Psoriasis is a type of auto-immune disease with inflammatory symptoms resulting in skin disorders that some believe is hereditary. The outcome is raised patches of pink dead skin, which can be extremely painful, though the disease is not at all infectious.
The symptoms go downhill with infections, emotional imbalances, stress, or other non-related illnesses. Psoriasis is commonly seen in body parts like chest, elbows, the scalp, and knees. The rash may get worse if it is directly exposed to sunlight for a long period of time and it may also reoccur repeatedly and unexpectedly.
Topical treatments can offer instant relief; however, the most effective method of tackling this skin disorder is by adopting an all-natural approach of treatment and treating emotions that may trigger the symptoms.
Conventional vs Natural Treatment For Psoriasis
Psoriasis is no different from any other autoimmune condition; they know little about it and they can do little to treat it, except for dealing with the symptoms as and when they occur. Unfortunately even on this front, the results are usually dismal, and that is what sends patients towards alternative treatment modalities.
To add to the problem, immunosuppressant drugs like cyclosporine, alefacept and efalizumab as well as corticosteroids and oral retinoids are all known to have serious side effects. Even if you were to contend with these side effects, the fact is that none of them are universally effective.
In contrast and as discussed above, simple natural remedies like aloe vera and curcumin as well as alternative therapies like lifestyle and dietary changes offer conspicuously positive results against psoriasis, without the dangerous side effects of conventional drugs.
Another plus for natural treatments, such as aromatherapy and the topical use of essential oils, is that they also help to control the psychological effects of psoriasis. Several essential oils could be useful when it comes to the treatment of psoriasis. Some are known for their detoxifying effects, while there are others that are known for their moisturizing ability. In addition, they have the remarkable ability of minimizing stress, and their antibacterial qualities support the defense mechanisms of the body.
Facts About Psoriasis
The two images below show 15 facts about psoriasis.
Causes Of Psoriasis
The medical community still has not reached a consensus on whether psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder or a chronic skin condition. However, everybody agrees on the fact that T-cells or the body’s defenders do have a central role in the problem.
In psoriasis, these T-cells attack and kill the skin cells, as if they were external threats. The body boosts the production of dermal cells by almost 10 times, to make up for the loss as if it were trying to heal a wound. Together, these abnormalities lead to inflamed patches that are covered by an accumulation of dead skin cells.
Recent research has revealed that the hyper-immune response may be triggered by an abnormal response to normal dermal bacteria. These critters do not elicit such a response in people who don’t suffer from psoriasis.
Why the immune system goes into battle mode is something that they have not figured out as yet. But, what experts do know is that there are several triggers and risk factors that can lead to flare-ups. These include:
- Hormonal fluctuations (during menopause, pregnancy or puberty)
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Skin injuries
- Throat infections
- Skin infections
- Other autoimmune conditions
- Disorders that affect the immune system like HIV
- Certain medication (ACE inhibitors, antimalarial drugs, some NSAIDs, lithium)
Symptoms Of Psoriasis
Because there is an ongoing attack against the skin, the symptoms of psoriasis include:
- Red patches covered by white/gray scales
- Moderate itching and/or burning or stinging of the plaques
- Dryness and lesions that may bleed or ooze
- Cracking of the skin around the joints
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Plaques on and around the scalp
- Ridged, dented, pitted nails
- Crumbling of the nails
- Pus filled blisters on the skin (pustular psoriasis needs medical attention)
- Intensely itchy/burning rash all over the body (Erythrodermic psoriasis is rare and a medical emergency)
When To See Your Doctor?
- Worsening of the symptoms
- Fever and chills
- Soreness and inflammation of joints
- Muscle pain
- Appearance of pus filled rash
- Intense flare-up or frequent flare-ups
- You have psoriasis and you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy
- Symptoms are keeping you away from social engagements
- The discomfort is causing sleep disturbances and is a hindrance in daily life
Psoriasis vs Dermatitis
Even doctors find it hard sometimes to distinguish between these two conditions. The problem is that not only the symptoms but also the causes of both ailments are almost the same.
The starting point:
Both psoriasis and eczema involve abnormal behavior of the immune system. Although the jury is still out on whether psoriasis can be considered an autoimmune condition, what we do know is that inflammation is involved in both conditions and this comes courtesy of a hyper immune response to normally innocuous substances or microorganism. Because there is no infection involved, neither psoriasis nor eczema is contagious.
Red and itchy patches are common to both conditions, as is dermal dryness and flaking. But, psoriasis also leads to significant scaling of the skin, and the discomfort has a distinct burning and stinging quality to it.
Eczema leads to intense itching while psoriasis only causes mild itching. Eczema starts very early, with as many as 10% of infants and children younger than 5 years of age suffering from the condition. In contrast, psoriasis develops later, usually between 15 – 35 years.
Dermal irritants as well as other allergens like pet dander, pollen, dust and certain food items can all trigger eczema. A flare up may also result from stress and infection.
Psoriasis is mostly triggered by infection or stress and dermal insults like scratches and sunburns. Certain types of medication are also known to trigger the condition.
Scope of treatment and cure:
Both are chronic immune-inflammatory conditions that can be kept in control within reason, but cannot be cured.
Involvement of other organs:
In 10-30% cases, psoriasis patients also suffer from psoriatic arthritis. Moreover, the condition also affects the nails. These issues are not encountered by eczema patients.
Risk of relapse:
Because eczema and psoriasis are rooted in immune anomalies, they both have periods of remission and flare-ups.
Psoriasis vs Ringworm
In terms of overt symptoms, yes, it is easy to confuse psoriasis and ringworm. After all, both of them cause itchy red rash, dermal dryness and scaly skin, but that’s where the similarity ends.
I have already told you that psoriasis is an auto-immune condition. In contrast, ringworm, as its name indicates, involves the menace of critters.
Even though the patchiness of psoriasis is hardly a sight to behold, the ailment is not contagious no matter how large or wide spread the affected areas. But the itchy redness of ringworm is caused by germs, so it does get transmitted to those in close contact.
Scope of treatment:
A fungal disorder, ringworm does heed to the use of the right anti-fungal preparations. Hence, unlike psoriasis, it is a short lived condition that can be completely cured.
Psoriasis remains poorly understood like other auto-immune ailments. This means that although the condition is treatable, there is no way to cure it.
The itching caused by ringworm is far more intense than that of psoriasis. However, the scaly patches of psoriasis can cause both itching and burning pain. The scales and the dryness can also lead to skin cracks and bleeding.
The most distinctive visible symptom of psoriasis is the significant white scaling on the red patches. On the other hand, ringworm leads to red, circular patches with some amount of scaling but a clear center. It almost looks like a worm is living under the red patch.
Involvement of other organs:
Ringworm is an infectious skin ailment, which means that it does not impact the other parts of the body. As opposed to this, the effects of psoriasis can be felt in other areas as well. For instance, along with the scaly patches, you may also have musculoskeletal pain and stiffness and pitted and ridged nails.
Risk of relapse:
Psoriasis may have periods of remission like other auto-immune conditions but the ailment, more often than not, comes back with a vengeance unless kept in control.
Things work differently with ringworm, as the symptoms do ebb away with the use of anti-fungal medication. Unless you are infected again, there won’t be a round two of the symptoms.
How Can Essential Oils Help With Psoriasis?
Cyclooxygenase or COX are enzymes that play a vital role in the formation of compounds that cause pain and inflammation. Most NSAIDs are inhibitors of COX-2, an enzyme from the family that is central to the body’s inflammatory response.
So, NSAIDs work by blocking COX-2, which eases the pain and the inflammation. Many essential oils are potent COX-2 inhibitors that work just as well and even better than OTC painkillers, with the difference that unlike these drugs, essential oils have no side effects.
2. TNF-alpha inhibitors
Tumor necrosis factor-alpha is an inflammatory protein that triggers and continues the inflammatory process in the body. Think of this cytokine as the army of your immune system that is responsible for every symptom of inflammation. Those who suffer from psoriasis have very high levels of TNF. Modern medicine tries to remedy the situation with immune-modulators.
But, when you remove the defenders from the system, your body is left vulnerable to critter attacks. With essential oils, it is possible to inhibit TNF at the site of application, without causing a systemic effect that leaves you open to infections.
3. Relief from itching and burning
Also, these oils offer almost immediate reprieve from the discomfort of psoriasis. Be it pain, itching, stinging or burning, essential oils offer lightning fast relief, which equates to a lower risk of ending up with scratch wounds and infections.
How To Use Essential Oils For Psoriasis?
- A bath to soothe inflamed and itchy areas of the body.
- A scrub made by mixing herbal powders with essential oils that sloughs off the dead cells gently.
- A moisturizer to lower the risk of flare-ups.
- As a spot treatment to control the inflammation and discomfort.
- As a shampoo to keep the scalp free of inflammation and infection.
- In the diffuser to get rid of stress that may be the cause or the result of psoriasis.
Best Essential Oils For Psoriasis And Their Possible Side Effects
I admit that while essential oils do not cure the condition, they do help immensely in controlling flare-ups as well as the discomfort that the ailment brings along.
In a bit, we will talk about the best essential oils for the job. But, before we get to that part, I want to discuss another important aspect of alternative or for that matter any kind of treatment.
Whether you are using essential oils or any other natural or manmade compound to treat psoriasis or any other ailment, I can’t stress enough on two factors – there are such things as:
- Too much of a good thing
- The wrong kind of good thing
Particularly, when using essential oils, it is imperative to know what oils to use for a particular condition and how much of these oils you ought to be using.
Do not make the grave mistake of underestimating the potency of these oils. Remember, that a more ounce of these extracts is the core concentrate of several kilograms of plant material.
So, it goes without saying that if you are not careful about dilution and using the right kind of oils, trouble awaits! That said, not every oil works for everybody. For instance, while penicillin is a powerful and effective antibiotic, there are those who are allergic to it. Ditto for essential oils!
Hence, we are going to discuss not just the benefits of the best essential oils for psoriasis but also the possible side effects, if any.
This oils works in three ways to tame the wrath of psoriasis. For starters, its healing nature offers quick reprieve from the incessant itching caused by the condition. Moreover, the carvacrol and thymol in the extract are potent germ killers and anti-inflammatory agents.
So, thyme essential oil limits the effects of the immune response that eventually leads to the build-up of dead cells. It stops the itching that the plaque causes, and finally, it prevents the risk of an infection if the itching has led to open wounds.
Although it’s a skin friendly oil, it is crucial to restrict its use to 1.5% (about 3-4 drops in 30 ml) to limit the possibility of an allergic reaction. Thyme is a member of the Lamiaceae botanical family, which includes lavender, rosemary and oregano. If you are allergic to any of these herbs/plants, thyme essential oil may cause an allergic reaction.
Although Tisserand et al have suggested that this oil is safe for use during pregnancy and I humbly concur with them, because research in the matter is lacking, I’d still suggest that you refrain from using it when pregnant or breastfeeding.
A rich source of geraniol, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound and citronellol, which helps to keep skin infections at bay, geranium essential oil fights psoriasis on several fronts.
Because it calms the mind and the body, the extract not only helps against the physical discomfort of psoriasis but also the mental anguish and stress that the condition causes. Geranium oil is also an immune-regulator, so it helps to tone down the hyper-immune response that causes flare-ups.
Generally, the oil is considered very safe and gentle for both topical application and diffusion. But, the geraniol in it has been deemed a skin irritant. So in hyper sensitive individuals, it may lead to dermal irritation and contact dermatitis. Hence, a patch test is certainly recommended.
Orally administered geranium oil can interfere with anti-diabetic medication. But then, this oil is not meant for oral use.
I like to think of rose essential oil as droplets of happiness and joy in a bottle and never once has it let my views down. The enthralling fragrance of this extract is so penetratingly intense that it takes your mind away from the mental detriments of psoriasis.
Gone will be the stress, anxiety and depression only to be replaced by a deep sense of calm. But, that is not all. The effects of this oil on the brain are not just limited to the emotions. The aroma compels the immune system and the skin to behave themselves.
Applied topically, this oil exerts significant anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. Hence, it is often included in formulations meant to treat, heal and soothe the skin, and that is exactly what you need when battling psoriasis.
Although the high price tag of this oil is a deterrent, I would not call it a side effect even on the wallet because the benefits of this extract justify its cost. That said, adulteration is a big concern when it comes to rose oil and one that often leads to adverse skin reactions.
Also, I would recommend that you start slowly with it. The aroma is truly intense so a little goes a long way, and going overboard with it, will just have you reeking of roses and giving yourself and those around a headache.
4. Juniper Berry
This oil has made it to my list owing to its pro-circulatory powers. A natural and highly effective cleansing and detox agent, juniper berry oil significantly amps up the flow of blood to the skin.
When blood flow increases, it offers more nutrition to the skin cells, thus delaying their death and build up. Also, it helps in the faster removal of metabolic waste, which may contribute to the hyper-immune response that leads to the attack on the dermal cells.
Having said that, juniper essential oil is an extraordinarily powerful astringent, which lends it the ability to close wounds faster and deal with acne and oily skin. But, this astringent effect does increase the chances of dermal dryness and sensitivity. So, if you have eczema along with psoriasis or exceptionally sensitive skin, juniper oil may not be right for you.
Given that research is lacking in the matter, it would be best to avoid the use of this oil when pregnant or breastfeeding and on children. Aromatically, the oil is known to be invigorating, so avoid using it at night.
If the ailment involves inflammation and stress, lavender will often be in the list of the top essential oils to use, and for good reasons. It has superlative anti-inflammatory properties and the potential to ease both the physical and mental issues caused by psoriasis.
In addition, lavender oil also offers significant protection from infection causing pathogens. So, as far as psoriasis is concerned, this extract covers all the bases. It is safe and gentle to the point where many recommend using lavender undiluted (neat), although in most cases, I do not subscribe to this practice.
It is also one of the few oils that can be used on children. However, as discussed above, the violet blooms come from a plant in the Lamiaceae family, so if you are allergic to its brethren (sage, oregano, rosemary, etc), there is a high risk of contact allergy.
Because lavender oil affects the central nervous system (CNS), it would be best to consult with your doctor before using this extract in any form if you are currently using anti-anxiety medication or CNS depressant drugs.
Since this is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant substances in nature, it goes without saying that helichrysum oil can help immensely against the redness, itching and scaling of psoriasis.
Additionally, the extract also helps to minimize the risk of infection in case there are open wounds and oozing scratches involved.
The best part of using helichrysum essential oil is that the calming effect of this extract is just as extensive on the mind as it is on the body. So, if the itching and the pain as well as the mental anguish of psoriasis is giving your sleepless nights, you can count on this oil to smooth things over on all fronts.
The skin healing and soothing properties of sandalwood oil have been used for centuries in Ayurveda to deal with all types of inflammatory skin disorders. The ability of this oil to control the inflammatory cytokines helps to greatly curb the immune-response that eventually leads to the death of the dermal cells.
Furthermore, alpha santalol, which is a major constituent of the oil, act in the same way NSAIDs do, but without the dangerous side effects of these drugs. So, sandalwood essential oil helps to limit not only the inflammation but also the discomfort caused by the inflammation.
Moreover, the oil is an extremely effective emollient that improves the health of the dermal cells. And if that is not enough, you can always rely on sandalwood oil to calm emotions and dispel negativity and bring on sleep if it has been eluding you.
Australian sandalwood oil used at 2% concentration poses minimal risk for skin irritation. However, the chances of dermal sensitivity are slightly higher with East Indian sandalwood (Santalum album). Hypersensitive individuals can experience contact dermatitis even at 1% concentration with East Indian sandalwood oil, possibly due to the greater chance of adulteration in this oil.
8. Tea Tree
While the current popularity of tea tree oil is attributed to its antimicrobial properties, the extract has been used for centuries to control inflammation. Terpinen-4-ol, which makes up more than 30% of this extract, is a particularly potent anti-inflammatory agent.
The oil is also a strong antimicrobial compound that can prevent secondary infections of psoriasis plaques. Although tea tree oil does not create a warming effect, the astringent nature of the extract is enough to limit the itching as well as the irritation.
Tea tree oil rarely leads to dermal irritation if used at a concentration of 2%-5%. However, its astringent effect may cause some amount of dermal dryness. But, this can easily be countered by using the right carrier oil.
I recently found a useful video showing how to use Tea Tree Oil to treat psoriasis.
Some people argue that since eucalyptus oil is a counter irritant, it does not make sense to use it on skin that is already irritated. Well, for starters, the ability of this oil to block the pain impulse means that it substantially lowers the risk of swelling, redness and other inflammatory markers.
Also, the heating effect of the oil is significant enough to dull even acute joint pain, so understandably, the itching induced by psoriasis does not stand a chance. Furthermore, 1,8 cineole, which is the predominant constituent of the oil, is a proven anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent.
According to Tisserand et al, eucalyptus essential oil is “virtually non-allergenic”. Nonetheless, if you are allergic to other essential oils or suffer from dermatitis, keep the concentration of eucalyptus oil at 1%.
Do not use this oil around babies and young children. Also, those who are suffering from estrogen-dependent cancer should not use this oil. Talk to your doctor before using eucalyptus oil if you are taking homeopathic medication.
Another extract that is rich in 1,8 cineole, peppermint oil produces the exact opposite sensory effect to that of eucalyptus. The intense cooling sensation produced by this extract instantly relieves the itching and pain of psoriasis. Moreover, the oil soothes the skin, calms inflammation and softens the dry, scaly patches. Plus, it also brings antimicrobial effects to the equation.
Because peppermint is also from the Lamiaceae family, there is the risk of contact dermatitis if you are allergic to the other plants from this family. Also, the profound cooling effect can be much to handle for sensitive skin.
If you already suffer from contact dermatitis, it would be best to limit the use of this oil to 1%-2%. Do not use this oil on or around babies and young children. You should not use this oil in any form if you suffer from cardiac fibrillation.
The antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of rosemary essential oil put this extract in a league of its own. Whether it is strep or staph or even antibiotic resistant strains of these critters, rosemary oil can kick them all to the curb.
Plus, it provides a gentler heating effect than eucalyptus and some of the spice oils. The warmth is just enough to soothe the itching and burning without creating trouble for sensitive skin. Additionally, like essential oils extracted from the other plants in the Lamiaceae family, rosemary oil is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
Furthermore, if your skin woes are making you feel down and out, this oil can perk you right up. In fact, the herbaceous, camphorous aroma of the oil does a tremendous job of keeping cortisol levels in check. So, stress stops being a precipitating factor for psoriasis flare-ups once you start using this oil.
Although there is some indication that rosemary oil is contraindicated for those who suffer from high blood pressure, Tisserand et al do not agree with this view. If you suffer from dermatitis, do a patch test before using this oil and limit yourself to 1% concentration.
This oil may seem like an unlikely choice, but that’s only till you take a closer look at its therapeutic and antibacterial benefits. The earthy aroma of this oil has a grounding effect on the body and the mind. So, you can count on it to deal with the stress and depression brought on by psoriasis as well as the inflammation, itching, skin dryness and stinging that leads to these emotional issues.
Another plus is the ability of this extract to stave off infectious critters. Patchouli oil is a potent skin tonic that improves the health of the dermal cells.
Adverse skin reactions are extremely rare when using patchouli oil at less than 5% concentration. If you are on anti-coagulant medication, talk to your doctor before using this oil.
13. German Chamomile
I bet you have been wondering how come chamomile essential oil has not made its way into this list. Well, so here it is! In terms of its anti-inflammatory properties, German chamomile is second only to helichrysum. But, it also has a lower price tag.
That said, the striking blue oil delivers everything that you may have come to expect from a highly soothing natural ingredient. The anti-inflammatory and soothing effects of the oil become evident within the first few applications. Inflammation, redness, pain, itching, burning and the build-up of scales, you will experience a significant reduction in all these symptoms.
Furthermore, the fresh, green aroma of the oil also puts the mind at ease by keeping cortisol levels in check and gently inducing sleep when it is needed the most. The risk of this gentle oil leading to an adverse skin reaction is extremely low but if you suffer from dermatitis, keep the dilution at 1%.
When used on the skin, this citrus oil not only calms inflammation and irritation but also lends a helping hand to the other bioactive compounds to make it through the skin’s defensive barrier. An effective natural cleanser, the oil helps to purge the dermal layers of metabolic waste and aids in the faster removal of cellular debris from the surface of the skin.
The uniquely complex citrus aroma of this oil is invigorating, uplifting and soothing all at once. So, whether psoriasis has left a dent in your confidence levels or has just made you generally unhappy and depressed, the sprightly scent of this oil can tackle all your wayward emotions.
Bergamot oil has a high risk of phototoxicity unless you use a bergaptene free version of the oil. It has a relatively short shelf life of 9-12 months and there is a great possibility of adverse skin reaction if you use oxidized bergamot oil.
This is another popular anti-inflammatory oil that can provide the TLC that psoriasis skin needs. In fact, this is one of the few natural ingredients that has clinical backing for its anti-inflammatory properties.
The healing effects of this oil step in almost immediately and can be experienced in the form of a conspicuous reduction in both the swelling and redness of psoriasis affected parts. Moreover, the balsamic, earthy aroma of the extract helps to tackle negative emotions, stress and depression.
Frankincense oil seldom causes allergic reactions, but if you cannot tolerate other essential oils, limit the use of this oil to 2% and do a patch test. Some of the bioactives in this oil can react with blood thinners. So, talk to your doctor before using this oil if you are on such medication.
This is among the handful of natural ingredients that have been tested as a possible treatment for psoriasis. Although the studies involved rodent subjects, the results were extremely positive. Plus, copaiba oil has a stellar history of use as a treatment for inflammatory conditions.
Both facts considered, it would be safe to assume that this oil is capable of offering the same spectacular results when used on human skin afflicted by psoriasis. There is ample anecdotal evidence to suggest that the oil reduces inflammation, itchiness and above all the build-up of dead cells because it targets the immune response that is the core cause of the condition.
Since the extract has a direct impact on the nerves, it stops the impulse of pain and itching from reaching the brain. Furthermore, it also helps to keep the redness, swelling and scaling in check because it inhibits the release and action of pro-inflammatory molecules.
Copaiba oil is generally considered safe and is only known to cause adverse skin reactions when not diluted properly. At 2-3% dilution, it should cause no trouble. Having said that, always do a patch test if you suffer from dermatitis or have hypersensitive skin. Copaiba oil may pose a hindrance to the excretion of lithium from the body.
My Favorite Essential Oils Products for Psoriasis
1. Amoil’s H-Psoriasis
Personally, I like to use Amoil’s H-Psoriasis Formula if I don’t have time to make my own blend of essential oil. Click Here To Read My Review On Amoils H-Psoriasis!
2. L’orpur Problem Skin Relief Cream
The L’orpur Problem Skin Relief Natural Cream is designed to treat and prevent recurrence of difficult skin conditions including psoriasis. It has unmatched anti-bacterial and healing properties and provides instant and long-lasting relief for severely dry, cracked, itchy and irritated skin.
What Are The Best Essential Oil Recipes For Psoriasis?
Recipe 1 – Alkalizing hydrotherapy bath
For those that are seeking relief from itching and burning of Psoriasis flare-ups, you need to try this alkalizing bath. This bath can make your skin condition a little worse before it starts to improve – but this is often a good indication showing that the detoxification process of the body is now being stimulated.
Place 1 cup oats, 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup cornflour within a pop sock and tie properly. Have a warm (not hot) water and add this pop sock along with 1 cup of apple cider vinegar- squeezing the sock well! Use this bath 5 times in a week to help your body soothe and heal itself.
Recipe 2 – Moisturizing bath
Mix 4 drops of Lavender, 4 drops of Bergamot, 2 drops German Chamomile, 1 teaspoon Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil, 1 teaspoon Jojoba Oil, 1 cup oats and 1/2 cup Dead Sea Salt. Place the mix in a pop sock and tie properly. Add the sock to the warm bath water and squeeze regularly to ensure that the salts dissolve and the Oat milk is released. Use this bath blend one or two times in a week to help moisturize and soothe your skin. Oils and salt present in the bath will likely prevent infection from happening if the skin is cracked.
Recipe 3 – Moisturizing Aloe gel/cream
Use this gel after having a bath or shower on the lesions – or on places where lesions are likely to appear – always execute a skin patch test first to ensure the suitability of the Oil you are using. Take 100ml Seaweed and Aloe Vera Gel or a moisturizing cream base and add 10ml Jojoba Oil, 10ml Vitamin E Oil, 10ml Avocado Oil, 4 ml Tea Tree, 4 ml Patchouli, 10 ml Lavender, 10 ml Bergamot and 3 drops of German Chamomile. Stir well and keep inside an airtight jar.
Recipe 4 – Olivia’s famous essential oil recipe for psoriasis
You will need:
- 3 ounces or 6 tbsp carrier Oil (like Avocado Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Kukui Nut Oil, Rosehip Seed Oil etc.) I have found that a blend of Kukui, Avocado, and Almond is the most popular.
- 9 drops Bergamot Oil
- 1 drop Ylang Ylang Oil
- 3 drops Mandarin Oil
- 11 drops Lavender Oil
- 1 drop Clary Sage Oil
- 10 drops Geranium Oil
- 10 drops Frankincense Oil
- 4 drops Patchouli Oil
- Add the carrier Oil into a glass bottle (a bottle with a dropper is easier to handle).
- Add the Essential Oils. Take note, the grade of Essential Oil you use will greatly affect the strength of the therapy. Use the best kind of Oils available.
- Put the lid on and gently shake the bottle to mix the ingredients.
Use this blend on your Psoriasis lesions twice in a day.
Recipe 5 – Magnesium bath
If you are suffering from psoriasis, soaking in water can make it worse. In such cases, Magnesium baths and other kinds of detoxification baths will be helpful in healing the skin.
I generally add a cupful of magnesium flakes or epsom salts along with a little Himalayan salt to the baths of my children. Whenever I find time, I never tend to lose the opportunity to take a relaxing bath in this mix. When I am not able to spend time in bath, topical application of magnesium Oil helps. Amazingly, I am able to notice the results from trans-dermal magnesium baths far more quickly compared to taking magnesium internally.
My personal favorite recipe for magnesium bath is:
- 1 cup Himalayan Salt
- 1-3 cup of magnesium flakes and epsom salts
- 10-25 drops of essential oil of preference (I like ylang ylang and mandarin)
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
The effect of this recipe is heightened when used with warm water.
Things To Consider When Choosing Essential Oils For Psoriasis Treatment
Value for money
If the cheaper alternative offers the same efficiency and effects, why buy the pricey Essential Oils.
Essential Oil versatility
The Oil used must be able to address the needs of different kinds of skins.
Essential Oil properties
Essential Oils with larger range of properties work best for all kinds of bodies and environments.
Ease of access and application
Some Oils are readily available while some are not. The Essential Oil you are using must be easily available in the market so you don’t have to search for it and delay your treatment. Essential Oils that are easy to apply are more practical for everyday use.
Some Pros And Cons Of Using Essential Oils For Psoriasis Treatment
- The treatment approach is all natural with no side effects, unlike using medicines prescribed by doctors.
- Most essential oils are meant for every kind of skin. Therefore, you can easily find an essential oil that fits your skin type.
- Some essential oils can be dangerous if applied neat (undiluted). You also need to exercise caution if you have a pre-existing condition.
- Essential oils can easily be oxidized and rendered ineffective if it is exposed to open air and sunlight for long period of time.
What Are The Best Carrier Oils For Psoriasis
1. Coconut Oil
Almost all of coconut oil is saturated fatty acids, with most of it being lauric acid. Now, there is a raging debate about how healthy or dangerous the consumption of coconut oil really is. But the one thing that both sides agree on is the ability of this oil to repair and restore the skin’s lipid barrier.
Add to this the fact that lauric acid also happens to be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and it is easy to see why many folks vouch by the efficacy of even coconut oil on its own in treating psoriasis. Apart from this triglyceride, coconut oil also contains other saturated fatty acids like stearic acid, palmitic acid and myristic acid.
Together the trio boasts of superlative emollient properties. They lubricate the skin and keep it soft and supple. In addition, capric and caprylic acids lend the oil its occlusive abilities that help to block the loss of moisture from the skin cells, thus preventing dermal dryness and dehydration.
Coconut oil also contains a small amount of oleic acid, which gives it the ability to increase skin permeability. Additionally, the trace nutrients (vitamin E and iron) and sterols offer antioxidant and added anti-inflammatory benefits.
Moreover, coconut oil is also a powerful antimicrobial agent and since there is an ever prevalent risk of skin infections when you have psoriasis, this oils does go a long way in improving skin health.
To cut a long story short, in coconut oil you have a complete skin care solution, particularly for psoriasis prone skin. But, why settle for best when you can go several notches above it? With this combined gel-oil treatment, you will be doing just that. This is what you need:
For the gel
- 1 cup Aloe vera gel/juice (home extracted)
- 1 tsp matcha
- ½ tsp Calendula extract
- ½ tsp grapefruit seed extract
- 1-2 capsules resveratrol (1000 mg total) (optional)
Mix all the ingredients and store in an airtight steel/glass container in the refrigerator (not the freezer). The gels keeps for 7-10 days. To use, apply the chilled gel on the plaques and allow it to get to a semi-dry state. When your skin feels just a wee bit sticky, apply the oil blend below on top and allow the dual treatment to heal and soothe your skin overnight.
For the oil blend
- 30 ml coconut oil
- 4 drops thyme
- 6 drops sandalwood
- 9 drops sweet orange
- 3 capsules Vitamin E (puncture the capsule or cut open to remove the oil)
Mix the oils together and store in a dark glass bottle. Use as directed above.
2. Jojoba Oil
The striking similarity of jojoba oil to sebum is possibly attributed to its unique lipid profile. The oil primarily contains 2 Omega 9 fatty acids; eicosenoic and erucic. These triglycerides along with oleic acid give jojoba oil its superlative ability to penetrate through the dermal layers.
Because it closely resembles the chemistry of sebum and boasts of high quantities of wax esters, the oil not only works as a moisturizer but also doubles up as an occlusive agent. In fact, the occlusive effect comes without the oiliness and stickiness of petrolatum or other viscous oils.
The light weight and easily absorbed jojoba oil works as a soothing emollient and has proven anti-inflammatory properties. Put all these properties together, and it is easy to understand why jojoba oil is used extensively in the cosmetic industry as well as in the control of dermal conditions that result from an altered skin barrier. Here is a simple method to harness the benefits of jojoba oil to deal with the symptoms, triggers and comorbidities of psoriasis. You will need:
- 30 ml jojoba oil
- 2 drops each of ginger and bergamot essential oils
- 4 drops clove essential oil
- 6 drops each of frankincense and Roman chamomile essential oils
Mix the oils and store in a dark glass bottle. Use every morning 45-60 minutes before your shower. Apply generously all over your body, paying special attention to plaque patches and the major joints. Massage the blend gently into your skin, as you would a regular body oil/lotion.
The combination of the oil blend and the gentle stretching that naturally occurs as you massage yourself helps to heal the skin and joint soreness. Remember to only use warm water for your bath and limit your shower time to 10- 15 minutes. Pat your skin dry after the shower and moisturize within 3 minutes.
3. Almond Oil
A rich source of vitamin E and an excellent emollient, almond oil offers protection, moisturization and healing. The soothing oil has long been an Ayurvedic staple for treating dermal dryness and inflammatory skin conditions.
Almond oil is not particularly viscous; yet it is a superlative occlusive agent that not only protects the skin from external allergens but also prevents transepidermal loss of water, which is known to exacerbate dermal dryness.
Now, a lot of people would argue that the high oleic content of almond oil, which stands at a whopping 55% plus, gives this oil an amazing ability to get through the dermal barriers but the disruption it causes in the stratum corneum may prove counterproductive when dealing with psoriasis.
Actually, the high content of oleic acid is precisely the reason why this oil works for psoriasis. Even at a concentration of 10%, this triglyceride lowers the number of the Langerhans cells substantially. These are dendritic cells that pass the message of attack to the T-cells that sit in the lymph nodes.
These T-cells, in turn, trigger the inflammatory immune response. So in simple words, these cells are the messengers of trouble. Get them out of the equation and the trouble does not start or at least can be controlled.
Since oleic acid can bring down the number of these cells by as much as 60%, it is understandable why for centuries, this humble oil has been the go-to treatment for all types of inflammatory skin disorders.
So, how can you use an oil with fantabulous anti-inflammatory properties that also happens to enhance skin permeability? Why, in a gentle yet highly effective scrub of course!
Now, you already know that taking a loofah to those red and inflamed plaques is a strict no-no but there are so many other natural ingredients that can get the job done just as well albeit gently. This is what you will need:
- 2 tbsp chickpea flour
- 1 tsp neem leaf powder
- 1 tsp rose petal powder
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 1 tbsp almond oil
- 3 drops each of turmeric, frankincense and roman chamomile essential oils
- Almond milk as required
Mix the ingredients to make a syrupy/lotion-like paste. You won’t need more than 1 exfoliation session per week. So, start by prepping your skin the night before by generously moisturizing the plaques. You can even use the grape seed oil recipe below.
The next day in the morning, make the chickpea lotion and rub it all over the plaques. Work in an opposite direction to the scales or simply move in an upward direction. You don’t have to apply any downwards pressure as the natural adhesion provided by the chickpea flour and the slight abrasiveness of the other powders is enough to gently slough off the dead cells.
Whatever you do, don’t scrub your skin with the mixture; that is not how this is supposed to work. Think of it more like a gentle and healing massage.
You will have to spend no more than 3-4 minutes in each area. You will know it is time to stop when you feel the mixture getting thicker under your ministrations. That’s the time you take this to the bathroom and wash off the paste with warm/room temperature water. Pat dry your skin and moisturize immediately.
4. Grapeseed Oil
There is nothing extraordinary about the lipid profile of grape seed oil. It’s almost 70% Omega 6 fatty acids (linoleic) and less than 20% Omega 3 fatty acids (oleic).
If you were to only consider the benefits of its triglyceride content, you get a soothing emollient that also has the ability to transport other active ingredients to the deeper dermal layers. In terms of viscosity, this is a light oil that does not leave behind a sticky film, which explains its extensive use in cosmetic formulations.
But, what makes it a good fit for psoriasis skin? To answer that question, I will have to draw your attention to the minor constituents of this oil. Grape seed oil is exceptionally rich in phenolic compounds such as trans-resveratrol, catechins, flavanoids, carotenoids, epicatechins, stilbenes, procyanidin and others. These are involved in several biological processes that control oxidative damage and inflammation.
Moreover, it is a rich source of tocotrienols, think of these as vitamin E with super powers. Hence, you get more in terms of both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
With so many skin healing benefits, I would recommend soaking yourself in a tub full of grape seed oil if that were possible. Since it isn’t, I am going to recommend the next best thing. But first, why not add to the anti-inflammatory and soothing effects of this carrier oil with a few essential oils? Here is what you will need:
- 100 ml grape seed oil
- 5 drops each of litsea cubeba (May chang) and niaouli
- 7 drops Myrrh
- 2 drops of Cassia/cinnamon leaf
- 4 drops juniper berry
- 8 drops wrightia tinctoria oil (not easily available but very effective and backed by anecdotal evidence and the experience of Ayurveda practitioners. In fact, this is said to be a miracle worker for psoriatic skin issues). If you cannot find the essential oil, look for dried herb/leaf powder. Infuse coconut oil with the dried herb.
Mix the oils and store in an amber/blue glass bottle. To use, start by applying generously on affected areas. Next, soak gauze bandage in the oil. Wring gently to remove excess oil. Wrap around the plaque and cover with a thicker bandage (cotton is better than gauze for this layer) or plastic wrap. Keep both bandages/coverings on your skin for at least 3-4 hours, preferably overnight.
Other carrier oils that you can use include Borage seed, Tamanu, Evening Primrose and Andiroba.
Borage seed oil contains considerable amounts of Gamma Linoleic Acid. It can rejeuvenate the facial skin, and help to control Psoriasis.
Tamanu oil is a rich and soothing moisturizer.
Evening Primrose oil contains a high proportion of Gamma Linoleic Acid(GLA) and works similar to Borage Oil.
The stearic acid in Andiroba checks the overgrowth of skin cells. The linoleic acid present in it restores the regular life cycle and stops uncontrolled expansion of skin cells.
Natural Treatment For Psoriasis / Lifestyle Changes For Psoriasis
1. Get out and about
The last thing you want to do is add to the dermal inflammation with UV damage or even a sunburn. Ideally, opt for a product that contains mechanical instead of chemical sun blocks. Those with zinc oxide are the best since they offer protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
2. Let supplements help you out
Because inflammation is at the root of the condition, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements can help a lot in controlling psoriasis. Turmeric is considered the gold standard when it comes to inflammation control.
A combination of curcumin (the bioactive in turmeric) and piperine is considered to be particularly effective against immune-inflammatory disorders. Fish oil, shark cartilage, vitamin D, milk thistle, probiotics and evening primrose oil can also work against the ailment.
3. Say “NO” to stress
For those who suffer from psoriasis, no other factor/trigger can be half as detrimental as stress. In fact, stress is what keeps the vicious cycle of psoriasis going by triggering it and fuelling it. So, you have to do whatever it takes to control this factor.
Yoga, meditation, journaling, tai chi, massages and forest bathing can all help. But most of all, you need to be in control of your sleep. A sleep deprived body will always have more cortisol than what’s good for it. So, don’t scrimp on your 8 hours of sleep, no matter what.
4. Control your allergies
Certain foods, fragrances and medication are known to trigger psoriasis flare-ups. Avoid products that contain these triggers. Also be mindful of the fact that psoriasis makes you more vulnerable to skin infections, which in turn can lead to more intense flare-ups. So, don’t take personal hygiene lightly.
5. Kick your vices
Whether it is smoking or excessive alcohol consumption or even your fondness for sugary treats, anything that increases the level of toxins and inflammation in your body is bound to worsen your psoriasis. So, if you want to get rid of this ailment, start by getting rid of your vices.
What Is The Best Diet For Psoriasis?
At the outset, I want to clarify that there is only one clinical study that backs the efficacy of a suitable diet in keeping psoriasis in check. The findings of the study were published online in JAMA Dermatology in July, 2018.
The study involved nearly 3600 psoriasis patients, and researchers found that patients who judiciously adhered to the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables and monounsaturated fats (virgin olive oil), had less severe symptoms of psoriasis.
But the Mediterranean Diet is not the only dietary system that helps psoriasis patients. Many have reported similar results while on paleo, gluten-free and vegan diets. Although nobody knows as yet how food choices impact the ailment, what we know for a fact is that some foods do cause inflammation and that psoriasis is an inflammatory disease.
So, it is easy to connect the dots. Furthermore, a study about the triggers of psoriasis threw up two culprits: alcohol and sugar. Both are known to cause widespread inflammation in the body, with alcohol also to be blamed for severe dehydration. These findings have added weight to the assumption that foods do indeed influence the severity of psoriasis.
A lot of doctors believe that there may not be a direct connection between food and psoriasis but there may be a link between obesity and the ailment. Because the diets mentioned above inevitably lead to weight loss, they also help with psoriasis.
I say, whatever the link; it is certainly worth a shot because psoriasis patients are also at a higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular ailments, including stroke and heart attack.
So, it does not matter whether you shed a few pounds while trying to cure your psoriasis or control your psoriasis while trying to fit into your new dress, you will still be killing two birds with one stone. Here are a few tips that will help:
- Even if you are not a big fan of following any one type of diet, experts recommend that you should start by lowering your consumption of all inflammatory foods and removing at least one completely.
- Also, they advise patients to load up on nutrient and antioxidant rich vegetables and fruits; no surprise there.
- Don’t shy away from flavors. All those herbs and spices have killer anti-inflammatory properties. From thyme to oregano and rosemary to basil and also those pepper corns, cloves, garlic and ginger, all of these can help to heal your skin and your body from the inside.
- Include healthy fats in your meals, which will offer your skin some much needed lubrication and moisturization. Go for avocados, nuts, ghee (purified butter) and virgin olive oil.
- Go slow on refined carbohydrates; instead opt for healthy whole grains, cereals, legumes, lentils and beans, which contain several antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
- Stick to lean meats and if possible to white meats that are anecdotally reported to help with the condition.
- Stay away from gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol and fried food.
- In some people, nightshade veggies like tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers trigger psoriasis flare-ups. Maintaining a journal of your reaction to different food items will help you to know if these vegetables are a problem.
- Finally, don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated.
The Final Word
After I started making my own Essential Oil blends, I noticed that my skin loved these blends and it looked so much better. If you find that the blend you have prepared is too strong for your skin, add a little more carrier oil to reduce the strength. This information is most useful for teenagers that are known for their heavy handedness. Their skin is extra sensitive due to hormonal changes happening in their bodies.
One of the benefits of making your own essential oil blends is definitely the cost saving that comes along. However, the most important benefit is the speedy improvement in your condition.