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Natural Remedies for Psoriasis

Are There Ways to Ease Symptoms Naturally?

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Updated May 27, 2014

Psoriasis Remedies
Jodi Jacobson Collection/Photodisc/Getty images

Psoriasis is a skin disease characterized by itchy and/or painful patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales -- a situation that can leave even those who don't regularly seek out alternative treatments eager to explore psoriasis natural treatment options in hopes of some relief.

In most cases, these patches appear on the elbows, knees, scalp, back, face, palms, and feet. Cells rise to the surface of the skin at an abnormally rapid rate, then stack up and form psoriasis patches. Psoriasis is a chronic disease, but patients may experience periods of remission that alternate with flare-ups lasting for several weeks or months.

Natural Remedies For Psoriasis

Preliminary research suggests that these natural remedies may help relieve psoriasis:

1) Aloe Vera

In a 2009 study of 80 psoriasis patients, researchers found that an aloe vera-based cream was more effective than triamcinolone acetonide (a corticosteroid) in reducing symptoms of psoriasis. However, a 2005 study of 41 psoriasis patients concluded that aloe vera gel was no more effective than a placebo in treatment of psoriasis.

Find out more about using aloe in my article Aloe: What You Need to Know.

2) Capsaicin Cream

Capsaicin (the chemical that gives hot chili peppers their kick) may help ease psoriasis symptoms when topically applied, according to a 1999 study. Thought to reduce psoriasis-associated itching, capsaicin cream may produce a burning sensation with the first few applications. Make sure to wash your hands immediately after applying the cream.

See Capsaicin Cream: What You Need to Know.

3) Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Following a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (inflammation-fighting healthy fats available in supplement form and found naturally in fish and flaxseed) may help improve psoriasis symptoms, according to research published in 2006. The study also shows that some psoriasis patients may benefit from a gluten-free diet.

Get the scoop on using Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

Symptoms of Psoriasis

Although red patches of skin with silvery scales are the hallmark of psoriasis, other symptoms may include:

  • dry, cracked skin prone to bleeding
  • itchy or sore skin
  • ridged or thickened nails
  • About 30% of psoriasis patients also suffer from joint inflammation that produces symptoms of arthritis.

    What Causes It?

    Psoriasis results from an immune-system disorder that overactivates T cells (a type of white blood cell), triggering inflammation and the abnormally rapid turnover of skin cells.

    Stress, infections, injury, cold weather, and the use of certain medications (including beta blockers and antimalarial drugs) may prompt psoriasis flare-ups. People with a family history of the disease are also more likely to develop psoriasis.

    Treatment for Psoriasis

    In some cases, psoriasis can be disfiguring and disabling. Therefore, it's important to see a doctor if you experience symptoms of psoriasis, and to follow-up with your doctor if your symptoms worsen and/or cause you pain.

    Standard treatments for psoriasis include topically applied corticosteroids and synthetic vitamin D, light therapy, oral medications, and injections.

    Easing Symptoms of Psoriasis

    These self-care strategies may help soothe psoriasis symptoms:

  • taking daily baths (preferably with colloidal oatmeal, Epsom salts, or Dead Sea salts added to the water)
  • daily use of a heavy moisturizer or ointment
  • avoiding alcohol consumption
  • managing stress (possibly with the help of relaxing exercises like yoga, deep breathing, or meditation)
  • Sources:

    Choonhakarn C, Busaracome P, Sripanidkulchai B, Sarakarn P. "A prospective, randomized clinical trial comparing topical aloe vera with 0.1% triamcinolone acetonide in mild to moderate plaque psoriasis." Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology 2009 Aug 14.

    Krogstad AL, Lönnroth P, Larson G, Wallin BG. "Capsaicin treatment induces histamine release and perfusion changes in psoriatic skin." British Journal of Dermatology 1999 141(1):87-93.

    Paulsen E, Korsholm L, Brandrup F. "A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of a commercial Aloe vera gel in the treatment of slight to moderate psoriasis vulgaris." Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology 2005 19(3):326-31.

    Wolters M. "The significance of diet and associated factors in psoriasis." Hautarzt. 2006 57(11):999-1004.

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