Psoriasis rashes can be hard to treat, frustrating and unsightly, as well as painful. That’s why more and more people are turning to alternative treatments, such as coconut oil. But the question is, do they work?
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a condition which causes your skin to develop red, silvery and itchy scales. As a result of the increased turnover of skin cells, the skin begins to flake off and become sore.
With psoriasis, some people experience the affected areas as intensely itchy, whereas others primarily experience a burning sensation. Psoriasis can affect any part of the body, but it commonly affects people at the elbows and knees, sides of the torso and the scalp, particularly in the areas around the hairline and behind the ears.
Typically, psoriasis is usually treated with topical steroids creams, retinoids, or salicylic acid. While some people get relief from these kinds of treatments, for many their psoriasis does not always respond to these methods. As a result, a great many people are now looking for alternatives in treating their psoriasis.
Additionally, there is a growing concern regarding the application of harsh chemical based creams on the skin. Although steroid based creams have proven to be effective for a lot of sufferers, many people who are afflicted with psoriasis would prefer to use a natural alternative.
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is oil that is extracted from cold-pressed coconut kernels. The oil is rich in lauric acid, and this means that it is good for fighting inflammation, as well as warding off harmful microbes and fungi.
Coconut oil is also a popular cooking aid, but increasingly people are using the oil as a moisturizer and a topical treatment for various skin conditions; psoriasis included.
See also: The Benefits of Coconut Oil For The Skin
How Can Coconut Oil Help Psoriasis
Coconut oil can be helpful for psoriasis in a number of ways. Primarily, coconut oil acts as a good, natural moisturizer for the skin and can also help to soothe psoriasis patches.
The moisturizing effects of the oil can be long-lasting and also help to hydrate dry skin and stop it from being itchy.
Dissimilar to most other oils, coconut oil does not clog the pores of the skin and can also help to get rid of excess sebum.
One of the biggest issues for psoriasis sufferers is that it makes your skin itch almost constantly – and scratching it just makes the condition worse.
Moisturizing the skin with a product that is also an anti-inflammatory will help to reduce the soreness, redness and itching. Over time and with regular application, coconut oil can also help to rehydrate the skin and lessen the presence of the psoriasis patches in a gentle and non-irritating way.
How to Use Coconut Oil to Treat Psoriasis
The most effective time to apply the oil to your skin is after you have taken a shower or bath. This is because at that time your pores are open and your skin is capable of trapping moisture. Apply a generous layer of coconut oil to the affected parts of your skin, and leave it to be absorbed into the skin for about thirty minutes. If the psoriasis is on your torso, then you may wish to put on an old t-shirt for 10 minutes or so as the coconut oil absorbs into the skin. The t-shirt will help to pick up any excess coconut oil that may still linger on the surface of the skin.
If you are trying to treat psoriasis of the scalp, you will need to apply the oil to the affected areas of your head. Then, soak a towel in warm water, wring it out, so it is just damp, and wrap the towel around your head to help encourage your skin to absorb the oil.
After you have left the oil on for 30 minutes, rinse it off with warm water, and gently massage the skin with the tips of your fingers while you do it. Be very gentle, and try not to rip the scales, but do carefully rub the skin. Next, if it’s scalp psoriasis you are treating, carefully run a comb through your hair to remove any loose scales. You should find that this will help to avoid the appearance of dandruff.
If your psoriasis is especially dry then rather than washing off the coconut oil, you may find more relief to leave it to absorb while first covered with the t-shirt if on the torso, or the damp towel if on the scalp. Then, change into your day clothes once the coconut oil has absorbed to the point where you can comfortably wear your clothes on top. You may then choose to apply a second application of coconut oil to your skin in the same way later on in the day when you get home from work or school.
Coconut oil gives relief from the irritation of psoriasis, but it does not treat the underlying cause Even when the scales are gone, you should keep moisturising to prevent future outbreaks.
If moisturising alone does not seem to stop the problem, then you should look at other treatments. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to use a combination of topical treatments and even UV light treatment to manage the skin problem.
Coconut oil is an entirely natural remedy and helps many people with psoriasis primarily by helping to cool down and rehydrate the skin and lessen the itching. However, always consult your doctor or skin specialist first when trying any alternative treatments to find out if it is right for you.
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