Hydrocortisone Cream is an over-the-counter steroid treatment for agitated skin. It works rather well for temporary conditions – insect bite, temporary rash, etc. However, it can be as much a a curse as a blessing for chronic conditions. Hydrocortisone Cream is only meant to be used for up to a week before the skin needs a break from it. Long term use can actually dry out and thin our skin – making it more sensitive and agitating the original problem. The problem is, people with chronic skin conditions have a hard time finding anything as effective and yet safe for longer-term use.
I know because my skin is very sensitive and very easily agitated. And I’ve definitely over-used hydrocortisone. Soooo…here’s my solution:
Semi-DIY Skin-Soothe Cream
1 Tablespoon of any cream or lotion (preferably all natural because essential oils may interact with synthetic ingredients) OR 1 Tablespoon Aloe Vera Gel (or even coconut oil or shea butter or some other carrier oil is fine)
10 drops of Helichrysum Essential Oil
10 drops Lavender Essential Oil (Optional)
10 drops German or Roman Chamomile Essential Oil (Optional)
5 drops Carrot Seed Oil (Optional)
1 drop Clove Essential Oil (Optional)
Why these ingredients?
- Helichrysum is the Big Daddy of soothing-agitated-skin-essential-oils. It is the absolutely best option for any chronic itchy skin condition. (Some people say any skin condition. Period.) It is on the expensive side but you do not need much. A 5 ml bottle will have approximately 80-120 drops of essential oil; there is an average of 25 drops essential oil per milliliter, but this, of course, varies between essential oils. For an alternative; Aura Cacia (the brand found at most health stores) has a diluted version for around $20 that works pretty well when applied directly to the skin without further dilution. However, if you have a chronic skin condition, and you need more Helichrysum over the long-term, it is more cost-effective to buy this oil undiluted. This is the major anti-itch/agitation ingredient in this formula.
- Lavender is very skin soothing and anti-bacterial.
- Chamomile is very healing to damaged skin.
- Carrot Seed is skin’s best friend. It is very nourishing and regenerative for any skin type.
- Clove is a natural numbing agent. But only use a minimal amount because it is very strong and too much may cause skin agitation. Robert Tisserand recommends a maximum dermal usage of only .5% for Clove oil.
Pour the cream/lotion/aloe in a glass or stainless steel container (essential oils react to plastic). Add essential oils of choice. Mix. If the container is not opaque, store in a dark place to avoid light degrading your essential oils.
As always, when using essential oils for any therapeutic purposes, only use a given essential oil for a maximum of three weeks, then take a one week break (you can use regular hydrocortisone cream during this week off). This will prevent your body from desensitizing to the oils.