6 Home Remedies for Psoriasis: What Can Help Relieve Symptoms? | MyPsoriasisTeam

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6 Home Remedies for Psoriasis: What Can Help Relieve Symptoms?

Medically reviewed by Kelsey Stalvey, PharmD
Written by Jessica Wolpert
Updated on January 30, 2024

You can find a wide variety of home remedies for psoriasis. Some may help soothe inflammation, while others calm the dryness, itching, and plaques associated with this skin condition. Although some remedies may promote overall skin wellness, they’ve undergone varying levels of scientific research. Certain at-home treatments may even cause unwanted side effects or interact with your other medications. It’s important to speak with your primary care provider or dermatologist before trying any home remedies for your psoriasis.

1. Plant-Derived Moisturizers

Several types of plant-derived moisturizers are popular for treating psoriasis. Coconut oil is produced by pressing coconut meat (the white innards of the coconut). The oil can be used for cooking and as a moisturizer. A 2019 study found that coconut oil had anti-inflammatory properties for the skin and inhibited levels of inflammatory proteins called cytokines. The study also found that coconut oil helped improve the skin barrier by increasing the production of filaggrin, a protein that helps strengthen the skin.

In addition, coconut oil has been found to have antimicrobial and antifungal properties related to lauric acid, one of its main components. Levels of lauric acid can differ among types of coconut oil.

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 may have an allergic reaction to coconut products. If you’d like to try using coconut oil to treat your psoriasis, use virgin instead of refined coconut oil. Virgin oil isn’t heated during processing, which means it contains more bioactive ingredients, such as forms of vitamin E and antioxidants.

Other plant-derived moisturizers that are popular for treating psoriasis symptoms include castor oil and neem oil.

2. 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 diffused in water or burned for scent, as well as diluted in other types of oil (called carrier oils) and applied to the skin.

Few of the many types of essential oil have been researched specifically as psoriasis treatments. Researchers using bitter apricot oil to prevent the growth of psoriatic skin cells found promising effects, but their experiment involved cells in petri dishes, not humans.

Researchers also found that oil from the Copaifera tree improved psoriasis symptoms, but that study involved only three people. Some popular essential oils, such as tea tree oil, have proven antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects that may help psoriasis symptoms.

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 member reported positive results in calming their 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 essential oils topically (directly on your skin), always remember to first dilute them in a carrier oil, such as olive, jojoba, or coconut oil. Some essential oils can cause irritation when applied topically.

3. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a spiny plant that’s common around the world. Breaking its leaves produces a sticky gel that can be directly applied to 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 systematic analysis of studies on aloe vera found that the plant can help treat psoriasis symptoms like lesions. Some MyPsoriasisTeam members have found positive effects: “I have psoriasis on my face, and using aloe vera products (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 skin up to three times a day.

4. 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. 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 have reported positive results from using turmeric oil. “I’ve used turmeric oil on the joints of my hands, and it works quite well,” said one member.

Oral turmeric or curcumin supplements may also help complement psoriasis treatment, although the evidence is mixed. One study BioMed Research International found that people who used a curcumin supplement in addition to a topical steroid treatment had fewer inflammation markers than those who used the steroid alone.

However, the authors of a small study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology concluded that the results of taking oral curcumin supplements were unclear: Some participants showed a positive response, but it might have been caused by other factors or a placebo effect. The researchers did note that the curcumin supplements caused very few side effects.

Importantly, 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 better absorb turmeric into your bloodstream.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can help soothe itching from scalp psoriasis, offering an alternative to psoriasis 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.

6. Magnesium Salts

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

Epsom 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 used as a seasoning. Magnesium chloride has been found to retain moisture and reduce inflammation in affected areas.

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MyPsoriasisTeam is the social network for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and their loved ones. Here, more than 125,000 members come together to ask questions, share advice, and connect with others who understand life with psoriasis.

Are natural remedies part of your psoriasis treatment plan? Which home remedies have you found helpful for psoriasis? Share your experience with others in the comments, or start a conversation on your Activities page.

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. Bitter Apricot Essential Oil Induces Apoptosis of Human HaCaT Keratinocytes — International Immunopharmacology
  7. 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
  8. Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: A Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties — Clinical Microbiology Reviews
  9. Aloe Vera — National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
  10. The Effect of Aloe Vera Clinical Trials on Prevention and Healing of Skin Wound: A Systematic Review— Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences
  11. Integrative Approaches to Care — National Psoriasis Foundation
  12. Turmeric — National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
  13. Turmeric Based Therapy in the Treatment of Psoriasis: A Clinical Trial — ClinicalTrials.gov
  14. Topical Turmeric Microemulgel in the Management of Plaque Psoriasis; A Clinical Evaluation — Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research
  15. 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
  16. Oral Curcuminoid C3 Complex in the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Psoriasis Vulgaris: A Prospective Clinical Trial — Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
  17. Possible Interactions With: Turmeric — St. Luke’s Hospital
  18. Using Black Pepper To Enhance the Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Turmeric — UMass Medical School Center for Applied Nutrition
  19. 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

Updated on January 30, 2024
All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

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Kelsey Stalvey, PharmD received her Doctor of Pharmacy from Pacific University School of Pharmacy in Portland, Oregon, and went on to complete a one-year postgraduate residency at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida. Learn more about her here
Jessica Wolpert earned a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and an MA in Literature and Medicine from King's College. Learn more about her here

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