Can apple cider vinegar help treat psoriasis?
Psoriasis does not yet have a cure, but there are many treatments and medications available that can help people manage their symptoms.
While conventional medications, such as steroid creams, can help ease the symptoms, many people prefer to use home remedies, such as apple cider vinegar.
This article examines apple cider vinegar as a psoriasis treatment, including its benefits and risks. We also look at other natural options to treat psoriasis.
Apple cider vinegar and psoriasis
Apple cider vinegar might help soothe some symptoms of psoriasis.
Because of its antiseptic properties, apple cider vinegar may help soothe the itching or irritation from psoriasis, especially on the scalp, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.
Those who support its use suggest applying the vinegar directly to the scalp several times a week. Some people report seeing an improvement in their condition within a few weeks.
However, if the scalp is cracked, bleeding, or if there are open wounds, apple cider vinegar is likely to cause further irritation and pain.
Vinegar can cause a burning sensation, so moderating the dose could be helpful for avoiding further irritation.
Diluting the vinegar with equal quantities of water before applying it can also reduce the sensation of burning and irritation. Rinsing the scalp once the solution has dried may also alleviate these effects.
Although there appear to be no risks when using apple cider vinegar for psoriasis, no direct research has determined its effects on the condition.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar can help preserve food, and in the past, people have used it as a disinfectant. More recently, the vinegar has gained popularity for its potential health benefits.
People make apple cider vinegar by fermenting apple cider with specialized bacteria to form acidic vinegar.
Organic, unrefined apple cider vinegar is widely available in grocery stores. Many people believe this carries the most benefit, due to lower levels of processing during production.
Confirming any benefits or risks of using apple cider vinegar for medicinal purposes requires more research. However, supporters of the vinegar report that the remedy has also helped them by:
- aiding digestion
- supporting the immune system
- improving the health and appearance of the hair and skin
- assisting blood sugar regulation
However, without viable studies, any support for apple cider vinegar as a health measure is based on anecdotes and not data.
Other alternative methods
In addition to apple cider vinegar, many people look to other natural and alternative remedies to help treat psoriasis plaques. The following natural products might prove beneficial people with psoriasis.
Aloe vera gel is a favorite remedy for cuts, burns, and skin irritations of the skin. Its moisturizing properties may soothe the skin and ease the discomfort that often occurs with psoriasis.
A person can squeeze the gel directly from the leaves of the plant.
Capsaicin is the chemical in hot peppers that gives them their intense flavor.
Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts
It is important to moisturize the skin after taking a salt bath. This helps restore moisture to the surface of the skin.
Oats are a natural skin soother.
They are often used to relieve itching associated with chicken-pox-related irritation or other itchy skin conditions, including psoriasis.
People can add oats directly to their bath water. Alternatively, put the oats in a sock, then tie the sock at the top. Either dangle the sock just into the water or gently rub it over the skin.
Try making an oat paste and apply it to the plaques or itchy areas.
Curcumin and turmeric
Curcumin derives from turmeric, a spice with a rich antioxidant content, as well as other anti-inflammatory properties.
People add turmeric to curries and other recipes, as well as taking turmeric as a supplement.
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis leads to scaly, red patches of skin.
Psoriasis appears to involve both genetic factors and the immune system.
People with psoriasis will find that their symptoms will go away or get better from time to time. At other times, their symptoms will flare up and get worse.
Certain triggers can cause a flare-up of symptoms, but triggers in one person may not apply to another.
- Symptoms of psoriasis include:
- red patches of scaly skin
- dry, cracked skin that may or may not bleed
- itching or burning
- painful skin
- thickened fingernails or toenails
- swollen or stiff joints
Plaque psoriasis is widespread, and its symptoms vary in severity, from mild patches to plaques covering large areas of the skin.
Treatment focuses on relieving inflammation and smoothing the scaly patches of skin.
Topical steroid creams or other topical creams usually relieve inflammation. Other treatments include light therapy and drugs that affect the immune system.
Apple cider vinegar may or may not be helpful in treating psoriasis. Some people report positive effects, but there is a shortage of meaningful data supporting its use.
While treating symptoms with apple cider vinegar generally poses a low risk of adverse effects, there is also no data confirming the benefits for relieving psoriatic itching and irritation.
If anyone experiences increased irritation or discomfort after using natural remedies for psoriasis, stop using the product immediately and seek medical attention.
Many alternative home remedies also lack adequate data to confirm their health benefits and safety.
People should inform their doctor about any supplements or alternative treatments they plan to use to relieve symptoms of psoriasis.
What is the safest and most effective complementary treatment for psoriasis?
The problem is that what works for one person with psoriasis may not work for another person. Also, what works for a person one time may not work again at a later time. It is a trial and error process.
When people discuss complementary treatments, they usually mean an herbal remedy. However, herbal treatments can have dangerous interactions with your other medicine or cause allergic reactions.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding or have a pre-existing medical condition, herbal treatments can have an adverse effect. Always check with your doctor before taking herbal remedies in these cases.Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.