Health

Best Natural Ingredients and Oils for Psoriasis

High in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, olive oil appears to ease psoriasis symptoms in multiple ways.

Olive oil is a great moisturizer that does double duty as an anti-inflammatory to calm irritated skin. Apply a small amount to your scalp, elbows, or anywhere you have psoriasis plaques, says Dr. Burns.

Or, for a soothing full-body soak, add 2 teaspoons (tsp) of warmed olive oil to your bath water.

Evans notes that olive oil is also an important part of an anti-psoriasis eating plan. A growing body of research (such as this study) suggests that the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes extra-virgin olive oil, can help prevent psoriasis from getting worse.

3. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can help counter dryness caused by psoriasis by trapping moisture in the skin, says Burns. Gently rub a small amount on psoriasis plaques, as you would any moisturizer. You can also use the oil on the scalp to help loosen psoriasis scales.

4. Oatmeal

Found in many health and beauty products, oatmeal helps relieve the itchiness and inflammation associated with psoriasis.

To prepare an oatmeal bath that won’t leave your tub full of soggy bits, add a half-cup of dry oats to a leg of pantyhose, knot the top, and drop it into the water before you step in.

Evans cautions: “Oatmeal baths are useful to calm itching, but they also can be very drying, which may exacerbate psoriasis — inherently a very dry condition.”

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can help calm psoriasis itch, but Burns warns that it’s important to dilute the vinegar properly before using.

She recommends mixing one part apple cider vinegar to two parts water. Dab the diluted vinegar onto your skin or scalp, avoiding any areas that are cracked or bleeding.

Be sure not to leave the solution on longer than 10 minutes; otherwise, it might make your skin even drier and more irritated.

6. Aloe Vera

“I love this plant,” Burns says. “It helps reduce inflammation and can speed up healing time.” Its many uses, she says, include soothing minor burns, cuts, and scrapes, thanks to its strong antibacterial, antiseptic, and fungicidal properties.

Aloe vera also promotes cell growth and acts as a detoxifying agent. Researchers have found that compounds in aloe vera help skin retain moisture, which promotes healing.

You can use pure aloe gel, or look for creams with about 0.5 percent aloe content. Apply two to three times a day to soften skin and calm psoriasis flares.

7. Baking Soda

Baking soda isn’t just for cooking and cleaning: You can use it in your self-care routine for everything from whitening teeth to relieving the itchiness of psoriasis.

Burns recommends mixing 1 tsp of baking soda with a small amount of water to make a paste that you can apply to psoriasis patches.

Use with caution: “Baking soda can be helpful for itching, but, like oatmeal, it can be very drying,” Evans says.

8. Dead Sea Salt

People travel from all over the world to float in the Dead Sea, located on the border between Israel and Jordan. This body of water is 10 times saltier than the ocean and rich in minerals with purported healing powers.

To relieve psoriasis itchiness and irritation at home, add Dead Sea salts (or substitute Epsom salts) to a warm bath, then soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to apply moisturizer afterward to prevent dryness.

9. Pine Bark Extract

The pine bark supplement Pycnogenol has antioxidant properties, Burns says, which may bolster the effects of your other psoriasis treatments. A cream containing pine bark extract used directly on affected skin may help to reduce redness, thickness, and inflammation from psoriasis.

Just be sure to check with your dermatologist before adding pine bark to your beauty or supplement routine.

10. Mahonia Aquifolium (Oregon Grape)

Mahonia aquifolium is a powerful antimicrobial herb. A review of clinical trials found that in 5 out of 7 research studies, mahonia led to an improvement in psoriasis symptoms, with minimal side effects.

Look for a cream containing 10 percent mahonia and apply it to any mild or moderate psoriasis plaques.

Additional reporting by Beth W. Orenstein.

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