We know that coconut oil is full of healthy compounds that are great for the skin. Coconut oil is used to treat a variety of chronic skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis and rosacea but can we also use it to ease the extreme itching and swelling caused by an outbreak of hives. The simple answer is yes. But before we go on to look at how to use coconut oil for hives, let us take a look at what causes hives and what the symptoms are.
What is Hives?
Hives is a common condition in which small bumps break out suddenly anywhere on a person’s skin. These welts or bumps vary in terms of size and either occur over the entire body or just on isolated parts of the skin. Although they are very irritating and often painful, hives are not a cause for great alarm. They usually come on suddenly and disappear in a matter of hours or days at the most. They do not cause scarring or any other lasting damage.
Causes of Hives
The most common cause of a hives outbreak is the release of histamine as the body’s response to some type of allergen. These include chemicals in cosmetic products, shampoo, soap, perfumes and washing powder. Occasionally some sort of bacteria or virus is responsible while food allergies may also trigger an outbreak. It is good to keep track of the products you have used and the food you or your child has eaten prior to an outbreak of hives.
Types of Hives
Acute Hives : This is by far the most common type of hives. Acute hives is defined as an outbreak that lasts no more than six weeks. It is usually caused by an allergic response to medication, chemicals, food or infection.
Chronic Hives : This form of hives is far less common and refers to a bout lasting over six weeks. It is not so easy to diagnose and it is more difficult to identify the causes. Chronic hives are sometimes linked to severe sicknesses including hepatitis, certain infections and thyroid disease.
Coconut Oil for Hives
While hives usually causes annoying itching and sometimes quite a bit of pain, there is usually no need to be alarmed. They will almost always disappear as quickly as they came but in the meantime it would be nice to ease the irritation on your skin.
Fortunately, there are plenty of natural remedies that can help ease the itching and pain caused by a hives outbreak. One such natural treatment is coconut oil.
Why Coconut Oil Helps
Coconut oil is used for a wide range of skin conditions as well as to keep the skin in overall good health. It is a wonderful moisturizer and is also an excellent natural remedy for acne, eczema and psoriasis to name but a few.
Medium Chain Fatty Acids : Coconut oil is extremely rich in medium chain fatty acids. These include caprylic acid, capric acid, lauric acid, mystiric acid and stearic acid. The molecular structure of these MCFAs allows them to penetrate the skin with ease while also nourishing and protecting the outer layers of your skin.
Anti-inflammatory Properties : Hives causes painful and irritating swelling on the skin. This can be relieved by virgin coconut oil because of its powerful anti-inflammatory actions.
Antibacterial Properties : Virgin coconut oil is also antibacterial in nature. This is why it is a popular remedy for skin conditions caused by bacteria. While it is nourishing and moisturizing for the skin, it is also helping to fight any harmful bacteria.
Soothing Properties : Coconut oil also has gentle, soothing properties that can help relieve the itching caused by hives. Anybody that has ever experienced the itching and burning cause by an outbreak will tell you how bad it can be. Fortunately, coconut oil can calm the itching and soother the skin effectively and completely naturally.
The combination of the above properties makes coconut oil an excellent natural remedy for hives as well as a host of other skin conditions.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Hives
There are several very effective ways of using coconut oil to treat a hives outbreak. These are some of the best.
1) Direct Application
Good quality virgin coconut oil has a wonderful soft consistency which is just perfect for easing the irritation caused by hives. When you experience an outbreak, apply your coconut oil as gently as possible without applying a great deal of pressure. Pressure can aggravate your hives and cause them to spread further. Simply slide it gently over the affected areas twice a day until they have cleared up.
2) With Essential Oils
If you are familiar with this site, you will know how much we value essential oils. Probably the best way to use coconut oil for hives is to combine it with a soothing, medicinal essential oil. Many essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties that are perfect for itching and pain. They can also help to speed up the healing process.
Take half a cup of virgin coconut oil and add 5 or 6 drops of peppermint essential oil and three drops each of lavender and frankincense essential oil. Peppermint has a great cooling effect on the skin and is perfect for relieving the itch while the others have outstanding anti-inflammatory properties. Mix well and apply the oil gently to your skin twice a day until your hives have disappeared.
There are plenty of other combinations you can try so take a look at our essential oils for hives article.
3) Coconut Oil Bath
Another great way to soothe the irritation from hives and to help the outbreak clear up more quickly is to add it to your bath water. To make your treatment even more effective, combine your coconut oil with some soothing colloidal oatmeal.
Add a cup of oatmeal to a warm (not hot) bath and add a few tablespoons of virgin coconut oil. Stir the water well, hop in and soak for a long time.
Another option is to add a few drops of peppermint or lavender essential oil to your tub along with the coconut oil.
Other Natural Remedies to Soothe Itching and Treat Hives
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Organic apple cider vinegar is an extremely effective remedy for hives. Simply apply it gently to the affected areas of your skin with a cotton ball. Repeat twice daily until the hives have cleared up. Use the raw and unfiltered kind of apple cider vinegar. It is more expensive but retains the medicinal properties that you need.
2) Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is great for the skin and is extremely effective in relieving the itching associated with hives. You can apply the gel directly from the leaf or use a ready-made gel that you can purchase from a health shop.
Mixing in a few drops of your favorite, cooling essential oil can give the treatment even greater value.
Oatmeal is not just delicious and healthy for your insides. It can also be used as part of a soothing skin treatment to relieve itching and inflammation. It contains natural saponins which can remove irritants from the skin. Adding a few essential oils to the mix can make it an even more effective remedy.
Add a cup of oatmeal to a warm tub of water, throw in a teaspoon of coconut oil and four or five drops of peppermint or lavender essential oil. Stir the water well and let the mixture wash over you for at least 30 minutes.
Coconut oil is a wonderful natural gift for the skin. It is a great product to have on hand at home as it is so diverse in its applications. If you even face a bout of hives, give it a try – we are sure you will be impressed with the reesults.