Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition caused by an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks the skin cells, thinking that they're causing the body harm.
The main symptom of psoriasis is the appearance of red or pink scaly patches on the skin that may become itchy, painful and inflamed. Most commonly, this will affect the elbows, forearms, back, knees and scalp. However, patches of psoriasis may also appear on other locations of the body, including the face.
Psoriasis patches can flare up, leading us to feel helpless if we're unsure what's causing it to become worse. The temptation to scratch or pick at patches of skin affected by psoriasis can become all consuming, which can in turn lead to the skin becoming weepy and may even crack, bleed and become infected. Pale or white skin that's affected by regular flare ups of psoriasis can become silvery-white and scaly and darker skin can appear purple, with grey scaling.
There are five main types of psoriasis; plaque, guttate, pustular, inverse and erythrodermic psoriasis.
Plaque psoriasis is the most common form and accounts for around 90 percent of all cases. In cases of plaque psoriasis, the affected patches of skin often have a white or silver centre and will typically have a scaly texture.
Different people with psoriasis experience it in different ways. Although the severity of the condition and the location of the patches can vary significantly, most people seek treatment methods that can minimise their symptoms and keep the condition under control. Treating psoriasis ranges from over the counter and prescription only medications to natural remedies such as coconut oil for psoriasis.
What Causes Psoriasis?
Psoriasis occurs when the epidermal, or outer, layer of the skin grows too quickly. Essentially, this results in rapid skin cell production and the skin cells being replaced too frequently, causing these cells to build up on the surface of the skin, resulting in dry skin patches, which can then turn irritated, red and flaky. The precise reason why this occurs is not yet known, but it's thought to be linked to a problem with the body's immune system.
The underlying causes of psoriasis are also not fully understood. However, it's generally accepted that there's a strong genetic cause, meaning that if a close family member has the condition, then you'll have a higher chance of also having it. Meanwhile, lifestyle factors can also contribute to the condition developing or worsening, with examples including stress, changes in climate, poor diet and excessive alcohol consumption.
What Clears Psoriasis Fast?
Although there is no known cure for the condition, there are a number of psoriasis treatment options available. The purpose behind treatment is to control the condition, limit the severity of its symptoms, reduce inflammation, itchiness and soreness and in some cases, try to correct the immune response. Treatments that reduce the symptoms of the condition can also greatly improve self esteem and mood.
Topical treatments that are applied directly to the skin to help treat and moisturize it are generally best for mild forms of the condition. Light therapy using different wavelengths of light may be used if the condition does not respond to creams and ointments. In the most severe cases, oral or injectable treatments and medications can be used.
In all cases, treatment can also be supported with natural remedies such as plant oils, that may help improve various symptoms.
Does Coconut Oil Get Rid of Psoriasis?
When it comes to naturally managing psoriasis symptoms, this oil is one of the best known and most readily available. In fact, many people use coconut oil for psoriasis
As the name suggests, unrefined coconut oil (as apposed to refined coconut oil) is an oil extracted from the fruit, or 'meat' of a coconut. This edible oil has a high saturated fat content, but it can also be applied topically to the skin, and many people use coconut oil to ease their symptoms.
Coconut Oil and Psoriasis: How Does it Work?
Applying coconut oil to the skin helps it to retain moisture, slow down the growth of the skin bacteria that can infect weeping and bleeding skin and reduce redness and swelling. It's therefore, an effective natural remedy for dry skin, scaling and itching, all of which are associated with psoriasis. Moreover, it can be used to hydrate the skin which help loosen psoriasis scales.
Coconut oil also has antiinflammatory properties helping to reduce inflammation in the skin, that can help to soothe the symptoms of psoriasis. It's also unlikely to cause an allergic reaction, unless you have an allergy to coconuts and coconut oil products.
Can Coconut Oil Heal Psoriasis?
There is no ultimate healing cure for psoriasis. But as well as for use on affected skin, unrefined virgin coconut oil can be used as a general beauty treatment, especially on the hair and nails. This can help to support healthy skin, that you may find is less likely to experience flare ups.
Coconut Oil for Scalp Psoriasis
For those with scalp psoriasis, coconut oil may help to remove some of the flakes and restore moisture to the scalp and hair, while simultaneously improving the hair.
Coconut Oil for Dry Scalp
Psoriasis and a dry scalp often go hand in hand, and again, coconut oil can help to moisturise away a dry scalp.
Can Coconut Oil Help Psoriasis?
Coconut oil is a useful natural treatment for psoriasis symptoms and can play a role in treating or managing the condition. It's perhaps best used in conjunction with other, medicated topical treatments and home remedies, rather than as a single solution. Coconut oil should not be used in place of prescribed treatments. - if you're in any doubt if coconut oil may interfere with your medications, speak to your GP or dermatologist.
Natural Remedies for Psoriasis
While organic coconut oil for psoriasis is one of the best known and most effective natural remedies for the condition, there are a number of other options that are worthy of consideration too.
The first of these is light exposure, although time spent in the sun should be managed carefully to avoid damage and ageing caused by UV rays. Instead, opt for light therapy, given in controlled conditions by a professional. Your dermatologist can refer you to a specialist, or you may find some high quality beauty salons also offer the treatment. Either way, check their credentials and ask to see before and after pictures of previous treatments.
Like the use of coconut oil, olive oil may offer some relief in the treatment of psoriasis by increasing skin moisture, reducing inflammation and softening dead skin, making it easier to remove flakes and scales.
Similarly, apple cider vinegar and aloe vera both have a useful role in treating the condition, helping to soothe the skin and reduce itching. Apple cider vinegar should be diluted and should not be left on the skin for too long, due to its acidity, which can lead to side effects such as irritation and the formation of more dry skin.
Both epsom salts and dead sea salts can be added to bathwater in order to create a salt water soak. Although the primary use of salts in this context is to provide relief from some of the more problematic symptoms, such as itching, soreness, irritation and inflammation, they can also help to simplify scale removal.
What Foods Permanently Heal Psoriasis?
Finally, research has suggested that diet can also have a role to play in treating the condition. In particular, multiple studies have highlighted potential benefits from taking fish oil supplements that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Moreover, limited research has established a link between coeliac disease, itchy skin and psoriasis and some studies have suggested that the severity of symptoms can be reduced by limiting gluten intake.
If you think changing your diet may help to improve your symptoms, speak to your GP or skin specialist about a referral to a dietician who specialises in dietary advice for those with psoriasis.
Is Coconut Oil Good for Psoriasis?
In terms of the psoriasis and coconut oil debate, all evidence suggests that coconut oil can help improve symptoms, leading to less itchy, red, irritated and inflamed skin. So it's well worth a try as in studies, many people found that coconut oil was effective.
Try applying it directly to the affected areas of skin, or add coconut oil to a warm bath and soak for at least half an hour to let the oil replace moisture in the skin. Try using it for a few weeks to see whether coconut oil could help you. For scalp psoriasis, dampen down your hair, add a generous amount to the scalp, cover your head with a towel and rest for 30 minutes before washing and rinsing well.
To further support your skin, try using the Sönd range of alkalising skincare, developed specifically to support the needs of stressed out skin.
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.