If you suffer from psoriasis, you know all too well about the unfortunate symptoms. Struggling with flaky skin, itchiness, and even bleeding is just part of the problem. The large rashes that appear mostly on knees, elbows, and scalp substantially reduce the quality of life. Even though psoriasis is not contagious, many people feel uncomfortable when interacting with a person, who has this condition. Over the years, researchers came up with various remedies to keep the condition at bay. Using coconut oil for psoriasis as well as other natural remedies have proven valuable for many people, who are struggling with this problem. While it’s not possible to get rid of psoriasis completely, you can alleviate the symptoms and reduce the breakouts in order to improve your quality of life.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a disease that occurs in people of all ages in races. However, the first time it mostly appears in young adults. When a person is affected by this condition, the skin cells start multiplying faster than normal. Eventually, these cells reach the surface and die. This produces extensive flaking. Layers of dead skin appear as a rash. Most of the time, these rashes occur on elbows, knees, and scalp. However, they can spread to the rest of the body, mostly to feet and palms. The reason for this over multiplying is the adverse reaction of the immune system. However, there is currently no information about what exactly triggers such immune system response.
Humanity have yet to learn how to treat the condition. Researchers found out that people affected by psoriasis are more likely to suffer from such problems as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and various inflammatory conditions.
About 3 percent of people in the world suffer from psoriasis, and the numbers seem to be rising. Studies have been done to show that in the past 30 years, the number of affected people substantially increased. Psoriasis commonly begins between 15 and 30 years. Then it can strike between 50 and 60 years.
The doctors believe that the chance to develop psoriasis depends on your genetic makeup. Researchers already found several genes that are common in people with psoriasis. The condition is hereditary. If one parent has it, a child has a 15% chance of developing psoriasis. If both parents suffer from the condition, then the chance skyrockets to 75 percent.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
The symptoms of psoriasis vary from one person to another. Mostly they include:
- Red skin patches with white and silver scales
- Scaling spots in various places (likely symptom for children)
- Cracked skin
- Thickened and discolored nailbed
- Joint problems (swelling and stiffness)
Psoriasis is not in its active phase all the time. The flare-ups can stay for a few days or a months and then subside. Sometimes people forget about psoriasis for years.
There are several types of psoriasis. The most common one is plaque psoriasis. It cause raised red patches with white or silver scales. The patches may itch and be sore. They may occur all over the body. Other types of psoriasis are:
- Nail – Thickening of nails and loss of color.
- Scalp – Similar to plaque but occurs on the scalp and beyond the hairline.
- Guttate – Bacterial psoriasis that looks like small sores and goes away on its own.
- Inverse – Patches of red skin appear in the skin folds, such as groin and armpits.
- Pustular – This rare type looks like blisters with pus on the hands and feet. It can be accompanied by fever.
- Erythrodermic – This rarest type of psoriasis covers the whole body with rashes.
- Psoriatic arthritis – Sore, stiff and swollen joints accompany the standard skin inflammations.
Treatments for Psoriasis
While there is no remedy that can get rid of psoriasis completely, there are many different treatments that deal with the symptoms. Most of them fall into three categories:
- Topical treatment – Deals with the visible part of the psoriasis
- Light treatment – Various UV light is used to keep the skin cells from multiplying fast.
- Medication – Oral or injected medication can help keep the condition at bay if the symtoms are severe.
Most of the above treatments require medical attention. All drugs must be prescribed. However, there are natural remedies that can be used at home. They are not as costly or time-consuming, but can show the same kinds of results as the prescribed treatments. They include fish oil, turmeric, Dead Sea salt, tea tree oil, avocado oil, Oregon grape extract, vitamin B cream, and coconut oil for psoriasis.
Psoriasis and coconut oil
If you suffer from psoriasis, coconut oil can become your favorite remedy. It’s easy to find and it comes with a moderate price tag. Unlike other psoriasis remedies, the coconut oil has virtually no side effects.
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is developed from coconut kernels. It contains a fatty acid, known as lauric acid. This ingredient helps fight inflammation, microbes, fungi, and viruses. Coconut oil has a variety of uses. It’s a powerful moisturizer for all types of skin, including the one suffering from psoriasis. It’s often used as a massage oil and can be one of the ingredients of various shampoos and body creams.
Coconut oil can fight wrinkles and sagged skin. It also prevents premature skin aging signs. Thanks to its impressive antioxidant properties, it can help treat such skin problems, as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema. This powerful antioxidant deals with inflammation that accompanies skin diseases.
Coconut oil is well known for its fantastic ability to moisturize the scalp. That’s why you can find it in various conditioners and anti-dandruff shampoos. Using coconut oil for scalp psoriasis can help reduce the scaling and fight the inflammation that accompanies it. While dealing with the scales, the coconut oil reduces the itching and subdues the psoriasis symptoms.
Besides helping psoriasis topically, coconut oil can be ingested to offer your body the following benefits:
- Improves joint health.
- Prevents high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
- Controls blood sugar.
- Increases metabolism to induce weight loss.
- Improves mental awareness.
- Helps treat epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.
How To Use Coconut Oil for Psoriasis
If you have scalp psoriasis, coconut oil can be one of the best treatments. The oil softens the flakes and makes it easy to remove them. Meanwhile, it moisturizes live skin cells and fights the inflammation. Using coconut oil for psoriasis is easy. Here are a few simple steps.
- Go to a health food store and buy extra virgin coconut oil. Sometimes, you can find this oil in supermarkets or Asian food markets. But your best bet would be to visit a health food store. It can come in a plastic or glass jar. Both options can work.
- Since the coconut oil is thick when cool, you might need to heat it up slightly. You can place the jar into a bowl with hot water and keep it there for a few minutes. Don’t heat up the up the oil in a saucepan or apply direct heat to the oil.
- Take a shower and wash your head. The coconut oil works the best when applied to clean and damp skin.
- Apply the warm oil to the affected skin areas. Make sure to put plenty of oil on your scalp and around the hairline. Apply large amounts to the inflamed area. When applying the coconut oil, gently massage it into the skin.
- After applying the oil, you have to cover up the oiled areas. Tie a towel around your head and put on old cotton shirts and pants.
- Leave the oil on from 10 minutes to an hour. The longer you keep it on your skin, the better it can soak in.
- Take a plastic comb and use it to remove the separated scales from your scalp. Be gentle about scraping the skin.
- Wash your hair as usual to remove the loose scales. Try not to touch the scalp. If you have extra oil on your body, dab it with a towel or the cotton clothing you were wearing. Don’t wash the oil away from the skin.
- You can apply coconut oil 3 – 4 times a day or whenever you feel as if your skin is tightening.
Besides using coconut oil as a topical cream to sooth the skin and remove the scales, you can take it orally to improve your health and boost your immune system. Several studies were done to determine the perfect amount of coconut oil for psoriasis. Two tablespoons a day seems to be an ideal dosage for an adult. Such amount leaves some space for other healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado, and etc.
Gulping down two tablespoons of coconut oil at once can lead to nausea. That’s why there are many other ways you can consume coconut oil gradually.
- Cooking. You can use it for frying vegetables, eggs and fish.
- You can apply the coconut oil to meat before sprinkling it with seasonings.
- Substituting. You can substitute coconut oil for butter in most of the baking and cooking recipes.
- You can add coconut oil to your coffee or tea. Try not to add more than a teaspoon per cup.
If you don’t have time or opportunity to use the above methods, you can start by drinking half a tablespoon per day and gradually increase the amount to two tablespoons.
Coconut Oil and Psoriasis: A Few Smart Tips
Before starting your coconut oil treatment, consider the following smart tips:
- The coconut oil for psoriasis should be virgin and cold pressed.
- Always do a patch test before applying coconut oil. Allergic reactions to coconut oil are rare but they do happen and can worsen the condition.
- In order for the treatment to work, make sure you avoid all skin care products that contain harsh chemicals, such as parabens.
- Try not to scratch the flare-ups since scratching can worsen the condition. If the skin feels taut, apply another coconut oil mask.
- Drink a lot of water to keep your skin hydrated. The more hydrated your skin is, the smaller the psoriasis flare-ups are.
- Use other natural ingredients, such as shea or cocoa butter to moisturize unaffected skin in order not to trigger flare-ups.
Coconut Oil as a Natural Treatment for Psoriasis: Recipes
Besides using the simple “heat up and apply” recipe we mentioned earlier, there are a few smart ways you can use coconut oil to deal with the unpleasant fare-ups.
- Buy cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil, put several drops on your palms and massage the oil into your skin. It will heat up during the massage.
- Try to do this after you take a shower (or even better, a bath) in order to stimulate better absorption.
While this method is somewhat less effective than the “heat up and apply”, it’s easy to use whenever you are not at home. All you have to do is carry a bottle of coconut oil with you.
If you are using coconut oil for scalp psoriasis, after massaging the oil into your scalp, wrap the head in a towel or put on a shower cap and leave it overnight. Comb out the scales in the morning.
The Oil Combination
Since coconut oil is not the only natural treatment for psoriasis, you can take advantage of other oils while mixing the two together. For example, tea tree oil is also a great antioxidant, which can fight fungi and microbes, while the peppermint oil has impressive soothing properties.
- Mix tea tree oil and coconut oil in a ratio of 3 to 1 and add a few drops of peppermint oil.
- Stir the mixture and heat it up slightly by placing the jar into a bowl of hot water.
- Apply the oils to your skin and scalp and allow it to stay there overnight.
- Comb out the scales in the morning and wash your hair as usual
- Your skin will absorb the oils, so try not to take a shower until at least noontime.
- You can repeat this process on a daily basis.
The Power of Aloe Vera
A lot has been said about the power of aloe vera. This plant seems almost magical thanks to its various medical properties. As an antioxidant and a moisturizer, it can be a perfect choice for people suffering from psoriasis, especially when mixed with coconut oil.
- Buy virgin and cold pressed coconut oil and fresh aloe vera gel.
- Mix coconut oil and aloe vera at a ratio of 3 to 2.
- Stir the mixture well and add a few drops of peppermint oil (you can also add lavender oil).
- Close the container with the oil and leave it overnight. Make sure it’s airtight.
- Take a shower and apply the solution to all of the affected areas, including the scalp.
- Leave it overnight or at least for an hour so the treatment takes effect.
- Comb out the scales and wash your hair. Don’t wash the skin for a few hours.
- If some of the mixture remains, you can store it in a refrigerator.
Apple cider vinegar can be a big help when fighting with various skin inflammations since it restores the pH-balance. Apple cider vinegar is accessible and can be purchased at your nearby supermarket.
- Mix cold pressed virgin coconut oil with apple cider vinegar at a ratio of 2 to 1
- Stir the mixture well
- Apply the solution to the areas affected by psoriasis, including the scalp. If you are planning to use the mix on your head, consider adding some lavender oil.
- Leave the solution on for about 30 minutes to an hour.
- Wash both your hair and your skin thoroughly
- You can apply this mix 2 – 3 times a day depending on how much psoriasis bothers you.
If you are planning to use the mix on your skin only, you can consider adding two teaspoons of honey. Don’t do it if you are going to apply the solution to your head or it will be hard to wash off.
Coconut Oil with Turmeric
Just as coconut oil, turmeric has antioxidant, anti-inflammation, and anti-microbial properties. It has been used in Asia to treat various skin conditions for many centuries. Using the two ingredients together improves your chances of soothing the psoriasis flare-ups.
- Mix coconut oil and turmeric at a ratio of 4 to 1.
- You can heat up the mixture for better absorption. Heating up is not necessary but can make the application and massage more enjoyable.
- Leave the mixture on your skin and scalp for at least two hours.
- Wash the hair, comb out the scales, and wash the skin thoroughly.
- You can repeat this procedure on a daily basis.
Turmeric works in a similar fashion to the coconut oil. You can also consider taking turmeric orally. This great spice can be a wonderful addition to many of your recipes.
The Sweet Honey Mix
Honey has anti-inflammation properties and can be a wonderful addition to your moisturizing routine since it locks the moisture inside your skin cells. Mixing honey and coconut oil is a smart way to fight psoriasis.
- Mix coconut oil and honey at a ratio of 2 to 1.
- Stir the ingredients well. You can heat up the mixture for better stirring.
- Massage the solution into the areas affected by psoriasis. Avoid using this method for scalp psoriasis unless you have very short hair.
- Wash the mixture off with warm water after about 20 – 30 minutes.
- You can use this treatment on a daily basis.
How to Avoid Psoriasis Flare-ups
While there are many different treatments for psoriasis, the best way to deal with it is to avoid the flare-ups in the first place. Some people can forget about this unfortunate condition for years if they follow a few simple rules. While it is easy to veer off course, following these tips can significantly improve your life. It might not be easy at first but once you establish a routine, it will come naturally.
Take Dietary Supplements
Consult your physician about the dietary supplements you can take to alleviate the psoriasis symptoms. A good vitamin balance in your body leads to better skin reaction on the surface. Consider fish oil, vitamin D, and aloe vera. Drinking coconut oil for psoriasis is a good idea but it might not be enough to deal with the symptoms. Don’t start taking supplements without consulting your doctor. They might interfere with other medication you might be taking.
Monitor Humidity Levels and Air Quality
Keeping your skin duly moisturized is a simple way to keep psoriasis at bay. While you are buying various skin care remedies without chemicals, consider bringing the proper moisture into your home. An air humidifier can be a wonderful addition to your psoriasis skin care routine. You can also consider an air purifier to keep the allergens and other contaminants out of the air you breathe.
Set up a Diet and Follow It
The right diet can make you forget about psoriasis for weeks, months, or even years. Psoriasis triggers include:
- Junk food
- Red meat
- Dairy products
- Citrus fruits
- Fried foods
By avoiding these foods, you are not giving the flare-ups a chance to thrive. Meanwhile, you can choose the foods, which reduce inflammation and keep psoriasis at bay. Your goal is to eat products, which have omega-3 fatty acids and contain antioxidants. Some of them are:
- Vegetables (except for nightshade plants, which are peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant)
- Lean meats
- Whole grains
Forget the Fragrances
When setting up your skin care routine, try to avoid cosmetics that have fragrances. Soaps, perfumes, shampoos and most of the chemical-containing cosmetics have fragrances that can irritate your skin and induce a flare-up. Anything that has a sharp smell should be avoided. When choosing your skin products, make sure the label says “for sensitive skin”.
Learn How to Deal with Stress
Stressing is one of the easiest ways to provoke a flare-up. While it’s impossible to live without stress, you need to learn how to deal with it quickly. Consider stress-relieving exercises such as yoga. Besides keeping you in good shape, it can help you get your stress under control. You can also master some simple breathing exercises that can help you deal with stressful situations on the spot.
Psoriasis is a condition that can’t be treated but can be controlled. It’s up to you to make your life easier. Using coconut oil for psoriasis is a good start toward natural treatment and keeping the flare-ups at bay.