4 Essential Oils To Try For Psoriasis

Essential oils aren't necessarily an approved treatment, but they may be helpful.

If you have psoriasis—an autoimmune skin disorder that causes scaling and patches—you know how frustrating it can be to deal with constant, bothersome, itchy, and scaly skin patches. In general, using oil as a moisturizer can be helpful when your skin feels dry. As a result, you may have considered using essential oils to help calm your skin as part of your prescribed treatment regimen.

However, before you apply any kind of essential oil to your skin, keep in mind that there has been little evidence or randomized clinical trials that essential oils can work to relieve psoriasis symptoms, said Matthew Lewis, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford University.

With that as a caveat, our experts stressed that, anecdotally, they have seen patients experience psoriasis relief thanks to the use of certain essential oils. "Ultimately, your goal should be to look for essential oils that calm the skin and help with scarring," said Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.

What Essential Oils Are Worth Trying?

Keep in mind is that you should always speak to your healthcare provider before using essential oils in your regimen to make sure they don't interact with any of your other medications. You should also test the essential oil on a small patch of your skin first, as some essential oils can cause allergic reactions or irritate your skin.

Here are a few essential oils that may help with your psoriasis symptoms.

Lavender Oil

Lavender is commonly promoted for topical use. "Lavender has been known to boost circulation and oxygen to the skin," Dr. Engelman said. "Lavender oil contains certain properties that help to condition the skin, ultimately providing calming and hydrating benefits that improve the appearance of new or old scars." Dr. Engleman also said that lavender's anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties can also help to expedite healing.

Rose Oil

"Rose oil contains anti-inflammatory properties which are great for calming redness and for helping relieve sensitive skin," Dr. Engelman said. "It's very emollient, meaning that it's good for locking in moisture and hydration as well"—which may, in part, be due to its antibacterial properties according to a January 2018 Cosmetics article.

Tea Tree Oil

Researchers noted that tea tree oil may be helpful in treating psoriasis. "Tea tree oil can be helpful due to its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties," Dr. Lewis explained. "It may help reduce scaliness as well."

Bergamot Oil

You could also try bergamot oil for relief. According to a Molecules article published in March 2022, the effectiveness of bergamot oil appears to be due to 5-methoxypsoralen (5-MOP). This is a plant-based chemical compound that may have anti-inflammatory properties. 5-MOP is used during psoralen plus ultraviolet-A (PUVA) radiation therapy, which is another treatment for psoriasis.

Other Topical Psoriasis Remedies

If you find that essential oils—or natural remedies in general—are not effective in alleviating your psoriasis symptoms, you still have other topical options to treat the skin condition. The majority of psoriasis treatments, according to the AAD, will be topical options. These choices may include:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Synthetic vitamin D
  • Retinoids
  • Coal tar
  • Tacrolimus ointment or pimecrolimus cream

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil could also help those who have psoriasis. "This is a really good and gentle oil to apply on the skin," Dr. Lewis said, clarifying that it's not technically an essential oil. However, Dr. Lewis still recommended it to his patients for its anti-inflammatory properties. "[It] can help my psoriasis patients who are experiencing painful scales; it's good for moisturizing the skin and coconut allergies are rare," Dr. Lewis said.

Berberine

Another natural remedy that might offer psoriasis relief too is Mahonia aquifolium, also known as berberine. According to a December 2018 Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology review, M. aquifolium is known to help reduce inflammation, which has led to its use with skin conditions. The authors of the review noted that M. aquifolium was helpful for improving psoriasis symptoms in a number of studies.

A Quick Review

Overall, it's worth talking with your healthcare provider if you're interested in trying natural remedies for psoriasis or want to know about more treatments for your case.

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Sources
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  1. American Academy of Dermatology. What psoriasis treatments are available without a prescription?

  2. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Lavender.

  3. Sarkic A, Stappen I. Essential oils and their single compounds in cosmetics—a critical review. Cosmetics. 2018;5(1):11. doi:10.3390/cosmetics5010011

  4. Pazyar N, Yaghoobi R. Tea tree oil as a novel antipsoriasis weaponSkin Pharmacol Physiol. 2012;25(3):162-163. doi:10.1159/000337936

  5. Alesci A, Lauriano ER, Fumia A, et al. Relationship between immune cells, depression, stress, and psoriasis: could the use of natural products be helpful? Molecules. 2022;27(6):1953. doi:10.3390/molecules27061953

  6. National Library of Medicine. Substance name: 5-Methoxypsoralen.

  7. Janeczek M, Moy L, Lake EP, Swan J. Review of the Efficacy and Safety of Topical Mahonia aquifolium for the Treatment of Psoriasis and Atopic DermatitisJ Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2018;11(12):42-47.

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