Psoriasis – the autoimmune disorder characterized by patches of itchy, flaky, red, and often inflamed skin (known as scale or plaques) – needs little introduction. If you’re here, you most likely either experience psoriasis flare-ups yourself or know someone who does. While there is no real cure for psoriasis, there are many natural home remedies which can temporarily relieve the symptoms, moisturize and soften plaques, and help to heal damaged skin.
This article shares twenty of the best, scientifically backed, home remedies for treating psoriasis symptoms.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Packed with raw enzymes and good, healthy bacteria which work to improve an impressive number of bodily functions, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is widely recognized as one of the most potent and beneficial natural remedies on the planet. While the acidic property of vinegar can make it somewhat detrimental if applied too often or in too large of quantity, rinsing or soaking with ACV can help to relieve the itch associated with psoriasis, especially psoriasis of the scalp. In order to prevent burning of sensitive skin, it is recommended to dilute vinegar at least 1 : 1 with water before use. (psoriasis.org)
Remember: Moisturize your skin immediately after using this treatment!
For highest quality and maximum health benefits, we recommend Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, available from Amazon.com.
(Further Reading: 12 Eye-Opening Reasons Apple Cider Vinegar Should Be In Every Home)
2. Capsaicin Ointment
Capsaicin – the natural chemical that makes hot peppers hot – is a common ingredient found in over-the-counter pain creams and ointments. Because capsaicin works by overloading pain transmitters, applying capsaicin-based treatments to skin affected by psoriasis will (for most people) cause intense burning initially, rapidly followed by relief of both pain and itching. Capsaicin creams and ointments also have the potential to reduce redness and inflammation, as well as to help reduce the severity of future flare-ups. (PM:3760276)
As always, we recommend that you consult with your physician before starting any new psoriasis treatment – even an over the counter remedy like capsaicin cream – as these products often have adverse reactions with other medications. (psoriasis.org)
For a long-lasting capsaicin cream which also contains moisturizing, anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants, Myomega Pain Relief Heat Therapy Cream is available through Amazon.com.
Or make your own Capsaicin Ointment using this easy-to-follow recipe borrowed from the Everyday Roots Book. The Everyday Roots book is an incredible natural living resource with over 215 non toxic and natural remedies and recipes. You can download a copy here.
You will need:
– 3 tablespoons of cayenne powder
– 1 cup of grapeseed oil (or any other oil like almond, olive, jojoba)
– 1/2 cup of grated beeswax
– A double boiler
– A glass jar with a tightly fitting lid
“Mix together 3 tablespoons of cayenne powder with 1 cup of your oil of choice and heat in a double boiler for 5-10 minutes over medium heat. Stir in a 1/2 cup of grated beeswax and continue to stir until it has melted completely and everything is blended together. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, and then whisk together. Chill for another 10-15 and then whip again before putting it in a glass jar with a tightly fitting lid and storing in the refrigerator. It will keep for 1 ½ weeks-apply daily as needed for pain.”
Remember: It’s best to wear gloves when handling any product containing capsaicin in order to avoid accidental contact with mucus membranes. To wash away capsaicin from skin, scrub with about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Wipe away the oil with a dry cloth or paper napkin then scrub your still-dry skin with liquid dish soap to remove the rest of the oil. When you rinse away the soap, your skin should be capsaicin free. (Personally I’m always a bit leery about rubbing my eyes right away, but this really does work.)
3. Take A Salt Bath
While over-exposure to hot water can easily exacerbate the symptoms of psoriasis, a lukewarm bath amended with Epsom salt or Dead Sea salt may offer temporary relief from itching and dryness. (Mayo Clinic) Add about two cups of Epsom salt or a quarter cup of authentic Dead Sea salts to your bath water and soak for about 15 minutes to help remove scales and ease itching. (psoriasis.org)
(Further Reading: 20 Mind Blowing Reasons Why Epsom Salt Should Be In Every Home)
4. Try An Oatmeal Bath
Oatmeal is loaded with vitamins and minerals (like selenium, manganese, and iron) which are excellent for nourishing and healing damaged skin. While there is limited scientific evidence to support this particular remedy, those who have tried it will likely confirm that taking an oatmeal bath is another effective way to relieve the itching, redness, and inflammation of psoriasis. (psoriasis.org)
Oatmeal powder can be found at most health food stores or – if you would rather order it online – check out this 100% Natural Colloidal Oatmeal by Aveeno, available through Amazon.com.
5. Bathe With Care
A couple of final notes on using amended baths to treat psoriasis:
Most medical professionals will recommend bathing less frequently – only once every two or three days at most – to avoid drying out your skin. This is especially helpful during the winter months when air tends to be very dry. (WebMD)
Also, always towel off by patting skin (not rubbing) and remember to apply a good all-natural moisturizer immediately after your bath.
6. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
This cannot be emphasized enough. Keeping skin hydrated will help to remove plaques and speed healing. Apply a good all-natural moisturizer any time your skin starts to feel dry and especially after you bathe to keep skin from drying out. (Mayo Clinic) Extra virgin olive oil is one excellent choice for this purpose (you can even add it to your bath water for double benefits) as are many other vegetable-based oils. Apply liberally to skin affected by psoriasis to seal in moisture and deliver healing nutrients. You can also massage a tablespoon or two of oil into your scalp to help soften and remove plaques before you shower.
For quality and purity, I recommend Bragg 100% Pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Another helpful tip is to run a small single-room humidifier (like this Honeywell model on Amazon) during the winter months to help prevent dry skin. Single-room humidifiers are also readily available from most large chain home improvement retailers.
Recommended Reading: How To Heal Psoriasis Symptoms With Jojoba Oil
7. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is one of the most popular and widely used natural remedies for skin ailments – but this is no modern day ‘health craze’. Throughout history – (for at least a thousand years that we know of!) – people around the world have used aloe to nourish dry skin and hair, soothe burns and stings, and heal wounds. When applied to skin affected by psoriasis, aloe vera can be very effective at reducing redness and minimizing scaling. (psoriasis.org)
If you’re ready to experience the healing power of aloe, check out this highly recommended aloe-based Organic Psoriasis Moisturizing Cream by MetaDerm – available from Amazon.com.
(Further Reading: 10 Mind Blowing Reasons Why Aloe Vera Is A Miracle Plant)
8. Oregon Grape
Studies of the herb Mahonia aquifolium (aka: Oregon Grape) have proven it to be an effective natural remedy for controlling the immune response which causes psoriasis flare-ups. (pm:16148424) The recommended dosage is a 10% topical cream. However, because Oregon Grape has a moderate tendency toward interactions with other medications, you will want to discuss the option with your doctor before trying this remedy. (psoriasis.org)
9. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is distilled from leaves of the Australian Tea Tree, Melalenca alternifolia (not to be confused with the Tea Plant, Camellia sinensus!) Although it is highly toxic when ingested, tea tree oil has a surprising number of topical uses, including the treatment of psoriasis. When applied to the skin, tea tree oil helps to loosen scale and prevent infection of damaged tissue. (everydayhealth.com)
(Further Reading: 10 Extraordinary Tea Tree Oil Uses – The Medicine Cabinet In A Bottle)
10. Fish Oil
While Omega-3 rich fish oil is available in supplement form, your body will absorb this skin-fortifying, immune-boosting essential fatty acid much more efficiently from the foods you eat. Cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna are excellent sources of omega-3. Try to include them in your diet about 2 – 3 times each week to gain the most benefit for your skin. (everydayhealth.com)
If you would like to try this natural remedy but you are adverse to eating fish, you can find Fish Oil supplements from most health food stores and vitamin shops. Alternately, you may order them online like these Now Foods Ultra Omega 3 Fish Oil Softgels available through Amazon.com.
Note: Do NOT consume fish oil if you take blood-thinners as this combination can increase your risk of bleeding!
11. Say “No” to Sugar
While there are many suggested dietary changes out there which are purported to help heal psoriasis and prevent future flare-ups, there is one that stands out above the rest: You’ve got to give up sugar. All of it.
While this may seem like an impossible task (especially around the 48 hour mark if you decide to go “cold turkey” on sweets) most sugar is pretty bad for you anyway. Sadly, this will mean no more of those sinfully sweet fruits that many of us have come to love as a part of an all-natural healthy diet. Then again, according to many of the people who have successfully made the change; when it comes down to what you’d rather never have again: clear skin or sweets — the choice may not be as difficult as you think.
12. Milk Thistle
All you have to do is read these posts from people who have taken Milk Thistle to treat psoriasis to see why this natural remedy made it onto the list. Silymarin extract — consisting of a collection of flavonoids which are the active component in Milk Thistle — is known for its ability to heal liver damage, improve kidney function, aid in detoxification, reduce inflammation throughout the body, and (of course) improve skin health. (It’s quite an impressive list for one little herb!)
Remember: Discuss any possible drug interactions with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new herbal supplement!
Milk Thistle supplements can be purchased at health food stores and vitamins shops, or try these Milk Thistle Capsules available to order from Amazon.com.
13. Get Some Sun
While you want to avoid over-exposure to harmful UV radiation, your skin will benefit greatly from the natural vitamin D which it produces from exposure to sunlight. Use sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher to protect undamaged skin and don’t increase your time spent in direct sunlight by more than 20 minutes each day, up to three days per week.
Remember: Some psoriasis medications may increase skin’s sensitivity, making it more prone to sunburn. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist about any prescriptions you’re currently taking before you increase your sunlight exposure. (WebMD)
14. Avoid Dyes and Perfumes
Chemical additives like the artificial dyes and perfumes found in many commercial personal care products are almost certain to exacerbate psoriasis symptoms. Try to purchase only all-natural products or those labeled “sensitive skin”, and remember to always carefully and completely read the labeling before applying any new product to your skin.
For total control over the ingredients in your personal care products, check out these recipes for 17 Personal Care Products You Will Never Have to Buy Again!
15. Get Colorful!
When planning your weekly diet, try to pick a handful of fruits and veggies from each color group. (Avoid anything sugary if you plan to tackle #11!) This will ensure that your body is getting a good assortment of the vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants which it needs to heal damaged skin and prevent future flare-ups. Eating a good assortment of fruits and vegetables will also help you to maintain a healthy weight which can further ease the discomfort of psoriasis.
Turmeric — the fragrant golden spice that is a popular component in many Indian and Middle-eastern dishes — is derived from the rhizomes of Curcuma longa, an herb in the ginger family.
Curcumin – a natural phenol found in Turmeric – is fairly well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties, making it an effective natural remedy for those with psoriatic arthritis. What most people don’t know is that Curcumin also has the ability to alter gene expression – or more specifically, the gene responsible for psoriasis flare-ups. (pm:22996381)
Use Turmeric in your meals to enjoy the rich flavor, beautiful color, and all of the health benefits it has to offer.
17. Stay Hydrated
It may seem like a simple statement, but “Stay Hydrated” is easier said than done. In fact, the majority of people who suffer from chronic dehydration – characterized by fatigue, constipation, irregular blood pressure, frequent headaches, and (you guessed it) dry skin – don’t even know it!
To help reduce the severity of psoriasis flare-ups, make sure you’re staying well-hydrated. The average recommended intake of water is around 64 ounces per 24 hour period, however there are quite a few factors that can influence this number. Check out this hydration calculator to get a better idea of just how much water you should be drinking every day.
18. Quit Smoking
While it may be difficult to hear if you smoke, this is one habit that is terrible for your skin in just about every way. If you have psoriasis, avoiding cigarette smoke (second-hand included) is at the top of the list of best things you can do to lessen the severity and frequency of your psoriasis flare-ups. (Not to mention that it will also improve the health of every other organ in your body!) (WebMD)
Need a little help (or a lot?) Check out these Unusual Ways to Quit Smoking by Jennifer Nelson of WebMD and Top 5 Psychological Strategies to help you quit by the Students’ Center of Health at West Virginia University.
For a lot of people with psoriasis, stress is a big trigger. Here are a couple of effective ways to unwind and (hopefully) reduce the frequency and severity of your flare-ups.
Sign up for a massage about once every other week. This is a fantastic way to relax that will not only help to treat psoriasis naturally, it’s also great for your mind and body. Even if you can’t afford a professional massage twice a month, try to convince a friend or your partner to help you out. Even a simple 15 minute backrub may be just the thing to help you unwind on a Friday afternoon.
Remember: Avoid massage oils with added perfumes or unnatural ingredients that may aggravate your psoriasis. If you plan to see a professional masseuse, let them know ahead of time so they can plan to accommodate your skin’s sensitivity. (everydayhealth.com)
Another great way to relax is to practice yoga. This great stress-reducer may not only help to relieve the symptoms of psoriasis plaques; Yoga may also help to restore your body’s flexibility if you have psoriatic arthritis. Try to find at least 20 minutes each day to practice yoga. If you feel confident enough to practice Yoga in a public setting, most community fitness centers offer classes that teach at all skill levels. (everydayhealth.com)
If you’d rather practice yoga in the peace of your own home, check out this introductory video by Rodney Yee – (my all-time favorite “video-Yoga” instructor) – Rodney Yee’s Yoga for Beginners available through Amazon.com.
20. Make It A Routine
Before starting any herbal remedy to treat psoriasis, we highly recommend that you discuss these options with your doctor. Many herbal remedies will interact with other medications – sometimes dangerously. Also, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s best to avoid herbal remedies altogether unless specifically approved by a licensed obstetrician.
When treating psoriasis, keep in mind that consistency is important. Make your psoriasis treatments part of your daily routine and stick to them.
Remember: Always adhere to your doctor’s prescribed plan!
No natural remedy can take the place of professional medical advice. If you’ve been prescribed medications for treating your psoriasis, do not discontinue using them without first discussing the option with your doctor. While it may take many months to see results, be diligent and eventually your skin will heal.