Impetigo is a highly infectious skin infection caused by the bacteria staphylococcus aureus. Bacteria grow on non-living hosts such as door knobs and countertops (as opposed to a virus that requires a living host such as people). It usually starts as a red area, which can be painful and itchy. After a day or so, the infected area may become crusty with a characteristic golden color. If not treated, the infection becomes more widespread.
Impetigo easily spreads not only from person to person, but the infection can be spread from one area of skin to another on the same person. Wash hands thoroughly after treating the lesion and dispose of used dressings. Wash all clothing, sheets, towels, wash cloths in hot water. Adding essential oils to the wash may help prevent spreading of the infection.
Treatment with essential oils is very effective because bacteria cannot form a resistance an essential oil like it can to an antibiotic. Two oils that are typically used are Tea Tree (Melaleuca Atlernifolia) and Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia) oils. Both of these oils are strong antiseptic oils, they are also non-toxic and non-irritant as well. Tea Tree dissolves pus, leaving infected wounds clean. They can be applied locally to the infected area. Lavender is known for it’s skin healing properties, so not only will it fight the bacteria infection, but it boosts the healing of the wound.
Tamanu oil (Calophyllum Tacamahaca) is a cold-pressed oil from Tahiti that is also very effective for all kinds of skin infections. If it is desirable to dilute the essential oils used, Tamanu oil is an excellent choice.
A nutritionist says that Oregano will kill it fast. She said, “It stings, but it wipes it out. With all natural treatments, you need to be aggressive and consistent.”
The following is from Valerie Worwood's The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy
Sores do not just go away and should be treated as soon as they are noticed. Essential oils are very effective in the treatment of impetigo. It is important to get all the infected pus out of the sore. To clean it out, prepare a small bowl of cooled, boiled water (about 4 ounces) and add 10 drops Lavender. Using a clean cotton wool, wash the sores out thoroughly, and then dispose of the cotton immediately and wash hands to prevent spreading the infection.
The following from Valerie Worwood's Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child
Tea-Dab [Hopewell Essential Oils: Impetigo Tea-Dab]
15 drops Ravensara
10 drops Thyme ct linalool
15 drops Tea Tree
10 drops Manuka
2 oz pure water
After bathing, dab over the area with the above solution. Dispose of the cotton used for application.
Add the same essential oils above to ¼ ounce Sesame oil and blend well. Between bathing, apply a small amount on affected areas only. [Linda's comment: Consider using Tamanu oil instead of the sesame. Tamanu is healing, antineuralgic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant and has antibiotic properties.]
Other oils that are noted as being effective:
Top Gun - this contains the top essential oils noted for fighting bacteria infections. Consider applying as a gentle back massage (use with caution on children under 2).
Other treatments mentioned:
Eat a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables
Take Zinc, Vitamin C and A supplements daily
Take an herbal blood purifying tablet or syrup
1. Linda made the "Tea Dab" for us because our baby had impetigo on his diaper area. This cleared it up very quickly, and it was harmless to my baby. - A.T.
2. I got aggressive with the Impetigo Tea Dab blend and applied it undiluted to the infected wounds on my daugher's hands, but I diluted with a carrier oil when I appllied it to the spot next to her lips. This stuff is amazing! She cleared right up.
3. I just wanted to share my excitement.......my oldest somehow got impetigo and we treated it with Tea Tree and Lavender diluted with coconut oil. It was two days of intense oil on the face with a Q-tip. It has taken a week but I am so excited. - Lindsay
Worwood, Valerie Ann, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, New World Library, 1991.
Worwood, Valerie Ann, Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child, New World Library, 2000.