Psoriasis is a lifelong autoimmune skin condition in which the immune system triggers the overproduction of skin cells. Some home remedies may help relieve symptoms
Psoriasis causes red, scaly patches of skin called plaques. Plaques usually appear on the elbows, knees, and scalp, but they can develop anywhere on the body.
Before using home remedies, it may be a good idea to speak to a doctor. Home remedies tend to work best when people use them alongside medical treatment.
Ways to address Psoriasis Symptoms Naturally
1. Exposure to sunlight
Exposure to sunlight can sometimes improve the appearance of the skin when a person has psoriasis. People should expose their skin gradually and for brief periods.
The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends starting with 5 to 20 minutes of midday sun exposure once a day.
It is essential to cover healthy skin with sunscreen and clothing so that only the affected areas get exposed to the sun. If their skin tolerates it, an individual can slowly increase sun exposure in increments of 30 seconds each day.
If a person gets sunburnt, they should avoid any further sun exposure. They should also talk to a doctor because sunburn can make psoriasis worse.
It is the sun’s UVB rays that are beneficial for psoriasis symptoms rather than the UVA rays. Sun and indoor tanning beds mostly emit UVA rays.
People who use indoor tanning beds have a higher chance of skin damage. Using them can also increase the risk of a type of skin cancer called melanoma by 59 percent.
Many experts, including the National Psoriasis Foundation and the American Academy of Dermatology, do not recommend the use of commercial tanning beds.
Some medications can also make the skin more sensitive to the sun.
People should ask their doctor before trying sun exposure as a home remedy. Those with a family history of skin cancer may need to stay out of the sun and seek other treatments.
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2. Fish oil or omega-3 fats
Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids, which fish and fish oil supplements often contain, can reduce inflammation and improve autoimmune diseases.
A 2014 study found “moderate evidence” that fish oils might help people with psoriasis, which is both inflammatory and autoimmune.
However, the extent of this benefit may depend on the type of fish oil, the dosage, and the type of psoriasis.
Omega-3 fatty acids appear to be the most effective component of the oil.
It is possible that some people may experience side effects when using fish oil. Potential side effects include:
- a fishy taste in the mouth
People who take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), have a higher risk of bleeding if they also take omega-3 supplements.
People should follow dosage instructions carefully to avoid possible stomach discomfort. As fish oil supplements can interact with some medications, people should talk to a doctor before taking them.
Ideally, it is better to consume fish that contain omega-3 rather than taking supplements.
Omega-3 supplements like DrJsNatural’s Basic Best Omega are widely available to purchase online and in stores.
Capsaicin is a component of red peppers, and it has demonstrated the ability to fight inflammation. Even though the following examples of experimental research are relatively old, these are the most recent studies in this area. Both show that capsaicin can improve psoriasis symptoms.
In 1986, in a study that featured in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 44 people with moderate-to-severe symptoms applied a topical capsaicin cream for 6 weeks.
Nearly half of the group noted burning, stinging, itching, and redness on first applying the cream, but this stopped or vastly decreased as they continued using it. The researchers suggested that capsaicin might be a useful treatment for psoriasis.
In 1993, another study investigated the use of substance P, a component of capsaicin, for pruritic psoriasis. The 98 participants who used the cream four times a day for 6 weeks reported more significant improvements in skin thickness, scaling, redness, and itching than those in the placebo group.
However, some participants reported side effects, including a stinging sensation in the area where they applied the cream.
There appears to be little additional research to support these findings.
Capsaicin creams are available online as well as in pharmacies and health food stores as well as online.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are present in yogurt and fermented foods. People can also consume them in supplements like DrJsNatural Advanced Probiotics
Having the right balance of bacteria in the body may help the immune system. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, so probiotics may be helpful in managing symptoms.
Research suggests that a specific type of probiotic called Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 may help regulate inflammatory responses in the body that contribute to psoriasis symptoms.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in the spice turmeric. It may lessen inflammation in the body, and it may also reduce psoriatic activity.
The authors of a recent review trusted Source of research stated that there is lots of evidence to support the therapeutic effect of curcumin in treating psoriasis.
Prior to that, the findings of a 2016 study in mice led researchers to conclude that curcumin has “great potential to treat psoriasis.”
Curcumin is available for purchase online or in stores in pill or capsule form.
For more information about how curcumin can help people with psoriasis, click here to see our dedicated article.
6. Oregon grape
Oregon grape, or Mahonia aquifolium, is an herbal remedy that may help calm the immune response in psoriasis.
In a report on three clinical trials involving a total of 104 people, the authors conclude that M. aquifolium cream is a “safe and effective” treatment for mild-to-moderate psoriasis.
In 2018, authors reviewing the evidence to support treating psoriasis with M. aquifolium found seven studies investigating its use. They concluded that M. aquifolium can improve symptoms and is safe and effective with few side effects.
7. Aloe vera
Traditional medicine has long used the gel from inside the aloe vera plant to treat skin wounds. Applying an ointment containing aloe vera may also help reduce the redness, scaling, and inflammation that psoriasis causes.
A 2018 study, in which 2,248 people with mild-to-moderate psoriasis used an ointment containing either 50 percent propolis and 3 percent aloe vera or a placebo, suggested that aloe vera might be helpful for people with this condition.
Those who used the preparation containing aloe vera experienced a “noteworthy improvement” in their symptoms.
However, before this, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) noted that only two randomized placebo-controlled trials had looked at the effect of aloe vera for treating psoriasis. One showed that it was helpful, while the other showed that it had no effect.
People should apply aloe vera directly to the skin and avoid taking it internally.
The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends choosing a cream or gel that contains at least 0.5 percent aloe.
Many health food stores carry aloe creams and gels, which are also available to purchase online.
8. Apple cider vinegar
Anecdotal evidence suggests that apple cider vinegar might help soothe itching and burning resulting from scalp psoriasis, although it is not suitable for applying to areas of broken or cracked skin.
It contains natural germ-killing properties and can be soothing for the scalp.
For a gentler treatment, a person can dilute the vinegar with an equal amount of water. If it burns during or after application, it is vital to stop using it.
There does not appear to be any scientific evidence to support the use of apple cider vinegar for psoriasis.
Itching and flaking can make psoriasis look and feel worse, so it is essential to keep skin moisturized.
The AAD notes that moisturizing creams, or emollients, are a standard treatment to use alongside other therapies.
Applying a heavy ointment or thick cream three times a day may help control symptoms and keep the skin feeling comfortable.
People should look for products that are free of fragrances and dyes with the label “for sensitive skin.”
A cream that contains aloe vera may help.
Moisturizers that are suitable for people with psoriasis are available for purchase online.
Doctors may also recommend topical treatments and creams containing coal tar, salicylic acid, and other medicinal ingredients.
10. Wet dressings and warm baths with salts or oats
Baths and showers can be relaxing, but those that are too long or too hot can strip the skin of its oils, and this can make psoriasis worse.
Some people find that a warm bath containing colloidal oatmeal or Epsom salts is soothing and relieves symptoms.
According to research, an oatmeal bath or a wet dressing can reduce itching, and a warm bath containing a suitable bath oil can help moisturize the skin.
In 2005, researchers found evidence that Dead Sea salts might help with dry skin. Volunteers immersed a forearm in water with a 5-percent concentration of magnesium salts, the most common minerals in the Dead Sea, for 15 minutes.
The participants’ skin barrier function improved, their skin hydration was better, and they had reduced roughness and inflammation compared with the control group who used tap water instead.
After bathing, applying an appropriate moisturizer while the skin is still damp can help prevent moisture loss.
11. Exercise and diet
Some people with psoriasis may be more likely to be overweight and have a higher risk of some other conditions, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Exercise can help lower the risk of these additional problems.
Diet is also key to maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding cardiovascular and other types of disease.
Tips that may help include:
- avoiding sugar
- drinking plenty of water
- cutting out trans fats, which are present in many fast and processed foods
- eating foods with anti-inflammatory properties, including many fruits and vegetables
12. Other alternative therapies
Other home remedies that people have tried include:
- yoga or tai chi
There is no evidence that any of these can specifically benefit a person with psoriasis.
However, acupuncture and massage can help relieve pain, and they may be beneficial for someone who has psoriatic arthritis.
People should speak to their doctor before undergoing any treatment that might involve essential oils, such as a massage, as some of these products may make symptoms worse. A doctor can offer advice on suitable products.
The Causes of Psoriasis
Like other autoimmune disorders, psoriasis is caused by a combination of different factors. Most doctors are unsure about what exactly leads most people to develop psoriasis, but research suggests that the major contributing factors include:
- genetics — scientists have now identified about 25 genetic variants that make a person more likely to develop the psoriatic disease.
- being under high amounts of physical or emotional stress — just another way chronic stress kills your quality of life
- high levels of inflammation and weakened immunity, specifically the activation of T lymphocytes leading to release of cytokines
- eating a poor diet and having difficulty digesting fats and protein
- hormonal changes (such as puberty, pregnancy or menopause)
- deficiency in certain nutrients, such as vitamin D deficiency
- poor liver function
- reactions to medications and over-the-counter pain pills (such as Advil, Motrin, blood pressure prescriptions, beta-blockers, and anti-malarial medications like hydroxychloroquine).
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, “Scientists believe that at least 10 percent of people inherit one or more of the genes that could eventually lead to psoriasis. However, only 2 percent to 3 percent of the population develops the disease. Researchers believe that for a person to develop psoriasis, that person must have a combination of the genes that cause psoriasis and be exposed to specific external factors known as triggers.
- It’s believed to affect greater than 3 percent of the U.S. population — of more than 5 million adults at any time.
- Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of this condition, but there are also several other forms of psoriasis, including nail or scalp psoriasis, mild psoriasis, severe psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, and guttate psoriasis.
- The most common psoriasis symptoms include plaques of red skin, sometimes also covered with a crust of scales that tend to be silver or white; loose skin or lesions that can be sensitive, itchy, and painful; dandruff on the scalp; cracked, discolored skin that easily bleeds and bruises; discoloration in the finger and toenails or growth of toenail fungus; and nails that detach from the nail beds and can be painful or bloody. Many people with psoriasis also suffer from emotional problems due to feeling embarrassed and hopeless about their skin.
- Other psoriasis symptoms include joint pain and inflammation; severe plaque, scales, and pain in the hands and feet; worsened immune function; fatigue; and common autoimmune symptoms.
- Causes of psoriasis include genetics, high amounts of physical or emotional stress, inflammation, weakened immunity, poor diet, difficulty digesting fats and protein, hormonal changes, nutrient deficiencies, poor liver function, and reactions to medications.
- You can help naturally treat psoriasis symptoms by eating an anti-inflammatory diet, using natural herbs and supplements, getting up to 20 minutes of sunshine daily, lowering stress, moisturizing, and using essential oils.