The uncomfortable sensation of psoriasis can be extremely frustrating for sufferers.
From itching and redness to pain and inflammation, those living with psoriasis combat many daily struggles to keep their skin in good health.
While commercial remedies can help relieve some of the unpleasant symptoms, the approach toward holistic health has been rapidly increasing, and its likely some may have come across the idea of using essential oils as a natural alternative.
Topical application of essential oils has long been associated with wellness, and more and more research is being conducted on how these natural oils can ultimately benefit us - but how do they work on psoriasis?
We'll be focusing on some of the most effective natural remedies for psoriasis, how to use them, and whether they are the right choice for you.
What is psoriasis?
According to the CDC, psoriasis is not strictly a skin condition, but rather a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes skin cells to grow at an accelerated rate.
This increased growth causes red, scaly, and inflamed patches of skin that are referred to as "flare ups". If left untreated, these flare ups can lead to psoriatic arthritis as a result of inflammation.
Though there is no current cure for the condition, there are many treatments available to help relieve it - including the use of essential oils.
Can I use essential oils for psoriasis treatment?
In short, yes - but not as a first-line of treatment.
While there are few studies on the effects of essential oils in direct relation to psoriasis, many have concluded that application certainly does not cause any harm, and there's enough external evidence to support why the oils may have a positive impact on symptoms.
However, essential oils should never be the only method used to help treat the condition. If you do decide to implement them, make sure it is alongside your existing medications.
As with any new treatment, it's important to always consult with your doctor beforehand.
Essential oils are also naturally potent and, in some cases, can cause more irritation if not properly applied. Be sure to perform a patch test before using any new oils.
How do I use essential oils for psoriasis?
Creating an essential oil blend for psoriasis and applying it topically can be the most impactful way to reduce symptoms.
Using a carrier oil, dilute your chosen essential oils and soothe onto affected areas, being careful not to apply too much in any one place.
Another popular choice is to add a few drops of essential oil to your lotions or creams and apply as normal.
Since essential oils are so strong, they should never be applied without first being diluted.
What are some popular essential oils for psoriasis?
These choices are considered to be both objectively pleasant and incredibly useful for symptoms of psoriasis.
Feel free to experiment with as many options as you like, but remember to always consult with your doctor before trying anything new.
1. Lavender Oil
Perhaps one of the most versatile and well researched essential oils out there, lavender is renowned for its ability to promote relaxation and improve sleep. But how can it help with psoriasis?
This light and floral oil happens to possess incredibly potent anti-inflammatory properties, which have been known to have a positive effect on irritated skin as well as dryness and pain.
Lavender oil also contains strong antimicrobial properties that can help fight off infections in the area.
Ultimately, lavender's strongest asset against psoriasis is its ability to reduce stress - a factor which can cause frequent flare ups.
Inhaling the oil when you're feeling emotionally strained can help prevent these flare ups from happening, as well as improve your wellness overall.
2. Tea Tree Oil
Often referred to as a "medicine cabinet in a bottle", Tea Tree has been linked to the support of a healthy immune system for centuries.
As psoriasis is an auto-immune disorder, general maintenance of your physical health is an important step for avoiding flare ups and implementing tea tree could contribute positively to this.
Tea tree oil is also antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal, helping to ease inflammation and prevent infections over time.
It's important to note, however, that using too much tea tree can also dry out the skin and make matters worse. So, approach with caution!
3. Geranium Oil
Another floral addition to this list, geranium is considered a naturally gentle oil with incredible properties for the body and mind.
Studies have shown that applying geranium oil to the skin can help improve blood circulation, reduce inflammation, and relieve sensations of stress.
Commonly used in facial toners and cleansers, it has even been suggested that geranium can promote regeneration of healthy cells.
Like many essential oils, it is not uncommon for people to experience an allergic reaction to geranium, so make sure you always perform a patch test before applying onto the skin.
4. Peppermint Oil
Refreshing Peppermint (Piperita) is a favourite in aromatherapy circles for its punchy aroma and high menthol content.
In fact, it's this high concentration of menthol that gives peppermint its powerful properties, which include its ability to soothe itching and pain around irritated areas.
Lightly spraying some peppermint oil on psoriasis flare ups can help soothe and heal these patches.
Which carrier oils can help treat psoriasis?
Once you've selected the essential oils you want to implement, the next step is to choose the carrier oils you'll want to dilute them with.
Like essential oils, carrier oils are natural products, but are much gentler on the skin and can be used in large quantities with minimal irritation.
They are rich in vitamins and fatty acids and are commonly used to help moisturise the skin and hair as well as dilute more potent natural products.
1. Coconut Oil
If you tend to experience flare ups on the scalp, applying a hair mask using fractionated coconut oil could be very beneficial for reducing symptoms.
This is due to the oil's natural anti-inflammatory properties as well as its hydrating formula, which has been known to positively facilitate wellness and prevent dryness on the skin.
Coconut oil is also filled with healthy fats and medium-chain triglycerides (MTCs) that can help fight harmful bacteria.
For best results, try applying some coconut oil to your flare ups straight after a warm bath or shower to help with absorption levels into the skin.
2. Castor Oil
Most famous for its impact toward a healthy digestive system, castor carrier oil is also considered a sound remedy for skin.
It is a natural emollient, meaning it works to soften skin, prevent dryness, and speed up healing when applied on a daily basis.
Castor oil is also heavily moisturising and is even thought to help improve immune function by increasing the number of lymphocyte cells in your body.
The severity of your psoriasis flare up is also heavily determined by your mental state, so using these oils to keep stress levels low is also a welcome alternative to topical application.