Essential Oils

Can Essential Oils Work For Psoriasis?

Updated on 17 August 2020 • 4 minute read
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Overview 

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes skin cells to multiply much faster than usual, creating skin irritation, inflammation, and flare-ups. 

This condition is believed to be an immune system issue

Psoriasis symptoms include bumpy red spots known as psoriasis patches and rashes characterized by white scales. 

Scalp psoriasis is common, but patches can also appear on the elbows, arms, back, knees, and even fingernails. 

Many people with psoriasis also experience joint pain and inflammation, which is called psoriatic arthritis

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, scientists don’t know the exact cause of psoriasis, but they do know that genetics and the immune system play a role in its development. (1) 

According to the Mayo Clinic, psoriasis triggers include: (2)

  • Stress
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Smoking or secondhand smoke
  • Sunburn
  • Skin wounds
  • Weather 
  • Infections 
  • Medications 

 

Psoriasis treatment options can be topical, oral, injected, or involve light therapy. (2)

Topical: 

  • Corticosteroids
  • Retinoids
  • Coal tar
  • Salicylic acid 

 

Oral/injected: 

  • Steroids
  • Retinoids
  • Cyclosporine

 

Light therapy:

 

Talk to your dermatologist to determine which course of action is best for you. 

If you’re looking for alternative therapies and natural ways to manage symptoms you have some options: 

  • The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends supplements like Vitamin D3, fish oil, milk thistle, and aloe vera. 
  • Keep skin moisturized by using high-quality and natural lotions, essential oils, and salves. 
  • Avoid fragranced products and perfumes as these often contain chemicals that can irritate the skin. 
  • Eat clean and adopt an anti-inflammatory diet
  • Avoid processed foods, sugar, gluten, dairy, cigarettes, and alcohol. 
  • Manage stress and anxiety

Essential oils can also be an excellent addition to all of this. 

 

Essential Oils As A Natural Remedy

Essential oils (EOs) are highly concentrated plant compounds extracted from various plant and tree sources, including bark, roots, leaves, stems, flowers, nuts, and even fruit. 

EOs contain an abundant amount of active compounds that help support the body’s healing processes. 

Aromatherapy is the therapeutic application of EOs. 

Research shows EOs offer many health benefits that can support the management of psoriasis symptoms: 

 

EOs can serve as natural treatments for different skin conditions, including: 

Many EOs are also antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiseptic, which can keep patches and rashes clean and free of infection. 

 

The Best Essential Oils for Psoriasis


Essential oils should not be used as the primary treatment for psoriasis. 

They are most effective when used as a complementary therapy to your existing medical regimen.

There is currently very little research for or against using essential oils for psoriasis. 

Much of what is known is based on anecdotal evidence. 

Always consult with your doctor or dermatologist before applying any essential oils for psoriasis symptoms. 

 

Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

  • Antibacterial 
  • Anti-inflammatory 
  • Anti-fungal 
  • Antiseptic 
  • Antimicrobial 

Tea tree essential is an excellent choice for a wide range of skin conditions and inflammation. 

It’s been used by Australian Aboriginals for hundreds of years because of its potent healing capacity. 

Always perform a patch test on a non-affected area and wait 24-48 hours to see if any adverse reactions occur. 

Consult with your dermatologist before using it, especially with severe cases. 

 

Chamomile oil (Chamaemelum nobile, Matricaria chamomilla) 

  • Antibacterial 
  • Anti-inflammatory 
  • Anti-fungal 
  • Antiseptic 
  • Antimicrobial 

Chamomile essential oil, whether it be Roman chamomile or German chamomile, is soothing and moisturizing to the skin. 

It’s a gentle oil that is usually suitable for most skin types. 

 

Frankincense oil (Boswellia carterii)   

  • Antibacterial 
  • Anti-inflammatory 
  • Antiseptic 
  • Antimicrobial

Frankincense essential oil boost the immune system and fights inflammation.

It also accelerates skin healing by increasing cell repair. (3) 

It can also help to prevent and neutralize scars, which is especially beneficial with psoriasis. 

 

Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) 

  • Antibacterial 
  • Anti-inflammatory 
  • Anti-fungal 
  • Antiseptic 
  • Antimicrobial 

Lavender essential oil is a gentle oil that soothes and heals the skin. 

It’s generally suitable for most skin types. 

It is rich in two compounds called linalool and linalyl acetate.

Both compounds are known to reduce inflammation and help accelerate wound healing while reducing scarring. (4) 

 

Other oils believed to help with psoriasis: 

  • Bergamot oil
  • Turmeric oil
  • Geranium oil 
  • Peppermint oil

 

How To Use EOs for Psoriasis 

The best way to use EOs if you’re experiencing psoriasis symptoms is to dilute first in a carrier oil. 

This will help the skin absorb the EO’s active compounds and will also protect your skin from potential irritation. 

Healing choices for carrier oils include coconut oil, nut or seed oils like almond oil, and jojoba oil. 

These oils contain fatty acids and antioxidant properties that are nourishing to skin cells. 

They make great natural moisturizer options. 

A general rule is to dilute 3-4 drops of essential oil per 1 teaspoon of carrier oil. 

Always perform a patch test before applying any oil to the affected area. 

Apply the diluted oils directly onto the affected skin with a clean cotton swab or cotton ball. 

For best results apply twice a day. 

Stop use immediately if you experience any negative reaction.

And again, always consult with your doctor before using essential oils for skin conditions like psoriasis. 

 

Safety Concerns 

Always choose high-quality, certified organic and therapeutic grade products to avoid diluted batches and the addition of potentially harmful chemicals. 

EOs usually offer little to no adverse side effects when administered with caution and care. 

If you’re using EOs for psoriasis don’t forget to always perform a patch test to be aware of potential allergic reactions. 

If you experience any adverse reaction to any oil, discontinue use immediately and consult your healthcare provider.

Be aware of the contraindications for each oil you use as some EOs aren’t suitable for young 

Also, know your triggers and stay away from anything that can start or worsen a flare-up. 

Food allergens like gluten and dairy can also make eczema symptoms worse, so be mindful of your food choices and try to stick to an anti-inflammatory diet, especially during active flare-ups. 

 

DIY Healing Salve & Topical Treatment 

Home remedies like this topical treatment may work for psoriasis flare-ups. 

This healing salve contains an essential oil blend that can help soothe inflammation, reduce discomfort, and initiate healing. 

  • 4 drops of lavender oil
  • 4 drops of German chamomile oil
  • 4 drops of tea tree oil 
  • 4 drops frankincense oil 
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil 
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa butter 
  • 1 tablespoon Manuka honey 
  • ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

Mix all ingredients in a clean glass or non-plastic bowl with a secure lid. 

Store in a dark, cool place away from sunlight. 

 

 

 

References: 

(1) https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis

(2) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355840

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5801908/

(4) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0944711304701804#:~:text=The%20results%20obtained%20indicate%20that,are%20potentially%20anti%2Dinflammatory%20agents

 

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