It is increasingly common for bacterial skin infections, such as dermatitis, folliculitis or boils, to become resistant to treatments. What to do in these cases? A help seems to come from nature, as it often happens. In particular, some essential oils have proved particularly useful in counteracting skin infections, even when these show to be resistant to antibiotics. This is what emerges from a recent scientific research published in the journal Molecules by a Slovak team (Kozics et al, Molecules, 2019).
The problem of resistant infections
Human skin is constantly exposed to the external environment and therefore this makes skin problems among the most common infections in the world. The problem is that infections are often caused by bacteria that are resistant to drugs. In these cases, the infection can become difficult to heal. Some essential oils have been shown to be antimicrobial and able to fight bacteria and fungi, even if resistant to other treatments. This action can be traced back to several active ingredients present, such as carvacrol, eugenol and thymol which give the essences antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Essential oils and bacterial infections, the experiment
To better understand the antibacterial action of essential oils and any toxic effects on the skin, the researchers analyzed ten essential oils and their action on the most resistant strains of bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus vulgaris, Citrobacter koseri, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Candida. The essential oils analyzed were tea tree, eucalyptus, cloves, oregano, thyme, clary sage, lavender, cassia, lemongrass and thuja, which are the essential oils that are characterized by a high content of phenols and terpenes that give the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
The best antibacterial essential oils
What has emerged is that the oils of oregano, thyme, lemongrass, cassia, tea tree, eucalyptus, thuja and sage have been shown to be effective in inhibiting all strains of bacteria, including Candida. Oregano, thyme, lemongrass and cassia proved to be the most effective among all the oils tested and, for oregano, thyme and cassia, even more powerful than the antibiotics based on cefuroxime and fluconazole, used in the treatment of fungal and bacterial infections. As for toxicity, it emerged that all essential oils are well tolerated and unable to cause cellular degeneration.
Nature comes to your aid
So nature can offer valuable help in case of bacterial infections, especially cutaneous and resistant ones. Just remember to use essential oils always diluted in a carrier oil. You can add a couple of drops of essential oil to a tablespoon of a plant based oil, such as jojoba or sunflower oil.