can easily make a cooling spray that you can use whenever you need relief from dry skin that causes itching and irritation.

How to use:

  • Pour 1 cup distilled water in a spray bottle and add 10-15 drops lavender oil.
  • Shake well before each application and spray the remedy on the itchy inflamed skin for quick relief from the effects on an eczema flare-up.

Essential oils and Shea butter eczema cream

  • ½ cup Shea butter
  • 10 drops geranium essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil

Mix all ingredients in a small jar and apply 1 to 2 times a day to the skin patches affected by eczema. Use regularly to moisturize your dry, itchy and scaly skin.

Soothing eczema skin salve

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup virgin coconut oil
  • ¼ cup avocado oil
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 T beeswax pastilles
  • ¾ t vitamin E oil (or 3 1000 IU softgels)
  • ½ t arrowroot (prevents greasiness of the salve)
  • 40 drops of essential oils from the above list (you can combine several of them)

Instructions:

  1. Melt the coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil and beeswax in a double boiler under constant stirring. Remove from heat and add arrowroot, keep stirring to avoid lumps.
  2. Cool the mixture down till you can touch the jar for at least 5 to 10 seconds.
  3. Then add the essential oil and vitamin E. Mix and pour in a small glass container.
  4. Cool down completely on the counter before putting the lid on. Store at room temperature and use 1 to 2 times a day.
  5. Apply the soothing slave to your skin to help it heal faster and help to relieve itchiness, redness and inflammation associated with eczema.

If you are interested to learn more about essential oils you can find useful information in my e-book Magical Aromatherapy. This e-book will help you to discover the power of essential oils and the most effective ways to use them.

Read my other related articles:
1. The Best Natural Treatments for Eczema (Backed by Research)
2. Unbelievable Reasons to Use Coconut Oil for Eczema
3. How to Use Raw Food Diet to Treat Eczema

Article Sources

  1. NationalEczema. Understanding the different types of eczema.
  2. MayoClinic. Atopic dermatitis (eczema).
  3. WebMD. The basics of eczema and your skin.
  4. MayoClinic. Atopic dermatitis – causes.
  5. NCBI. Herbal treatment for dermatologic disorders.
  6. Br J Dermatol. 2002 Dec;147(6):1212-7.
  7. Ann Dermatol. 2011 Sep; 23(Suppl 1): S91–S95.
  8. J Ethnopharm. 2003 Nov; 89(1): 67-71.
  9. Eur J Den 2013 Sep; 7(Suppl 1): S71–S77.
  10. J Lipid Res. 2010 Jan;51(1):132-9.
  11. J Tradit Complement Med. 2013 Oct-Dec; 3(4): 221–226.
  12. Libyan J Med. 2013; 8: 10.3402/ljm.v8i0.22520.
  13. Indian J Exp Biol. 1999 Nov;37(11):1136-8.
  14. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2001 Jun;17(6):517-20.
  15. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2013 Mar;12(1):3-11.
  16. Eur J Gen Med. 2007 Jan;4(4)
  17. J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Feb;9(1):161-8.
  18. J Agric Food Chem. 1999 Oct;47(10):4297-300.
  19. Front Pharmacol. 2017 Mar 16;8:125.
  20. Dermatitis. 2008 Nov-Dec;19(6):308-15.
  21. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2011 Jun; 4(6): 45–55.
  22. J Wound Care. 2008 Mar;17(3):123-6.
  23. J Mol Med (Berl). 1995 Jan;73(1):7-17.
  24. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2016 Jul-Aug; 7(4): 311–315.
  25. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2010 Feb;16(1):10-2.
  26. Pharmacol Res. 2005 Feb;51(2):95-105.
  27. Chem. 2009;2(2):300-306.
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17 Responses to The Top 12 Essential Oils for Eczema (Backed by Studies)

  1. geetha ashok says:

    Informative! Wonderful.

  2. Ann says:

    I know that it’s indicated that the eczema recipe is safe for children but I just need to make sure if they’re safe specifically for my grandchildren aged 1 & 3 yrs old? Thanks!

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Ann, the general recommendation for adults and especially for kids is to do a test on a small patch of skin and see if there is any reaction. This is the safest way to go, and this is what I recommend to do in the case of your grandchildren. Also all essential oils should be diluted for use with babies and children and should be kept away from a child’s face. I have another article about natural treatments for eczema that are not based on essential oils, and you might also be interested to have a look at it – https://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/natural-cures-for-eczema/

  3. Edith says:

    For me all the dilutions seem very high,5% if I calculate right, which is ok to treat a small area. But if covering a large area on your body, a .25- .50 would be enough. As per Robert Thisserand: Essential Oil Safety book none of the EO s should be put on a child under 2 years and also thyme should not be used on children under 6 years of age.

    • Patricia says:

      Edith, you have provided a very good warning here. Unfortunately, in the small body product industry, there are those who I call the “Fly by the seat of their pants” soap and body product makers. Additionally, the individuals who have bought into some of these essential oil pyramid schemes feel they have now become experts in this industry. Many of these individuals are not doing enough research in order to provide the safest & most effective natural remedies. I am NOT insinuating that any of you are these such people. I have a doctorate in educational leadership under my belt, but I still, and never will consider myself an expert. There is so much to learn and new information is coming out daily because of the high interest from the public for natural/organic remedies. I myself use the lowest body safe percentages of essential oils in my products not because of cost, but because of safety. Individual recipes can be tweaked to higher, yet safe, percentage later per request of the individual. Patricia aka The Soap Maker

      • Ellen says:

        Clearly you have no idea who Robert Tisserand is, Patricia.

        • Travelicious says:

          Ellen

          I do believe you’ve misunderstood Patricia’s message:

          She praises Edith’s “very good warning”

          Disparages both “the small body product industry” (makers of soap and body products) and

          “individuals who have bought into some of these essential oil pyramid schemes feel they have now become experts in this industry”

          She censures “individuals not doing enough research in order to provide the safest & most effective natural remedies”

          She did not say anything defamatory about Robert Tisserand; she was only talking about those others who are not so knowledgeable.

  4. Rivera Lemon says:

    Love your site and information! Had quit using my cold air diffuser and pulled it out a few days ago while sick with a case of bronchitis. So much better after enjoying peppermint and eucalyptus. Making my shopping list now!

  5. Normia taylor says:

    My husband has eczema all over his body. It has now, for the first time, spread to the outside of his eyelids. Ive always heard that oil were not safe around the eyes. Any suggestions til we can get an appt with his doc?

    • Jenny says:

      Essential oils are indeed very concentrated and it’s not recommended to apply them near the eye area. You can get more ideas on how to treat eczema in my article 13 Useful Natural Treatments for Eczema, although please note that not all the suggestions there are suitable for the eye area as well.

    • Kimberly says:

      I have not had eczema, but I had horrible acne for years. When I decided to have hydro-colon therapy 6 yrs ago because of digestive issues, the therapist told me that the secondary benefit I would be deriving would be that my acne would clear up. She advised, and it made perfect sense, that as the skin is our largest organ, it the easiest way for the body to eliminate toxins when our first defense, our digestive tract/colon is not funcitoning properly. This is usually due to the Western diet, our crazy use of drugs, and to the pitiful status of the gut biomes (bacterial counts/cultures) of most Americans. When I cleaned up my diet, got regular colon therapy treatments, and started on live probiotics and cultured foods, my acne went away completely and has never returned. I rarely even wear makeup now, because I’m just so excited that I no longer have to. I think that all, or most, skin issues are probably attributable to the fact that our bodies are swimming in toxins, and our skin is bearing the brunt of it all. Just a thought…if your husband is willing to try. Good luck to him.

    • Melissa says:

      Try some dilluted peppermint oil . I know it sounds a little crazy but I have very sensitive eyes and I do it . Make sure that the oil is very dilluted though since it would be his first time . By the way the best brand for peppermint oil is Aura Cacia .
      Good luck !

  6. Melissa says:

    Is there a particular brand or company you’d recommend?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Melissa, I prefer not to recommend any brand as they vary between countries and I’m not associated with any product or company.

    • Michelle says:

      I personally love Essential Oils brand…if you use a cotton ball or Qtip to rub oils around the eye, you can use a carrier oil such as pure coconut oil and wipe the eye with a cotton all saturated in the carrier oil and it’ll take the oils out of the run all! I’ve personally done this and it works

  7. Heather says:

    I’m glad to read all the article and even the comments , cause when I read that it’s really works I find some hope. Thank you will read more and start to try!

  8. Andri_Santos says:

    thank you, the information is very helpful

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