Psoriasis is characterized by itchy, painful skin plaques. It can be uncomfortable, disfiguring, and embarrassing–although most flare-ups are relatively harmless, and episodes typically subside within a couple of months.
Today we will be talking about castor oil and psoriasis to see the ways castor oil can provide complementary support to existing treatments and therapies. However, psoriasis is not curable, it is important to note that castor oil is not and should not be the only remedy. Rather, the therapeutic properties of castor oil can sooth and relieve skin during treatment.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an incurable skin condition that cycles through flare-ups and remissions, but symptoms can be managed and treated by medications and other therapies, including castor oil.
Psoriasis is hereditary, but can skip generations. It is believed to be caused by an abnormality in the immune system, and episodes can be brought on by emotional trauma, such as job loss or the death of a loved one, as well as streptococcal infection (strep throat).
Psoriasis primarily affects the knees, elbows, and scalp, but can also affect the soles of the feet, palms, and torso. Psoriasis is a multiplying of skin cells that occurs up to 10 times the normal rate, which causes raised, red plaques on the skin’s surface covered in white scales.
There are many types of psoriasis:
Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis. Symptoms include pain and itching associated with the raised red plaques, and sometimes, the plaques can crack or bleed. In severe cases of plaque psoriasis, the irritated skin can grow and merge together, causing the plaques to cover large areas of irritated skin. Other symptoms include disorders of the fingernails and toenails, such as discoloration, as well as scaly plaques on the scalp.
Pustular psoriasis, another type of psoriasis characterized by tiny pustules, occurs on the palms of the hands and/or the feet.
Inverse psoriasis occurs in skin folds such as the armpits or under the breasts, and appears in the form of red, shiny lesions.
Guttate psoriasis occurs on the torso and limbs in the form of small, red spots, and may be triggered by respiratory infections as well as stress, skin injury, strep throat and tonsillitis, and anti-malarial/beta-blocker medications.
Lastly, erythrodermic psoriasis presents as sheets of shedding scales as well as bright redness of the inflamed area, and can be triggered by withdrawal from treatment, sunburn, infection, and certain medications, and requires urgent medical treatment.
Psoriasis is also linked to the joint condition psoriatic arthritis. It is estimated that 10-30% of psoriasis sufferers also show signs of the pain and swelling associated with psoriatic arthritis.
How Can Castor Oil Treat Psoriasis?
Castor oil cannot cure psoriasis, but it can help treat its symptoms. Castor oil can be an effective and relieving addition to a full treatment plan. It is important to visit your doctor to discuss treatment options before self-diagnosing and self-treating.
Castor oil contains anti-inflammatory properties which can help sooth psoriasis flare-ups. Castor oil is also a natural emollient, so it softens and smooths rough skin. And, with 90% of its content’s composition of the unique and rare ricinoleic acid, castor oil is chock full of antimicrobial and antifungal properties that inhibit bacteria, fungi, and viruses from growing and multiplying on the skin’s surface.
Castor oil is very viscous, so with regular application it can positively affect thick psoriasis lesions.
With several hours to soak in (I recommend applying castor oil and leaving it on overnight), your skin will be able to absorb the full benefits of castor oil. Skin will feel less tight, less inflamed, and less itchy and irritated. You can loosely wrap the castor oil area with plastic so as not to stain clothing or bedding.
Castor oil can also help relieve sore joints associated with psoriatic arthritis due to its strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Try This Paste
Castor oil mixed with baking soda forms a paste that can provide relief to psoriasis lesions. Traditionally, this remedy is used for wart and mole removal, but many psoriasis sufferers have noted its success in treating inflamed, itchy plaques.
Mix a pinch of baking soda with a dime-size amount of castor oil.
Apply this paste to affected skin daily, adjusting amounts based on the size of the area. You can leave this paste on overnight and gently wash it off in the morning. Most people notice impressive results within four weeks of daily application. Do not use this paste on bleeding, cracked patches of skin.
Equal parts castor oil and olive oil can also provide an effective, anti-inflammatory treatment. The olive oil helps with the viscosity of the castor oil. This makes it easier to apply over larger areas of skin.
It also makes it ideal for scalp psoriasis as it is easier to wash out of hair. Apply externally before bed and loosely wrap with plastic (if applying to scalp, cover with a shower cap or towel).
Rinse the mixture off in the morning and repeat application as needed based on severity of the lesions. As always, a few drops of an essential oil like lavender will improve the scent of the mixture.
The Bottom Line: Castor Oil and Psoriasis
Psoriasis is not curable, but flare-ups are manageable. Especially with the benefits of natural castor oil, in addition to medication and therapies. Castor oil is effective at soothing and relieving itchy, painful plaques.
Ricinoleic acid, as well as its antibacterial and antifungal properties, help to cleanse and moisturize the affected patches of skin. Castor oil can also be effective at soothing sore joints associated with psoriatic arthritis.
Castor oil deserves a place in the holistic treatment of psoriasis flares. Just make sure to couple it with other medications and therapies for best results!
Remember: When it comes to your health (or beauty), always use 100% certified organic castor oil! See my complete buying guide for more information.