What is Psoriasis?
Have you ever see someone with some scaling skin surface as a result of a buildup of the skin cells? This person could probably be suffering from Psoriasis. It is a chronic condition that affects the skin by speeding up the skin cell’s life cycle. As a result of the speed up process, the cells build up rapidly on the skin surface. Inflammatory chemicals produced by the T-lymphocytes white blood cells are the ones that trigger the proliferation of the skin cells. These excess skin cells appear on the skin as scales and some red patches which can be painful and are very itchy. Around the scales, you can also note some inflammation and redness. It is referred to as chronic since it is a condition that comes and goes at different times. To identify the psoriatic scales, you will notice that they are whitish-silver and a bit thick above the surface of the skin. When left very dry, they also tend to crack and bleed.
The typical skin production process and life cycle of a skin cell last for one month. The skin cells grow deep in the skin, rise to the surface and eventually fall off. However, for a person suffering from Psoriasis, the production process may take place in just a few days. It is about ten times faster than usual. It causes a skin build-up since this skin does not get time to fall off like in a regular life cycle. You can observe Psoriasis mainly on the scalp, knees and the elbows. It also occurs on the palms, torso and in the soles of the feet though not as common. You can also see an Auspitz sign which is a blood spot on the skin as a result of pulling off one of the patches.
Signs And Symptoms Of Psoriasis
- Plagues of red skin coved by whitish silvery scales which are usually thick
- Dry skin which can sometimes crack and tend to bleed
- Soreness around the red patches on the skin
- Very itchy with a burning sensation in the area around the spots
- Discolored nails and some disorders on the toenails and fingernails such as pitting. Some may detach from the nail bed and start to crumble.
- The joints are both stiff and swollen too.
Causes And Triggers
This condition is related to inherited genes which mean that it is passed down from one generation to the next for the affected people. It is also an immune system problem with the white blood cells and the T cells. The T cells which are meant to attack any viruses and bacteria in the body, also mistakenly attack the healthy skin cells. The body is triggered by these overactive T cells to overproduce the healthy skin cells, the neutrophils white blood cells and more T cells. All of these cells then travel to the skin surface and cause redness and pus in some cases. The new cells that are produced then move on top of the cells to the outermost layer very quickly hence causing the buildup. They are therefore thick and scaly.
Unlike most skin conditions, it is not contagious. It is very unpredictable and tends to get better or worse spontaneously although there are certain environmental conditions which can trigger it. It tends to get worse during the cold winter months. Some other factors that may trigger psoriasis or worsen the situation are infections either on the skin or other parts such as a sore throat. It is also worse if the patients are involved in smoking, heavy alcohol consumption and stress. In case they get a skin injury such as a cut, it may trigger the skin to begin building up around it and spreading from there. Medications such as lithium also make psoriasis worse. It also has specific periods of remission when the skin is clear until when it pops up again. There is no known cure for Psoriasis, but it is controlled using medication and some therapies.
The spectrum ranges from mild when it affects just small affected areas and when it affects the entire body. The Psoriasis condition comes in different forms, but the plaque psoriasis is the most common one. It occurs in any part of the body including the genitals and soft tissues in the mouth. The others are Guttate psoriasis, Inverse psoriasis, nail psoriasis, Pustular psoriasis, Erythrodermic psoriasis and the Psoriatic arthritis.
Complications That May Develop As A Result Of Psoriasis
Patients who have Psoriasis either from family history or as a result of social and environmental factors are at high risk of developing specific complications. It is not a must for it to happen but it is highly likely. [source]
- Eye conditions- blepharitis, conjunctivitis and uveitis eye conditions are common with people who have psoriasis
- Psoriatic arthritis- This is where some joints are damaged, and some may lose their functionality
- Obesity- It is not clear why but most people with severe cases of the disease also tend to be obese. It could also be due to the low activity of these patients.
- High blood pressure- There is a higher chance for these patients.
- Type 2 diabetes- The risk of getting it is higher for the psoriasis patients. It is more likely for the severe cases.
- Cardiovascular disease- The risk of getting this disease is twice as high for the psoriasis patients. The treatments can also cause stroke, irregular heartbeat among other things.
- Metabolic disorder- This is as a result of the combination of conditions that are common with these patients.
- Parkinson’s disease
- Other autoimmune diseases
- Kidney disease
- Emotional problem- The quality of life is affected due to the person’s appearance. Some of the patients tend to suffer from low self-esteem, and some even fall into depression.
Best Essential Oils For Psoriasis
The Psoriasis skin condition has no cure yet, but there are some remedies that you can apply to improve the situation. It can flare up at any time, and the itching makes it very uncomfortable. You can relieve the discomfort of these patches using different forms. There are topical medicines, some essential oils, and even the light therapy.
Applying a wide range of essential oils is a common and an adequate remedy used as a form of managing psoriasis. These essential oils are used mostly in aromatherapy to soothe the skin and offer a treatment for the skin. Since this skin condition causes inflammation at different areas of the skin, the essential oils have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and the antibiotic properties which helps soothe the skin. They are however not recommended as the primary treatment for this condition, but instead, they are supposed to be complementary therapy after using a prescribed regular medication. In case you have a severe case of psoriasis, it is important to first consult your doctor on your plans of including essential oils in your treatment. Remember to mention the exact ones used since they have a different effect and they can tell you if it is suitable for your condition or not.
List Of Essential Oils To Use
There is a multitude of oils that can be used for this condition but some of the best ones include:
1. Sandalwood Oil
This oil is used to ease the harsh the effects of this state by being a good moisturizer and an anti-inflammatory. Once applied to the skin, it can keep the skin moisturized which seals it and also protect it from other irritants from the environment. The skin is prone to infection which can cause a lot of pain. This oil on the skin surface eases the inflammation making the person more comfortable.
How to use it-
Put about ten drops of this essential oil in one tablespoon of coconut oil and mix.
Rub the mixture on the affected area about one or two times a day depending on the severity of psoriasis. Works best when applied at night when going to bed. [source]
2. Chamomile Oil
The skin of a psoriasis patient is very itchy and dry. Chamomile is an excellent moisturizer and helps to soothe the discomfort which prevents the flare-ups. It reduces the urge to scratch the affected area. It also has anti-inflammatory properties
How to use-
This oil is mostly blended with other oils such as the peppermint oil and used as a home remedy. You can take them internally.
You can also apply the mixture directly to the affected area gently until you see the red patches disappear.[source]
3. Peppermint oil
This oil is essential when trying to ease the itching and the pain around the areas. Peppermint comes in 25 different species and about 600 varieties. However, all of these plants have the menthol which gives the peppermint its properties. It has a cooling effect on the skin which helps to tackle itching on the skin.
How to use-
Combine one cup of distilled water with five to seven drops of peppermint oil. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray the combination directly on the itchy and painful skin. You can immediately get a soothing relief on the skin surface.
In small doses, this essential oil has no side effects, but some people may get an allergic reaction from it.[source]
4. Bergamot Oil
A Psoriasis skin is prone to infection due to the hard rashes which tend to open up and bleed. The bergamot oil has antiseptic properties which may help prevent the skin from getting infected. It also prevents the skin from getting more inflamed and eases the urge to scratch the area.
How to use-
Mix equal portions of bergamot oils and any other carrier oil such as the Jojoba oil.
Gently apply the mixture to the affected area. Works best when used at night to reduce itching at night.[source]
5. Black Seed Oil
This oil is also known as the black cumin seed oil. It has anthelmintic properties as well as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. This oil works well for psoriasis to help soothe the skin and prevent infection on the cracked and bleeding surfaces. It speeds up the healing too.
It is good for moisturizing the skin and can help reduce the thickness of the scale. Patients with clotting disorders, low blood pressure, and diabetes should be careful when using this oil since it has a tendency of reducing blood clotting and it may lower the blood pressure.
How to use-
It can be applied directly to the skin, or you can mix it with some carrier oils such as coconut or jojoba oil. [source]
6. Patchouli Oil
This oil is used to try and reduce the inflammation around the area of the patches. It successfully eliminates the redness and swelling as well as the silvery caps found on the plague. The skin can clear up quickly
How to use:
This oil can be used alone without mixing it with any oil. However be careful when applying it on sensitive skin
Apply directly to the affected area one to two times a day. Keep doing it until the flare-up fades.[source]
7. Myrrh oil
The myrrh oil has properties that treat psoriasis. It has antiseptic properties to protect from possible pathogens that may get in through the cracks. It is also a mild astringent that helps to close up and heal these cracks. Its anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness and swelling. It also helps the flare-ups to be less frequent.
How to use-
Use it during the periods when there are flare-ups of this condition especially when they are severe, and the cracks are bleeding.
Apply about 4-5 drops of this oil directly to the patches. You can dilute it using jojoba oil or apply it undiluted [source]
8. Angelica Oil
This oil is used mostly to detoxify both the skin and the entire body. This detoxifier moisturizes the skin as well as eliminate the toxins and other factors that tend to make the symptoms of psoriasis worsen. It is good for soothing the skin during significant breakouts.
How to use-
Combine five drops of angelica with one tablespoon of olive oil.
Ensure you mix these two thoroughly until well combined.
Massage the affected area with this blend for a few minutes until the skin has absorbed the oil[source]
9. Tea Tree Oil
This oil has many properties which are very good for any skin condition. It is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and it is also analgesic. It is perfect for a psoriasis skin. It protects the patches from getting infected as well as eliminating the redness and reducing the pain.
How to use-
Tea tree oil is a potent essential oil which when it is used undiluted on the skin it can make the situation even worse.
Mix up one tablespoon of coconut oil with the tea tree oil and apply on the patches until when the redness and pain disappears. [source]
10. Clary Sage Oil
We use this oil when trying to prevent the flare-ups of Psoriasis from getting worse. It is an antiseptic and an anti-inflammatory. It reduces the itching urge as well as protects the cracks on the sores from getting infected.
How to use it-
If the affected areas are in many regions of the body, Add about ten drops of the clary sage oil to some warm water in a bathtub. Soak in the tub ensuring that the affected areas are well soaked.
If it just one area, mix a few drops of the oil with some warm water. Soak a cloth in the mixture and press it on the affected area. Ensure you press it against the patches and hold for around 15-20 minutes. It is to ensure that the ingredients get on the skin. [source]
11. Geranium oil
This oil is known to increase the circulation around a particular area. It helps to reduce the inflammation and promote the regeneration of healthy cells around the affected area. This oil is also used to relieve stress.
Ensure you do a patch test on this oil before using it to know if you are allergic to it before direct application.
How to use-
Dilute this full strength oil with coconut oil or any other carrier oil. Apply it directly on the affected area
Mix about five drops of geranium oil with one tablespoon of coconut oil
Apply to the affected area two times a day until there is an improvement.
Take caution if you have high blood pressure or at risk of getting cardiovascular diseases since this essential skin tend to reduce or stop the blood flow in the area. [source]
12. Coconut oil
Although we do not classify coconut oil as an essential oil, it has beneficial anti-inflammatory effects on the skin. It helps ease the psoriasis pain. This oil is also a good moisturizer and mostly used in managing scalp psoriasis. It is also quite gentle even for this sensitive skin.
How to use-
Apply to the entire skin every day as a moisturizer paying attention to the affected area
You can mix it up with some other essential oils and apply on the specifically affected areas
Take two tablespoons of virgin coconut oil once every day. The lauric acid helps to block any virus and bacteria from the body [source]
Essential Oil Blends
- Four drops of patchouli oil
- Ten drops of frankincense oil
- Ten drops of geranium oil
- One drop of clary sage oil
- Nine drops of bergamot oil
- Three drops of mandarin crude
- One drop of Ylang-Ylang oil
- Eleven drops of lavender oil
- Six tablespoons of carrier oil such as sweet almond oil or coconut oil
Mix them thoroughly to make a smooth blend and store away from sunlight. Apply on the skin surface affected by psoriasis two times a day until you see some change. Ensure you shake before every use.[source]
Other Natural Remedies For Psoriasis
Other than using essential oils, there are other home remedies that you can use to reduce the effects of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis which do not include the use of creams and medicine. Here are some of the all-natural remedies that you can use to sooth the flare-ups and eliminate the pain and swelling.
It is also known as Oregon grape. Mahonia is a herb that has antimicrobial properties. It plays a role in the response of the immune system. When used topically on the skin, it is useful in treating psoriasis before it gets severe. However, a physician is the one supposed to administer the dosage.
Apple cider vinegar
People from most cultures use it as a disinfectant. Apple cider when applied directly in the affected areas is used to relieve the urge to scratch. We use it for scalp psoriasis. Dilute it with water at the ratio of 1:1 to prevent its burning sensation on the skin. Apply it several times a week. However, do not use it on cracked or bleeding wounds.
The ingredient in the chili which makes it hot is called capsaicin. Applying the chili will block the nerve endings that cause pain reducing the pain on the irritable flare-ups. It also helps with scaling and redness from the inflamed skin.
Oats are natural skin soothers. Create an oat paste and apply the mixture to the psoriasis skin. You can also take a bath in oats. This remedy reduces the redness and the urge to itch.
These are also called the dead sea salts. Add them to your warm bath and soak for about 15 minutes. You can also add it to bath water. It helps remove the scales on the psoriasis skin and also reduce itching.
Dissect the aloe plant and apply the gel directly to the affected area on the skin up to three times a day. It is used to reduce the redness and the chances of scaling that come with psoriasis.
This herb is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show that Curcumin which is its active ingredient can alter gene expression. Since Psoriasis is mostly genetically predisposed, turmeric can minimize the number of flare-ups that occur. You can ingest it as supplements form or add it as a curry in your food. You can take a dosage of between 1.5 and 3.0 grams per day to be safe.[source].
Psoriasis is a chronic condition which affects the skin by causing reddish patches on the skin surface. It is mostly transmitted through genes though sometimes the environmental factors may trigger it. There are many essential oils that you can apply to help soothe the painful flare-ups. You don’t always have to take drugs as there are some natural remedies that you can use to manage this incurable condition.