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For the last several months, I’ve been dealing with psoriasis on my hands. It’s some sort of pustular psoriasis, possibly PPP (Palmoplantar pustulosis). At its most active, there are small blisters filled with white fluid in the affected areas, combined with flaking skin, oozing and itching. In this post, I’ll share the home remedies for psoriasis I’ve tried, along with reader recommendations for other psoriasis treatments.
Note: I’m starting with some background to explain my situation and possible psoriasis triggers, so go ahead and scroll a bit if you want to get straight to the natural psoriasis treatments. This post shares my experience and the experience of readers, and is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
- Some Background on My History with Psoriasis
- Why the heck do I have psoriasis on my hands?
- My Psoriasis Symptoms
- Natural Psoriasis Treatments
- Home Remedies for Psoriasis from Readers
- Moisturize frequently
- Psoriasis Soothers You Can Buy
- Soak up the sun
- Don’t soak up the booze
- Spice up your bath
- Head to the kitchen
- Cover the cracks with cow cream
- Take care of mind and body
- Guard against infection and injury
- Watch what you eat
- Avoid certain foods
- Go electric
- 8 Home Remedies for Psoriasis: Do They Work?
- 1. Salt baths
- 2. Aloe vera
- 3. Omega-3 fatty acids
- 4. Turmeric
- 5. Oregon grape
- 6. Maintaining a healthy weight
- 7. Using a humidifier
- 8. Stress-relieving activities
- The bottom line
- 12 home remedies for treating psoriasis
- 28 Home Remedies for Psoriasis
Some Background on My History with Psoriasis
Back in 2015-2016, I broke out with plaque psoriasis over large areas of my body. It was a miserable experience. I looked like a burn victim. It hurt to breath, smile, move – pretty much everything.
I went to the dermatologist. They told me what I had, and said I’d best get used to it, since there was no cure.
I told the doc I was making some diet changes to see if it would help. She said what you eat doesn’t affect your skin. She gave me some prescriptions for topical treatments and sent me on my way.
Through a series of diet and lifestyle changes and some intense healing sessions, I cleared my skin completely. You can read the whole story in the series of posts listed below:
Psoriasis – The Year My Face Exploded
Toxic Skin – My Mother’s Nightmare
Psoriasis Causes – Mainstream and Alternative Viewpoints
My Anti-Candida Anti-Psoriasis Diet – MAY BE HELPFUL FOR OTHER HEALTH ISSUES
Alternative Psoriasis Treatments – BodyTalk and EFT
Topical Psoriasis Treatments – Relief for Dry, Flaking Skin
All was clear for the better part of three years – until recently.
Why the heck do I have psoriasis on my hands?
In March 2019, I noticed a small red irritated patch on my right palm. I ignored it for some time, thinking that I had simply gotten into something that irritated my skin.
It took me about a month or more to realize what it was – pustular psoriasis. My “old friend” is back to teach me another lesson.
The National Psoriasis Foundation notes the following about Pustular Psoriasis:
Pustular psoriasis is primarily seen in adults. It may be limited to certain areas of the body — for example, the hands and feet. Generalized pustular psoriasis also can cover most of the body. It tends to go in a cycle with reddening of the skin followed by pustules and scaling.
A number of factors may trigger pustular psoriasis, including:
- Internal medications
- Irritating topical agents
- Overexposure to UV light
- Systemic steroids
- Emotional stress
- Sudden withdrawal of systemic medications or potent topical steroids
Palmoplantar pustulosis (PPP) causes pustules on the palms of the hand and soles of the feet. It commonly affects the base of the thumb and the sides of the heels. Pustules initially appear in a studded pattern on top of red plaques of skin, but then turn brown, peel and become crusted. PPP is usually cyclical, with new crops of pustules followed by periods of low activity.
Going through the checklist, the most likely culprits are stress and sudden withdrawal of systemic medication.
I’m Off My Meds
I’ve been on Armour thyroid since 2012, but decided to discontinue use earlier this year due to a number of factors.
Last fall, I had a full body thermography scan, which showed no inflammation in the thyroid area. My thyroid tests have been largely stable for years. Antibodies were still high when last tested, but there was no growth in the lumps.
When I went to refill my thyroid prescription in January, the pharmacy switched me to Thyroid NP. It did not go well. I started having heart palpitations and my head was spinning and I just felt messed up. I tried half doses and still felt like crap.
German New Medicine and Hypothyroidism
About this same time, I discovered German New Medicine (GNM). GNM linked autoimmune thyroid issues with feelings up helplessness – which is exactly the circumstances under which my thyroid problems started.
From “Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s Disease at New Medicine Online“:
Hashimoto’s is an inflammation of the thyroid ducts. In essence a ‘hanging healing’ (PCL-A) where the healing phase has got ‘hung up’ due to ongoing conflict relapse.
The hypothyroidism occurs when the efferent or outgoing thyroid ducts swell and occlude, thereby blocking thyroxin from entering into the bloodstream. If we can assist in a completion of the healing phase – thyroxin levels will return to normal. Otherwise, supplementation may be needed to avoid a condition known as myxedema, which involves a swelling of the skin and tissues.
During conflict activity, the ducts will ulcerate (cell loss, cell negative) along with an elevation of “fight-or-flight” hormones. Only a slight tightness or pulling may be noticeable at this juncture.
The intelligent purpose behind this widening of the duct is to allow for greater secretion of thyroid hormone into the blood stream in order to assist the individual to gain control of the conflict.
Once the individual has come to terms with the conflict, the swelling or edema will occlude the duct preventing the expression of thyroxin into the body. It is believed that the thyroid gland has become hypoactive or even non-functional – this is a misinterpretation. It is the swollen ducts that are lowering the thyroid hormone bio-availability.
Letting My Body Heal
Given my results on Thyroid NP, the lack of hot spots on my thermography exam, the GNM information (I don’t feel helpless anymore sine my husband has a job and I earn some income from the website) and the fact that my hormones are naturally shifting right now due to perimenopause, I decided to get off the meds and let my body do what it needs to do.
I have not taken thyroid medications since January, and have noticed no significant changes in general well-being – until March, when I got an itchy spot on my hand.
German New Medicine and Natural Psoriasis Treatment
After looking up what conventional medicine had to say about psoriasis on my hands, I decided to check out GNM.
According to “Understanding Skin Disorders by Caroline Markolin, Ph.D.” :
Based on thousands of patients’ cases, Dr. Hamer found that a skin disorder is always linked to a “separation conflict” which a person experiences as if “my child, my parent, my partner, my friend … was torn from my skin”.
A Biological Special Program is in place to assist the organism in coping with this traumatic event. During the conflict-active stress phase, the skin loses epidermal cells causing a loss of sensitivity towards touch. The “sensory paralysis” is a natural form of protection from further traumas of this kind. As a result of the loss of epidermal cells, the skin becomes dry, rough, and may flake.
The resolution of the conflict is the turning point. Together with the healing that takes place on the psychological level, the skin also starts to heal by refilling and replenishing the ulcerated area with new cells. During this repair process, the skin becomes inflamed, itchy, blistery, and swollen. Skin disorders such as eczema, dermatitis, rosacea, hives, or herpes are therefore positive signs indicating that a natural healing process is running its course.
Dr. Hamer found psoriasis involves two separation conflicts. The active conflict shows as flaky skin, the resolved conflict shows red patches. The result is a familiar picture: silvery scales on a red surface.
Dr. Hamer discovered another biological rule: He found that if a right-handed person suffers a separation conflict over a child or his/her mother, the left side of the body will be affected; if the conflict is over a partner (everybody except our mother or our children), the right side will respond. For left-handed people, it is reversed.
Resolving Conflicts with Losing Loved Ones
Recently, I have been very conflicted/saddened by the thought of losing so many that I care for. My in-laws are aging. August (husband) has been working long hours at work and it’s taking a toll on his health. My siblings are dealing with more and more chronic health issues.
I’ve been working with my BodyTalk friend to work through some of my emotional baggage. I think it’s more than just loss of individuals, it’s a loss of self. We’re becoming the oldest generation, and that is a heck of a responsibility. So many times I’ve looked to elders for advice, and I’m not sure I’m ready to be the elder.
I have been using EFT to tap on my fears and sadness about losing those I love. I won’t say they are completely clear, but the rush of emotions has calmed a bit.
My Psoriasis Symptoms
For over a month (most of March and April), all I had was a small rough patch of skin on my right palm. Then something kicked it into high gear, and I spent much of May and the start of June with pus-filled blisters, red, scaly skin, flaking, itching and oozing. The palm of my right hand and inside of the ring finger of my right hand were the worst.
The left hand had a small patch on the palm and some rough spots at the base of the thumb (on either side).
Recently, with treatment, the ring finger is clear, the left hand is mostly clear, and the right palm was much improved. I have been pain free and functional, although something I did this past week caused a minor flare up with blistering and peeling again.
Natural Psoriasis Treatments
First off, I started watching my diet more closely, limiting sweets and potential trigger foods. Around 5/10/19 I started taking homeopathic thyroid support tabs to potentially help “bridge the gap” while healing.
5/16/19 I brewed up a batch of Four Herb Tea and started dosing again. (This helped with my last round of psoriasis.)
I’m also doing intermittent fasting, with nothing but a glass of green juice in the morning until around noonish (to give my body time to focus on healing instead of digesting), and taking Saccharomyces boulardii each morning on an empty stomach to crowd out any candida overgrowth and a good probiotic at bedtime.
The last week in May, my husband, youngest son and I went on a “reboot” diet where we ate nothing but veggies in various forms via the Grow a New Body system. I didn’t notice a big difference, but my husband noticed changes in his health (first he felt worse, then better).
Psoriasis Creams and Other Topical Treatments
I’ve been testing different topical psoriasis treatments on my hands, to see what helps – and what doesn’t.
Calendula creams seems to calm the skin down, but it also made it tender and a bit sore. Comfrey salve and plantain salve made the skin more bumpy, red and oozing. I had to stop with both. I tried neem oil, but it stunk and didn’t seem to help.
Colloidal silver salve with aloe vera, plain CBD oil, EM-1 microbes and witch hazel all seem to help.
I’m not 100% sure about coconut oil this time around. Last time when I had psoriasis all over, it was one of the few things I could use. I coated my hands in it after working in the garden this week, and the next day I had blisters again. I’ll be carefully doing more testing.
I’m also taking Epsom salt baths 1-2 times per week to help with detox.
Home Remedies for Psoriasis from Readers
After I posted photos of the psoriasis on my hands, our readers chimed in with home remedies for psoriasis that they use. I’ve gathered a number of them below. (Thank you to everyone who reached out.)
Natural Topical Treatments
Candice M. – “Looks like the stuff that’s on my mom’s hands. She used jojoba oil to help prevent breakouts.”
Tom – “I have psoriasis that forms on top of my ears and in my scalp near my ears. I have been using a product called MG217 for psoriasis. It is a tar based ointment that works just GREAT. It doesn’t cure my psoriasis but it clears it up it’s very soothing.”
Pattie – “Cortisone covered with Aquaphor and gloves will truly heal you faster. The Aquaphor softens and sides in healing. Do especially at night, put white socks on your hands. I cut off the toe and a place for my thumb.”
chancie_cole (Instagram) – “I have suffered from psoriasis for 16 years and I have found relief with a new skin care line that has cbd/hemp in the formula and it’s changed my skin… BIG TIME!”
Sylvia – “Try Neem oil. It stinks, but it’s supposed to help.”
Maureen – “Look into Satya exzema and psoriasis cream…organic and all natural…Canadian!”
Diet and Supplements
Meghan M. – “I’d purchase some MSM powder and add it to my morning smoothie. It’s a bioavailable sulfur that will get the inflammation of the hand problem under control.
My daughter had a hand that looked just like that, despite the fact that we were very healthy eaters. A friend, that is also a veterinarian, gave her some MSM cream and within days it was almost gone (previously it had taken at least weeks to end a flare-up). MSM is really cheap so it’s certainly worth a try :-).”
Karon – “I realized while at a beach house in Florida for my mom’s 95th B’day was that my psoriasis cleared up in the week and a half. All I’d done different was take short walks on the beach, so when I feel a flare up coming on I pop a 5,000 or 10,000 Vit D3 capsule for a day or so and it goes away before it gets bad. My doctor said it works for some but not others.”
mamamystic (Instagram) – “Have you read healing psoriasis the natural alternative by John pagano? The diet he speaks about cleared me up so quickly.” (Note – yes, I have tried this.
Shannon – “The only relief I have found is cutting out all white sugar, all grains, and white potatoes. Lydia Shatney put me on zinc and vitamin A which has also helped with healing. My skin would break out before and then not heal. Now it may flare a little bit, but I see it healing up really fast.”
Lisa Marie – “Detox, clean protein and veggie diet, and address digestive/gut health/microbiome optimization.”
Jeannie – “Drink a gallon of distilled water in a day it will go away in 3 days. ”
Maureen M. – “I too have palmar-plantar psoriasis. I make my own goats milk and aloe soap and a whipped shea butter moisturizer which I use every night. At that time my husband and I went on an Alaska cruise. My hands and feet were cracked and bleeding and all I could think of was I will never enjoy this trip.
I tried steroid creams and phototherapy and finally started Humira which put me in the hospital with cellulitis in 2015.
On one of our stops, my husband bought me a Philip Stein bracelet with natural frequency technology and I have been wearing it since. Could it be coincidence, maybe, but all I know is I am no longer in pain. The dermatologist even suggested I continue to wear it. I sincerely hope you read this and look into this technology, I truly believe it has helped me.”
There are over 100 comments on Facebook alone, so I was unable to include every suggestion here, but hopefully these home remedies will help others.
If you deal with psoriasis pain and have found a solution that works for you, please share in the comments.
If there ever was a medical condition that could convince Sherlock Holmes to get out of the business, it’s plaque psoriasis. Psoriasis symptoms are obvious—after all, it’s hard not to notice that maddening itch, the inflammation, and those bothersome silvery scales that usually occur on the elbows, knees, trunk, and scalp. But when it comes to finding its cause or cure, that’s even more of a mystery than Watson’s first name.
In Depth: Psoriasis
What is known about psoriasis is that it causes skin cells to go hyper. A normal skin cell takes about a month to mature, but in those with psoriasis, this process takes only 3 or 4 days. These skin cells are poorly developed, and they can’t shed fast enough. Instead, they pile up—forming raised, scaly “plaques” that itch and leave skin below red and inflamed. Psoriasis isn’t contagious, but beyond that, researchers can’t speak about the condition’s causes with any degree of certainty.
There may be a genetic link, however: In one in three cases, the disorder can be traced through the family, although it can skip generations. Also, doctors have observed that stress can spark new outbreaks (or make existing cases worse). Other suspected triggers include damage to the skin from injury, dryness, or chafing and reaction to certain drugs and infections (such as strep throat).
But instead of the proverbial heartbreak, there is reason to take heart. While there’s no cure as yet, you can control psoriasis and lessen its impact on your life. Your doctor has probably told you about tar shampoos and ultraviolet light treatments, but here are some other ways to keep those plaques from giving you flak.
All our experts agree that the most important step in controlling psoriasis is to keep skin well-moisturized. “A big problem with psoriasis is scale buildup, and moisturizers are extremely effective at preventing this,” says Nicholas J. Lowe, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine. “Plain petroleum jelly is a very effective moisturizer. But if you’re buying a commercial moisturizer, those that contain lactic acid, such as AmLactin, seem to work better. Also, Eucerin cream works well as a moisturizer for those with psoriasis.”
To get the most from your moisturizer, “apply it within 3 minutes after leaving the shower or bathtub,” advises Glennis McNeal from the National Psoriasis Foundation in Portland, OR. “We recommend that you pat yourself dry and apply the moisturizer liberally all over your body—not just on plaques. That’s because even ‘clear’ skin in people with psoriasis is drier than in people who don’t have it. It’s thought that little cracks on dry skin might encourage more psoriasis.”
Psoriasis Soothers You Can Buy
AmLactin Ultra Smoothing Cream 4.9 amazon.com $14.39 Bag Balm Ointment amazon.com $12.92 Eucerin Advanced Repair Creme amazon.com $11.52 Dermal Therapy Body Lotion amazon.com $22.93
Soak up the sun
Many psoriasis patients are prescribed a specific regimen of ultraviolet light treatments. Getting artificial sunlight from a special lamp can help. An easier and less expensive method is simply to hit the great outdoors. “We know that exposure to sunlight is extremely helpful for treating psoriasis,” says David Kalin, MD, a family practitioner in Tampa, FL. A moderate amount of sunlight enhances the production of vitamin D, which may be effective in controlling psoriasis.
Don’t soak up the booze
Doctors are still trying to find out for sure why alcohol exacerbates psoriasis. They suspect that alcohol increases activity of a certain kind of white blood cell that’s found in psoriasis patients but not in other people. (But it’s also possible that drinkers are just more highly stressed and therefore more prone to psoriasis.)
“Alcohol is a definite problem,” according to Stephen M. Purcell, DO, professor of dermatology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “It’s best to not drink at all if you have psoriasis.”
Spice up your bath
Bathing is often a catch-22 for those with psoriasis. That’s because soaking in warm water helps soften psoriasis plaques, but it sometimes dries skin and worsens itching. “One way to get the benefits of a bath without the dryness is to add a couple of capfuls of vegetable oil to your bath,” says McNeal. “The best way to do it is to get in the tub first, so your body soaks up the water, and then add the oil.” Another alternative suggested by McNeal: Mix two teaspoons of olive oil in a large glass of milk and add that to your bath.
Be extra careful stepping out of the tub, since oils can make surfaces very slippery. (Be sure to scrub the tub afterward.)
Head to the kitchen
To soothe itching caused by dry skin and psoriasis, dissolve 1/3 cup of baking soda in a gallon of water. Soak a washcloth in the solution, wring it out, and then it apply to the itchy area. Or add a cup of apple cider kitchen vinegar to the water and apply that to the skin.
Cover the cracks with cow cream
If your skin is cracked because of psoriasis—which can cause itching and more plaques—do what dairymen do. “They found that Bag Balm, a product originally used to relieve cracking in cow udders, worked just as well on their cracked hands,” says McNeal. “Then people with psoriasis found it worked great on their dry or cracked skin.”
Take care of mind and body
Stress is a known trigger of psoriasis, so managing your mental state—through exercise, relaxation techniques, or whatever mellows you out—is one way to keep your condition under control.
Guard against infection and injury
“Infection may lead to an outbreak or worsen your condition, so it’s important to try to avoid infectious disease,” says Dr. Kalin. New lesions may also appear on injured skin, so try to avoid cuts and scrapes.
Watch what you eat
“Although there are no specific links that have been proven, it appears a diet high in oily fish—such as tuna, mackerel, sardines, and salmon—helps reduce the itching and inflammation of psoriasis,” says Dr. Lowe.
Avoid certain foods
“Some anecdotal reports suggest patients do better when they reduce or eliminate tomatoes and tomato-based dishes—possibly because of high acidity levels,” says Dr. Kalin. “Also, some of my patients with psoriasis have noticed a decrease in plaques by avoiding or limiting their intake of pork products and other fatty meats, as well as caffeine.”
If you have plaques on your face, neck, legs, or other areas that require shaving, use an electric razor instead of a blade. “An electric razor won’t cut skin as easily, and every time you cut yourself, you risk new lesions,” says dermatologist John F. Romano, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City.
Sid Kirchheimer Sid Kirchheimer is the author of The Doctor’s Book of Home Remedies II (Rodale, 1993), the book from which this story was excerpted.
8 Home Remedies for Psoriasis: Do They Work?
Every case of psoriasis is unique, so there isn’t a single method for effectively treating the disease. Along with discussing treatment options with your doctor or dermatologist, there are home remedies that you may find work well for you.
Here are eight home remedies that have shown some promising results in providing relief for psoriasis symptoms.
1. Salt baths
A warm (not hot) bath can be soothing to the skin, especially for people with psoriasis. You can try adding Epsom salt, mineral oil, colloidal oatmeal, or olive oil to help with itching and irritation.
Bathing with Dead Sea salts in particular has shown a beneficial effect for treating psoriasis. The Dead Sea contains a wealth of minerals and is much saltier than the ocean.
In one small clinical trial, participants who bathed in a Dead Sea salt bath or a bath with common salt for 20 minutes per day for three weeks saw a significant improvement in their psoriasis symptoms. Those who took Dead Sea salt baths had an even higher improvement in symptoms compared to people who took common salt baths.
2. Aloe vera
Creams made from extracts of the aloe vera plant can be applied to the skin to help reduce redness, scaling, itching, and inflammation. The results of clinical studies testing whether aloe vera creams help with psoriasis have shown mixed results.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of a commercial aloe vera gel found no benefit of the aloe gel over the placebo. On the other hand, a study testing a topical aloe vera (0.5 percent) extract on people with psoriasis found that the aloe cream resulted in a significant clearing of the psoriatic plaques compared to a placebo cream. More research is needed.
According to the Mayo Clinic, an aloe cream may need to be used several times a day for a month or more to see any improvement.
The National Psoriasis Foundation doesn’t recommend taking aloe vera in an oral tablet form.
3. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are known to help decrease inflammation in the body. This can be beneficial for psoriasis symptoms. Inflammation is what causes the itchy, red flakes.
Omega-3s can be found in a variety of foods, including:
- flaxseed oil
- fatty fish
Fish oil is also available as a dietary supplement.
Research on omega-3 fatty acid supplements and psoriasis is mixed. Of 15 trials evaluating fish oil for the treatment of psoriasis, 12 trials showed a benefit in psoriasis and 3 showed no benefit.
More than half of people in a 1989 study saw moderate to excellent improvement in their psoriasis symptoms after eating a low-fat diet supplemented with fish oil for four months.
In a recent survey of 1,206 people with psoriasis, about 45 percent of those who added omega-3 fatty acids to their diet saw an improvement in their skin.
If you decide to take fish oil supplements, read the label carefully. Taking more than 3 grams per day can thin your blood. This is especially important if you’re taking blood thinning medications, like warfarin (Coumadin).
There haven’t been any large clinical trials on the use of turmeric in treating psoriasis. However, results of smaller studies using a topical turmeric gel have been encouraging.
A small study in 34 people with mild to moderate psoriasis found that turmeric gel applied twice daily for nine weeks helped improve the size, redness, thickness, and scaling of their psoriasis lesions.
Another recent double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial found that turmeric extract taken orally and combined with visible light phototherapy could be beneficial for people with psoriasis.
However, in another study, taking turmeric capsules by mouth wasn’t found to be effective in people with moderate to severe psoriasis.
5. Oregon grape
Oregon grape or Mahonia aquifolium is an antimicrobial herb in the barberry family.
Research has found that a cream containing an extract of the herb might help with psoriasis. In one open clinical trial, a total of 433 people with psoriasis were treated with a Mahonia aquifolium ointment. After 12 weeks, psoriasis symptoms improved or disappeared in over 80 percent of the study participants. The extract was also shown to be safe and well-tolerated.
Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 200 participants showed similar results.
6. Maintaining a healthy weight
Obesity not only increases a person’s risk of having psoriasis, but also is associated with having more severe symptoms. If you’re overweight or obese, research shows that losing weight could help improve psoriasis symptoms. Shedding some pounds can also make psoriasis treatments more effective.
Simple ways to lose weight include:
- eating more whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables
- eating lean meats and other healthy proteins
- eating less sugar
- cutting out highly processed foods
- exercising consistently
7. Using a humidifier
Try using a humidifier to keep the air in your home from getting too dry. Humidifiers add moisture to the air to prevent dryness that can irritate your already sensitive skin. The Mayo Clinic recommends a humidity level between 30 and 50 percent.
8. Stress-relieving activities
Stress is a known trigger for psoriasis flare-ups. Finding ways to reduce and manage your stress can potentially prevent flares or lessen their severity.
While no studies have been done to find out if the following activities have a direct effect on psoriasis symptoms, they have been shown to reduce stress in general:
- deep breathing exercises
- writing in a journal
Home remedies aren’t a replacement for your doctor’s prescriptions to treat psoriasis. Remedies like fish oil supplements, Oregon grape, and Dead Sea salt baths do show consistently strong evidence of helping with psoriasis symptoms. However, there aren’t enough large, well-controlled clinical trials to prove that these remedies work well for everyone.
Anecdotal evidence or results from studies that only include a small number of people should be taken cautiously and with some skepticism. What works for one person might not work for you.
Always tell your doctor before you start a new treatment or home remedy for psoriasis. Stop using any treatment that causes irritation, pain, or worsening of your symptoms.
12 home remedies for treating psoriasis
Share on PinterestGetting a little sunshine every day can help, but too much sun can make symptoms worse.
Using home remedies either alone or in combination with medical treatment may improve psoriasis symptoms.
However, some home remedies may interact with medications, so anyone who is thinking about using any of them should talk to a doctor first.
It is also important to monitor psoriasis symptoms to ensure that the remedies are not causing them to get worse.
1. Exposure to sunlight
Exposure to sunlight can sometimes improve the appearance of the skin when a person has psoriasis. People should expose their skin gradually and for brief periods.
The National Psoriasis Foundation recommend starting with 5 to 10 minutes of midday sun exposure once a day.
It is essential to cover healthy skin with sunscreen and clothing so that only the affected areas get exposure to the sun. If their skin tolerates it, an individual can slowly increase sun exposure in increments of 30 seconds each day.
If a person gets sunburnt, they should avoid any further sun exposure. They should also talk to a doctor because sunburn can make psoriasis worse.
It is the sun’s UVB rays that are beneficial for psoriasis symptoms rather than the UVA rays. Sun and indoor tanning beds mostly emit UVA rays.
People who use indoor tanning beds have a higher chance of skin damage. Using them can also increase the risk of a type of skin cancer called melanoma by 59 percent.
Many experts, including the National Psoriasis Foundation and the American Academy of Dermatology, do not recommend the use of commercial tanning beds.
Some medications can also make the skin more sensitive to the sun.
People should ask their doctor before trying sun exposure as a home remedy. Those with a family history of skin cancer may need to stay out of the sun and seek other treatments.
2. Fish oil or omega-3 fats
Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids, which fish and fish oil supplements often contain, can reduce inflammation and improve autoimmune diseases.
A 2014 meta-analysis found “moderate evidence” that fish oils might help people with psoriasis, which is both inflammatory and autoimmune.
However, the extent of this benefit may depend on the type of fish oil, the dosage, and the type of psoriasis.
Omega-3 fatty acids appear to be the most effective component of the oil.
It is possible that some people may experience side effects when using fish oil. Potential side effects include:
- a fishy taste in the mouth
People who take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), have a higher risk of bleeding if they also take omega-3 supplements.
People should follow dosage instructions carefully to avoid possible stomach discomfort. As fish oil supplements can interact with some medications, people should talk to a doctor before taking them.
Ideally, it is better to consume fish that contain omega-3 rather than taking supplements.
Omega-3 supplements are widely available to purchase online and in stores.
Capsaicin is a component of red peppers, and it has demonstrated the ability to fight inflammation. Even though the following examples of experimental research are relatively old, these are the most recent studies in this area. Both show that capsaicin can improve psoriasis symptoms.
In 1986, in a study that featured in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 44 people with moderate-to-severe symptoms applied a topical capsaicin cream for 6 weeks.
Nearly half of the group noted burning, stinging, itching, and redness on first applying the cream, but this stopped or vastly decreased as they continued using it. The researchers suggested that capsaicin might be a useful treatment for psoriasis.
In 1993, another study investigated the use of substance P, a component of capsaicin, for pruritic psoriasis. The 98 participants who used the cream four times a day for 6 weeks reported more significant improvements in skin thickness, scaling, redness, and itching than those in the placebo group.
However, some participants reported side effects, including a stinging sensation in the area where they applied the cream.
There appears to be little additional research to support these findings.
Capsaicin creams are available online as well as in pharmacies and health food stores as well as online.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are present in yogurt and fermented foods. People can also consume them in supplements.
Having the right balance of bacteria in the body may help the immune system. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, so probiotics may be helpful in managing symptoms.
Research suggests that a specific type of probiotic called Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 may help regulate inflammatory responses in the body that contribute to psoriasis symptoms.
Share on PinterestCurcumin has anti-inflammatory properties and may help in treating psoriasis.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in the spice turmeric. It may lessen inflammation in the body, and it may also reduce psoriatic activity.
The authors of a recent review of research stated that there is lots of evidence to support the therapeutic effect of curcumin in treating psoriasis.
Prior to that, the findings of a 2016 study in mice led researchers to conclude that curcumin has “great potential to treat psoriasis.”
Curcumin is available for purchase online or in stores in pill or capsule form.
For more information about how curcumin can help people with psoriasis, to see our dedicated article.
6. Oregon grape
Oregon grape, or Mahonia aquifolium, is an herbal remedy that may help calm the immune response in psoriasis.
In a report on three clinical trials involving a total of 104 people, the authors conclude that M. aquifolium cream is a “safe and effective” treatment for mild-to-moderate psoriasis.
In 2018, authors reviewing the evidence to support treating psoriasis with M. aquifolium found seven studies investigating its use. They concluded that M. aquifolium can improve symptoms and is safe and effective with few side effects.
7. Aloe vera
Share on PinterestAloe vera cream may help soothe redness, inflammation, and scaling.
Traditional medicine has long used the gel from inside the aloe vera plant to treat skin wounds. Applying an ointment containing aloe vera may also help reduce the redness, scaling, and inflammation that psoriasis causes.
A 2018 study, in which 2,248 people with mild-to-moderate psoriasis used an ointment containing either 50 percent propolis and 3 percent aloe vera or a placebo, suggested that aloe vera might be helpful for people with this condition.
Those who used the preparation containing aloe vera experienced a “noteworthy improvement” in their symptoms.
However, before this, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) noted that only two randomized placebo-controlled trials had looked at the effect of aloe vera for treating psoriasis. One showed that it was helpful, while the other showed that it had no effect.
People should apply aloe vera directly to the skin and avoid taking it internally.
The National Psoriasis Foundation recommend choosing a cream or gel that contains at least 0.5 percent aloe.
Many health food stores carry aloe creams and gels, which are also available to purchase online.
8. Apple cider vinegar
Anecdotal evidence suggests that apple cider vinegar might help soothe itching and burning resulting from scalp psoriasis, although it is not suitable for applying to areas of broken or cracked skin.
It contains natural germ-killing properties and can be soothing for the scalp.
For a gentler treatment, a person can dilute the vinegar with an equal amount of water. If it burns during or after application, it is vital to stop using it.
There does not appear to be any scientific evidence to support the use of apple cider vinegar for psoriasis.
Share on PinterestMoisturizer is a standard treatment and important for skin hydration.
Itching and flaking can make psoriasis look and feel worse, so it is essential to keep skin moisturized.
The AAD note that moisturizing creams, or emollients, are a standard treatment to use alongside other therapies.
Applying a heavy ointment or thick cream three times a day may help control symptoms and keep skin feeling comfortable.
People should look for products that are free of fragrances and dyes with the label “for sensitive skin.”
A cream that contains aloe vera may help.
Moisturizers that are suitable for people with psoriasis are available for purchase online.
Doctors may also recommend topical treatments and creams containing coal tar, salicylic acid, and other medicinal ingredients.
10. Wet dressings and warm baths with salts or oats
Baths and showers can be relaxing, but those that are too long or too hot can strip the skin of its oils, and this can make psoriasis worse.
Some people find that a warm bath containing colloidal oatmeal or Epsom salts is soothing and relieves symptoms.
According to research, an oatmeal bath or a wet dressing can reduce itching, and a warm bath containing a suitable bath oil can help moisturize the skin.
In 2005, researchers found evidence that Dead Sea salts might help with dry skin. Volunteers immersed a forearm in water with a 5-percent concentration of magnesium salts, the most common minerals in the Dead Sea, for 15 minutes.
The participants’ skin barrier function improved, their skin hydration was better, and they had reduced roughness and inflammation compared with the control group who used tap water instead.
After bathing, applying an appropriate moisturizer while the skin is still damp can help prevent moisture loss.
11. Exercise and diet
Some people with psoriasis may be more likely to be overweight and have a higher risk of some other conditions, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Exercise can help lower the risk of these additional problems.
Diet is also key to maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding cardiovascular and other types of disease.
Tips that may help include:
- avoiding sugar
- drinking plenty of water
- cutting out trans fats, which are present in many fast and processed foods
- eating foods with anti-inflammatory properties, including many fruits and vegetables
For more information about what to eat, to see our dedicated article.
12. Other alternative therapies
Share on PinterestYoga can reduce stress, which is a trigger for psoriasis.
Other home remedies that people have tried include:
- yoga or tai chi
There is no evidence that any of these can specifically benefit a person with psoriasis.
However, acupuncture and massage can help relieve pain, and they may be beneficial for someone who has psoriatic arthritis.
People should speak to their doctor before undergoing any treatment that might involve essential oils, such as a massage, as some of these products may make symptoms worse. A doctor can offer advice on suitable products.
28 Home Remedies for Psoriasis
Imagine having an unwanted guest show up on your doorstep. No one knows who invited him, and no one really wants him there. He’s one of the most annoying people you’ve ever met. And his personality is so abrasive, you’re embarrassed to take him anywhere.
If you have psoriasis or know anyone with this frustrating skin condition, you know that it’s much like that uninvited guest. It shows up in the form of dry, inflamed, red, scaly patches of skin. Not only are psoriasis flare-ups aggravating, they make people with the condition so self-conscious about their appearance that they’re reluctant to go to the grocery store without ample covering. Probably most frustrating of all is that there’s no magic formula to kick this guest out of town indefinitely. You have to learn how to deal with flare-ups as they come, and take good care of yourself and your skin.
With psoriasis, that means taking precautions to prevent outbreaks, such as using heavy moisturizers and leading an overall healthy lifestyle, and, if psoriasis does cause your skin to breakout into dry, red patches, treating it quickly. In this article, we’ll discuss 28 home remedies — some consisting of simple ingredients found in your kitchen — to help treat psoriasis discomfort, and simple everyday changes you can make to help prevent outbreaks. Let’s start by discussing what psoriasis does to skin.
The Psoriasis Puzzle
Normally, your skin cells go through a month-long life cycle. New cells are formed deep within the skin, and over a period of about 28 to 30 days they make their way to the top of the skin. By that time your old skin cells die and are sloughed off by everyday routines such as showering and toweling off.
The skin of a person with psoriasis, however, goes into fast-forward. The entire skin cell process happens in three or four days, causing a buildup of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. Thankfully, this quickening of skin cells usually happens in patches, mostly on the scalp, lower back, elbows, knees, and knuckles. The technical term for these dry, irritating, scaly patches is plaques.
No one really knows what psoriasis is — an allergy? An infection? And even with all the advanced medical knowledge in the world today, the causes of the condition remain a mystery. In about 32 percent of psoriasis cases, there’s a family history of the condition, which means there is a significant genetic link. Doctors do know that there are specific lifestyle factors that can trigger psoriasis or make symptoms worse. Drinking alcohol, being overweight, stress, a lingering case of strep throat, anxiety, some medicines, and sunburn all tend to make psoriasis even more unbearable.
Psoriasis isn’t contagious, though it looks like it might be. Some people end up with mild cases of the condition that produce small patches of red scales. Others are plagued by psoriasis — it covers large areas of their body with thick scales. Some people even get psoriasis in their nails, which causes the nails to become pitted and malformed and even to break away from the skin. And in some rare cases, a type of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis develops.
Though there is no way to get rid of psoriasis, you can help avoid it, help your body recover more quickly and ease your symptoms with some simple home remedies, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
- 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.
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.
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For most kids, psoriasis is limited to just a few patches that usually respond well to treatment. More serious cases might need more aggressive treatment. But the good news is that there are many options. If one treatment doesn’t work, another probably will.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis (suh-RYE-uh-sus) is a non-contagious disease that causes skin cells to build up on the surface of the skin, forming itchy red raised areas (plaques) and thick scales. It can appear anywhere on the body but is most commonly found on the scalp, knees, elbows, and torso.
Psoriasis is a long-lasting (chronic) condition that can get better or worse, seemingly at random. It may go away completely before suddenly reappearing.
For many kids, psoriasis is just a minor inconvenience; for others, though, it can be quite serious. Psoriasis can lead kids to feel self-conscious about their appearance. Sometimes that affects their emotions, and some kids may develop low self-esteem and even depression as a result.
Right now, there’s no cure for psoriasis, but a number of good options are available to treat the symptoms. Lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy diet and weight, also can help ease the symptoms.
What Causes Psoriasis?
Doctors aren’t sure why people get psoriasis, but they do know how the disease works. White blood cells known as T lymphocytes or T cells are part of the immune system. They travel through the bloodstream fighting off bacteria, viruses, and other things that cause illnesses. When someone has psoriasis, however, T cells attack healthy skin as if they were trying to fight an infection or heal a wound.
Skin cells, which are made deep in the skin, normally take about a month to rise to the surface, where they die and are sloughed off. When psoriasis triggers T cells to attack healthy skin, the immune system responds by sending more blood to the area and making more skin cells and more white blood cells. This forces skin cells to rise to the surface in a few days instead of a month. The dead skin and white blood cells can’t be shed quickly enough, and they build up on the surface of the skin as thick, red patches. As the skin cells die, they form silvery scales that eventually flake off.
Psoriasis isn’t contagious. Some people inherit the genes that make them susceptible to having it. Many with psoriasis have an immediate family member who also has the disease.
Risk factors that can increase the chances of psoriasis outbreaks include:
- Infections. Strep throat, colds, and other infectious diseases trigger the body’s immune system to respond, making a psoriasis outbreak more likely.
- Obesity. The plaques that are produced by many kinds of psoriasis often develop in folds of skin.
- Certain medicines. Lithium, beta-blockers for high blood pressure, and drugs used to prevent malaria have been shown to increase the risk of psoriasis.
- Stress. High stress levels can have an effect on the body’s immune system and can make psoriasis symptoms worse.
- Skin irritations. Cuts, scratches, sunburns, rashes, and other irritations that affect the skin can make a psoriasis outbreak more likely.
- Cold weather. In the winter, kids generally spend more time indoors and get less sun. A moderate amount of direct sunlight can help to improve psoriasis.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Psoriasis?
People with psoriasis will most likely have one or more of these symptoms:
- raised red patches of skin that can have silvery scales on them
- dry, cracked skin that may bleed at times
- itching, soreness, or a burning sensation in the affected area
- thick, pitted fingernails
There are many different types of psoriasis that all have their own symptoms. Common types include:
- Plaque psoriasis. By far the most common type of psoriasis, this causes dry red patches (plaques) and silvery scales. Plaques can appear anywhere on the skin but most often are on the knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp. They can be itchy and painful and may crack and bleed.
- Guttate psoriasis. This most often affects people younger than 30 and often shows up after an illness, especially strep throat. It causes small red spots, usually on the trunk, arms, and legs. Spots also can appear on the face, scalp, and ears or where someone had plaque psoriasis.
- Pustular psoriasis. This type of psoriasis causes the skin to become red, swollen, and covered with pus-filled bumps. Usually, this is on the soles of the feet or the palms and fingertips. Sometimes, though, it covers large areas of the body. This is known as generalized pustular psoriasis, and can sometimes be accompanied by fever, chills, severe itching, and fatigue.
- Inverse psoriasis. This causes smooth, raw-looking patches of red skin that feel sore. The patches develop in places where skin is touching skin, such as the armpits, buttocks, upper eyelids, groin and genitals, or under a woman’s breasts.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis. This type of psoriasis is rare. It can cause a bright red rash that covers the entire body, making the skin look as if it has been burned. It’s often accompanied by intense itching and pain, a fast heartbeat, and an inability to maintain a proper body temperature.
How Is Psoriasis Diagnosed?
Usually, diagnosis of psoriasis is fairly straightforward. The doctor will physically examine your child’s skin, scalp, and nails and ask you and your child some questions. The doctor may ask if anyone in your family has psoriasis and if your child recently had an illness or started a new medication.
On rare occasions, the doctor may remove a skin sample (do a biopsy) to examine it more closely. A biopsy can tell the doctor whether it’s psoriasis or another condition with similar symptoms.
How Is Psoriasis Treated?
There are lots of ways to treat psoriasis, and different things work for different people. Be sure to talk with a doctor to figure out what treatments work best for your child.
Psoriasis treatments fall into three categories:
- Topical treatments are creams, lotions, and ointments applied directly to the skin. These include moisturizers, prescription corticosteroids and vitamin D creams, and shampoos made with salicylic acid or coal tar. Topical treatments can effectively treat many types of mild to moderate psoriasis, but can be a little messy.
- Light therapy (phototherapy) involves using natural or artificial ultraviolet (UV) light to treat the psoriasis symptoms. A doctor may recommend brief daily exposure to the sun, but too much sunlight can make psoriasis worse. More aggressive forms of light therapy include using controlled doses of UV light on the affected skin, laser therapy, and therapies that combine UV light with medicines and topical treatments.
- Oral or injected medications are used to treat severe psoriasis or psoriasis that resists other treatments. They include pills, shots, and medicines given intravenously (through an IV into a vein). Some of these can have serious side effects and might be prescribed for short periods of time only.
A doctor might try one therapy and then switch to another, or recommend a combination of therapies. It’s not always easy to find a therapy that works, and sometimes what works for a time will stop being effective. It’s important to work closely with the doctor to stay on top of your child’s treatment.
Things You Can Do at Home
Besides following your doctor’s advice, you can help your child by making healthy lifestyle choices:
- Serve healthy foods. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables can help fend off diseases that might trigger psoriasis.
- Help your child stay at a healthy weight. This decreases the risk of inverse psoriasis.
- Remind your child to keep skin clean and well moisturized. Bathing daily with bath salts or oils and then applying moisturizer can help ease the symptoms of psoriasis.
- Spend time outdoors. Limited amounts of natural light can help with psoriasis.
- Give your child emotional support. Many kids who have emotional problems due to their psoriasis can benefit from talking with a therapist or joining a support group of people who understand the challenges of dealing with psoriasis.
Most psoriasis will respond well to treatment, but it’s important to stay on top of it. If your child should apply an ointment twice a day, remind him or her to do so; if a little more sun is recommended, join your child for a daily walk. Your efforts, and your child’s, will help control psoriasis symptoms.
Reviewed by: Rupal Christine Gupta, MD Date reviewed: April 2015