Do-It-Yourself Home Remedies for Psoriasis

Dead Sea salt baths may help relieve psoriasis symptoms.

Whether it’s from a friend, a colleague, or a psoriasis support group member, you may frequently hear about a natural or complementary psoriasis treatment and be tempted to try it. These do-it-yourself remedies, when used alongside your traditional psoriasis treatment, may offer temporary relief from some psoriasis symptoms, which can range from itchy, flaky skin associated with mild to moderate forms of psoriasis to the irritation that occurs when you have a more severe form of the disease.

The fact is, however, that there's little scientific evidence to suggest that psoriasis home remedies work, says Stefan C. Weiss, MD, a dermatologist at the Weiss Skin Institute in Boca Raton, Florida. Still, you may find at least temporary relief by following some of these suggestions — and, as Dr. Weiss points out, it won't hurt to try. Just be sure to consult with your doctor first.

Potential home remedies may include modifications to your diet — such as drinking more water and consuming fresh fruits and vegetables — that are good for your general well-being, along with improving your psoriasis and relieving some of its symptoms.

Many people believe that activities such as yoga can relieve psoriasis flares and pain by reducing stress, which is known to trigger symptoms. “It’s impossible to avoid all stress in our lives,” says Colby Evans, MD, a dermatologist in Austin, Texas, and a member of the board of trustees of the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF)

But stress-management techniques — whether it’s prioritizing daily tasks, getting enough sleep, or connecting with support groups — can relieve a lot of those psoriasis-triggering feelings. People also believe that Dead Sea salt baths can alleviate the itching and burning associated with psoriasis.

Then there are spices and supplements that may provide anti-psoriasis benefits. Despite the lack of scientific evidence, psoriasis patients have reported some success with healthy oils like those found in avocado, coconut, fish, and flaxseed. Tea tree oil can relieve symptoms of scalp psoriasis when used in specially formulated shampoos. Besides its dietary benefits, olive oil can be applied to the scalp and hair, and it can help loosen skin flakes associated with psoriasis. Apple cider vinegar may also help relieve the itch associated with scalp psoriasis.

Whatever the home remedy, it’s important that you discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers. Do-it-yourself therapies should not be used as a replacement for your prescribed medications and treatments, but they may be helpful additions to your overall psoriasis management regimen. Check out these ideas for treatments that you can talk to your doctor about.

Fish Oil Can Reduce Inflammation, Boost Immunity

Eating a couple of servings weekly of salmon, albacore tuna, and other fatty fishes that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation, the hallmark of psoriasis. In addition, studies have suggested that people with psoriasis have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Consuming fatty fishes or taking fish oil supplements can both help decrease your risk of heart disease risk and improve your psoriasis symptoms. Fish oil supplements are available over the counter in capsule form at many food markets and drugstores. Some studies have also found that fish oil can boost the immune system. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, so this natural psoriasis treatment could help improve symptoms. One word of warning: Don’t take fish oil if you’re on blood thinners — it can raise your risk of bleeding.

Massage Therapy Is a Great Way to Relieve Stress

Some people find that stress triggers their psoriasis symptoms. Massage is a great way to reduce stress. In addition, clinical trials have shown massage therapy might be beneficial in treating some types of chronic pain (such as neck or back pain), which can often accompany psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. If you don’t want to go for a professional massage, ask your partner to rub or knead your muscles and other soft tissues to help you relax. Avoid using any massage oils that will irritate your skin, such as those with fragrance, and be careful not to lift or remove scales.

Yoga Can Improve Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis

Like massage, yoga is a great stress reducer. Stress reduction may help relieve the pain and itch of psoriasis plaques. Yoga also may improve your range of motion if you have psoriatic arthritis. The NPF recommends devoting 15 to 20 minutes a day to yoga exercises, which involve some meditation as well as breathing, stretching, and strengthening movements. You may want to take a class to learn the basics and then practice yoga at home, where you might feel more comfortable during psoriasis flares.

Shark Cartilage May Offer Relief at a Price

Research is inconclusive, but some preliminary studies suggest that shark cartilage — which contains a mixture of protein, minerals, and carbohydrates and is available in powder or pill form — can help relieve symptoms of plaque psoriasis. However, shark cartilage can be costly, and you may find relief with other, less expensive psoriasis home remedies. Women who are pregnant or breast- feeding should avoid shark cartilage. If you have diabetes, it may be off- limits because it can lower blood sugar levels. Always talk to the dermatologist helping you manage your psoriasis before starting a shark cartilage regimen. And you should be especially careful if you take calcium supplements, because taking calcium along with shark cartilage may lead to an overload of calcium in your blood.

Fight Inflammation With Turmeric, Supplements

Some people with psoriasis have found relief with turmeric as a natural psoriasis treatment. Turmeric is part of the ginger family; you’ll find it in foods such as curry powders, mustards, and cheeses. Other supplements that have been tried for psoriasis home remedies include evening primrose oil, milk thistle, and oregano oil, which are available in various forms, including capsules and teas. Though a few people report some success with turmeric and other supplements because of their anti-inflammatory properties, keep in mind that there are no scientific studies to back up these claims, Weiss cautions.

Drink Water to Keep Skin Hydrated and Healthy

Here’s an easy natural psoriasis treatment you may not have thought of: Drink water. Drinking plain water helps keep you hydrated, and when you have psoriasis, being well hydrated will keep your skin from getting too dry. Your body is up to 60 percent water, and you need to constantly replenish it. Using a humidifier is another easy psoriasis home remedy that will help keep your skin moist, especially in winter.

The Healing Benefits of Dead Sea Salt Baths

People with psoriasis have traveled to the Dead Sea, which borders Jordan, Palestine, and Israel, for centuries to soak in its salty water and experience its healing benefits. Though adding Dead Sea salts to your bath at home isn’t quite the same — “You’re not in the 100-degree dry heat that the Dead Sea provides as well,” Weiss says — many people find that Dead Sea salt soaks can help alleviate their itching and burning. To try this natural treatment, add a quarter cup of authentic Dead Sea salts (check labels carefully) to bathwater that is warm to tepid and soak for about 15 minutes. Be sure to apply a moisturizer soon after the bath, because the salt can dry out the skin and worsen any scaly plaques.

Remove Dry Skin Cells By Applying Tea Tree Oil

For centuries, many cultures have used tea tree oil to treat skin problems and infections. The oil comes from the leaves of the tea tree plant, which grows in Australia. When applied to the skin, this psoriasis treatment is said to help remove dry, dead cells. “While there is no scientific evidence to support the use of tea tree oil for psoriasis, some people report it works,” Weiss says. However, he cautions that it can cause an allergic reaction in others.

Eat a Diet With More Colorful Fruits and Vegetables

One of the easiest things you can do for your psoriasis is to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Be sure to include a variety of colors when planning meals — variety ensures that you won’t miss any important nutrients. Colorful fruits and veggies contain disease-fighting antioxidants and are rich in fiber, which makes you feel fuller and less likely to overeat. When you have psoriasis, you need to maintain a healthy weight so that any medication will be more effective. In addition, current research suggests that psoriasis patients are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke. A balanced diet packed with fruits and vegetables can lower this risk.

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