Psoriasis (pronounced suh-ry-uh-sus) is a chronic skin condition, that causes extremely dry, flaky, and itchy skin. It results from the formation of extra skin cells on top of the epidermis, causing the skin to become thick and almost scaly in nature. Unfortunately, it's regarded by conventional medicine as a lifelong condition, with no permanent cure available as of yet. For a deeper understanding on what psoriasis is, this guide will prove to be very helpful. Meanwhile, in this post we take a look at 10 home remedies and herbs you may use to alleviate the itchiness.
Using Natural Remedies with Care
To get all the benefits from the following herbs, most will require that you use their essential oils (natural extracts from the core of the plant). These oils should be applied topically. However, as they are very potent, they should be handled with care. With this in mind, essential oils should never be rubbed directly onto your skin unless they have been diluted with a carrier oil (such as a cold pressed coconut oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, olive oil, grape seed oil, or sunflower oil).
Take a bath: Add 6 to 10 drops of the oils in a bath, diluted in 1 tablespoon milk or honey, dispersed in water. Mix the water in the bath well before entering.
Apply Topically: Add 12 drops of the essential oil to 1 fl.oz (30ml) carrier oil, and massage directly into the skin.
DISCLAIMER: While these natural remedies will help alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis, it is always important to consult with, and get a proper diagnosis from, a medical physician.
1. Aloe Vera Gel
Available in a gel form, aloe vera is a favorite home remedy for burns, sunburns, and insect bites. It's also one of the gentlest ingredients you can use for psoriasis, keeping your dry skin moisturized. It's especially useful when stepping out in the sun, protecting your skin from UVB-damage, and may also be used in the form of a carrier oil (as a base gel), whereby you can add 12 drops of one of the below oils to 1 fl.oz (30ml) aloe vera gel.
2. Calendula Essential Oil
The calendula plant, also known as pot marigold, works wonders on skin conditions because of its firming and hydrating properties. It can also prevent skin damage caused by the environment, aging, and weather changes.
3. Peppermint Essential Oil
Due to peppermint's cooling sensation, it's an effective remedy in relieving itchiness and discomfort caused by dryness. Used in moderation, it will prevent damage to already irritated skin.
4. St. John's Wort Essential Oil
St. John's wort has long traditions in herbal remedies. It's a popular plant used for its anti-depressant properties. However, it may also be applied topically to treat minor wounds, burns and skin irritations. St. John's wort has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties, all of which are beneficial to people who suffer from this skin condition. Prior to use, it's important to consider any contraindications as it shouldn't be used with some medications.
5. Sunflower Seed Base Oil
Studies conducted on this base oil, have shown that it improves the health of the skin barrier, promoting elasticity and integrity, as well as improving overall hydration of the skin. It may be used alone, and is an excellent alternative to the more expensive moisturizing oils available, without compromising the oil's effectiveness to rehydrate the skin.
6. Licorice Essential Oil
The licorice plant has been found to alleviate symptoms associated with psoriasis. In a 2013 study, licorice extract was used on a dry, itchy, and inflamed scalp (similar symptoms to this skin condition). It was found that licorice was able to improve skin moisture and reduce itching and dryness. It was able to normalize the skin's lipids, improving hydration and texture of the scalp.
7. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Dry and cracked skin that results from psoriasis is often prone to wounds and infections. However, using tea tree essential oil can be beneficial in keeping skin bacteria-free. Tea tree extract is a natural antibiotic that can fight bacteria, viral, fungal, and protozoal infections found in the skin. Tea tree contains potent anti-inflammatory properties which can directly target inflammation caused by psoriasis.
8. Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile is an effective skin care ingredient for psoriasis. In a 2011 study, it was shown that German chamomile can relieve itching and inflammation when applied twice a day on skin lesions. Chamomile has also been shown to relieve the symptoms of atopic dermatitis by regulating the body's immune response system to allergens - this is especially important for people affected with psoriasis, whereby your skin immunity is altered and sensitivity is increased.
9. Gingko Biloba Essential Oil
This supplement is normally used for memory and neuronal health, however, it can also be used to maintain skin health. Applying the essential oil (blended with a carrier oil) to the skin will help moisturize deeply.
This well-known anti-inflammatory agent is recommended for people with heart and blood vessel problems like coronary artery disease. Eating garlic, though, can also have effects on the skin too. Its potent anti-inflammatory property can improve skin inflammation that is caused by psoriasis.