Inflammation is your body's protective response to perceived threats and damage. Trouble starts when your immune system can't find the off switch to stop this natural process. Everyday stressors like lack of sleep, a diet high in processed food, viruses, and pollution (not to mention stress itself!) set the stage for chronic inflammation, which affects every aspect of health. Some inflammation, like skin irritation or joint swelling, is easy to recognize. But you may not realize that issues like gastrointestinal distress, respiratory infections, and asthma may also be due to inflammation.
The good news? Using essential oils for inflammation is one way to bring your body back into balance. "Essential oils function not only as anti-inflammatories, but also have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties," says Stacey Steinmetz, cosmetic biochemist and creator of StimuNail. "Many are known to suppress enzymes that trigger the body's immune response that leads to inflammation."
Because the skin allows oils to penetrate their lipid barrier out of recognition, it's important to always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil such as jojoba or avocado, Steinmetz cautions. "For skin that is damaged or irritated, it's best to do a small patch test, typically on the inner arm, 24 hours before using," she suggests.
Ahead, the 15 best essential oils for inflammation to help treat redness, bumps, dryness, and inflammatory conditions of all kinds, plus where to buy every single one.