Approximately, 2 â€“ 2.6% of United States population is affected by a chronic skin condition called Psoriasis. (1) It is an auto-immune disease that causes itchy, dry, scaly, flaky, red and inflamed patches on the skin â€“ more commonly on knees, arms, neck, scalp and back.
Usually, healthy skin cell turnover happens once in a month but for people suffering from psoriasis, it happens too fast. But unfortunately the shedding of skin cells stays normal. This occurs due to miscommunication in the immune system. (2)
In chronic cases, psoriasis can also cause inflammation in the joints resulting in psoriatic arthritis. Approximately 15% of psoriasis patients develop this annoying condition.
Unfortunately, psoriasis cannot be cured completely. But the good news is â€“ you can control the psoriasis flare-ups up to 90% with natural remedies.
Hereâ€™s how â€“ being an autoimmune disease the first resort for treating it is to strengthen your immune system. Secondly – the dry, itchy and scaly skin should be controlled. And third aspect is to kill any bacteria, control any allergy or infection that can trigger or worsen the infection.
All these aspect can be perfectly handled by just a single ingredient â€“ Coconut Oil. Wondering howâ€¦? Read on to know the reasons with science backed truths.[toc]
How Does Coconut Oil Treat Psoriasis?
Here are the proofs with scientific explanation.
1. Deep Penetrating Capability than Other Oils
The human cells, especially the outer layer of it contains fatty acids. Extra virgin coconut oil contains similar fatty acids as the human skin cells. This is reason our skin can easily absorb it than other oils. The deep penetrating of coconut oil increases the moisture in the skin, smoothens and loosens the skin flakes. It prevents the skin from getting excessively dry. (3)
Unlike other oils, it doesnâ€™t clog the pores and cause allergic reactions to even most sensitive skin. The greasiness can be caused only due to excess amount of coconut oil application. (4)
2. Healing Capacity
The fatty acids present in coconut oil have the capability of restoring the fatty acid level in the skin cells. It helps to maintain the balance between in saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in a better ration. This helps to prevent damage from sun rays and aging. (5)
3. Durability of Cell Walls
When consumed, the healthy saturated fatty acids present in coconut oil balance the unsaturated fats in the body. This enables a better communication between the cells.
The saturated fats present in coconut oil helps our skin to produce anti-inflammatory hormones. This in turn decreases the inflammation caused by psoriasis. It also helps to maintain the skin healthier, younger and nourished. (6)
5. Combat Free Radicals
Kinetin is a plant hormone which is abundantly available in coconuts. This hormone helps in the cell division in our body. Kinetin also acts as anti-oxidant which reduces the free radical damage. (7) Some experts even claim that kinetin can also repair the DNA.
6. Preventing or Treating Infections
Coconut oil contains monoglyceride which is rich in antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. It can prevent or treat bacterial, viral, and fungal infections which can aggravate psoriasis condition. Infections can inflame the skin cells and lead to psoriasis outbreaks. (8)
How to Use Coconut Oil for Psoriasis?
There are many ways of using coconut oil to treat psoriasis. We have listed them in detail below. Choose any method as per your convenience to reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.
Note: Coconut oil is completely safe to use for psoriasis on feet, hands, legs, nails, genitals, scalp and plague psoriasis, penile psoriasis and pustular psoriasis. Not only adults, application of coconut oil can also be used to treat psoriasis in babies and kids.
1. Coconut Oil
Consumption of coconut oil daily helps to strengthen immune system, improve the healing capability and balance the ration of saturated and unsaturated fat in the body. Topical application helps to moisturize the cells, treat any infections, smoothens the affected skin and loosens the flakes.
- Internal Consumption: Include 2 â€“ 4 tablespoons of coconut oil in your daily diet. You can incorporate it by consuming directly, adding it juices, and sautÃ©ing veggies or can be used as an alternative for butter.
- As a Moisturizer: Apply a small amount of coconut oil 3 times a day on psoriasis affected areas. Leave it to dry completely.
2. Coconut Oil Ointment with Beeswax and Honey
The emollient properties of honey locks moisture in the skin cells. (9) It also helps to loosen the psoriasis flakes and smoothen the skin. Beeswax contains anti-inflammatory properties which help to reduce redness, swelling and itchiness. (10)
- In a bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 tablespoon beeswax (melted) and 1 tablespoon of honey.
- Stir well and apply it gently on psoriasis affected areas.
- Let it rest for few minutes and rinse it off with water.
- Repeat the application regularly.
Note: If you are allergic to pollen or if honey is not available then you can avoid it in the process and follow the remaining as it is mentioned.
3. Coconut Oil Cream with Beeswax
If you donâ€™t have time to whip up fresh mixture every time like the above one, then you can try the below process. You can make the cream in batches and store it for a month.
- Using a double boiler, melt down 1 ounce each of beeswax pellets and coconut oil.
- Once the ingredients meltdown, remove from the flame.
- Pour the mixture into a container and let it cool down to solidify.
- Scoop out enough mixture and apply on psoriasis affected areas.
- Repeat the application several times a day.
Note: Instead of beeswax pellets, you can use shea butter.
4. Coconut Oil with Apple Cider Vinegar
As per National Psoriasis Foundation, the disinfectant properties of apple cider vinegar ease the itching, dissolve the lose flakes, reduce the redness and swelling. (11)
- Combine 2 parts of coconut oil and 1 part of apple cider vinegar.
- Mix well and apply it on the psoriasis affected areas.
- Leave the mask for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Rinse with water and pat dry.
- Repeat the process 2 times in a day.
For extra benefits: You can also add 2 parts of honey into it.
5. Coconut Oil and Turmeric
Curcumin present in turmeric holds immunomodulatory properties which restrict the immune responses that result in psoriasis flare-up. (12) It also contains antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. (13)
- Combine 1/2 teaspoon turmeric with 1 tablespoon coconut oil.
- Spread the mixture on the affected areas.
- Leave the application for 20 minutes.
- Rinse with water and pat dry.
- Repeat the application daily to get rid of psoriasis flare-ups.
6. Coconut Oil Bath
This procedure helps to heal the affected areas that are difficult to reach. It also helps to moisture, smoothen and loosen the flakes. In fact the National Psoriasis Foundation recommends adding coconut oil to daily bath water is much better than traditional baths in soothing the skin. (14)
- Add 2 â€“ 3 tablespoons of coconut oil into your bath water. Make sure the bath water is not too hot.
- Soak in it for 10 â€“ 15 minutes and bath normally.
- Pat dry and apply coconut oil on the affected areas.
- Repeat the process daily to achieve the desired results.
7. Coconut Oil with Camphor
Camphor contains anti-fungal and anti-septic properties which are very effective in treating skin conditions including psoriasis.
- Combine 1 cup of cold compresses coconut oil and a pinch of camphor.
- Stir well and apply the mixture on psoriasis affected areas.
- Massage gently for at least half an hour.
- Take a lukewarm shower and pat dry.
- Repeat the process once in 2 days.
8. Coconut Oil and Neem
Neem is known to treat any kind of skin disease which includes psoriasis as well. It contains antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties. (15)
- Burn some neem bark seeds until they turn into ashes.
- Mix the ashes with enough coconut oil to make a cream.
- Apply the cream on psoriasis affected areas.
- Leave it on for few minutes and rinse off with water.
- Repeat the process regularly.
Alternative Method: Grind a handful of neem leaves into a smooth paste. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil into it and mix well. Apply it on the affected areas and leave it on for 20 minutes. Rinse off with water and pat dry. Repeat daily.
9. Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil and Lavender Oil
As per a study published in Dermatology, vitamin B12 and avocado oil has considered as well tolerated and long term therapy for psoriasis. (16) Stress is one of the prominent triggers for psoriasis. The sedative properties of lavender oil reduce stress and relax the mind which reduces the psoriasis flare-ups. (17)
- Mix equal amounts of coconut oil, lavender oil and avocado oil.
- Using a cotton ball, apply the solution on psoriasis affected areas.
- Leave it on for few minutes and rinse off with water.
- Repeat the process regularly.
10. Coconut Oil with Aloe Vera
Aloe vera moisturizes the skin and reduces the inflammation, swelling and flaking. It strengthens the immune system, stimulates new cell growth and nourishes the skin cells. (18)
- Combine 1 teaspoon each of lukewarm coconut oil and freshly extracted aloe vera.
- Mix well and apply it on psoriasis affected areas.
- Gently massage the mixture in circular motion for 20 minutes.
- Leave it overnight or rinse off with water after 20 minutes.
- Repeat the process daily.
- For extra benefits, you can add few drops each of lavender, rose and peppermint oil.
- Or you can also add vitamin E oil to the mixture.
11. Coconut Oil with Lavender Oil and Frankincense Oil
Lavender oil contains sedative properties which provide relief from stress â€“ a potential psoriasis trigger. Frankincense oil contains antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. (19)
- Combine 1 teaspoon coconut oil, 3 drops each of lavender oil and frankincense oil.
- Rub the mixture on the psoriasis affected areas.
- Leave it to dry completely.
- Repeat the process regularly.
- Alternatively, you can use Melrose essential oil instead of frankincense oil.
12. Coconut Oil Saran Wrap
Wrapping up the skin with a plastic or saran wrap at night before going to bed, helps in loosening the scales which can be removed easily in the morning.
- Take a shower and pat dry completely.
- Apply some coconut oil on the affected areas.
- Using saran wrap, wrap the affected areas.
- In the morning, remove the plastic wrap and rinse the affected areas.
Note: Sleeping with a plastic wrap might be uncomfortable at the beginning but if you follow this process for 3 days you will observe a major difference on the 3rd morning itself.
13. Coconut Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is one of the best ways to detox the body which is very important for treating psoriasis. Psoriasis is an auto-immune disease which means our immune system is hyperactive resulting in production of more skin cells. Toxin overload is the main reason for aggravated immune system.
Oil pulling with coconut oil helps to eliminate these toxins and calm down the immune system, which further provides relief from psoriasis flare-ups.
- Put 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around your mouth for 10 â€“ 20 minutes. Make sure to do it gently without exerting too much pressure on the cheeks and jaws.
- Spit out the coconut oil. Avoid swallowing it as it will be filled with toxins.
- Immediately, rinse your mouth with warm water.
- Brush and floss as usual.
- Repeat the process once in a day. The best time to perform oil pulling is in the morning in an empty stomach.
14. Coconut Oil and Glycerin
As per Medical College of Georgia found that glycerin helps in skin cell maturation. When it combined with coconut oil it becomes an amazing solution to reduce psoriasis.
- Combine a tablespoon of coconut oil and glycerin.
- Mix well and apply it on the affected areas of the body.
- Leave it to dry completely.
- Repeat the process 2 times in a day to get a clear skin.
15. Coconut Oil Soap for Psoriasis
The harmful chemicals present in soaps can aggravate the skin condition caused by psoriasis. Instead of them you can make a soap using coconut oil at home and use it. Here is the step-step method to make coconut oil soap for psoriasis at home.
- Take few cubes of Melt and Pour Soap Base.
- Using a double boiler, melt them down.
- Once melted, remove from the flame.
- Add enough amounts of coconut oil and stir well.
- Pour into moulds and set them aside to solidify.
- Once they are set, remove from the moulds.
- For extra benefits, add any essential oil of your choice.
How Treat Scalp Psoriasis Using Coconut Oil?
Not just the body, coconut oil contains efficient properties that help us control the psoriasis on scalp as well. Apart from scalp psoriasis, it also helps to treat hair fall and other scalp conditions.
Usually, scalp psoriasis is treated with medicated shampoos containing salicylic acid, topical steroids, topical retinoids, and ultraviolet light. But instead of these harmful methods, you can also treat it using subtle coconut oil.
Here is a detailed step-by-step process of treating scalp psoriasisâ€¦
- Using a double boiler, melt and slightly warm up the coconut oil.
- Apply liberal amounts of coconut oil on the scalp.
- Leave the application for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, run a washcloth under hot water. Or microwave a damp towel for 30 seconds.
- Wrap the towel around your head and leave it for few minutes.
- Rinse off the hair with shampoo and water.
- While the scalp is still damp, massage it using fingers. Make sure to do it gently as ripping the flakes off can infections and irritation.
- After 2 minutes, run a comb through the hair. This helps to remove any loose flakes stuck in the hair.
- Repeat the process few times in a week.
For added benefits: You can add tea tree oil into coconut oil. Tea tree oil contains antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. It helps to reduce itching, redness and flakes. The quantity ratio for application is 2 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil and 5 to 10 drops of tea tree oil.
Coconut Oil for Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic inflammation of psoriasis. People suffering from psoriasis can develop psoriatic arthritis. Being anti-inflammatory, coconut oil can be used to treat it. Consume few tablespoons of coconut oil daily either through food or directly.
You can also take coconut oil supplements as well. Recommend Dosage of coconut oil supplements is 2000 mg per day. Recommended products:
- Schwartz BioresearchÂ Extra Virgin Coconut Oil Capsules
- Jarrow Formulas Extra Virgin Coconut Oil Softgels
Which is the Best Coconut Oil Product for Treating Psoriasis?
You should always use extra virgin cold compressed coconut oil when treating any skin conditions like psoriasis. This type of coconut oil contains maximum number of nutrients and medicinal properties.
Why cold compressed coconut oil: During other types of extraction process, heat is generated which can kill the beneficial properties present in coconut oil.
Why Extra virgin coconut oil: Because it is extracted from the fresh meat of coconuts. While others are prepared from dry meat of coconuts. Fresh coconut meat contains maximum nutrients and beneficial properties than dried ones.
Best Extra Virgin Coconut Oil Brands are
- Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
- Nature’s Way Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- Viva Naturals Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- Garden of Life Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Does Coconut Oil Worsen Psoriasis?
Usually, coconut oil doesnâ€™t worsen psoriasis however in some cases it can do the opposite. People who are allergic to coconuts are at the risk. Patch test on a small area and if the application is worsening then avoid its application further.
Even if you are not allergic to coconuts, you may be at risk of potential psoriasis outbreak. Because coconut oil helps to remove the current flakes but it doesnâ€™t remove the new ones.
Coconut oil can also interfere with commercial psoriasis treatments so make sure to consult your doctor before trying it out.
Tips and Precautions
- Avoid coconut oil if you are allergic to it.
- Patch test before trying regular treatments.
- Avoid soaps, shampoos and lotions that contain harsh chemicals like lauryl sulfate and paraben.
- Avoid scratching psoriasis affected areas as it can worsen it.
- Reduce red meat, pork and poultry.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Eat a nutritional diet and exercise regularly to strengthen your immune system.
- Instead of chemical based moisturizers, use coconut oil, shea butter or cocoa butter to moisturize your skin.
- Consume probiotics, high fiber foods, foods rich in antioxidants, zinc, vitamin A, raw dairy, and vitamin D, omega 3 supplements. Because they help to strengthen your immune system and restrict the psoriasis flare-ups.
So, are you going to try coconut oil to treat psoriasis? Share your experience, suggestions and queries in the comments section below. We love to hear from youâ€¦!
do we have to apply coconut oil morning before bath or before night; shall we repeat the same everyday
You can apply coconut oil once after bath (dab the excess oil using a cotton ball) and again before going to bed. You can repeat the same every day for relief.
I have been using coconut oil for psoriasis for 10 days.Does it help me to control psoriasis ?
Yes, it helps. Apart from topical coconut oil application, you have to reduce stress levels, reduce red meat consumption, take vitamin D and omega fatty acid supplements, eat nutritional food to strengthen your immune system, and drink plenty of water to maintain the skin hydrated.
Please assist what is the best mix with virgin coconut oil for psoriasis have dry scales
Try 2 or 10th method mentioned in the above article.
Sir i was regular use coconut oil.but i feel comparison before use oil psoriasis patches was small and 5-7 patches only.but i was continually used coconut oil its more amount of patches spread in my body.and also patches size increased.what can i do oil used or not.pls suggest .i use patanjali coconut oil
I hv only 10 percent psoriasis…. can cocunant oil stop ol the spots which are generated due to psoriasis…..