Psoriasis is a painful and uncomfortable skin condition that can significantly affect the quality of your life.
While this condition cannot be cured, it can be treated to alleviate symptoms and soothe your skin.
Essential oils help calm itchy, painful, and red rashes that pop up during a flare-up.
If you have psoriasis, understanding this condition can help you take the necessary steps to calm your inflamed, painful, and itchy skin. Essential oils for psoriasis are a fantastic remedy.
Here’s more about psoriasis and what essential oils can help.
Table of Contents:
- Understanding the normal working of the skin
- What is psoriasis?
- Types of Psoriasis
- Causes of psoriasis
- Symptoms of psoriasis
- Treatment of psoriasis
- What heals psoriasis naturally?
- What are essential oils?
- Essential oils for psoriasis. Do they work?
- Best essential oils for psoriasis
Understanding the normal working of the skin
Skin cells grow in the basement membrane – a thin layer that separates the dermis (the lower layer of skin) and the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin).
From there, they get pushed up to the epidermis, where they no longer receive nutrients or blood. Here, they slowly begin dying and falling off and are simultaneously replaced by newer cells. Your skin regenerates itself this way approximately every 27 days.
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that forces the body to produce skin cells faster than normal.
If you have psoriasis, your body can make new cells up to 10 times faster than it usually should. So, instead of taking weeks to form new cells, the body makes these cells in a matter of days.
The dead cells on the epidermis don’t fall off or slough off at a faster rate. So, new cells pile up on the epidermis, on the existing cells, causing thick, red, itchy, and scaly patches.
Psoriasis can appear anywhere, but it is more predominant on the scalp, face, palms, elbows, knees, lower back, legs, and soles.
These patches can range from small scaling spots to significant eruptions over large areas.
People with psoriasis have to live with it all their lives. Fortunately, there are ways of gaining some control over psoriasis, so you feel better and live an overall better life.
Learning about psoriasis and how to control it can help prevent worsening conditions.
Types of Psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis is the most common of all forms of psoriasis. It usually appears on the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back.
As the name suggests, nail psoriasis affects the nails of the toes and fingers, causing abnormal nail growth and discoloration. In severe cases, nail psoriasis can cause the nails to fall off.
Guttate psoriasis is very more common in children and young adults. Sometimes, guttate psoriasis in children can disappear, never to return.
This form of psoriasis is commonly triggered by a bacterial infection like strep throat and affects the arms, legs, and trunk. It presents as small drop-shaped lesions.
Fungal infections often trigger inverse psoriasis. Skin folds (buttocks, breasts, and groin) are mainly affected by inverse psoriasis. This form of psoriasis presents as smooth red patches that worsen with sweating or friction.
Pustular psoriasis is a sporadic form of psoriasis. It presents as well-defined pustular (pus-filled) lesions in large patches over the body or in small patches over the soles or palms.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is by far the rarest form of psoriasis. It can cover the entire body in a peeling rash that itches and burns intensely.
As the name suggests, psoriatic arthritis affects the joints, causing them to be both swollen and extremely painful. The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis vary and can range from mild to severe.
They can cause stiffness of the joints or cause swelling. Sometimes, the only symptoms are nail changes. In very severe cases, psoriatic arthritis can cause permanent damage to the joints.
Causes of psoriasis
For the most part, psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system, but there are other causes.
For example, infections like skin infections and strep throat, and dry and cold climate and weather conditions can cause psoriasis.
Some leading causes and triggers for psoriasis include extreme stress, excessive alcohol consumption, and skin injuries (for example, a cut, sunburns, and even vaccines).
Some medications like antimalarials, high blood pressure medications, and lithium are known to trigger psoriasis.
Smoking is a risk factor, as are family history and stress.
Symptoms of psoriasis
A dermatologist can confirm if you have psoriasis, and if you do, what type it is. Symptoms of psoriasis present as one or more of the following:
- Psoriasis presents itself as red patches on the skin covered with thick, silvery scales.
- On the scalp, psoriasis presents as raised, red scaly patches. You might find a single patch on multiple patches over the scalp. You might also find it spreading to your forehead, nape, and behind the ears, where it could form thick-crusted and extremely itchy sores.
- On the hands, palms, and fingers, you might notice dry, cracked skin that bleeds, itches, or fine, scaling with silver-white flakes. Itching is also quite common on the hands and fingers.
- Soreness, burning, or itching of the skin is widespread. You might even notice areas of bleeding when you scratch.
- Sometimes, the plaques merge and cover larger areas.
- Swollen and stiff joints are symptoms of psoriatic arthritis.
- Thickened pitted or ridged nails are the symptoms of psoriasis on the toenails and fingernails. Nail discoloration is common. The nails might even crumble and detach from the nail bed.
- You will also notice that your condition goes through cycles, where psoriasis flares up for several weeks and then subsides or goes into remission.
Treatment of psoriasis
Part of the treatment of psoriasis includes learning to gain control of the condition. That involves:
- Learning about what triggers your psoriasis and avoiding those triggers.
- Sticking to a skincare routine for psoriasis
- Following a healthy lifestyle can help keep symptoms at bay.
- Medications like retinoids, biologics, cyclosporine, and methotrexate help relieve symptoms.
- Light therapy can kill overactive WBC that attack healthy skin cells and cause rapid cell growth. Both UVA and UVB light therapy can reduce mild to moderate symptoms.
- Those with mild to moderate symptoms can get relief from a combination of therapies.
- Topical treatments with moisturizers, essential oils, topical steroids and retinoids, salicylic acid, and anthralin can help reduce mild to moderate psoriasis.
What heals psoriasis naturally?
While psoriasis cannot be healed, several natural ingredients can help soothe the skin and tone down the symptoms. Here are some natural treatments:
1.Thick and heavy cream or moisturizer laid on thick can help lock in moisture in your skin and reduce the pain and itching.
2.Apple cider vinegar is excellent for scalp psoriasis. To reduce itchiness, you can try putting full-strength or diluted apple cider vinegar on your scalp. Rinse off thoroughly after in dries to avoid any irritation. Alternatively, try an apple cider vinegar shampoo.
3.Spend some time in the sun. Five or ten minutes of UVA/UVB is more than enough to fight psoriasis.
4.Soak for about 10 minutes in a warm bath with Dead Sea salt or Epsom salts to seal in moisture.
5.Turmeric is an herb bursting with healing properties that can help reduce psoriasis flare-ups. You can add turmeric powder to your meals, or you can take a supplement.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. These oils are hidden in the roots, flowers, bark, and seeds of plants, concentrated and highly potent.
Essential oils capture the plant’s essence – its flavor and scent, hence the name essential oil. Each plant has its unique aromatic compounds, giving that plant’s essential oil its very own characteristic essence.
Essential oils can be obtained through natural distillation methods (steam distillation or water distillation) and mechanical distillation methods like cold pressing.
There are many ways to use essential oils - the most common way is to inhale them through a humidifier or diffuser or inhale them directly.
They can also be mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the skin. You can also combine your favorite essential oil in your shampoo, bath, or body wash.
Note: Essential oils must never be consumed.
Essential oils for psoriasis. Do they work?
Studies on essential oils for psoriasis have established that essential oils are a natural way to manage symptoms.
Essential oils are often used as a first-line treatment option and home remedy to treat psoriasis, and they can be safely used as a complementary therapy.
Care must be taken to use suitable essential oils and also use them properly to avoid exacerbating the condition.
Please be advised that different plants have different effects. So, before starting any topical treatment (including essential oils for psoriasis), consult a doctor.
A dermatologist will tell you if you can benefit from essential oils and which are the best.
Best essential oils for psoriasis
White willow bark is a source of salicylic acid, used as a standard treatment for psoriasis.
Tea Tree oil like WOW Skin Science Tea Tree Essential Oil is extracted from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree. It has been found to help manage symptoms like itching and pain associated with psoriasis.
Many early studies have suggested that tea tree essential oil has rich anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties that help conditions like psoriasis.
There is anecdotal evidence that this is a safe treatment. If you accidentally scratch a psoriasis patch, consider applying essential tea tree oil to the area to reduce inflammation and ward off infections.
Cold-pressed coconut oil is considered to be an essential oil. It has high anti-inflammatory properties to relieve pain and itching associated with psoriasis, and it also helps moisturize the skin and psoriasis scales.
Bergamot oil like WOW Bergamot Essential Oil is excellent in preventing infection. Rashes can crack, bleed, and get infected. Bergamot oil’s potent antiseptic properties can keep infections at bay and defend against secondary inflammation.
Geranium oil is known to regenerate damaged tissue and prevent inflammation. While it can prevent or reduce itching, it also stimulates the growth of new cells and must be used sparingly.
Sandalwood oil moisturizes the skin and seals it so no pollutants can enter the natural barrier. It is also known to reduce pain and inflammation.
Myrrh oil is packed with goodness beneficial in the treatment of psoriasis. Its astringent properties help heal cracks, and its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness, pain, and infection.
Lavender essential oil like WOW Skin Science Lavender Essential Oil prevents infections, fights inflammation, and helps soothe psoriasis symptoms.
Its calming properties can help alleviate specific emotional triggers that cause psoriasis. When mixed with body lotion and applied to the skin, it can help lessen itching.
Peppermint oil like WOW Skin Science Peppermint Essential Oil reduces inflammation, soothes itches from rashes, and calms redness and irritation.
WOW Skin Science Sore No More Essential Oil Blend can help alleviate pain and soreness caused by psoriatic arthritis. This blend of peppermint, wintergreen, clove, eucalyptus, nutmeg, and cinnamon essential oils relieves pains, aches, and stiffness due to arthritis, workouts, sprains, and more.
Psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system, genetics, an unhealthy lifestyle, and even stress.
While there is no cure for psoriasis, specific treatments can help you feel a lot better. Essential oils for psoriasis like peppermint, lavender, bergamot, lavender, and tea tree essential oils can help relieve some of the more common psoriasis symptoms. Click here for more WOW Skin Science essential oils and blends.