Essential oils aren't necessarily an approved treatment, but they can work anecdotally. 

By Lambeth Hochwald
November 27, 2019

If you have psoriasis—an autoimmune skin disorder that causes scaling and patches—and are coping with constant bothersome itchy and scaly skin patches, you may have considered using essential oils to help calm your skin, in addition to other prescribed treatments.

However, before you apply any 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, says Matthew Lewis, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford University.

With that as a caveat, our experts stress 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,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.

Something to also keep in mind: 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, to make sure it doesn't irritate your skin. With those tips in mind, here are four essential oils to consider trying, according to dermatologists.

RELATED: Is Psoriasis Contagious? What Dermatologists Have to Say

1. Coconut oil

“This is a really good and gentle oil to apply on the skin,” says Dr. Lewis. He clarifies that it's not technically an essential oil, but he still recommends 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," he says.

2. Lavender oil

“Lavender has been known to boost circulation and oxygen to the skin,” Dr. Engelman says. “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 says that lavender's anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties can also help to expedite healing.

3. Rose oil

“Rose oil contains anti-inflammatory properties which are great for calming redness and for helping relieve sensitive skin,” Dr. Engelman says. “It’s very emollient, meaning that it’s good for locking in moisture and hydration as well.”

4. Tea tree oil

“Tea tree oil can be helpful due to its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties,” Dr. Lewis says. “It may help reduce scaliness as well.”

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