Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, which basically means that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells as if they are pathogen “foreign invader”. For this reason, the life cycle of skin cells is changed. Normally our body’s skin is shed and replaced by new skin approximately in 30 days. The problem for psoriasis sufferers is that renewal cycle only takes about four days instead of 30. So, on the surface of the skin, you have a quick build-up of dead skin cells.
Mostly, the scalp, knees, elbows, knuckles and lower back are the worst affected areas, but it can also appear on other parts of the body. Psoriasis causes redness and irritation, and often accompanied with thick, flaky, itchy, silver-white patches which can be sometimes painful.
Home Remedies for Psoriasis
It is a known fact that psoriasis is an extremely uncomfortable and even somewhat embarrassing condition. Powerful steroid creams and cortisone injections are the standard medical treatments for psoriasis. However, both of these treatments have terrible side effects and actually do very little to cure psoriasis.
In order to relieve the symptoms of psoriasis temporarily and heal damaged skin, there are many natural home remedies you can use.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar helps restore the natural pH balance of the skin and helps avoid infections. Moreover, itching and skin irritation are reduced by apple cider vinegar.
- Mix together apple cider vinegar and lukewarm water. During flare-ups, soak a washcloth in this mixture and apply it as a compress for about two minutes.
- You can repeat several times a day.
- In order to prevent damaging sensitive skin, it is advised to dilute vinegar at least 1:1 with water before use.
- Do not forget to moisturize your skin immediately after using this treatment.
Alternatively, you can mix one teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink it up twice a day, particularly during flare-ups. This remedy detoxifies the body so it is good for overall health as well.
To soothe the itching and irritation caused by psoriasis, an ice pack will be helpful. Moreover, it will relieve the pain caused by psoriatic arthritis by numbing the nerve endings.
- Wrap a couple ice cubes in a clean piece of towel or washcloth and then put it on the affected area for approximately 10 minutes.
- During flare-ups, you can do this every few hours throughout the day.
To hydrate the skin layers and to reduce itching and inflammation, an oatmeal bath will be helpful. Because, oatmeal is rich in vitamins and minerals such as selenium, manganese, and iron which are beneficial for nourishing and healing damaged skin. Also, it soothes the skin and makes it softer, as well as calms the nerves. Oatmeal is considered beneficial for other skin problems such as dry skin and eczema.
- Add one cup of finely powdered oatmeal in a bath tub filled with warm water.
- During flare-ups, stay in this oatmeal bath for 15- 20 minutes daily.
- When you are done with the bath, rinse with lukewarm water.
- Then pat dry your skin gently and apply a good moisturizer.
4. Tea Tree Oil
Although it is highly toxic when consumed, tea tree oil has a surprising number of topical uses, including the treatment of psoriasis. Tea tree oil helps loosen scale and inhibit infection of damaged tissue when applied on the skin.
5. Olive Oil
Olive oil is another amazing home remedy for coping with psoriasis because it softens the skin, so it reduces flaking and scaling.
- Apply lukewarm olive oil on the affected area to heal psoriasis.
- Repeat several times a day until you get positive results.
- You can also add two drops of calendula oil and one drop of oregano oil to one cup of olive oil. Apply this mixture on the affected area. Before washing it off, leave it on for a few hours. During flare-ups, you can repeat several times a day.
Another useful remedy for psoriasis is garlic which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It prevents the activity of an enzyme called lipoxygenase which causes the inflammation related with psoriasis. Moreover, it is an antimicrobial agent, that’s why it helps prevent infection.
- Mix equal amounts of garlic oil and aloe vera gel and then apply this mixture on the affected area.
- Wait for 15 minutes before washing it off.
- Repeat this remedy daily until you get good results.
Also, thanks to its active compounds and blood purifying property, eating garlic can prevent psoriasis outbreaks.
7. Oregon Grape
The herb Mahonia aquifolium also known as Oregon grape and barberry is an effective natural remedy for controlling the immune response which leads to psoriasis flare-ups. However, Oregon grape may interact with other medications. So, you may want to consult with your doctor before using this herb.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin, which is an active compound, fights inflammation and prevents an enzyme called phosphorylase kinase that is responsible for growth of skin cells.
- Add one teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of hot m
- Consume it daily for at least a few weeks.
- If you need, you can sweeten it with honey. You can also use this spice in your foods. Moreover, taking it internally will benefit your overall health.
You can also apply turmeric externally.
- Make a thick paste by adding sufficient water to one teaspoon of turmeric powder. Spread it on the affected area, cover with a gauze and leave it on overnight.
- The next morning, wash your skin with lukewarm water. Repeat after a couple of hours. You can do this daily until you get good results.
Warning: Do not consume turmeric if you have gallbladder problems because it can worsen your problem. If you have blood clotting problems or using diabetes medications, you should consult your doctor before consuming this herb.
Glycerin is considered valuable for skin because it attracts moisture. Therefore, it helps maintain beautiful and healthy skin. According to a study, glycerin plays a major role in skin maturation and allows the skin to mature properly.
- Apply glycerin on the affected area and then leave it on your skin for as long as possible.
- Apply it 2-3 times a day until you are satisfied with the results.
10. Aloe Vera
One of the most popular and widely used natural remedies for skin ailments is aloe vera. It treats skin irritation and thereby it provides relief from the symptoms of psoriasis. It produces a protective layer on broken skin and stimulates the healing process. It has anti-inflammatory compounds which reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. Many people around the world have used aloe vera to nourish dry skin and hair, soothe burns and stings, and heal wounds.
- Extract the translucent gel from an aloe vera leaf and then spread it on the affected area.
- Wait until it is completely absorbed by the skin and repeat three times a day for a couple weeks.
11. Fish Oil
Fish oil supplements contain Omega-3 fatty acids which may reduce the inflammation related with psoriasis. Taking up to 3 grams of fish oil daily is usually seemed as safe, and you might find it beneficial. If you do not want to consume fish oil supplements, you can consume cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna which are excellent sources of omega-3. Try to include them in your diet at least 2-3 times a week to obtain the most benefit for your skin.
Warning: If you are taking blood-thinners, do not consume fish oil because this combination can increase your risk of bleeding.
12. Salt Bath
- Add about two cups of Epsom salt or a quarter cup of Dead Sea salt to your bath water and soak for approximately 15 minutes to help remove scales and relieve itching.
- When you are done with the bath, rinse with lukewarm water, after pat dry your skin gently and generously apply a good moisturizer.
- Repeat this 2-3 times a week.
If you expose your skin too much to hot water, the symptoms of psoriasis can be easily exacerbated.
13. Sun Exposure
Moderate sun exposure helps in the treatment of psoriasis but too much sun can trigger or worsen the situation and increase the risk of skin cancer. According to a study, UVB exposure helps slow down the rate of growth and shedding of skin cells.
You can sunbathe at least three times a week for about 30 minutes. Start sunbathing for about 10 minutes and gradually increase the time.
In a study, researchers found that licorice root is beneficial for skin ailments like eczema, rosacea and psoriasis. It contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which helps reduce redness and irritation. Moreover, it includes anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which reduce inflammation and are good for the skin.
- Boil two teaspoons of dried licorice root in six cups of water, and then allow it simmer for about 40 minutes.
- Wait until it is cool and strain the solution. Later, soak a washcloth in this solution and use it as a compress a few times a day.
You can also apply some licorice gel or cream on the affected area twice a day for several weeks.
Additional Tips for Psoriasis
- Take a daily bath or shower, but do not scrub your skin too hard because it can trigger an attack. Use a body wash or mild soaps that have added oils and fats instead of bar soaps which can cause dryness.
- Keep your skin moist and clean. Wipe your skin after bathing, then immediately apply a heavy, ointment-based moisturizer while your skin is still moist.
- To add moisture to the air you can use humidifiers.
- Do not scratch the lesions.
- Prefer wearing soft clothing made of natural fibers such as cotton and linen.
- Avoid psoriasis triggers that may lead to flare-ups, because it will worsen your psoriasis. Infections, skin injuries, stress, smoking and intense sun exposure can all worsen psoriasis. You should take actions to avoid them.
- Stay away from dyes and perfumes which can cause skin irritation.
- Learn relaxation techniques to control stress which is one of the most common psoriasis triggers.
- Try reducing your alcohol consumption. Alcohol may lessen the effectiveness of some psoriasis treatments.