Psoriasis requires treatment on a variety of levels. You may use a combination of emollients, oral or injectable biologic medications, and light therapy to help your symptoms. Additionally, you could be looking elsewhere for treatments. Natural remedies may help ease some of your psoriasis symptoms. But of course they aren’t the same as prescription medications given to you by your doctor or dermatologist.
Keep in mind there’s also a lack of scientific backing for natural remedies. Some believe they assist in calming psoriasis flares and keeping the condition under control. You should always consult a doctor before using any natural remedies, as they may interfere with other treatments. Still, here are some things — many of which you probably already have on hand in your kitchen pantry — that could work for you in the short term.
Check the label of your favorite cereal to see if it contains vitamin D. If not, you may want to find one that does. Vitamin D can slow the growth of cells and change the way your immune system works. These two features of the vitamin are thought to help with psoriasis.
Adding vitamin D should start through your diet with foods or supplements. It’s possible to get vitamin D from sunlight, but that risks exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation. The American Academy of Dermatology points to fortified foods or supplements as healthy sources of vitamin D.
Vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds
Your collection of vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds just became more important to managing your psoriasis. Some contain omega-3 fatty acids, thought to help psoriasis. The following pantry staples naturally contain omega-3s:
- oils, like vegetable and olive
- nuts, especially walnuts
- flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds
How omega-3 fatty acids can help with a variety of health conditions, including psoriasis, is getting a lot of attention. This acid can fight inflammation as well as help your immune system. Psoriasis is considered an immune-mediated inflammatory disease, so finding nutritional sources containing omega-3s is one step in combatting psoriasis symptoms.
One study concluded that taking omega-3 supplements complements topical treatments. It can also reduce scalp lesions and scaling, among other benefits.
The oils, nuts, and seeds in your pantry can provide the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid. Two other omega-3s, eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids, are found in fish and fish oil supplements.
Vinegars may also help your psoriasis. They were used in ancient cultures for many conditions, including for inflammation as well as for healing wounds, infections, ulcers, and other ailments.
Apple cider vinegar is a popular natural remedy. It’s thought to help treat your psoriasis-affected scalp. You should consult your doctor and use caution when applying it to your scalp. Trying it diluted in water may help reduce any burning sensation. If you have any cracked or open skin, avoid using vinegar, as it will burn and irritate.
Oatmeal may help you soothe your skin when irritated by psoriasis. In particular, colloidal oatmeal is considered to be one of the best forms of oatmeal to use on your skin. “Colloidal” means the oatmeal is finely ground and boiled.
You may try oatmeal straight out of the pantry to soothe your skin, but it may be a better idea to look for skin products that contain colloidal oatmeal. No scientific evidence supports the use of oatmeal in psoriasis. However, some do report it soothes their skin and reduces redness. Bath soaks, lotions, and other products are available that include this natural remedy.
You may have a container of honey in your pantry, just waiting to be used. You can combine it with olive oil and beeswax to create a topical treatment for your psoriasis.
A study in Complementary Therapies in Medicine compared this natural topical mixture to corticosteroids. The study concluded that the honey-based ointment was useful in managing psoriasis.
Turmeric is an herb used for a variety of medical conditions, including inflammation, arthritis, and skin conditions. It’s a spice used in curry powder and is yellow in color.
A study in the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research examined turmeric and its effects on mild to moderate psoriasis. The study concluded that turmeric improved skin lesions with minimal side effects. The study recommended using turmeric topical ointment as part of a treatment plan for those with plaque psoriasis.
Ask your doctor if cooking with turmeric, taking a turmeric supplement, or using a turmeric topical may help your psoriasis.
Foods to avoid
While several foods in your pantry may help you with psoriasis, other foods are recognized as contributing to inflammation. You want to avoid inflammation as much as possible, as it can cause psoriasis to flare.
Stay away from processed foods and refined sugars. These items are often pantry staples and may contribute to worsening or flaring psoriasis.
There’s nothing wrong with looking beyond the medicine cabinet or pharmacy counter for psoriasis treatments. But talk to your doctor before trying out a natural remedy like those found in your pantry. Natural remedies may interfere with current medications you take or worsen your symptoms. It’s always best to follow the advice of your doctor.Read more in Psoriasis Resources
American Academy of Dermatology and AAD Association. (2009, November 14). Position statement on vitamin D. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/forms/policies/uploads/ps/ps-vitamin%20d.pdf
Al-Waili, N. S. (2003, December). Topical application of natural honey, beeswax and olive oil mixture for atopic dermatitis or psoriasis: Partially controlled, single-blinded study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 11(4), 226-234. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229903001201
Balbas, G. M., Regana, M. S., & Millet, P. U. (2011). Study on the use of omega-3 fatty acids as a therapeutic supplement in treatment of psoriasis. Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, 2011(4), 73-77. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133503/
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Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015, June 17). Psoriasis: Alternative medicine. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/basics/alternative-medicine/con-20030838
National Psoriasis Foundation. (2015, September 10). How vitamin D can help psoriasis. Retrieved from https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/how-vitamin-d-can-help-psoriasis
Pazyar, N., Yaghoobi, R., Kazerouni, A., & Felly, A. (2012). Oatmeal in dermatology: A brief review. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venerology, and Leprology, 78(2), 142-145. Retrieved from http://www.ijdvl.com/article.asp?issn=0378-6323;year=2012;volume=78;issue=2;spage=142;epage=145;aulast=Pazyar
Sarafian, G., Afshar, M., Mansouri, P., Asgarpanah, J., Raoufinejad, K., & Rajabi, M. (2015). Topical turmeric microemulgel in the management of plaque psoriasis; a clinical evaluation. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 14(3), 865-876. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4518115/
Turmeric. (2016, September). Retrieved from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/turmeric/ataglance.htm