With 13 inches of snow on the ground here in Northeast Kansas, my outside activities have been limited to lugging hay bales to hungry critters and sledding with Kate. Not that those things aren’t fun, but I’ll admit inside is a little more hospitable right now. So today I decided to make some homemade herbal skin cream.
Kate (our 6-year-old daughter) suffers from eczema. She gets those nasty, itchy patches of red, flaky skin in the creases of her elbows and behind her knees, and also scattered all over her body. In the cold, dry air of winter it has really made her miserable. The doctor has prescribed topical steroid-based ointment and an oral steroid that work well, but I really don’t like having to give those to her much. Over the counter lotions are OK, but I wanted to make something all-natural that wasn’t laden with chemicals and such.
I found a recipe on a blog for an eczema cream, and so I tweaked it to my liking and will share it here. The ingredients are simple and easy to find. I purchased the coconut oil at Sam’s Club and the lavender and tea tree essential oils at a local health-food store. Why these ingredients? Glad you asked!
Coconut oil is known for its uses in cooking as an alternative to higher fat/cholesterol oils. It has saturated fat, but these are mostly in the form of medium chain triglycerides. These short-segmented healthy fats are something the body loves. It is great for quick energy, the fat is not stored in the body, and it actually speeds up metabolism. It does not impart much of a coconut flavor or smell to food.
This oil is quite versatile. Coconut oil is also great for the skin! It is a natural skin conditioner and helps clear away dirt and bacteria. It can help with acne breakouts with its natural antibacterial properties. It has a host of other benefits for the skin including soothing bug bites, speeding healing, softening wrinkles, as an antioxidant, and many more! In addition, it is relatively inexpensive and easy to find (I got mine at Sam’s Club for less than $9). So, this was the oil I chose to be the base of my skin cream.
Also in the cream are two essential oils: lavender and tea tree. Lavender essential oil is known for its healing and soothing properties. But it also is antifungal, antibacterial, and has analgesic (pain relieving) properties. In addition, it is good for muscle aches, cold sores, helps psoriasis and eczema, and can ease headaches, anxiety and depression. It is truly a super-herb!
Tea tree essential oil was chosen for its well documented antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic properties. Simply put, it can kill the bugs! Quite literally actually, as it is also useful in eradicating head lice, bedbugs, ticks and various other creeping crawling critters (eeeewww!). For this cream, I wanted something to help heal whatever issues were on skin … scrapes, burns, etc. Tea tree oil is even good at killing the herpes virus in cold sores! So, now that you know why I chose the ingredients, let’s get started!
All Natural Coconut Oil Skin Cream
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
25 to 30 drops organic lavender essential oil
20 drops organic tea tree essential oil
Mixer with wire beater
1/2-cup measuring cup
Rubber or silicone spatula
Small container for storing cream in
Measure out 1/2 cup coconut oil. Keep in mind that coconut oil is solid at room temperature. And “room temperature” in my house right now is about 65 degrees. So, calling this “oil” is really a misnomer at this point. If you have never used coconut oil (as I hadn’t) the texture may come as a surprise. I expected something like smooth peanut butter, but it is more like soft wax. It was chunky and difficult to scoop out of the jar. My silicone spatula was quickly replaced by a butter knife to get the stuff into my measuring cup.
Place the coconut oil in your mixing bowl.
Add essential oils. I measured mine into cups to see if they equaled teaspoons of any measure, but this is not necessary.
I used 30 drops of lavender and 20 drops of tea tree oil. Keep in mind tea tree oil can sting a bit, which is why I didn’t use quite as much as the lavender. You can adjust to your preference, but this is the recommended amount for this recipe.
Beat with your electric mixer until the coconut oil and essential oils are well incorporated. Note that the coconut oil will need to be smooth and creamy to make a nice, soft skin cream. I beat and scraped the bowl intermittently for about 10 minutes.
Now it’s done! Easy, huh? Scoop your now beautiful and aromatic skin cream into your container of choice.
Pretty tins would make nice containers as well and great gifts! Think recycle! I keep Altoid and other candy tins around just for things such as this! This time I happened to have a cute Ball bail jar I’d picked up at a farm sale years back. It makes a perfect cute little container for my cream. And, I might add, my kitchen smells WONDERFUL now!
This cream has many uses, and not just for your skin! It is a great hair conditioner (ditch those expensive chemical-laden salon conditioners!) and is good for any minor scrape, burn, itch, rash, bug bite, etc. I also use it on my critters with good success! As a matter of fact, one of my goats has a cut on her leg (I have no idea how … and I don’t think I want to know) that I’m going to use it on today!
When the cream is put on skin, it almost immediately melts. Coconut oil has a very low melting point. Because of this, I kind of expected the skin cream to be really greasy, and although after initial application it is, my skin very quickly slurped it up and after about 30 minutes there is no greasy feel at all. Just soft (and nice smelling) skin! The essential oils leave a very faint scent, so anyone who does not like their skin cream to have a smell should be able to use this. The scent it does have is very fresh and natural, and not “flowery” or like coconut at all.
I plan to make more things like this in the near future, as well as learning how to use my home-grown herbs to make my own tinctures and essential oils once I get my goal of a raised-bed herb garden done this summer. Let me know how you like it!