Coconut Oil for Psoriasis

Reviewed by Terri Forehand RN
Psoriasis on Elbow

There are more reasons than the delightful tropical aroma to use coconut oil. It is a beneficial food as well as a natural treatment for many ailments, including psoriasis. The healthy oil can be used internally and externally to possibly improve the condition.

How to Use Coconut Oil for Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an auto-immune skin condition that can be triggered by reactions to drugs or medications. Coconut oil works for treating psoriasis because it is a natural product that is moisturizing and soothes the itchy nature of psoriasis. It can be taken as a food supplement or used as a topical treatment.

Internal Use

Including coconut oil in your diet or taking it as a dietary supplement can improve insulin sensitivity or resistance, which can be a trigger of psoriasis. The dosage as a supplement is one teaspoon to one tablespoon, two to three times a day. It can be taken straight or mixed in drinks like smoothies. Taking more than one tablespoon at a time may cause stomach upset. Coconut oil capsules are also an option if taking a spoonful of it is unappealing to you.

Topical Use

Coconut oil is commonly used as a psoriasis treatment after taking a bath or shower. It absorbs easily into skin without feeling greasy. It can be used just on the affected spots or as an all-over body moisturizer.


Coconut oil contains the same medium chain essential fatty acids that your skin produces. The essential fatty acids are lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid which have natural antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. They are good fats essential for proper body function that boost the immune system and may reduce inflammation. These three essential fatty acids help maintain your skin's natural moisture balance while reducing the symptoms of psoriasis, such as itching and inflammation, with daily use either internally or topically.

Keep in mind that while coconut oil may help to some extent with psoriasis, it is not recommended to be used in place of a treatment plan outlined by your doctor. While possibly effective and unlikely to be harmful, it isn't proven to be effective for the condition. Research suggests that patients with a similar condition (eczema) responded 30 percent better to treatment with coconut oil than mineral oil when treated topically for eight weeks.

Virgin vs. Refined

Virgin coconut oil is one of the best oils to use as a supplement or as a cosmetic treatment because it has not been stripped of the nutrients that it naturally contains. Virgin oil contains about 50 percent lauric acid. It is recommended that virgin oil be used for treatment of psoriasis and other disorders.

Refined coconut oil has been processed and bleached to remove taste and fragrance. This process removes the nutrients and beneficial properties that unrefined or virgin coconut oil contains. While refined is safe to use, you will not get the same benefits of symptom relief as you will with virgin oil.

Is Coconut Oil Safe to Use?

Coconut oil is typically safe to use and is a popular DIY remedy due to its health benefits and potential to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis. There are no known drug interactions with coconut oil. The only known side effect associated with using coconut oil as a food supplement is possible weight gain due to its high fat content. If you are concerned about a using it with a medication that you currently take, talk to your doctor. Coconut oil is an all natural treatment that has been used for many years and is safe to use on children with psoriasis or other skin ailments.

Allergic Reaction to Coconut

Coconuts are classified as fruits, not nuts. However, while allergic reactions to coconut and coconut oil are rare, those with nut allergies should use it sparingly at first. Some people who are allergic to nuts may develop a sensitivity to coconut fruit and oil. An allergic reaction may show in the form of hives, a rash, coughing, nausea, vomiting, swelling, or anaphylaxis. If you develop symptoms of an allergic reaction, seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you develop signs of anaphylaxis such as breathing problems or trouble swallowing, seek medical attention immediately.

Tropical Treatment

If you love the taste of coconut, why not treat yourself to a daily coconut smoothie? If you prefer the scent, transport your senses and relieve your symptoms of psoriasis using it as a moisturizer. Whether you choose to use coconut oil as a dietary supplement or topically, the compounds in the oil may help your condition.

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Coconut Oil for Psoriasis