Baking soda for psoriasis

Can Baking Soda Help Psoriasis?

I remember as a child that we always had boxes of baking soda everywhere. If we got a bee sting my parents would make a paste and put it on the sting. If we ran out of toothpaste we would use baking soda to brush with. I remember my grandmother mixing it with water when I wasn’t feeling good to help ease my stomach pain. I’m not sure if any of these remedies was helping me or causing more harm than good.

So many uses for baking soda!

We didn’t have the traditional cleaning supplies that we used today. Baking soda was used to clean the floors, silverware, grease stains, coffee stains, get rid of odors. It was used for everything. Oh, how could I forget that we used it as deodorant too!

Sometimes I think about all the stuff that was given to us by our elders. They live to be in their 90’s and they never went to a doctor. The one thing I did notice was that almost everything they ate or drank came from the earth. Everything was made from scratch and they cooked a lot with baking soda.

Baking soda may help reduce itching

I have had psoriasis for 55 years and would scratch until I would bleed. My parents would make a baking soda paste to help with the itching. Research shows that baking soda can ease itching and minimize the symptoms.1 If you can’t afford a trip to the Dead Sea, baking soda might be the next best thing. This could be our “do it yourself spa.” It may help reduce flares but was not intended for long-term use.

We know that baking soda can be used for many things. When I was at my worst; covered from head to toe in scales, I would take baking soda baths which seemed to help my psoriasis. I would put in a half cup of baking soda in my water and soak for 15 minutes or so. Remember this is not a cure, but it did give me some temporary relief.

Adding baking soda to your bath

There is a benefit of using it in bath water. The main function is to help with skin irritations and to give some relief to the scabs and the redness. I believe that there are different strokes for different folks. This may work wonders for some people, but not help others at all. There is always new research showing how they have proven different things do work. I am grateful for the research that is being done to document any treatment options and find the accuracy before revealing it to the public.

We know baking soda is being used to treat a lot of things, such as bee stings, certain minor infections, rashes, and hives. Who knows maybe the benefits of this will work miracles in skin diseases worldwide. We will wait and see.

At home remedies our grandparents used

This could be a convenient and cost-friendly way to help manage symptoms of many autoimmune diseases, but I wouldn’t suggest starting to drink baking soda as a way to treat any illness without some direction from someone who knows what they are doing. There’s no way to know how much baking soda you need to drink and the time frame.

My father will be 85 in a few months. He gets up 3 days a week and goes to work. I ask him when he started using baking soda. He said he could remember his mother giving him baking soda to drink as a child. He has been mixing a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water every morning for over 60 years now.

Instead of going to the store and buying all those expensive products; just try baking soda. It’s good for acid reflux and heartburn. It can also help you to have a clean, fresh breath. It can be used for sunburns and I always keep a box in the refrigerator for freshness.

I’m hoping that more studies are done on this. I think our elders were on to something.

Editors note: Since psoriasis and psoriasis treatments affect each person differently and what may work for one person may not work for another it is important to review your psoriasis treatment options with your doctor and inform them if you plan on starting or stopping a treatment.

Treating Scalp Psoriasis at Home, Naturally

It’s important to note that home remedies can help ease symptoms but they’re not proven cures. The following home treatments are generally safe and may help you reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate scalp psoriasis. Those with more aggressive forms of the condition should consult a doctor before starting home treatment.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a plant known for its skin-healing properties. Creams that contain 0.5 percent aloe can help reduce itching, inflammation, flaking, and redness on the scalp. This cream should be applied up to three times per day to keep skin moist. It may take up to a month to start feeling and seeing positive effects.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar may help reduce itchiness associated with scalp psoriasis. Try applying organic apple cider vinegar to your scalp a few times a week.

You can dilute the apple cider vinegar 1-to-1 with water. Rinse the skin after applying to prevent irritation. Don’t try this treatment if your skin is cracked or bleeding. You should see results in several weeks.

Baking soda

Baking soda is a quick and easy treatment for an itchy scalp. Take a small glass of water and stir in one tablespoon of baking soda. Then use a cotton pad or washcloth to apply the mixture onto the area of your head that’s affected. You can even pour the solution onto your head to relieve itching and inflammation under your hair.

Capsaicin

Chili peppers get their heat from a compound called capsaicin. German researchers have found some evidence that products with capsaicin can help reduce the pain, redness, inflammation, and flaking caused by psoriasis. But more research is needed to understand exactly how it works.

Products containing capsaicin may sting skin. Avoid applying to open wounds and touching your eyes, genitals, mouth, and other sensitive areas after handling capsaicin cream.

Shop for capsaicin cream.

Coconut or avocado oil

Coconuts and avocadoes are filled with healthy fats that boost skin health. Massage a few drops of either type of oil, cool or lightly heated, onto your scalp and put on a shower cap. Wait 20 minutes, remove the cap, then wash your hair as usual. This can reduce and remove some of the scaling associated with the condition.

Shop for avocado and coconut oil.

Garlic

Garlic has strong anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants that improve skin condition, while preventing skin infections. While it’s smelly, it does appear to reduce scalp psoriasis symptoms.

Mix pureed or pressed raw garlic with aloe vera cream or gel in a ratio of 1-to-1. Put the mixture on the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes. After, rinse with cool water. This treatment is safe to use daily.

Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon grape)

Also called barberry or Oregon grape, Mahonia aquifolium is an herb that affects the body’s immune response. Because of this, researchers believe it may help treat scalp psoriasis by reducing inflammation and other symptoms. Look for creams containing 10 percent concentration.

Oatmeal bath

Adding a cup of raw ground unflavored oats to a warm bath and soaking for 15 minutes may help reduce your scalp psoriasis symptoms. Oats are especially effective for itching, inflammation, and flaking. Be sure to keep the affected area fully submerged when bathing.

Shop for oatmeal bath packets.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, taken in the form of fish oil and plant-based supplements such as flax may reduce inflammation. While the effects of omega-3s on scalp psoriasis aren’t proven, it appears safe and perhaps beneficial to take up to 3 grams of omega-3s daily.

Shop for omega-3 supplements.

Sea or Epsom salt

Soaking your whole body, including the affected part of your head, in warm water with dissolved sea salt or Epsom salt may reduce scalp psoriasis symptoms. Try to stay in the tub for 15 minutes and apply a moisturizing cream to your affected skin when you get out of the tub.

Shampoo

There are many specially made, nonmedicated over-the-counter shampoos used to treat scalp psoriasis. The most effective include those that contain the herb witch hazel, or those that contain 2 to 10 percent coal tar or anti-inflammatory salicylic acid. Use as directed on the bottle.

Shop for psoriasis shampoos.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree is a plant believed to treat inflammatory skin conditions. It works as an antiseptic and can alleviate the inflammation and redness associated with scalp psoriasis. Be aware that some people are allergic and sensitive to tea tree oil, and the substance has been linked to hormone changes in some people.

Turmeric

Turmeric is an herb well known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Those with scalp psoriasis may reduce symptoms by taking a daily turmeric supplement, or by trying to incorporate more turmeric — fresh or powdered — into their cooking. Taking 1.5 to 3 grams of turmeric each day is considered safe and possibly helpful.

Vitamin D

Sunshine may help relieve some symptoms of scalp psoriasis. Put on sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and spend 10 to 15 minutes in the sun. Consider spending time outside in the morning when the sun is less intense.

Talk to your doctor first if you’re taking medications for your scalp psoriasis, as some may make you more prone to sunburn.

Baking Soda and Psoriasis

My choice of ensuring my drinking water is alkaline is using baking soda (from my local health food shop). The amount needed is so small – just 1/8 tsp of baking soda to my 8oz glass of water.

However, it is recommended to alternate your alkaline choices by switching to fresh lemon juice and/or liquid chlorophyll (derived from plants) so you are not ingesting too much baking soda long term. (Always check with your doctor before starting a new eating program).

Baking Soda (Bicarbonate) is an alkaline substance naturally produced in the body that buffers acids and helps keep pH in check.

“Many of us think of baking soda as an ingredient used for cooking, or even something that helps to keep our refrigerators odor-free, but baking soda is surprisingly good for your health and home, too!” says Dr. Axe

Some of the most common baking soda benefits include:

  • Eases stomach pain

  • Helps with digestive issues

  • Relieves bloating and gas

  • Fights off diseases

  • Neutralizes acid

  • Kills fungi, mold and parasites

  • Minimizes cough and sore throat

  • Reduces the duration of cold and flu

  • Helps pH balance

  • Reduces the symptoms of gout

  • Promotes kidney health

  • Treats urinary tract infections

  • Reduces muscle pain and fatigue

British researchers found that adding one-half cup of baking soda to bathwater soothed itchiness and irritation in patients with psoriasis. I always add a soft gel capsule of evening primrose oil to may bath water also.) And a paste made of baking soda mixed with a little water and dabbed on sunburn, insect bites, allergic rashes, and skin exposed to poison oak/ivy reduces discomfort. That same paste also makes a nice, gentle exfoliant.

Use as a Natural Deodorant. Simply mix about a teaspoon of baking soda with enough water to create a milky liquid, and rub it on your feet and underarms. Who Knew?

Warning: Oral use is also safe, provided you do not exceed the recommended doses, as this could upset the body’s acid-base balance. Larger amounts can cause temporary nausea and diarrhea.

However, the amount I am talking about (1/8 tsp per 8 oz glass of drinking water and not exceeding 1 tsp per day) is not excessive.

Happy Healing.

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12 Best Home Remedies To Improve Scalp Psoriasis Effectively Kushneet Kukreja Hyderabd040-395603080 November 27, 2018

If you thought psoriasis could only affect the skin on your arms or legs or back, well you are wrong! Psoriasis can affect any surface of the body, even the scalp. Many a times, people forget that the scalp is essentially skin too It can get affected with the regular skin issues too – scalp psoriasis being one of them. If you do have scalp psoriasis, then this article is for you! Keep reading to know more about this problem and how you can treat it with home remedies.

Below, we shall discuss a little about the skin disorder first before delving into the best remedies you can try.

What Is Scalp Psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis is common skin disorder that affects many people. Those suffering from this condition develop reddish and scaly patches on their scalp. There can be a single patch present or multiple patches can also develop. This condition can also easily spread from the scalp to other areas such as back of the neck, forehead or even behind the ears (1).

What Causes Scalp Psoriasis?

The exact cause of scalp psoriasis, or any other type of psoriasis, is still not clear. But it is believed to be a result of an abnormality in the immune system. This abnormality may cause the cells in our skin to grow rapidly but these aren’t shed at the same rate. As a result, patches form on the surface of the scalp. A genetic predisposition may be responsible for this. Another factor that can cause psoriasis to flare-up is stress (1, 2).

Scalp Psoriasis – Signs And Symptoms

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  • Patches or bumps on the scalp (usually pink/red)
  • Silvery-white scales
  • Scalp dryness
  • Flaky skin that resembles dandruff
  • Inflammation or burning sensation
  • Bleeding (from scratching the scales) (3, 4)

These symptoms may not all be present at the same time and may be present intermittently. Although there is no cure for this skin disorder, there are other remedies that can help treat it and control the flare-ups that often occur.

The following are the best remedies that scalp psoriasis patients can try out to get relief.

Home Remedies For Scalp Psoriasis

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar
  2. Aloe Vera
  3. Coconut Oil
  4. Epsom Salt
  5. Glycerin
  6. Garlic
  7. Ginger
  8. Henna
  9. Listerine
  10. Shea Butter
  11. Witch Hazel
  12. Yogurt
  13. Baking Soda
  14. Coal Tar
  15. Dead Sea Salt

Top Scalp Psoriasis Home Remedies

1. Apple Cider Vinegar For Scalp Psoriasis

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You Will Need

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Q-tip

What You Have To Do

  1. Dilute the ACV with water.
  2. Apply this on the scalp using a Q-tip.
  3. Leave it on for 20 minutes and then rinse it off thoroughly.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this twice a week.

Why This Works

Apple cider vinegar is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This can help reduce the soreness and irritation of the affected skin. Its antiseptic properties can also help to prevent any infections from developing on the scalp (5, 6).

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2. Aloe Vera For Scalp Psoriasis

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  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
  • 6-8 drop lavender oil
  1. Preferably, extract fresh gel from an aloe leaf and blend this along with the lavender oil.
  2. Apply some of this on the scalp and let it sit for 20-25 minutes.
  3. Rinse it off with a mild shampoo.

You can also use aloe vera gel by itself to treat scalp psoriasis.

Apply this twice a week on the affected skin.

The soothing properties of aloe vera give relief from the itchiness and irritation. Its anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants help to reduce the swelling and treat the skin condition faster (7).

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3. Coconut Oil For Scalp Psoriasis

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2-3 teaspoons virgin coconut oil

  1. Lightly heat the oil to melt it.
  2. Apply this on the scalp and massage gently.
  3. Leave this on overnight.

For faster results, add a few drops of an essential oil to coconut oil before applying it. Best essential oils that benefit scalp psoriasis patients are lavender oil, tea tree oil, neem oil, and peppermint oil.

Repeat this twice a week.

Coconut oil is one of the best home remedies for scalp psoriasis which gives outstanding results. This will give your skin relief from the symptoms and lock the oil’s nutrients in your skin, preventing the dry patches from spreading or recurring (8).

If you do not have coconut oil handy, there are many alternate oils that can be used for scalp psoriasis. These include castor oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, mustard oil, hemp oil, and vitamin E oil.

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4. Epsom Salt For Scalp Psoriasis

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  • 1 tablespoon Epsom salt
  • Shampoo

Mix the salt with your regular shampoo and rinse your hair and scalp as usual.

Repeat this every time you wash your hair.

Epsom salt can do wonders for the treatment of scalp psoriasis. It helps soothe itching and infiltrates scales and plaques to give you relief. The dry skin will also be exfoliated by the salt (9).

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5. Glycerin For Scalp Psoriasis

Glycerin

  1. Apply glycerin on the patches on the scalp and leave it on as an overnight treatment.
  2. Rinse your hair as usual in the morning.

Repeat this once or twice a week depending on the severity of your patches.

Glycerin is a great humectant and emollient (10). It locks in moisture and treats the dryness and flakiness.

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6. Ginger For Scalp Psoriasis

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  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger herb
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. Steep the herb in hot water for a few minutes.
  2. Strain the tea and add honey and lemon juice for flavor.
  3. Sip on this tea while it is still warm.

Drink 1-2 cups of ginger tea every day.

Ginger detoxifies the blood and has anti-inflammatory effects on scalp psoriasis. It also contains antimicrobial compounds that will prevent infections (11).

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7. Shea Butter For Scalp Psoriasis

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Shea butter

  1. Using a double boiler, melt some shea butter.
  2. Apply this on the scalp and massage for a minute or two so that it gets easily absorbed into the scalp.
  3. Keep this on overnight and wash your hair with shampoo in the morning.

Repeat this once or twice a week.

Shea butter is full of rich triglycerides (fats) that deeply condition and moisturize the scalp. Dead, flaky skin will be easily shed and the skin will be left supple and hydrated. This butter extracted from the nuts of the shea tree is also rich in vitamin A and vitamin E. It can be used for the treatment of scalp psoriasis and also general psoriasis patches on the rest of the body (12, 13).

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8. Witch Hazel For Scalp Psoriasis

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  • 2 tablespoons witch hazel extract
  • 4 tablespoons water
  1. Wash your hair with shampoo.
  2. Dilute the witch hazel with water. On the wet scalp, apply this and massage for a minute or two.
  3. Rinse it off after a few minutes.

Do this once a week.

Witch hazel has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties that are key properties to treat skin conditions like psoriasis (14). Symptoms like itching sensation, flaky skin, and irritation can be reduced to a great extent.

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9. Yogurt For Scalp Psoriasis

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1/2 cup plain yogurt

  1. Apply the yogurt on the scalp and let it sit for half an hour.
  2. Wash the yogurt off with a mild shampoo.

Repeat this once a week.

Yogurt helps to reduce itching by moisturizing the skin. It also exfoliates the dry and dead skin cells from the psoriasis bumps (15).

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10. Baking Soda For Scalp Psoriasis

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  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 cup water
  1. Add the baking soda to the water and mix well.
  2. Apply this on the scalp and hair, and let it sit for a minute.
  3. Rinse it off thoroughly.

Do this once a week.

The antifungal properties of this powder that is commonly used for baking cakes can help reduce the intensity of the psoriasis patches. It can reduce the inflammation at the affected sites as well (16, 17).

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11. Coal Tar For Scalp Psoriasis

Coal tar shampoo OR coal tar gel

Use this product as directed by the manufacturer.

Repeat this as often as recommended on the product packaging.

The tar can help slow down the excessive skin cell production that is seen with psoriasis. The scaly texture of the skin will slowly return to normal. It can also give relief from itching and reduce the swelling (18).

Caution

Tar may not suit everybody. It is known to irritate and redden the skin. Conduct a small patch test to ensure your skin is not sensitive/allergic to it before using it for your problem. It is also advised not to step out in the Sun before 20-24 hours after using this remedy as tar makes your skin prone to sunburns.

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12. Dead Sea Salt For Scalp Psoriasis

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  • 1 tablespoon Dead Sea salt
  • 2 cups water
  1. Mix the sea salt in water and pour this over the scalp and hair.
  2. Let this salt water sit on your scalp for a few minutes.
  3. Then, wash it off with plain water.

Do this once a week.

This salt is famous for its beneficial effects for a variety of skin disorders. It is calming and soothing for the itchy and irritated scales of scalp psoriasis (19).

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Scalp psoriasis can be easily managed with these home remedies. Many people across the globe have tried and tested their effects. Keep in mind that no matter what remedy you decide to use, you do not use it on bruised skin or skin lesions. Such small cuts are common when you scratch the psoriasis scalps. It is best to refrain from scratching and make maximum use of these home remedies.

Here are some frequently asked questions about scalp psoriasis answered for you.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Is Psoriasis Contagious To Others?

Psoriasis is a skin condition that is characterized by the presence of scaly and itchy patches on the skin. It is not contagious! You cannot contract the disease by touching an affected person.

What Foods To Eat And What Foods To Avoid For Scalp Psoriasis?

Some recommended food items include –

  • Omega-3 fatty acids sources like fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna), olive oil, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, avocados, and flaxseeds. Fish oil supplements can also be taken for scalp psoriasis treatment.
  • Vegetables like carrots, spinach, kale, broccoli, squash, and sweet potatoes
  • Fruits such as mangoes, blueberries, strawberries, figs, and oranges
  • Eggs as they rich in vitamin D
  • White meat, low fat dairy, soy-based products, and legumes

Avoid these food items that are known to be pro-inflammatory –

  • Red meat
  • Processed food
  • Fried and fatty food
  • Dairy products
  • Food high in sugar
  • Nightshade vegetables like potatoes, bell peppers, and tomatoes
  • Gluten-containing items like wheat, barley, and rye

Apart from following these diet recommendations, drink plenty of water every day. Have at least 8 glasses, if not more. This will help in treating scalp psoriasis as your skin stays hydrated from within at all times.

Now that you know how to treat scalp psoriasis at home, you can do away with the strong medications that are generally prescribed by dermatologists to treat the condition. Natural remedies help not only in preventing the symptoms of scalp psoriasis but also benefit every aspect of your health as they do not have any side effects.

The right combination comprises safe home remedies and a healthy diet! Scalp psoriasis will be way more manageable if you keep these two important aspects in mind.

Take care!

Recommended Articles

  • How To Use Tea Tree Oil For Psoriasis
  • 8 Best Homeopathy Treatments For Psoriasis
  • Can Banana Peel Help Treat Psoriasis?
  • 6 Ways To Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Treating Psoriasis

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Kushneet Kukreja

She is a Biotechnologist, what we in normal English would call Scientist. While she is an expert in experimenting, she also holds an exceptional talent in juggling words and churning out content with just the right amount of sass added to it. When not saving the world with her articles, she likes to hang around with her Siberian Husky (because, aren’t dogs the best?). In her spare time, she likes a little ‘jibber-jabber, full of chatter’ time with her friends. So, what gives her the energy to do all this? If you ask her, she would say,”My cup of sanity – an extra large mug of coffee!”

28 Home Remedies for Psoriasis

The discomfort of psoriasis can be relieved or lessened — and many treatment options include common kitchen items found in your home. Just a little measuring, mixing and applying, and you’re on your way to feeling better. Try the following home remedies when psoriasis causes problems.

Home Remedies from the Cupboard

Try a vinegar dip. Like aloe, apple cider vinegar has a long history of being used to soothe minor burns and other skin inflammations, and it’s also a disinfectant. According to the Psoriasis Foundation, some folks with psoriasis have reported success in using it to treat their condition. As a liquid, it makes a great soak for affected fingernails and toenails — just pour some in a bowl or cup and dip your nails in for a few minutes — and apparently has even been effective when applied to plaques using cotton balls. It might just be worth a try. To prepare an apple cider vinegar compress, add 1 cup apple cider vinegar to 1 gallon water. Soak a washcloth in the mixture and apply it to the skin to ease itching.

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Pass the plastic wrap. Doctors have known for years that covering psoriasis lesions helps them go away. The cover-up strategy also helps to work medications into the skin and keep moisturizers in place longer. You can use regular kitchen plastic wrap, or you can buy special OTC patches (Actiderm). Apply your prescribed medication (be sure to confirm with your doctor first that the medication you are using can safely be used with an occlusive wrap) or moisturizer, then cover the area with the wrap. Don’t keep the wrap on so long that the skin becomes soggy, since it’s more susceptible to secondary infection that way; consult your doctor or pharmacist if you need more specific instructions.

Pass the warm olive oil. If psoriasis scale is a problem on your scalp, warm a little olive oil and gently massage it into the scale to help soften and remove it. Then shampoo as usual and rinse thoroughly.

Baking soda. To take the itch out of your scaly patches, mix 1 1/2 cups baking soda into 3 gallons water. Apply to your itchy patches with a washcloth soaked in the solution.

Epsom salts. Add a handful of these healing salts to your bath. They’ll keep swelling down and bring healing to your psoriasis.

Mineral oil. This is another time-proven skin soother. Add a bit to your bath and soak your aching skin.

Olive oil. An old favorite for easing psoriasis outbreaks is mixing 2 teaspoons olive oil with a large glass of milk and adding the concoction to your bathwater. Or if you are dealing with psoriasis on your scalp, massage some warm olive oil on your scaly patches. It will help soften the dead skin and make it easier to remove.

Plastic wrap. After you douse your patches in moisturizer, wrap them in plastic wrap to help hold the moisture in. Change the wrapping often.

Vegetable oil. Get in the tub and add a cupful of vegetable oil to your bath to ease your psoriasis.

the Spice Rack

Cayenne. Capsaicin, the substance that gives cayenne pepper its heat, helps relieve pain and itching by blocking the communication system of sensory nerves. And studies have found that a cream containing capsaicin helped relieve itching and got rid of psoriasis plaques. Look for a cream containing .025 to .075 percent capsaicin — any more than that and you’ll risk burning your skin. It takes about a week for the cream to work. It may cause an initial, brief burning sensation when applied to plaques, and it must be kept away from the eyes and mucous membranes because it can produce an intense burning sensation that is certainly irritating. But you may want to try a little capsaicin-containing cream on a small psoriasis lesion to see if it helps.

Home Remedies from the Supplement Shelf

Fish oil. There have been numerous studies linking the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil to improvement in psoriasis patches. The people in these studies had to take large oral doses of the supplement to show any results, but one study did find simply slathering fish oil on a psoriasis patch helped with healing. There are also commercial creams available that contain fish oils or derivatives of the oils. Whichever way you decide to use it, if you think fish oil might be worth a try, talk it over with your doctor.

Home Remedies from the Medicine Cabinet

Beat the tar out of it. Tar-containing shampoos, creams, and bath additives can help loosen psoriasis scales. Tar-containing bath oils are especially beneficial for psoriasis that is widespread on the body. These over-the-counter (OTC) products have been successful psoriasis treatments for many years.

Bring on the salicylic acid. You may also want to use “sal acid,” as salicylic acid preparations are sometimes called, to remove scales. Shampoos, creams, gels, and other topical psoriasis treatments containing salicylic acid are sold over the counter.

Try OTC cortisone. Nonprescription topical medications containing 1 percent cortisone (Cortaid is one familiar brand) can also relieve the itching and irritation of psoriasis, especially for plaques that arise in skin folds or on the face. Be sure to get your doctor’s OK before using one of these medications, though, and follow the package directions carefully; overuse of topical steroids such as cortisone can cause thinning and easy bruising of the skin.

Apply aloe. The gel from the aloe vera plant has long been known for its skin-soothing properties and for helping the skin heal from minor wounds and burns. Research in the 1990s appears to have extended the plant’s repertoire of possible benefits to include clearing psoriasis plaques. If you want to try aloe, you can buy the plant itself, split open one of its leaves, and smear the gel onto the plaques. For larger areas of plaque or a more portable balm, you can instead purchase a bottle of pure aloe vera gel at many pharmacies and health-food stores.

Psoriasis is no picnic — but its discomfort can be eased by preventing outbreaks through minor lifestyle changes and by treating outbreaks with a number of home remedy options, including baking soda, olive oil and mineral oil.

To learn more about other skin issues, visit the following links:

  • To see all of our home remedies and the conditions they treat, go to our main Home Remedies page.
  • For information about treating dry skin naturally, visit our Home Remedies for Dry Skin section.
  • Battling limp locks? Read the Home Remedies for Dry Hair page.
  • To read about treatments for an oily face, check out the Home Remedies for Oily Skin section.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Timothy Gower is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in many publications, including Reader’s Digest, Prevention, Men’s Health, Better Homes and Gardens, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. The author of four books, Gower is also a contributing editor for Health magazine.

Alice Lesch Kelly is a health writer based in Boston. Her work has been published in magazines such as Shape, Fit Pregnancy, Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest, Eating Well, and Health. She is the co-author of three books on women’s health.

Linnea Lundgren has more than 12 years experience researching, writing, and editing for newspapers and magazines. She is the author of four books, including Living Well With Allergies.

Michele Price Mann is a freelance writer who has written for such publications as Weight Watchers and Southern Living magazines. Formerly assistant health and fitness editor at Cooking Light magazine, her professional passion is learning and writing about health.

ABOUT THE CONSULTANTS:

Ivan Oransky, M.D., is the deputy editor of The Scientist. He is author or co-author of four books, including The Common Symptom Answer Guide, and has written for publications including the Boston Globe, The Lancet, and USA Today. He holds appointments as a clinical assistant professor of medicine and as adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.

David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

9 Treatments to Soothe Psoriasis

If you’re one of the 7.5 million Americans who have psoriasis, then you know how unpredictable the condition can be. While psoriasis can be treated in a number of ways, it’s chronic and cannot be cured. The effects of the disease vary from person to person, and it can exact both a physical and an emotional toll. That’s why it’s so important that patients work with their doctor to determine the best treatment options at any given time.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly plaques on the skin. It can surface on various parts of the body, such as the scalp, knees, elbows, lower back, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. The severity of its symptoms can range from a few spots of scaling to major flares that cover large areas of skin. The disease’s symptoms can go through cycles, with patients sometimes experiencing flares for a few weeks or months followed by periods of remission.

Most psoriasis treatments aim to stop skin cells from growing too quickly and to smooth out the skin. Effective treatments can help manage the condition and improve a person’s quality of life.

When it comes to choosing a treatment, doctors usually start with the mildest approach and go from there. Traditional treatment options include over-the-counter or prescription topicals that are applied directly to the skin and oral or injectable drugs that work throughout the body. Your doctor may recommend phototherapy, in which ultraviolet light is safely administered to the skin.

The connection between certain foods and psoriasis has not been scientifically established, but many people report that diet modification has improved their condition. Some patients, for instance, believe a gluten-free diet that avoids foods containing wheat, barley, and rye can help. “Anecdotally, it works,” even if there’s no scientific proof, says Stefan C. Weiss, MD, a dermatologist at the Weiss Skin Institute in Boca Raton, Florida.

Many people believe that activities such as yoga can relieve psoriasis flares and pain by reducing stress. “It’s impossible to avoid all stress in our lives,” says Colby Evans, MD, a dermatologist in Austin, Texas. But stress-management techniques may cut down on symptom flares. “The association between psoriasis, stress, anxiety, and depression is well established,” says Francisco Tausk, MD, a dermatologist at the Psoriasis Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

Some people say that home remedies, such as soaking in Dead Sea salt baths, or applying substances like olive oil, tea tree oil, and apple cider vinegar, can provide relief from itching and burning or reduce the redness of psoriasis.

Whatever options you’re considering, talk to your doctor first. Don’t try home remedies until you’ve cleared them with your dermatologist, and never substitute do-it-yourself therapies for prescribed treatments. Here are some traditional and alternative treatments you may want to discuss at your next doctor’s visit.

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