Second and third degree burns
require immediate professional medical attention.
first-degree burns and sunburns (and some follow up for more
severe burns) benefit greatly from both the pain relief and
healing of essential oils. Bacterial infection is often a
problem with burns. Almost all essential oils offer
protection against this. Most recommended is Lavender and
White Fir is sometimes used for pain relief.
Classification of Burns
The severity of burns is indicated by the degree of the
burn. The higher the degree number the worse the burn.
A description of the degree of burns is included below:
First-Degree Burns – Only affects the
outer layer (epidermis) of the skin with redness and
discomfort. Since the epidermal layer is not compromised the
skin can still protect the body from infection and help
control body temperature so, although there may be pain,
there is not risk of consequential problems.
Second-Degree Burns – Extends into the
second layer (dermis) of the skin. As the epidermis is
damaged it separated from the dermis and fluid accumulates.
This blistering is the most common characteristic of
second-degree burns. Eventually the separated
epidermis will come off and the dermal layer will be
exposed. This increases the possibility of infection
and the other functions of the skin are affected leading to
Severe second-degree burns can take weeks to heal, can
cause scarring, and may require skin grafts to restore
function and appearance. This is also the most painful
of burns since the nerve endings in the dermis may be
Third-Degree Burns – Extends through the
epidermis and dermis and into the subcutaneous tissue of the
skin. Since the outer layers of the skin are
completely compromised the normal functions of the skin
cannot be accomplished. Protection from infection must
be provided. If the area is great the temperature
regulation of the body will be compromised. Nerve
endings may be destroyed with this type of burn such that
there is no feeling in the area.
Forth-Degree Burns – In very extreme
cases damage extends below the skin layers into muscle and
Oils, blends & products
Oils & Blends:
FrankincenseC, HelichrysumC, LavenderEC, MelaleucaC,
PeppermintC, White FirC
Essential oils based
GeraniumEC, MarjoramC, Protective BlendC
The quicker, the better.
Cover the affected area with Frankincense or Lavender oil. Then, if
possible, cool the area with Peppermint or a cool
compress. If the burn area is too sensitive to apply the oils
directly, then use a water spritz with Lavender
If blistering occurs or the skin is compromised use
Frankincense or Melaleuca to prevent infection.
White Fir is also recommended to minimize pain and
As healing begins use Helichrysum to promote tissue
regeneration and prevent scarring.
Special Precautions: Severe burns
should receive professional medical attention. Do not
use “hot” oils on a fresh burn.
Experiences and Testimonials of others
Our thanks to:
My one year old burnt the backs of
his fingers on the Fire place, to the point
of the skin peeling off. One of his fingers
was bleeding. We rushed him to the kitchen
and ran the cold water for a few seconds
which made him scream more. My husband then
ran and got our Lavender oil, and we just
dropped onto his wounds neat. Within 10
seconds he had stopped crying. It took the
pain away for him immediately. We then put
some Lavender in a bowl of cold water and he
sat with his hand in it for about an hour.
To help his body heal, we used a combination
of Helichrysum, Lavender and Melaleuca for a
few weeks. We could not believe how fast the
Lavender took away the pain for him -
Panadol would have taken about 20 minutes to
kick in! Just one of the many times I was
grateful to have (...) oils in my house!
Cristi - My
husband was watching our baby this morning (he just
turned one year old last week) and didn't realize that
he could burn himself on our gas Fireplace. He
just barely touched his little hand to it, but he has a
horrible burns on the back of his left hand which has
blistered now. There are six blisters on the backs
of his fingers which are pretty big and then one really
big one about the size of a quarter on the back of his
wrist. He is in a lot of pain and I don't know
what to do for him!!
Julie Ann - Lavender, Peppermint and
Fractionated Coconut Oil. They work something awesome.
Put them on in that order.
Dani - Last Summer my 2 year old
went outside without shoes in our sandpit in the hot
Arizona sun. He started screaming, and wouldn't move,
so I ran out to get him and took him inside. By the
time I got him inside the whole bottoms of his feet were
one huge blister (I couldn't believe his feet could burn
that bad). Anyway, I immediately started applying
Lavender to his feet and then Peppermint (to draw the
heat out). After about 5 minutes he stopped crying and
15 minutes later the blisters had no more fluid in them
(it was amazing). He was able to walk around within a
couple of hours (which again was amazing considering his
entire foot was a blister!!). Hope this helps and good
Pat - I always keep the Lavender and
Peppermint with a spray attachment, so you get good
coverage and don't touch the burned area. I would get
the Lavender on him asap.
Brooke - I would add Melaleuca to
what has been suggested. I had a young girl burn her
entire finger on a pan on the stove. She had put ice on
it several times until her mom insisted that she let me
put some essential oils on it. I put Lavender and
Melaleuca on it and then left them some to put on every
hour if possible. The next day - it was gone. No more
blister and no more burn.
Brenda - I have had some experience
from 2nd degree to 4th degree burns- however, I did not
have essential oils at the time. But I do know, don’t
pop the blisters. Leave them intact for as long as
possible. The healing will be much more complete and
scar less and not be as hard to heal. The liquid in
those blisters is very good for healing also. So don't
pop the blisters and then use the oils that have been
suggested. Hope this helps.
Robyn - My 2 year old grandson put
his hand on the stove burner. It was a second degree
burn. We used Lavender and White Fir and kept it
wrapped. The oils were used twice a day. It was
amazing to see how well it was healed up within just a
Shannon - My
nephew just burned his entire belly on my Fireplace. It
has ripped a good portion of his skin off. What can I
put on it for relief and healing?
Rob - My experience has been with
what sounds like less severe burns, not with the skin
sluffing off - ouch - did I read that right? However I'm
sure Lavender using direct application and also consider
Frankincense. These would both ease pain and aid in
healing, while protecting against infection. If its
serious 3rd burn I would see a physician. Helicrysum
will be helpful for scaring after the healing begins,
Shannon - Thanks! We did the
Lavender immediately after and have continued applying
it. It just doesn't seem to take the pain out. He's only
2 and quite upset. It's not a 3rd degree burn, but did
pull off some skin, just the very top thin layer. We
will try Frankincense. Thanks again!
Marge - I would use White Fir. That
will take the pain out.
Tamalu - Burns can be no fun at all!
We have had a lot of opportunity to experience them (7
kids and 2 woodstoves), but our most profound burn on a
child happened when my 2-year-old cooked his little hand
(3rd degree) last year. I went through a lot of
Lavender, White Fir, and Grounding Blend. I also applied a
little Peppermint for its cooling nature (maybe a ratio
of 1 drop Peppermint to 2 drops each Lavender and White
Fir). I did use some Helichrysum to speed the tissue
healing. I then covered it with Olive oil and bandaged
it to protect it. I know we are taught to not cover
burns, but when the heat is out, it protects from dirt
and additional damage-- being bumped or scratched. I
mention this only because of the open nature of your
little one's wound, and my boy worked through that
third-degree burn in 10 days with no nerve, tendon or
ligament damage, as well as no scarring whatsoever. He
has full use of a hand, which might have otherwise been
crippled by such an injury.
You probably already know this, but maybe it will
help someone else: you can assist him in speeding his
healing by holding him on your lap or sitting him down
and holding your hands over the burned area. (I find it
easier, more reassuring, if I am holding them) Use your
loving intention to help pull the heat and pain energy
from the area. You might have to talk him through this
(I always quietly remind my little ones that their
bodies are designed to repair themselves and we can work
together to get it done). He may feel an increase in
pain for a moment, but if you can talk him through it
and persist, it should pass fairly quickly unless there
is still a great deal of heat in the wound.
Monkeez5 - I am looking for
any scientific documentation on the safety and
effectiveness of Frankincense, Lavender, or
Helichrysum for severe burns. Does anyone have anything
they could share?
Monica - I am not a scientist, but I
can tell you that last April, I burned myself on the
upper chest very severely with boiling honey. I applied
(...) Frankincense and Lavender repeatedly for days on
end. Some say that I should have gone to the doctor,
but I chose not to. My burn has healed with a barely
perceptible scar, and I am still here to tell the tale.
I know that you asked for scientific documentation...
Last time I checked, scientists run experiments... I
guess I am a scientist after all, because I ran an
experiment with my own body. I didn't die, or have any
other ill effects, and I did heal.
The other day, I burned the inside of my wrist with
boiling-hot Thai curry... applied (...) Lavender
immediately after washing off the hot food. Within
moments, the redness, inflammation, and pain were GONE.
Being slightly less than coordinated, and a very
messy cook, I depend upon both Frankincense and Lavender
in my kitchen at all times.
Rob - There is an article from
Wythenshawe Hospital in the UK (see Science & Research
tab above). In trying to kill or distract some of the
awful smells in a burn unit by vaporizing or diffusing
essential oils (where I'm sure your dealing with dead
and dying epidermal cells everyday) they realized that
the oils were greatly reducing the occurrence of super
bugs (MRSA) in the hospital. They did not specify what
blend they used, and I realize this is a little bit off
topic from your question, but I thought it was an
interesting relationship to your inquiry.
Likely the most famous accidental in-vivo study
regarding Lavender and burns was from the laboratory of
the French chemist names Rene Maurice Gattefosse. As he
worked in his lab, he severely burned himself. In order
to cool the pain, he plunged his arm into the only cold
substance around, a vat of Lavender essential oil. The
burns healed rapidly, with little scarring and a new
science was born. Gattefosse dedicated the remainder of
his life to the study of aromatherapy, or the healing
power of scented healing oils. In his studies he proved
that essential oils have good penetration, can go deep
down to the dermis, absorbed by the vein, through blood
circulation can get to the organs and complete healing
More recently similar 'accidental in-vivo" testing
has been done with a spray of Lavender and Peppermint,
which has a cooling effect on serious burns. (one might
be fearful of Peppermint used on an open burn, but it is
actually analgesic and cooling) This blend with pure
water in a spray was recently suggested by Dr. David
Hill for a plan crash burn victim and the result was the
spray was considered quite efficacious.
Our family has had personal experience with
Frankincense and Lavender on serious burns. My wife
Wendy spilled boiling hot potato soup on her arm one
day, and quickly put Frankincense and Lavender on the
burn. It relieved the pain and healed
quickly with no blistering.
Entomology Research Institute, Loyola College,
Chennai, India conducted studies at a burn unit, and
found Lavandula angustifolia to be effective as a
analgesic, to protect against bacteria and showed
effectiveness in post burn re-epithelialization.
There are nealy 150 references to studies on burns
and essential oils on Pub Med, most of them are studies
Monkeez5 - We just had an amazing
experience with the oils. My 2 yr old daughter stepped
in a pile of hot embers/ashes- needless to say- very severe
burns requiring medical attention. I too, was told not
to use my oils until wounds healed (estimated to be three
weeks). For the most part- I did what they told me for
the dressing- with these exceptions: Foot soaks- I was told
to soak her feet daily before applying the dressings- well
of course I could not take a chance of infection from tap
water- so I dumped a few (Lavender, Frankincense,
Helichrysum) drops each into a stainless steel mixing bowl
with warm water. I let her soak and splash as long as
possible. Spine-I also rubbed the above three oils plus
Lemon (reproduction of white blood cells to speed healing)
along her spine a couple times a day. Internal- I also added
Lemon to her OJ thru the day (sometimes Protective Blend) and broke
the capsules up to dump about 1/3-1/2 each of the LLW to her
yogurt daily (to speed healing from inside as well).
With all of this- she needed very little pain medicine
(maybe first day is all). We went in for our one-week
check up expecting two more weeks of this only to hear the
burns were healed. She was not expected to walk for
three weeks. She walked out that day. Because of
the remaining skin and such (still looked yucky) I hadn't
even realized they were healed. I have continued by
applying this blend daily (usually twice, with coconut oil
to avoid drying out). It has been 4 weeks today- she
looks great- I don't even think she will have scars. I
am going to add the Geranium also which I avoided at the
beginning because I was afraid it would burn her a little.
I would not have trusted any other oils than
(...) essential oils in this situation.
This is my baby girl. I am just thankful for (...)
Diet and Nutritional
complements to essential oils
Help from Julia's Natural Kitchen
Burns can be treated with some
simple things from the kitchen. Immediately apply ice or
cold water to the burn along with aloe vera gel and (xxx)
Lavender Essential Oil. If you have a plant, just open a
leaf and scrape out the gel inside and apply it to the burn.
If using a store bought gel, make sure it is pure aloe vera.
Mist the burn with a spray bottle of water with a few drops
of (xxx) Lavender Essential Oil in it to relive pain and help
the healing process. Once the heat of the burn has subsided,
apply a thin poultice of burn paste on the burn. Don't peel
the poultice off, but continue to thinly layer the burn
paste on until you see healing occurring. Then it can be
gently soaked off (dont scrape) with water and reapplied.
Sometimes a whitish gel substance will appear while the burn
is healing, but don't be alarmed, it is part of the healing
process as the tissue rebuilds itself, and looks different
than pus from an infection. If there is no fever, there is
Daily expose the burn to fresh air
to help speed the healing process, and then re-rap with new
gauze bandages to protect the burn from dirt and to help
hold the burn paste.
1 part Comfrey Root Powder
1 part honey
1 part Wheat Germ Oil
2 drops (xxx) Lavender
Essential Oil (opt)
Make only as much as you need
at one application, as once the comfrey root powder is added
it becomes gel like and will over time, become unmanageable.
Gently apply to burned area and cover with a gauze bandage.
Expose to air daily. Continue to apply burn paste until
Drink plenty of water to help
rehydrate and assist the body in healing the burn, and take
Protective Blend Essential Oil blend internally to prevent infection.
My son was on a scouting trip when he burned his hands on
a metal Fire pit ring. His father immediately got his hands
in cold water and rushed him home. The burns had gone deep
and I was concerned about muscle tissue damage and possible
scarring. I put (xxx) Lavender Essential Oil and Aloe
Vera gel on it while he was cooling it off with cold water,
and made up burn paste, and applied it to the burn as soon
as my son could stand not having his hands in cold water.
The burns had indeed gone deep into his hands and in some
parts where his hands were burned the worst he had 2nd and
3rd degree burns. The process of healing took approximately
two weeks to completely heal the burns, and his hands
fully regenerated the tissue with no scarring. The new red
tissue that was built slowly turned to a nice healthy pink
skin color over a period of two months after his burn
What Science & Research are saying
BBC News 20 March 2007
Essential oils 'combat superbug'
Tests of new machine at a hospital have found it
could be effective in the battle against the superbug
Consultants at Wythenshawe Hospital found that using
a vaporiser to spray essential oils into the atmosphere
killed off micro-organisms.
Airborne bacterial counts dropped by 90% and
infections were reduced in a nine-month trial at the
The recipe of oils used in the machine was refined by
microbiologists at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Scent Technologies, the Wigan-based company which
makes the machine, developed the device to mask smells
on wards but found it had a beneficial effect on
The study was started after the recipe of oils was
modified by the university team, in conjunction with
Wythenshawe consultant Ken Dunn.
"Many people will be aware that there are decades of
experience with the use of essential oils to control
infection," said Mr Dunn.
"I think the novelty of this is putting the two
researched technologies together and being able to
affect a really surprisingly large area of the ward with
a single machine."
There were no MRSA infections in the burns unit while
the machine was being used with the recipe of oils.
In the final two months the natural essence blend was
removed from the machines and MRSA levels in the air
increased - and there was an MRSA outbreak in the ward.
But despite the apparent success of the trial, MRSA
campaigners have urged healthcare professionals to
continue with strict cleaning regimes.
Bev Hurst, whose mother Margaret died from an MRSA
infection, said: "If this is something that is going to
help then that's brilliant.
"But it has to be in conjunction with everything else
- it can't just be a machine on a ward."
The National Audit Office estimates hospital-acquired
infections contribute to some 5,000 deaths annually.
Further tests are now being carried out.
Should nursing take aromatherapy more
British Journal of Nursing, 16, (2), 116-120. Buckle, J.
This article discusses the expansion of aromatherapy
within the U.S. and follows 10 years of developing protocol
and policies that led to pilot studies on radiation burns,
chemo-induced nausea, slow-healing wounds, lzheimers and
end-of-life agitation. This article outlines pilot studies,
carried out in the U.S. by nurses, that subsequently led to
the integration of aromatherapy in hospitals.