Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
About MyPsoriasisTeam

Natural Remedies for Psoriasis: Are They Effective?

Posted on June 03, 2021
See how 130 members reacted on this article
Medically reviewed by
Ariel D. Teitel, M.D., M.B.A.
Article written by
Jessica Wolpert

There are many natural treatments for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Some may soothe inflammation and possibly prevent psoriasis flare-ups, while others can help treat the dry skin, itching, and plaques associated with psoriasis. Natural treatments have undergone varying levels of scientific study, and some can have unwanted side effects. Therefore, it’s important to speak with your primary care provider or dermatologist before using any of them.

Plant-Derived Moisturizers

Several types of plant-derived moisturizers are popular to treat psoriasis. Coconut oil is produced by pressing coconut meat (the white innards of the coconut). It can be used as a cooking oil and as a moisturizer. A 2019 study found that coconut oil had anti-inflammatory properties for the skin and can inhibit levels of inflammatory proteins in the skin called cytokines. Coconut oil also helped improve the skin barrier by increasing the production of filaggrin, a protein that strengthens the skin. In addition, coconut oil has antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

Some MyPsoriasisTeam members have reported positive experiences with coconut oil: “My elbows are back to my skin color instead of bright red. It’s gotta be the coconut oil!”

Some people can experience allergic reactions to coconut products. If you’d like to use coconut oil to treat your psoriasis, use virgin coconut oil instead of refined coconut oil. Virgin oil isn’t heated during processing, which means that it contains more bioactive ingredients, such as vitamin E and antioxidants. Read more about coconut oil for psoriasis here.

Other plant-derived moisturizers that are popular for treating psoriasis symptoms include:

Essential Oils

Essential oils are extracts of certain chemicals found in plants. Leaves, flowers, roots, and stems are pressed and steamed to produce small amounts of fragrant oil. These oils can be burned for scent or diluted in other types of oil (called carrier oil) and applied to the skin.

There are many types of essential oils, though few have been researched specifically as a psoriasis treatment. An experiment using bitter apricot oil to prevent the growth of psoriatic skin cells found promising effects, but the experiment involved cells in petri dishes, not humans.

Another study found that essential oil from the balsam tree improved psoriasis symptoms, but that study only involved three people. Some more popular essential oils, such as tea tree oil, have proven antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects, and those effects might help in psoriasis treatment.

MyPsoriasisTeam members have had mixed experiences using essential oils as a psoriasis treatment. “As an aromatherapist, I tried all sorts of oil combinations, but nothing really has helped,” one said.

However, another reported good results in calming itchy skin: “I use Dr. Bronner’s Tea Tree Oil Soap. It comes in a concentrate. I use it all over my body. Very soothing.”

If you’d like to use topical essential oils, always remember to dilute them in a carrier oil (such as olive oil, jojoba oil, or coconut oil) before putting them on your skin. Some essential oils can cause irritation when applied topically.

Read more about essential oils for psoriasis here.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a spiny plant that is common around the world. When you break its leaves, it produces a sticky gel that can be directly applied to the skin as a home remedy for burns and wounds. Aloe vera gel is also used as an additive in many commercial lotions and gels.

A 2019 systemic analysis of studies on aloe vera found the plant was helpful in treating psoriasis. Some MyPsoriasisTeam members agree: “I have psoriasis on my face, and using aloe vera product (fragrance-free) has been helping me a LOT,” wrote one member.

Another shared, “I swear by aloe vera gel! I make a hair mask using aloe plus neem oil, castor oil, rosemary, and lavender.”

The National Psoriasis Foundation suggests using aloe vera gel that contains at least 0.5 percent aloe vera. This gel can be applied to the skin up to three times a day.

Turmeric

The spice turmeric is used in traditional Indian medicine to treat skin conditions. Studies have shown that curcumin — the chemical that gives turmeric its bright yellow color — has anti-inflammatory effects.

Turmeric oil can be applied as a topical treatment directly onto the skin. A small study of people with mild to moderate psoriasis found that applying turmeric extract gel to their skin helped heal psoriasis lesions with very few side effects. Some MyPsoriasisTeam members report positive results from using turmeric oil: “I've used turmeric oil on the joints of my hands and it works quite well.”

Oral turmeric supplements may also be helpful as a psoriasis treatment, although the evidence is mixed. One study found that people who added a turmeric supplement to steroid treatment had fewer inflammation markers than those who took a steroid alone. However, a small study found that the results of taking oral supplements were uneven: A few participants showed a good response, but it might have been caused by other factors or a placebo effect. The researchers did note that the turmeric supplements caused very few side effects.

However, turmeric supplements can interfere with blood thinners, drugs that reduce stomach acid, and diabetes drugs. As with any supplement, speak with a medical professional before starting turmeric supplements.

You can also get extra turmeric through your diet. “I occasionally make an anti-inflammatory turmeric latte that I drink before bed (it also contains cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, and coconut oil). I also use the spice in my food,” a MyPsoriasisTeam member said.

Combining turmeric with black pepper (which contains a complementary chemical, capsaicin) or cooking it with a fat source might help you to better absorb turmeric into your bloodstream.

Read more about turmeric for psoriasis here.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can soothe itching from scalp psoriasis and can be used as an alternative to shampoo. “I soak my hair in organic apple cider vinegar for 10 minutes, rinse off, and use coal tar shampoo,” a MyPsoriasisTeam member reported. “Be careful to put vinegar on in the shower — and keep it out of your eyes.”

The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends using organic apple cider vinegar. If you experience skin irritation, dilute the vinegar with an equal amount of water, and don’t use apple cider vinegar on skin with open wounds or cracks.

Read more about apple cider vinegar for psoriasis here.

Magnesium Salts

Soaking in a warm bath with Dead Sea salt or Epsom salts relieves dry, itchy skin. It also can be helpful for people with plaque psoriasis, as it loosens plaques.

These salts aren’t the same as sea salt, which is the sodium chloride used in food. Both Dead Sea and Epsom salts contain the mineral magnesium chloride, which is similar to table salt but isn’t useful as a food seasoning. Magnesium chloride has been found to keep the skin moisturized and reduce inflammation.

Meet Your Team

MyPsoriasisTeam is the social network for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and their loved ones. Here, more than 93,000 members come together to ask questions, share advice, and connect with others who understand life with psoriasis.

Which natural remedies have you found helpful for psoriasis? Share your experience with others in the comments below or by posting on MyPsoriasisTeam.

References
  1. Coconut Oil — Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  2. In Vitro Anti-inflammatory and Skin Protective Properties of Virgin Coconut Oil — Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine
  3. Coconut Oil Boom — The American Oil Chemists' Society
  4. The Surprising Benefits of Coconut Oil in Skin Therapy — Dermatology Times
  5. Some Unconventional Therapies May Be Worth a Closer Look — Dermatology Times
  6. Psoriasis Patients Respond to Olive Oil Supplement — Natural Health Research Institute
  7. Bitter Apricot Essential Oil Induces Apoptosis of Human HaCaT Keratinocytes — International Immunopharmacology
  8. GC-MS Profiling of the Phytochemical Constituents of the Oleoresin From Copaifera Langsdorffii Desf. and a Preliminary In Vivo Evaluation of its Antipsoriatic Effect — International Journal of Pharmaceutics
  9. Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: A Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties — Clinical Microbiology Reviews
  10. Aloe Vera — National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
  11. The Effect of Aloe Vera Clinical Trials on Prevention and Healing of Skin Wound: A Systematic Review— Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences
  12. Integrative Approaches to Care — National Psoriasis Foundation
  13. Turmeric — National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
  14. Turmeric Based Therapy in the Treatment of Psoriasis: A Clinical Trial — ClinicalTrials.gov
  15. Topical Turmeric Microemulgel in the Management of Plaque Psoriasis; A Clinical Evaluation — Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research
  16. Oral Curcumin (Meriva) Is Effective as an Adjuvant Treatment and Is Able to Reduce IL-22 Serum Levels in Patients With Psoriasis Vulgaris — BioMed Research International
  17. Oral Curcuminoid C3 Complex in the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Psoriasis Vulgaris: A Prospective Clinical Trial — Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
  18. Possible Interactions With: Turmeric — St. Luke’s Hospital
  19. Using Black Pepper To Enhance the Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Turmeric — UMass Medical School Center for Applied Nutrition
  20. Bathing in a Magnesium-Rich Dead Sea Salt Solution Improves Skin Barrier Function, Enhances Skin Hydration, and Reduces Inflammation in Atopic Dry Skin — International Journal of Dermatology

A MyPsoriasisTeam Member said:

A wet green tea bag can help with pain and swelling of mouth sores. organic in paper bags not mesh.

posted about 2 months ago

hug

Ariel D. Teitel, M.D., M.B.A. is the clinical associate professor of medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about him here.
Jessica Wolpert works to empower patients through the creation of content that illuminates treatments' effects on the everyday lives of people with chronic conditions. Learn more about her here.

Recent articles

People living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) have an increased risk for heart...

Heart Disease, Psoriasis, and Psoriatic Arthritis: Understanding the Connection

People living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) have an increased risk for heart...
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a type of inflammatory arthritis that occurs in about 10 percent to...

Osteoporosis and Psoriatic Arthritis: Is There a Connection?

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a type of inflammatory arthritis that occurs in about 10 percent to...
Certain underlying health conditions are more common in people with psoriasis than in the general...

Conditions Related to Psoriasis

Certain underlying health conditions are more common in people with psoriasis than in the general...
Many effective psoriasis treatments exist today, including medications that are applied to the...

PDE4 Inhibitors and Psoriasis: How Do They Affect You?

Many effective psoriasis treatments exist today, including medications that are applied to the...
A common misconception among the general population is that psoriasis only affects a person...

How To Support Someone With Psoriatic Disease

A common misconception among the general population is that psoriasis only affects a person...
People living with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) may have a much higher risk of type 2 diabetes than...

Diabetes and Psoriatic Arthritis: What’s the Connection?

People living with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) may have a much higher risk of type 2 diabetes than...
During my seven years of psoriasis advocacy, I have had the pleasure of connecting with countless...

My Perspective: Psoriasis and Anxiety

During my seven years of psoriasis advocacy, I have had the pleasure of connecting with countless...
During the COVID-19 pandemic, MyPsoriasisTeam will provide summaries and links to articles of...

COVID-19 and Psoriasis Essential Updates

During the COVID-19 pandemic, MyPsoriasisTeam will provide summaries and links to articles of...
Living with psoriasis presents some expected experiences, such as being judged by other people...

My Perspective: 3 Things I’ve Learned About Psoriasis That Surprised Me

Living with psoriasis presents some expected experiences, such as being judged by other people...
Figuring out what to eat when you have psoriasis can feel like solving a riddle. Since there’s no...

Healthy Snacks for Psoriasis: Ideas for Quick and Easy Bites

Figuring out what to eat when you have psoriasis can feel like solving a riddle. Since there’s no...
MyPsoriasisTeam My psoriasis Team

Thank you for signing up.

close