People with psoriasis are always uncomfortable. In a normal day-to-day life, this ailment can be a serious drawback. What can one do when there’re so many drugs to help you manage it? You can try some essential oils for psoriasis as a complementary treatment.
In this post, you’ll be reading more about:
- Psoriasis at a first glance. A few details about the skin condition to further help you in your reading.
- Conventional treatment and the way essential oils can help you soothe psoriasis.
- The best oils to use for psoriasis relief. With pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.
- How to use your psoriasis essential oils (with the best carriers and butters to help).
- A few practical and easy essential oil mixtures for psoriasis.
- Facts, symptoms, causes, and types of psoriasis.
- Plus, a few useful skin care tips for a healthy psoriasis management.
Best Essential Oils for Psoriasis (Pros, Cons & Studies), plus Skin Care Recipes
The good thing about psoriasis (if we can call it so) is that it’s not contagious. It’s not due to any infection, whether bacterial or viral. Instead, it’s an inflammatory, autoimmune skin disorder.
Psoriasis affects 2 – 4% of the world population, which is a lot. Its exact origins and trigger factors are not yet known. There are, however, lots of good theories and links that may help manage the disorder.
The way psoriasis looks is not nice. There are scales, it’s hard to touch, and it sticks out like a sore thumb. Sometimes it’s also red and inflamed, cracked and even bloody.
Psoriasis can affect certain body areas (elbows, neck, etc.) or entire body areas (the back, arms, etc.). Depending on many factors, the symptoms may come and go with regularity. More about these details in the last part of the post.
Fortunately, there are ways to soothe psoriasis flare-ups. You can do so naturally too. Aromatherapy ingredients like essential oils, carriers and hydrosols can help.
How Can Essential Oils Help with Psoriasis?
Aromatherapy is a form of CAM. CAM stands for complementary and alternative medicine.
When it comes to psoriasis, Aromatherapy should be a complementary treatment. It should never be your main treatment protocol because the condition is very complex.
You should visit a dermatologist first, to find the right treatment to manage your psoriasis. While there, tell him/her about your intentions of using Aromatherapy. Go prepared and have all the details ready for your doctor.
Know what oils you want to use and write down their main constituents. That’ll help your doctor assess the risks and benefits more accurately.
Everybody wants to know how to cure psoriasis fast, and I can understand why. It’s tough to live with this unaesthetic and uncomfortable skin condition.
Unfortunately, though, there is no known cure for it yet. All you can do is manage the recurring symptoms and avoid triggering factors.
Essential oils are steam-distilled plant essences. They’re very concentrated and can affect the skin in many ways. There is some research available on their effects on psoriasis. Most of them, however, are not clinically proven yet.
Essential oils are:
- Volatile. This means they can disperse into the air and evaporate. They can also enter our bodies through inhalation or topical application. Volatile also means that at certain temperatures, it can catch fire (flash point).
- Thin. They can penetrate the superficial skin layer fast.
- Non-greasy. Aromatic oils don’t contain fatty acids like carrier oils. Because of that, they absorb very fast, without leaving greasy residues behind.
- Sensitive to light, UV rays, heat, and oxygen. As a result, they must always be kept in a dark, cool place and tightly capped.
- Active substances. The chemical profile of each essence is unique, though many have some components in common. There are tens or even hundreds of different constituents in a herbal essence. These constituents differ from plant to plant, region to region, altitude to altitude, etc. Until the substance oxidizes, it’s very active. It’s continuously interacting with the environment and especially living organisms. These organisms can be bacteria and viruses or the human body and skin.
The conventional treatment of psoriasis includes:
- Creams and gels to apply locally. Corticosteroids, vitamin D, and aspirin-based products, etc.
- Phototherapy or else known as tanning. Moderate UV light exposure can help improve psoriasis symptoms. Too much sun exposure can make the condition worse.
- Certain drugs with prescription (retinoids, immunosuppressants, and shots). Severe psoriasis cases need to use medicines.
The benefits of using an essential oil blend for psoriasis are:
- Limit the usual symptoms and prevent infections.
- Diminish irritation and balance the speed of skin cell turnover.
- Soothe the affected skin (itching, pain, etc.)
- Reduce psoriasis-related skin eruptions.
- Improve the blood flow to the affected area. More blood means more oxygen and nutrients to the skin lesion.
- Strengthen the protective skin barrier.
- Improve the aspect of any psoriasis affected area.
How can aromatic oils do that? All these benefits are possible thanks to their chemical composition. Aroma oils are great anti-inflammatory substances.
They are also antibacterial and analgesic (pain-relieving). Some oils are great for relieving pruritus (itching) too. They can also stimulate the skin regeneration process.
But what is the best essential oil for psoriasis? There are more than one, and depending on a few factors, you can choose them all. I chose the following aromatic oils because they’ve shown medicinal potential. Thus, some of the best essential oils for psoriasis are:
- East Indian Sandalwood
- Tea Tree
- Spikenard (Jatamansi)
Time to see what makes them special and what their pros and cons are.
1) East Indian Sandalwood Essential Oil
Botanical name: Santalum album.
- One can use Sandalwood essential oil for psoriasis and eczema successfully.
- East Indian Sandalwood is very high in alpha-santalol (41 – 55%) and beta-santalol (16 – 24%). This substance is the main ingredient responsible for the virtues of the oil. It’s a very good anti-inflammatory that suppresses the production of cytokines. Cytokines are produced by the T cells (lymphocytes) and are an important part of the immune system. They affect the behavior of other cells around them. The inhibition of cytokines may prevent psoriasis from spreading and overgrowing. This study concluded that Sandalwood can be very useful. It showed potential in treating inflammation and autoimmune skin conditions like psoriasis.
- The oil has very good antioxidant effects too. This means it can scavenge for free radicals and inhibit their damage.
- Sandalwood is also antibacterial and antifungal, and can also relieve local pain. The same studies say that the oil reversed the action mechanism of psoriasis.
- Finding pure East Indian Sandalwood can be hard. There’s a very wide gap between supply and demand of true Sandalwood. That’s mostly because the species is endangered and grown in plantations. It can take many years to mature and give a high-quality essential oil. Thus, new research shows that New Caledonian Sandalwood is a very appropriate replacement. You can find this oil a lot easier. Its botanical name is Santalum austrocaledonicum. It is also high in alpha (48 – 49%) and beta-santalol (20 – 22%).
- High amounts of Sandalwood, whether applied to the skin or consumed, may cause GI distress.
- If you suffer from asthma or seizures, you may want to talk to your doctor first.
- In very rare cases, intense inhalation of the oil may cause pneumonia. The oil may also lower your blood pressure severely.
Why I like it:
Using Sandalwood essential oil for psoriasis can seriously improve the severity of lesions. Thus, the aspect of your psoriasis will be much improved. This oil is great for acne and other lesions and scars too. It’s a very good anti-aging ingredient, among others.
2) Tea Tree Essential Oil
Botanical name: Melaleuca alternifolia.
- Tea Tree oil is extremely popular for everyday use. Because of that, it is also the subject of a lot of scientific and medical research.
- It’s among the best essential oils for eczema and psoriasis. Tea Tree is highly antibacterial. Many studies reveal the oil’s ability to kill tens of positive and negative gram bacteria. This means that the oil is a very effective antibacterial and antifungal.
- Tea Tree is also a strong anti-inflammatory that can soothe psoriasis. It still remains to be tested in vivo (on living organisms).
- Tea Tree oil can also strengthen the protective skin barrier.
- It also has antioxidant properties and helps the skin regenerate.
- The oil can also improve the on-site blood flow. This helps the skin face the adversities better and speeds up its recovery.
- Tea Tree oil for psoriasis may interact with hormone medicines.
- It can also trigger seizures if you’re prone to them.
- An overdose of Tea Tree essential oil can cause confusion and loss of coordination.
Why I like it:
The oil of Tea Tree is among the best at dealing with infections, itching, and scars. Thus, it can make a very effective active ingredient in your psoriasis and eczema blends. It’s great for acne lesions, candidiasis, and many others.
3) Spikenard Essential Oil
Botanical name: Nardostachys jatamansi.
- The oil is also known as Nard or Jatamansi, for obvious reasons. This is one of the best essential oils used in dermatology. It’s been proven to have impressive wound-healing properties. Thus, the oil of Spikenard inhibits inflammation and immune responses. It also helps remodel the tissue and prevents cell growth (anti-proliferative).
- The immunomodulatory effect of Spikenard oil makes it very useful in dealing with psoriasis.
- Some mouse studies also reveal the impressive sedative nature of Spikenard. Its active molecules can reduce the heart and breathing rhythm.
- The oil of Spikenard for psoriasis can also improve the blood circulation.
- Spikenard may interact with hormone medicines. Always tell your doctor or pharmacist about using it.
- Avoid using it for long periods of time (months).
- Seek medical counsel if you have asthma or epilepsy/seizures.
Why I like it:
The scent of Spikenard oil is very heady, sweet and woody. It might remind you of Patchouli because it’s a bit similar. This oil can also boost hair growth and take care of other skin problems. It’s very relaxing and soothing for the mind too.
4) Lavender Essential Oil
Botanical name: Lavandula angustifolia.
- There’s no need for a further introduction here. Lavender is probably the most popular essential oil used for psoriasis and eczema.
- It has great anti-inflammatory properties and it’s also analgesic (pain reliever).
- Lavender is known to help heal skin burns (1st and 2nd degree).
- It can also strengthen the protective barrier of the skin. While at it, the oil can also improve blood flow in the affected area.
- Lavender is antibacterial and antifungal too.
- If you have cardiovascular problems, you should avoid using Lavender oil for psoriasis. Or at least talk to your doctor first.
- Talk to your doctor also if you have asthma.
- Avoid using large amounts of Lavender. It can make you more nervous and affect your sleep quality.
Why I like it:
What’s not to like about Lavender?! It smells soothing and actually relieves many anxiety symptoms. It can also repel insects and soothe their bitings. Plus, Lavender is very gentle with the skin, including that of babies.
Other great essential oils for psoriasis are:
- Ylang Ylang
- Rose Geranium
- Rosemary ct. Verbenone
- Roman Chamomile
- Clary Sage
These psoriasis oils can be any brand you prefer: Young Living, doTERRA, Plant Therapy, etc. What matters is that you trust the source and that they tell you everything about their oils.
You can ask for free access to the GC/MS report of the essences you want to buy. That’s where you’ll see the quality and purity of the oil. Read more about choosing your essential oils here.
How to Use Essential Oils for Psoriasis
By now, you already have an idea what the best oil to use for your psoriasis is. All that remains is knowing how to use it safely and correctly.
You see, essential oils are very concentrated and potent substances. One single drop may have the potency of 20 cups of tea! Being natural doesn’t spare you from side effects either. These side effects include skin burning, further irritation or even sensitization.
Psoriasis-affected skin is especially sensitive and prone to irritation. To avoid all these possible side effects, you must:
- First, test each new oil (essential and carrier) on a small skin patch for allergies.
- Always mix essential oils with a carrier before applying them to the skin.
For fresh new scales and lesions, especially the bleeding types, avoid applying essential oils. Use only carriers or hydrosols. The latter are gentle steam-distillation byproducts of essential oils. They contain very small amounts of active ingredients.
Thus, you can mix up to 20 drops of essential oil for psoriasis per Oz carrier oil. I suggest beginning with smaller amounts though. Apply gently on a disinfected skin, two or three times a day. Also, apply before and after taking a bath, to avoid excessive dryness.
Carrier Oils for Psoriasis
Speaking about carries, some of the best carrier oils for psoriasis need to be thick. The affected skin is usually very dry and scaly. Some carrier oils are also very nourishing and thick and can soothe the rough skin.
They’re very rich in essential fatty acids. The skin needs these acids because the body can’t produce them. They help to regenerate the skin and to strengthen the natural protective barrier.
These oils also have anti-inflammatory effects and can prevent water loss. Dry skin is itchy and irritated, and carriers can soothe it.
For psoriasis, you should not use light oils like Sweet Almond, Macadamia or Hazelnut. Grapeseed oil is also light, which makes it unsuitable for psoriasis treatment.
Some of the best carrier oils for psoriasis are:
- Calophyllum inophyllum
- Wheat germ
- Rosehip seed
Vegetable butters are also great emollients for psoriasis. These are basically vegetable oils but in a solid form. They’re very rich in unsaponifiable fatty acids that soothe and protect the damaged skin.
Some of the best butters for psoriasis are:
- Shea (karité)
Natural wax like beeswax can also be used to soothe psoriasis.
Essential oils for psoriasis can also be:
- Mixed with some salt and added to the bathwater. Blend 10 drops with any type of salt you have at hand. Add the mixture to some lukewarm water and let it dissolve.
- Diffused. Use high-quality aroma diffusers to inhale the active molecules on a daily basis. This method helps to purify the air and prevent infections. It also enhances your mood and immune system.
Essential Oil Recipes for Psoriasis Management
Hopefully, you’re not still wondering what the best thing to put on psoriasis is, because that should be obvious by now. You can put essential oils and carrier oils for psoriasis. They’ll soothe and help the skin heal.
It’s time to get practical and start blending and mixing. Daily use of essential oil blends for psoriasis could also stop it from spreading.
Take your pick from the following recipes and give them a try.
Basic Essential Oil Mixture for Psoriasis
- Spikenard essential oil: 5 drops
- Sandalwood essential oil: 5 drops
- Borage oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
Give the blend a good shake before each use. Apply a moderate amount on the affected area, 2 – 3 times a day. Avoid applying it when the flare-up is bloody or the wounds are open.
Kids’ Psoriasis Recipe (2+ years)
- Lavender essential oil: 2 drops
- Tea Tree essential oil: 2 drops
- Roman Chamomile essential oil: 2 drops
- Jojoba oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
Shake the blend well before each application.
Aromatherapy Eczema and Psoriasis Recipe
- Helichrysum essential oil: 6 drops
- Rose geranium essential oil: 6 drops
- Wheat germ oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
Apply to the affected area, 2 – 4 times a day, on a moist skin.
Immunomodulatory Aroma Recipe for Diffuser
- Tea Tree essential oil: 8 drops
- Spikenard essential oil: 8 drops
- Bergamot essential oil: 15 drops
Mix all these oils together in a glass bottle and use only a few drops for each diffusion. Diffuse with your windows open, for 20 – 30 minutes tops. You can repeat this process every 2 hours or more. Aromatic oils can saturate the air and cause headaches and nausea.
Other Tips & Remedies for Psoriasis
- One can use Aloe Vera gel to soothe psoriasis inflammation and joint pain too. It can also prevent other skin problems that may occur on the already affected skin. Plus, its gel texture allows you to mix essential oils.
- Apply Curcuma (turmeric) paste on psoriasis. It’s a very good anti-inflammatory agent that can nourish and protect, soothe and heal.
- Apply warm chamomile tea infusions (or bags) on the skin.
- Avoid applying apple cider vinegar to your damaged skin. It can only burn the skin, cause pain and further irritation. The vinegar is too acidic for such a sensitive skin.
Psoriasis Facts, Symptoms, Causes & Types (Plus Skin Care Regimen Tips)
Psoriasis doesn’t have a cure. It is believed to have hereditary causes and once it triggers, it’ll keep coming and going. One can go for long periods of time without it flaring up.
The symptoms may look like they’re gone for good or at least partially. Other times, because of trigger factors, it may come back in force.
What is psoriasis? It’s a non-infectious skin disease that’s mainly caused by inflammation. It’s also an autoimmune disease. This means that your own immune system is attacking the good skin cells. It thinks it’s a foreign body that must be eliminated.
With psoriasis, the rhythm of your skin cell turnover is much faster than normal. Skin cells renew fast but they surface very slowly, accumulating on top of each other. This comes with inflammation, cracked skin, pain, scars and redness among others.
Normally, the skin takes about 28 days to renew its cells. With psoriasis, it takes 2 – 6 days to do that. So, your skin sheds one layer of skin a month. The psoriasis-affected area keeps on producing new skin cells and sheds many more layers. This is how those whitish/silver scales form.
Psoriasis is usually concentrated in certain body areas:
- Hands and palms
- Lower back
Unfortunately, psoriasis can also affect the sensitive mucous membranes (mouth, genitals, nose, etc.). It can either spread on large body areas or it can limit to smaller areas.
Causes of Psoriasis
The exact causes and origin of this skin disease are not known. Certain factors, however, seem to link directly to this autoimmune disorder. It seems that it is inherited and that, at some point in life, something triggers it.
Almost half of the patients have had someone in their family suffering from psoriasis. The triggers can be environmental, emotional and/or physical.
Trigger factors can be one or more of the following:
- Emotional shocks
- Climate changes
- Excessive sun exposure
- Some medicines
- Hormonal imbalances
- Type 2 diabetes
- Thick red or white patches (scales).
Do not confuse psoriasis with eczema! At a first glance, they may seem similar, but they’re very different. Eczema is also known as dermatitis.
Eczema-affected areas are dry, red, and itchy. It affects mostly the face. There are no scales or thick patches, though. If you see those, then it’s psoriasis.
There are many types of psoriasis:
- The most common is plaque psoriasis. It affects the areas I mentioned above and looks scaly.
- Guttate psoriasis – a form of psoriasis that looks like small dots on the affected area. This condition affects mostly children.
- Inverse psoriasis – may precede the plaque psoriasis. It’s most commonly seen in skin folds (behind the knees, inside elbows, the groin, etc.)
- Pustular psoriasis – this type of psoriasis looks like blisters, only they’re filled with white blood cells. The hands and feet are the most affected by it.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis – it’s an unstable plaque psoriasis that’s highly active. It itches and aches a lot, and comes off in large patches that look like sheets. It’s the most severe form of psoriasis that needs urgent medical attention.
Some types of psoriasis may also cause complications. They can change your body temperature and increase your heart rate (palpitations). Psoriasis can also cause psoriatic arthritis – a joint inflammation.
Scalp psoriasis is not the same thing as seborrheic dermatitis. You can recognize the latter by its red, rash-like appearance on the scalp.
It also comes with dandruff, which might look like psoriasis scales that come off. Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that can be treated, though it may flare up every now and then.
The best essential oils for psoriasis of the scalp are the same as for any other affected area. You can use:
- True Sandalwood
- New Caledonian Sandalwood
- Tea Tree
- Rose Geranium
- Ylang Ylang
You can mix these essences with carriers and apply them to the scalp as a mask. Massage very thick oils into the scalp and soak the psoriasis patches/scales well. Leave the mask on for at least an hour and rinse well with a gentle shampoo.
Psoriasis Skin Care Regimen Tips
Like I said, psoriasis skin is extremely sensitive and it needs a lot of attention. Attention toward what triggers it and attention toward what you put on it. Attention to what you eat, how much water you drink, and so on.
In other words, if you have psoriasis, you need to adopt a new lifestyle. This is where your skin care regimen comes into play too. Here are a few tips and ideas to help you soothe and even prevent new psoriasis flare-ups:
- First, it’s very important to hydrate properly, every single day.
- Eliminate foods from your diet that cause allergies or promote inflammation.
- Make sure you get good amounts of vitamin D.
- Get some regular sun exposure, but be careful not to exaggerate. Too much UV light can make psoriasis worse. What’s recommended is small and regular tanning sessions.
- Strengthen your immune system the best you can. Take supplements if needed, but only after consulting with your doctor first.
- Avoid chronic stress. For that, Aromatherapy diffusers are the best and, in small amounts, can be used daily.
- Wash your skin with lukewarm water, so as to not overdry it.
- Avoid commercial cleansing products (soaps, lotions, etc.). They are very harsh and can strip the skin of its natural protective oils.
Using essential oils for psoriasis relief is easy. There are just a few “rules” to follow to avoid side effects like burning or irritation. As long as you use pure and natural oils, things should improve considerably.
However, Aromatherapy is a not a miracle cure. You must have patience while managing your symptoms.
Are you going to give this type of alternative treatment a chance? If so, what ingredients and blends will you be using? I’m looking forward to your input.