Psoriasis can be stubbornly resistant to traditional treatments. And although medical psoriasis treatments can be effective, they also have potential for side effects.
Few alternative treatments for psoriasis have been well-studied, as compared to traditional treatments. But if an alternative treatment for psoriasis works for you and doesn't cause significant side effects, that might be the only proof you need.
Sunlight: Nature’s Alternative Treatment for Psoriasis
The sun’s rays are one of the best alternative treatments for psoriasis. Fully 80% of people who get regular sunlight say their psoriasis improves. Getting out in the sun regularly and briefly can be a great alternative treatment for psoriasis.
Sunburn, on the other hand, can worsen psoriasis. Wear sunscreen on unaffected skin, make sure your sunscreen is SPF 30 or higher, and protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
Be sure to protect your eyes from the sun, as well. Wear sunglasses (UV 400) that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
Alternative Topicals for Psoriasis
Numerous topical treatments may offer relief as alternative therapies for psoriasis:
- Aloe vera (unscented) soothes skin and may improve psoriasis, although there is not good data to support this.
- Tea tree oil may be helpful for psoriasis of the scalp.
- Oat extracts may ease itching and soothe skin. Oat extracts are ingredients in many skin-care products. Soaking in an oatmeal bath may also help. Make sure you are soaking in oilated oats; otherwise, it will dry out your skin.
Diet and Supplements for Psoriasis
Some people claim that certain foods trigger their psoriasis. Diets that claim to be alternative treatments for psoriasis are hard to prove, either for or against. Not much research has been done on how diet affects psoriasis.
Experts recommend maintaining skepticism about diets that claim to treat psoriasis. If you choose to experiment with diet as an alternative treatment for psoriasis, be sensible about it. Withdraw or add individual foods, but maintain a healthy and varied diet overall.
Fish oil, evening primrose oil, milk thistle, vitamin D, and oregano oil have all been variously reported to improve psoriasis. Controlled studies have yet to prove their benefits. If they work for you, make sure your doctor knows you’re taking them.
Shark cartilage extract is interesting as a potential psoriasis treatment. It is still being studied, but there is currently no convincing evidence it helps psoriasis.
Other Alternative Treatments for Psoriasis
The unique climate at the Dead Sea in Israel allows for long periods of sunbathing without sunburn. Bathing in the high salt concentration there -- 10 times that of the ocean -- and using the mineral-rich mud and sulfur baths there -- seem to improve symptoms of psoriasis. One study found that both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis significantly improved in patients who used mud packs and salt baths along with soaking in the sea, and to a lesser extent, benefited those who only bathed in the sea.