Although it may not appear to be much, psoriasis can be a difficult condition to manage.
Every psoriasis case is unique, and there is no single method for effectively treating this disease. Despite having numerous treatment options available for psoriasis, they often come with unwanted side effects. So, you would want a treatment method that is both effective and safe.
Therefore, apart from discussing the available treatment methods with your dermatologist or doctor, you should know about specific home remedies that might work well for you. In this article, we’ve discussed several natural remedies, lifestyle changes, essential oils, and yoga postures you should adopt to emerge healthy from psoriasis.
Without further ado, let’s start discussing!
1. Psoriasis And Its Cause
Psoriasis is a skin condition characterized by flaky patches of skin covered in scales. These patches appear red or pink on black, white, or brown skin tones, while scales are silvery or white. At the same time, the patches look dark brown or purple on darker skin tones, and the scales might look gray. They generally appear on the knees, elbow, lower back, scalp, or anywhere in the body.
It happens when existing skin cells on our body get replaced by new ones faster than usual. The reason underlying it is still not fully known, but according to research, it might be due to a problem in the immune system.
The replacement of old skin with new skin is a natural process in your body, but it becomes a problem when it occurs too quickly. The process takes three to seven days among people with psoriasis compared to nearly four weeks in a healthy individual. As a result, new skin cells that appear on top aren’t fully developed, leading to crusty, flaky patches covered with scales.
2. Psoriasis Symptoms
Some of the widely-known symptoms of psoriasis are:
- Dry, itchy skin
- Scattered silvery scales
- Burning sensation on the skin
- Skin inflammation
- Pus-filled bumps on the body
- Tenderness or stiffness of the affected joints
- Mood swings and depression
- Inflamed tendons
3. Types Of Psoriasis
A. Plaque Psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis, with symptoms that include dry skin lesions covered in scales. The lesions most commonly form on the knees, elbows, lower back, or hair scalp, but they can appear anywhere on the body and can be sore, itchy, or both. In extreme cases, the skin around the area might crack and bleed.
B. Scalp Psoriasis
This psoriasis is essentially a moderate plaque psoriasis that appears on specific areas of your scalp or it may cover the entire scalp. As a result, you might have yellow or red scaly patches on your skin.
The extent of discomfort varies with its severity, so some people with this kind of psoriasis report an extremely itchy sensation while there’s no symptom for some. And, in severe cases, people might experience hair loss, although temporary.
C. Nail Psoriasis
Psoriasis affects most people’s nails and results in the development of small pits or dents, which get discolored or show abnormal growth. In extreme cases, nails start to get loose and separate from the nail bed or crumble.
D. Guttate Psoriasis
Guttate psoriasis causes tiny drop-shaped sores on your arms, chest, scalp, and legs. In most cases, guttate psoriasis disappears completely after a while, but in some, it might even lead to psoriasis plaques.
This form of psoriasis often develops post-streptococcal throat infection and is a common phenomenon among children and teenagers.
E. Flexural Or Inverse Psoriasis
Flexural psoriasis causes creases or folds on your skin in areas like the groin, armpits, under the breasts, or between the buttocks. Sweating and friction aggravate the situation, so summer can be very uncomfortable for those with this condition.
F. Other Rare Types Of Psoriasis
Some of the less common types of psoriasis include palmoplantar pustulosis, pustular psoriasis, and erythrodermic psoriasis.
Pustular psoriasis is a very rare sighting that causes pus-filled blisters, also known as pustules on the skin. At the same time, palmoplantar pustulosis is a type of pustular psoriasis that appears on the soles of your feet or palms of your hand.
Erythrodermic, on the other hand, is likely the only type that affects almost every part of the body and can cause intense itching or burning sensations. What makes it worse is that it appears almost suddenly and requires urgent medical attention. Your body might lose fluid and proteins, resulting in further problems like dehydration, infection, hypothermia, heart failure, and malnutrition.
Natural Remedies For Psoriasis
1. Lifestyle Changes
Certain lifestyle changes can positively impact your health, which may also contribute to the efficacy of your treatment. So, here’s how you can change your lifestyle:
A. Lose Extra Weight
In the event of psoriasis, the immune system of an individual releases a chronic inflammation that affects your skin as well as other tissues and organs (1). The severity of the inflammation is directly based on your overall body weight. Greater your body weight, more severe will the inflammation be, making psoriasis worse.
A study conducted by medical experts worldwide reveals that potent bionic drugs work better against psoriasis if you drop some extra pounds (2). Your primary target should be to come down to a weight that’s healthy for you. And you can consult a nutritionist or medical expert to help bring your weight to the desired level.
B. Eat Healthy And Exercise
Consuming a nutritious, balanced diet with sensible portion sizes combined with regular exercise is probably the best way to drop some weight.
Experts recommend a plant-based whole food, but if you don’t want to do that just yet, consuming only vegetables and legumes is the best option (3). But, it’s crucial to cut down on saturated fat and red meat.
Impulsive buying often leads to purchasing things you don’t need. When visiting a grocery, make a list of healthy items you will purchase so that you won’t end up purchasing tempting snacks. And look for healthy alternatives for your favorite treats. For example, instead of potato chips, go for baked veggie chips or sparkling water instead of soda.
Apart from maintaining a healthy diet, exercising daily will help you lose a couple of pounds. If you’re not already active, consult with a doctor to get started, especially if you’ve psoriatic arthritis, which makes joints stiff and painful. In such cases, doctors generally recommend low-impact activities like yoga, swimming, or walking in supportive shoes (4).
Make it a habit if you get to like any physical activity or exercise. If you like running, get yourself a jogger pant, a jogger suit, and a pair of shoes. Or, if swimming is something you like, set out your swimsuit, goggles, and towels the night before. And ask your friend to be near the pool the following day so that you have no reason to back out.
C. Quit Drinking And Smoking
Research shows that limiting the intake of alcohol makes the treatment more effective and helps relieve psoriasis symptoms (5). But, if you’re drinking and taking methotrexate medication for psoriasis consecutively, the odds of liver damage increase. It is because people with psoriasis already have fat deposition in their liver, along with damage and inflammation, a condition known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.
Consuming alcohol will only add more stress to your liver. So, consult with your doctor if you’re thinking of giving up alcohol.
Even smoking can worsen the condition of psoriasis patients; therefore, consider eliminating the habit from your daily routine. Passive smoking is equally as dangerous as active smoking, so ask your roommate not to smoke beside you.
D. Take Care Of Your Mental Health
The condition of people with psoriasis can worsen due to ongoing anxiety and stress. There’s enough scientific evidence that chronic stress is associated with depression and can be very inflammatory (6).
You can talk to a dermatologist if you have experienced episodes of anxiety and depression. Based on your situation, they will alter the traditional medicine or diagnosis procedure until your stress is under control. Things you can do to get rid of stress are:
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction
- Exercise or yoga
- Meditation apps
- Engaging in activities you enjoy
Besides, you can consult a therapist or mental health specialists like a psychiatrist or a psychologist to get the desired relief and help you deserve.
2. Home Remedies
Using home remedies alone or combined with medications helps you get rid of psoriasis. Many prefer to continue these remedies as their primary treatment due to the potential side effects of medical treatment. However, anyone considering doing both concurrently should consult their doctor first, as some remedies may cause dangerous interactions with medications.
Also, it’s essential to keep track of psoriasis symptoms to ensure these treatment methods aren’t making them any worse. Let’s discuss some of the well-known home remedies and how they relieve symptoms of psoriasis.
A. Exposure To Sunlight
Exposure to sunlight can sometimes be beneficial for dealing with skin problems or psoriasis. People must expose their skin very briefly to sunlight on a regular basis. The UVB rays of the sun prevent affected skin cells from proliferating, thereby enabling medications to work faster.
But, if you’re thinking of exposing yourself to the sun for long, cover the affected area with sunscreen, as sunburns can worsen psoriasis. The NPF (National Psoriasis Foundation) recommends using a sunscreen with SPF30 or higher to protect your skin from UVB and UVA rays (7). Some psoriasis medications lead to even more sun-sensitive skin.
It’s not always recommended to treat psoriasis by exposure to the sun, and NPF recommends consulting with doctors before doing this. And people who have a family history of skin cancer should avoid getting into the sun and opt for other psoriasis treatments.
Capsaicin is a neuropeptide-active component of red peppers and can fight inflammation. A study conducted in 2020 revealed that capsaicin is potentially capable of diagnosing psoriasis (8).
You can apply capsaicin cream to the affected areas of your skin. Initially, you might experience a burning sensation, leading to inflammation, but this sensation diminishes with further application.
Recent clinical trials reveal that capsaicin can potentially be a viable alternative for topical treatments that contain steroids (9). The study further claims that applying capsaicin on damaged skin creates a protective effect that reduces your body’s ability to send signals for more inflammation. You can find these creams online, in pharmacies, or in health food stores.
Probiotics are basically good bacteria found in fermented foods, yogurt, and even fish oil supplements. As previously discussed, psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, and having the right balance of bacteria in the body may help the immune system.
A 2019 study revealed that the gut microbiome, a collective genome of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and others that reside in your digestive system, is beneficial for the skin (10). It further prevents outbreaks of psoriasis or prevents them from getting worse. However, a study conducted a year later found that a depleted gut microbiome might have a role to play in psoriasis outbreaks (11).
There’s only limited research and information in this area, so it’s recommended to consult with a doctor before taking supplements.
D. Oregon Grape
Oregon grape or Mahonia aquifolium is a herbal remedy that might reduce inflammation generated by the immune response to psoriasis.
A 2005 study involving 104 participants revealed that M.aquifolium, or Oregon grape is an effective and safe treatment for mild to moderate psoriasis (12). The following research was validated by another conducted in 2018, which medically reviewed that M.aquifolium is effective in diagnosing psoriasis with mild side effects (13). You may take it concentrated in a pill or supplement form.
E. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is probably the most commonly used and recommended natural remedy for psoriasis. Applying it to affected skin parts reduces redness, itching, and scaling (14). If you have a home-grown aloe vera, extract the gel and apply it to the affected region as is. It’s much more effective than the gel brought from the market.
Nevertheless, if you don’t have access to an aloe vera tree, purchase the gel from the most reputed sources or brands. Make sure to check the ingredients used in the product and stay away from ones with more chemicals.
F. Apple Cider Vinegar
Numerous researches confirm that apple cider vinegar helps soothe burning and itching, which results from scalp psoriasis (15). However, it’s not suitable for application on cracked or broken skin areas.
Apple cider vinegar has natural germicidal properties which deliver a soothing sensation to your scalp. You should apply it 2-3 times a week. If the treatment is too harsh, dilute the vinegar using water, and if you feel a burning sensation during or after application, stop applying it.
3. Essential Oils
A. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is a traditional home remedy for psoriasis and is found to be effective in reducing inflammation and itching, easing anxiety and stress, and preventing infections. Moreover, it eliminates psoriasis scales and flaky skin, delivers a soothing experience, and promotes new skin growth.
B. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil isn’t considered an essential oil, but its anti-inflammatory properties help relieve pain caused due to psoriasis. It’s widely regarded as a gentle ingredient and is often recommended by doctors to treat scalp psoriasis.
When used alone, this oil doesn’t have any potential side effects and is used in almost every kitchen regularly. You can apply it externally or internally without any interactions.
Moreover, coconut oil is often used as a carrier of other essential oils, so it’s not safe to consume when mixed with other oils.
C. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of a native Australian plant and is said to have antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties that might support healthy immune function. If you have scratched a damaged skin by mistake, consider applying tea tree oil, as it might ward off inflammation and infection.
However, too much tea tree oil on the damaged skin can dry it out and worsen the situation. People also might have allergic reactions to this oil, so check with your doctor before trying it out.
D. Castor Oil
Castor oil is not necessarily an essential oil but can be regarded as a quality psoriasis medication when combined with essential oils. It basically dilutes the essential oil and prevents any adverse effects on your skin.
Aside from that, it works to soften skin, remove toxins, keep skin moist, and calm psoriasis flares.
E. Myrrh Oil
Myrrh oil consists of some powerful ingredients that ease psoriasis symptoms, such as flaky, itchy skin while soothing chapped and cracked skin. Owing to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties, it promotes quicker restoration and healing of skin cells.
Countless individuals have practiced yoga for thousands of years, and it isn’t just about working out but adopting a healthy lifestyle. Individuals practicing yoga regularly enjoy a deeper sleep, better health, and a different and better outlook on life.
As soon as you start practicing, you’ll observe an immediate improvement in vision, flexibility, and general appearance. Simply telling, yoga helps you feel vibrantly alive, and you can enjoy better health mentally, physically, and emotionally. Some of the best yoga practices are as follows:
A. Deep Breathing
It’s the most basic yoga form that delivers numerous benefits like minimizing stress and depression by promoting a feeling of calmness, and allowing psoriasis medications to work better.
Sit in a comfortable and upright posture on the floor or any flat surface, but not in bed. Take a deep and slow breath through your nose and let the air fill your lungs until the count of 10. Hold your breath for a few seconds and exhale it again by counting 10. Repeat this for at least 15 minutes.
Bhastrika is another yoga form that purifies the blood by promoting circulation and eliminating toxins from the body.
After sitting on the floor in an upright and comfortable posture, take three rounds of deep breaths to prepare your mind and body for the practice. Once ready, forcefully inhale and exhale, and while doing that, make sure the abdomen gets sucked in when inhaled. Continue the process at least 15 times.
C. Simple Seated Twists
Yogic twists are designed to eliminate waste and toxins from your body. Whenever you’re twisting the body, the blood supply in the concerned area is cut-off, and there’s a sudden blood flow when you release. It helps eliminate the deposited contaminants and ensures that there’s no psoriasis on your skin.
Sit down on the floor in an upright yet cross-leg posture. Keep your left palm rested on your right knee and inhale deeply. Stay in the position for a few seconds and then exhale and twist your right knee to position over the right shoulder. Get back to the normal position after holding it for a few seconds. And then repeat the same process on the other side.
That’s all we had to tell you about the best natural and herbal remedies for psoriasis.
The psoriasis home remedies we discussed in this guide will help managing psoriasis symptoms and allow you to lead a healthy and irritation-free life. Apart from the home remedies for psoriasis mentioned above, other honorable mentions include dead sea salts, Epsom salts, bitter gourd juice, olive oil, and garlic.
But before using any of these home remedies, it would be great to consult with a doctor or dermatologist.
Home remedies work best when used along with medical treatment. But what works for one might not work for your body and it entirely depends on your health conditions. And although these natural treatments might not hurt you, it’s always safe to consult with a professional.
On that note, we’ll now wrap up this guide. See you again, till then, goodbye and take care!