As long-time readers of this blog know, I often seek out effective natural remedies to help manage the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. One less common compound that caught my attention is frankincense oil, an essential oil derived from the resin of the Boswellia tree.
There is some evidence to suggest that frankincense oil in an effective natural treatment for seborrheic dermatitis due to its antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. This fragrant oil also has skin anti-aging benefits and can even out skin tone. Frankincense oil holds promise as a good topical treatment for seborrheic dermatitis.
Let’s take a deep dive:
What is frankincense oil?
Frankincense oil is extracted from the resin of the Boswellia tree, which is native to the Arabian Peninsula and northeastern Africa. Historically, the oil was used in traditional medicine and religious rituals. Frankincense oil was one of the gifts brought to baby Jesus by the Magi, and it holds a significant place in Christian tradition.
Chemically, frankincense essential oil is a complex mixture of monoterpenes, diterpenes, and triterpenes, along with other compounds that boast therapeutic potential. Some of the key constituents include α-pinene, limonene, and β-caryophyllene. These compounds contributes to frankincense oil’s ability to exhibit anti-inflammatory, immunomodulating, and antimicrobial effects that can help fight various skin conditions. The oil has even been shown to be a potential treatment for cancer.
Is frankincense oil antifungal?
Although there are no human studies on the use of frankincense oil for treating seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff, there are a few lab studies looking at its effect on Malassezia.
A 2020 study tested frankincense oil from 3 different tree species and found all to be very effective in inhibiting Malassezia furfur and Candida albicans.
Another lab study showed that a blend of frankincense oil and sandalwood was effective against Tricophyton and combining frankincense oil and cinnamon bark oil was effective at inhibiting Candida albicans, 2 common fungi that causes skin and nail fungal infections.
Skin benefits of frankincense oil
A recent study found that frankincense extract is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial and can potentially soothe skin, reduce inflammation, prevent acne, and spots while evening out skin tone.
Frankincense oil is good for many different types of skin, like skin that is prone to acne and blemishes, aging skin, and dry skin. It can help with oily and acne-prone skin, and it can also help with aged skin by regulating sebum production.
Frankincense oil is a strong astringent and can be used as a natural toner to improve skin tone and reduce pore size. It may also help to reduce wrinkles, fine lines, scars, or stretch marks on the skin.
This fragrant oil also helps create new skin cells, keeps skin stretchy, and helps with dry and chapped skin.
Is frankincense oil a good treatment for seborrheic dermatitis?
There are no studies showing frankincense oil is a good treatment for seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff. It’s also a little bit pricier compared to other essential oils like tea tree oil that are proven treatments for seb derm.
However, frankincense oil has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties, which could potentially help reduce the inflammation and redness associated with seb derm. Frankincense oil has also been shown to have antifungal and antibacterial properties in lab studies which could be useful for inhibiting Malassezia and balancing the skin microbiome.
Based on the lab studies and its other skin benefits, frankincense oil holds promise as a potential treatment for seb derm. If you like the scent of frankincense oil and would like to add it to your seb derm essential oil toolkit, it’s worth a try.
How to use frankincense oil for seborrheic dermatitis
There are several ways you can use frankincense oil to help treat seborrheic dermatitis. Dilute frankincense oil with a carrier oil like squalane oil or jojoba oil in a 1:10 ratio, with one part frankincense oil and ten parts carrier oil. Apply the mixture directly to the affected areas and massage gently into the skin.
You can also mix a few drops of frankincense oil into your moisturizer, lotion, shampoo or conditioner. Some people have even mixed it into their scalp serum and massaged it into the scalp after a shampoo.
Although frankincense oil is generally considered safe for topical use, it may cause skin irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin or if the oil is not diluted properly before applying it to the affected area. If you decide to try frankincense oil for your seborrheic dermatitis, I highly recommend performing a patch test on a small area of skin before applying it to larger areas.This will help you determine if you have any adverse reactions or allergies.
Always dilute frankincense oil with a carrier oil (or other cream) to avoid skin irritation. If your skin is tolerating the 1:10 ratio then you can increase the concentration of frankincense oil to 3-4 drops but no more than that.
Some people may also experience allergic reactions to frankincense oil. Signs of an allergic reaction include itching, redness, swelling, or difficulty breathing. If you suspect you are experiencing an allergic reaction to frankincense oil, stop using it immediately and consult your healthcare provider.