Recently I was asked if essential oils can help with Psoriasis. Most resources cite the difficulty in treating psoriasis with traditional medicine or with complimentary care but for some people essential oils can decrease the number of outbreaks as well as help to alleviate the severity and discomfort of symptoms.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease which causes an overgrowth of skin cells. The affected skin becomes irritated, dry, itchy red, thick and scaly; it can appear anywhere on the body but is most often seen on the elbows, knees and trunk. The cause is attributed to genetics and environmental factor; common triggers for flare ups are stress, excessive alcohol consumption, infections, injury to skin (e.g. sunburn, bug bites etc.), cold weather, some medications and smoking.
How to use essential oils:
Topical application: A 2 – 2 1/2% essential oil dilution (12-15 drops of essential oil(s) to 1 oz carrier oil) applied daily to the affected area has been shown to be beneficial. The carrier oils most recommended are Sweet Almond, Tamanu, Rose Hip and Jojoba all of which have beneficial properties to help soothe and heal irritated skin.
Lavender Lavandula angustifolia, Rose Rosa damascene and German Chamomile Matricaria chamomilla help to decrease sympathetic nervous system activity and are anti-inflammatory. Use any of these essential oils to create the base of your blend.
Add a few drops of Mandarin Citrus deliciosa, Rose, Geranium Pelargonium graveolens, or Palmarosa Cymbopogon marntinii to help soften your skin.
To support wound healing and prevent infection add a few drops of Bergamot Citrus Bergamia or Thyme ct. linalol Thymus vulgaris.
An Example of a psoriasis blend recipe
4 drops Lavender
3 drops German Chamomile
3 drops Mandarin
3 drops Bergamot
2 drops Rose
1 oz (30ml) carrier oil
Stress and Psoriasis
Aromatherapy is an easy and effective way to help calm body and mind, reduce stress and therefore help decrease the frequency and / or severity of psoriasis flare ups.
Lavender, Rose, Geranium, German Chamomile, Bergamot essential oilsare all beneficial for stress relief or mild depression. They can be used in a diffuser, direct inhalation, baths, body lotion, massage or spot application.
Thyme ct. linalool and Palmarosa can be used for diffusion, inhalation and spot application.
Synergy blends to calm and sooth: Use in baths, massage, diffusion, body oil/lotion inhalation or after shower
Ingredients: Lavender, Mandarin, Bergamot and Clary Sage
Ingredients: Geranium, Lavender, Marjoram Sweet, Vetiver
Ingredients: Bergamot FCF, Cedarwood Atlas, Frankincense, Patchouli, Sandalwood
Methods of application
After Shower: After showering, while your skin is still wet, put 1-3 drops of essential oil in the palm of one of your hands and rub your hands together. Quickly and evenly spread the essential oil over your legs, arms, and torso. Avoid sensitive-skin areas. Wait for 30 seconds, breathing in the aroma, and then pat your skin dry.
Bath: Mix 4-8 drops of essential oil in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil, preferably fractionated coconut oil. (You can also add the essential oil to 1/2 cup of whole milk or heavy cream.) Set aside. If you have muscle aches, add Epsom or Dead sea salts. Fill the tub with warm water and immerse yourself. Add the essential oil mixture and swirl the water around you. Massage your skin and breathe in the aroma. Remain in the tub for 10-15 minutes.
Body Lotion: Add 6-30 drops of essential oil in 1 ounce of fragrance-free, natural moisturizing lotion. Apply to your skin, especially after a shower or bath.
Body Oil: Mix 6-30 drops of essential oil in 1 ounce of carrier, such as fractionated coconut oil or sweet almond oil. Apply to your skin, especially after a shower or bath.
Diffusion: Follow diffuser manufacturer’s instructions to fill the air with therapeutic aroma.
Inhalation: Put 1-3 drops of essential oil on a tissue and inhale the aroma through your nose. Pause and inhale again. (Avoid touching your nose with the tissue.)
Massage: Mix 6-30 drops of essential oil in 1 ounce of carrier oil or fragrance-free, natural lotion.