If you’re one of the millions of people living with psoriasis, you know how challenging it can be to soothe the dry, itchy, sometimes painful patches of skin. In search of relief, some people turn to natural remedies like flaxseed oil to help manage their psoriasis symptoms.
Members of MyPsoriasisTeam have shared that certain traditional treatments like medications and topical creams don’t work for them, which is why they turn to alternative treatments. “I cannot take anti-inflammatories due to gastrointestinal distress, so I take flaxseed oil,” one MyPsoriasisTeam member said.
Some research suggests flaxseed oil may have some potential benefits for helping with psoriasis symptoms, and although it may help some people, it’s not a good choice for everyone. This article covers what flaxseed oil is, how it may help treat psoriasis, its potential side effects, and how to talk to your doctor about adding it to your psoriasis treatment strategy.
Flaxseed oil, also called linseed oil, is a byproduct of cold-pressing flaxseed. This crop was originally grown in the United States for use as a natural fiber. Both flaxseed and the resulting oil contain the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, which some health experts and dieticians believe have numerous health benefits.
Flaxseed can be made into powder, consumed whole, or ground into flour. Flaxseed oil is typically available as a supplement in liquid or capsule form. Some dieticians classify flaxseed oil as a superfood due to its beneficial properties, which include reducing the risks of heart disease and blood clots and lowering the risk of death in people living with heart disease.
Flaxseed oil is safe to use in liquid form and in capsules, but you shouldn’t use it without talking to your doctor first.
Some people mix flaxseed oil into salad dressings and smoothies, while others take a teaspoon or two every day or consume the equivalent as flaxseed oil capsules. “I used to drink flaxseed oil in a glass of ice-cold orange juice,” one MyPsoriasisTeam member wrote.
According to the National Institutes of Health, most adults will get the necessary amount of omega-3s through food, and omega-3 deficiencies are rare. If you don’t get the recommended amount of alpha-linolenic acid through food, you may want to try supplements.
Some people experience side effects from using flaxseed oil, including stomach upset with diarrhea and loose stools. Flaxseed oil may also interact with various types of medications, including:
Make sure to tell your dermatologist about the medications you’re taking before you start using flaxseed oil.
There’s no standard recommended dosage of flaxseed oil — instead, your dermatologist will suggest an amount based on your particular symptoms and overall health.
Researchers have found that, like other omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed oil may reduce inflammation. Psoriasis is caused by abnormal immune system reactions that result in skin inflammation, so flaxseed oil’s anti-inflammatory properties may help lower that response.
In addition, flaxseed oil can reduce skin sensitivity in some individuals. One small study found that after supplementing with flaxseed oil for 12 weeks, participants had less skin sensitivity, reduced skin roughness and scaling, and increased hydration and smoothness. However, this study was conducted on healthy volunteers and not among people with psoriasis.
Some health care experts believe that flaxseed oil has promising benefits in reducing inflammation and lowering the body’s response to inflammatory triggers, but studies have not yet confirmed that it’s helpful for people with psoriasis. More clinical trial research is needed to explore the benefits of flaxseed oil on psoriasis symptoms, so it’s important to ask your dermatology professional for more information before trying it.
Many MyPsoriasisTeam members have experimented with flaxseed oil to ease their psoriasis symptoms, with mixed results. One member asked, “Has anybody tried using flaxseed oil? How did it help your symptoms?”
In response, some members shared their positive experiences. “I’ve been using flaxseed tablets to keep my psoriasis from breaking out severely,” one member replied.
“My psoriasis has improved from using flaxseed oil,” another member wrote. “My findings were only accidental because I was using it for a completely different problem. Every time I stop, my psoriasis will flare up, so I try to take more flaxseed oil orally now.”
Another member agreed with that approach: “We’ve started giving my daughter flaxseed oil to drink, which she drinks daily. There is a definite improvement in the appearance of her psoriasis, especially on her face.”
However, others have said the beneficial effects decreased over time. “Flaxseed oil worked for a while, but then I didn’t see it helping,” one member wrote.
Others have stopped using it because of unwanted side effects. “I had success with using flaxseed oil in my salad dressing, but it started giving me the runs, so I stopped,” a member shared.
If you’re thinking about trying flaxseed oil to help with your psoriasis symptoms, talk to your dermatologist or primary care provider ahead of time. Consider using these questions and topics to help guide the conversation:
In addition to taking advice from your dermatology team, it’s important to always be a smart consumer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate dietary supplements the way it does medications. Read product labels for warnings, expiration dates, details of potential interactions, and information about where it was manufactured.
Although flaxseed oil shows promise as a natural remedy for psoriasis, more research is needed to fully understand its potential benefits and effectiveness.
MyPsoriasisTeam is the social network for people with psoriasis and their loved ones. On MyPsoriasisTeam, more than 116,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with psoriasis.
Have you tried using flaxseed oil as a psoriasis remedy? Did this affect your symptoms? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.