Psoriasis & Nutrition

For years I have suffered from Psoriasis. At first it was on my face and neck, then it disappeared for nearly 5 years only to reappear a couple of years ago on my scalp. Being an advocate for products that are as natural as possible, not tested on animals which are also gentle makes dealing with this disorder a {literal} pain.

In the realm of medicated “things” I have tried Denorex, Head and Shoulders, Selsun Blue, T-sal, T-gel, T-plus and what I can only remember as basically being straight up tar! Unfortunately I found that none of these products have really put a dent in the issue. I am now on the nutritional train of thought to try to irradicate this uncomfortable and at times embarrassing skin problem as well as changing my bathing protocol significantly.

If you are unsure that you have psoriasis, please go and check in with your Natropathic Doctor or GP to ensure it’s not another skin condition or a reaction to something else in your lifestyle/eating habits.

In case you are unsure, Psoriasis characteristics are dry, reddish batches covered with silvery scales which are ITCHY it looks like this (three different stages of healing):

I consistently have a patch on my own elbow that never gets THAT red, thankfully. But it is itchy and people always ask “what happened”…. it also makes the hair around that patch grow thick and dark and black…perfectly awesome for my head, my elbow? Not so much.

The cause of psoriasis is unknown, but there is some evidence of disordered arachidonic acid metabolism, which may play a pathogenic role. Studies have found that the skin of people with psoriasis contains high levels of compounds called leucotrienes, which cause inflammation. Leukotrienes are produced from arachidonic acid in the body. Arachidonic acid is found in animal fat.

A genetic predisposition to this disease is also thought to be of some importance/merit and are a number of other theories regarding the cause of psoriasis, which include an auto-immune disorder, stress, environmental factors, hormones, drugs, infections and sunlight. Due to the lack of scientific evidence, however, these theories are not widely accepted. Nevertheless the disease affects the quality of and at least 10% of psoriatic patients also develop arthritis – interesting…Arthritis, yay.


Other than creams, ointments and washes there are not a lot of resources out there that will smack you in the head when it comes to figuring out your personal triggers. Some interesting steps in the right direction with this from the naturopathic perspective are to improve the diet, detoxify, improve digestive health, and balance stress.

Topical treatment can help, but full resolution will only come from the inside out. From the dietary perspective, it is fundamental to eliminate the foods that trigger your immune system. I have been reading up on doing an elimination diet where suspect foods are cut out for 3 weeks to see if symptoms improve – common culprits are wheat, dairy, eggs, and soy.

An alternative to this is a blood test checking for immune system antibodies to common foods. It is interesting to note that 16% of psoriasis sufferers have an immune reaction to the gluten protein found in grains (wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, oats, rye, triticale). For these people, eliminating gluten in the diet usually solves the psoriasis, amazing! Maybe my little test on a Vegan Keto diet will prove helpful with my scalp and elbow. Exciting.

Here are a few quick food tips below to start you off on the right track – good luck and I’ll update you with my progress as it gains momentum!

Oily fish like Salmon and Sardines OR flax seed oil, avocado & coconut oil which are CRUELTY FREE
Beta Carotine – carrots, apricots and mangoes
Omega 3 fatty acids – Flax seeds
Selenium – Brazil nuts (which also happen to be Keto friendly as the lowest carb nut on the market)
Folic Acid/Green Leafy veggies – broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts
Zinc – shellfish OR CRUELTY FREE wholegrain foods


Like with most health issues the first culprits to get cut from the list of suggested “nutrition” are red meats and dairy products. In the case of Psoriasis it is especially beneficial since these products contain arachadonic acid, a natural inflammatory substance that is believed to make psoriasis and psoriasis sores red and swollen. Avoid, prepared meats, sausages, pre-spiced meats, most cold cuts and pates, spice cakes, pickles, pickled spices and peppers, nut-based pastries, chocolate-based products. But hey, if you’re a vegan…go GUNG-HO.

All animal fats, eggs, processed canned food are also suggested as an opt-out in your diet as they can irritate the intestinal tract and perpetuate psoriasis outbreaks.

Psoriasis natural treatment from the outside

Psoriasis natural treatment from the outside involves using a topical cream that will alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis. This will eliminate the redness, itching, burning and flaking of the skin. It will temporarily heal the skin. Utilizing my meager Herbalists medicine cabinet since we moved south means getting creative / making do. However, I have found that the best topical treatments for psoriasis have the following ingredients:

Evening Primrose Oil – Topically applying evening primrose oil relieves inflammation, stimulates protein synthesis, repairs, and improves dry flaky skin condition.

Borage Oil – is rich in gamma linolenic acid (GLA), a “good” fat with numerous health benefits. Borage oil has been proven in many studies to reduce skin inflammation, dryness, scaliness and itching. Borage oil is very important for natural health psoriasis treatment.

Aloe Vera – Helps to hydrate and rejuvenate the skin. It can help make the skin softer, younger looking, and less wrinkled. Its healing and pain relieving properties have been well known for thousands of years. It is essential in psoriasis natural treatment.

Calendula – Helps to stimulate and regenerate the deeper layer of skin. They can help blood circulation along with strengthening the cell immunity against inflammation.

Coconut Oil – Great natural anti inflammatory, a little greasy but maintains its moisture and is super safe to use AND it reduces redness.

Tea Tree Oil – I apply this directly mixed with a bit of shea butter. Again, it’s an anti-inflammatory, you’ll see some natural psoriasis shampoos include this.

I have changed my hair care routine in trying to prevent my scalp from shedding itself all over unsuspecting victims as well as my dark clothing. This seems to work well in a more humid climate. Living in Vancouver, Canada and Pittsburgh, PA I’ve found it a lot easier to maintain a “clean” scalp with the help of humidity. In Calgary, Alberta (the dry dry frozen Rockies) I found it nearly impossible and actually used to have nightmares about the giant chunks of skin toppling down my black hair as people looked on in horror.

Here’s my regime for hair: 

Wash hair with shampoo every Sunday night

Rinse hair with water every day

Every other day condition hair

Every day (morning) use hair oil (like Moroccan oil etc…)

If needed (greasy) use dry shampoo

Topically (skin): 

Each night moisturize with Shea butter

Each morning moisturize with  Aquaphor

During the day moisturize with coco butter

2 applications of Tea Tree oil per day


IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR MORE: I write my own, personal skincare and diet programs meant for Psoriasis/skin disorder sufferers. Contact me if you are interested in working on a solution for your skin!