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By Crystal Baldwin, September 1, 2022
Of all the essential oils in the world, lavender is one of the most well known. People immediately associate lavender with sleep however, one of its over-looked benefits is its use for helping and healing burns.
The well-known folklore tale of lavender starts with Rene- Maurice Gattefosse, the father of aromatherapy (he coined the term "aromatherapy). The story goes that Gattefosse, a French chemist, was working in his lab one day when a fire broke out. His arm caught on fire and burning so he plunged his arm in the nearest vat of fluid to extinguish it. That fluid just so happened to be lavender oil. Miraculously, not only did the lavender oil stop the burning and pain but, his arm healed very quickly without any scarring!
Is this story true? Yes, but with a slight twist. Gattefosse did burn his arm and did use lavender oil however, he was aware of its benefits and purposely used lavender to treat and heal his burn, thus avoiding a gangrene infection, amputation and possibly death
Lavender oil is another essential oil that has been studied and proven to be of benefit, especially when it comes to burns.
With its ability to reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, increase wound healing, decrease scarring and its strong antimicrobial properties, this oil is one you want to have on hand.
Lavender oil has been commonly used for its skin nourishing and anti-aging properties. One 2016 study by the national library of medicine, found that not only did lavender accelerate the formation of granulation tissue, thus promoting wound healing but it also helped to promote collagen synthesis. Collagen is super important as it gives our skin its elasticity and restores it to that youthful look.
My Personal Experiences
Studies are great for confirming what many of us already know - lavender essential oil works on burns!
I remember the very first time I used lavender oil on a burn. I had burned myself very badly when taking something out of the oven. The area immediately started to swell and fill with fluid. Having just read about lavender and its benefits with burns, I grabbed the nearest bottle and poured it directly onto the burn. Within minutes the intense burning sensation had slowed down. The oil seemed to absorb quickly into the burn area and the heat returned.
I re-applied the lavender several times throughout the evening and each time the pain subsided. That night I applied the oil again and placed a band-aide over-top of the area to hold the oil in place. The next morning when I awoke I felt no pain at all. When I removed the covering, not only was the swelling and fluid gone but there was barely a red mark and only a very slight soreness. I was astonished as I expected it to in much worse condition! That was it, gone were my treatments with aloe vera and now I knew what to use when I had a burn to treat.
Combine oils for greater synergy
Many burn experiences later and with my aromatherapy knowledge I now know that blending oils gives me even greater results and less pain. What partners really well with lavender for pain and inflammation? - Peppermint essential oil!
Using these oils together really gives your burn the 1-2 punch. Peppermint, with its cooling action is what I reach for first to quench that burning sensation and decrease the pain and inflammation. After applying peppermint I then start to apply layers of lavender essential oil and as things calm down I mix the two.
If I am concerned about an infection (and just because it's wonderful at healing) I may also apply a little Tea Tree essential oil.
Studies have shown that combining essential oils creates a synergy that is more powerful than just the single oil (although, the single oils are not too shabby).
How to apply essential oils to burns
What we do now know is that diluting essential oils is much better for the skin, allows the chemical components to "stretch out" and be more affective and decreases the chances of you developing a sensitivity to a particular essential oil (very important because if you develop a sensitivity you may have to stop using that oil forever).
However, sometimes you may not be where you can get your hands on a carrier oil or lotion to blend your essential oil into and you may need to apply your essential oil "neat" (undiluted) in an emergent situation until you are able to then dilute it.
1. First apply peppermint oil neat (if you have it) to cool down the burn, alleviate pain and decrease inflammation and swelling. Otherwise use lavender.
2. As the burn starts to cool, apply lavender oil neat and then go look for a carrier to blend your oils into (or have a blend on hand for just such situations).
3. For a carrier, aloe vera gel is my#1 choice but if you don't have any, coconut oil is a great cooling carrier as well. Olive oil would be my next choice.
4. For initial application, blend 15 drops of lavender oil and 5 drops peppermint oil in 1 teaspoon of aloe or whatever carrier you are using. Apply every few minutes as needed and apply before bed and cover with a bandage. You can put a few drops of tea tree essential oil in this blend if the burn is more severe.
5. In the next few days, once the swelling is gone, you can decrease the oils to 7-8 drops of lavender oil alone.
6. If you are concerned about any scarring you can add some frankincense essential oil with the lavender (half and half blend) as this combination is wonderful for wound and scar healing. At that point, switch your carrier to shea butter - another great wound and scar healer.
Important things to remember
Using Lavender Essential Oil will change everything when it comes to burns, the associated pain and any future scarring! Be sure to have it on hand and ready.
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