psoriasis on an elbow

Q. I was diagnosed with psoriasis several years ago. My dermatologist prescribed a number of medications including steroid creams but I did not get much relief. My doctor started talking about adding chemotherapy (methotrexate) and I balked at such a heavy-duty treatment.

I found an online forum of psoriasis patients. Some had tried topical glycerin and found it helpful. I figured I had nothing to lose and was astonished to see how well it cleared my skin. Why don’t doctors know about this approach?

A. Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia have found that glycerin (glycerol) helps guide skin cell maturation (Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Dec. 2007). This basic research may suggest a reason for the good results you have gotten. Most doctors would not know about topical glycerin, as it has not been used in clinical trials yet. It is unlikely to be tested in such a study, because no entity stands to recoup the cost of a trial and turn a profit.

Glycerin is a colorless, odorless, sweet-tasting inexpensive compound used in both topical and oral pharmaceutical preparations. It is used in many skin preparations for its moisturizing and lubricating qualities.

Join Over 70,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two free email newsletters with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies and a preview of our award-winning radio show. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. ashish
    Reply

    I would like to thanks to everyone who shared their experience.

    After reading from net I started applying glycerin on to my body..all the small spots on body went away..glycerin is really amazing. follow below if you are facing it.

    1. Take spoon full of glycerin and mix with spoon full of water and apply it on all body 2 times a day..
    2. While going to sleep take some glycerin and apply it on spots only and wash off in morning. its amazing better than other medicine. you can see improvement in a week.

    • Thoko
      Joburg
      Reply

      Absolutely right. Worked for me by accident. Now my hands and feet (except between toes) are clear and smooth.

  2. AG
    Reply

    I’ve also read glycerin in forums. It’s amazing how this works with a lot of people but has not been used in clinical trials. Well, as I can see, maybe many would like to volunteer for trial. Are there any known side-effects of glycerin?

  3. KATHLEEN
    Reply

    I have tried both the glycerin and the coconut oil. They both have worked well for me with my scalp psoriasis. My favorite would be the coconut oil as it smells so good, I just want to eat it!

  4. Judy M.
    Reply

    I’ve been hearing a lot about the benefits of coconut oil. Is it now the “new” olive oil?
    Are the claims true (loose weight,lower cholesterol etc.)?

  5. JD
    Reply

    My mom had a stubborn psoriasis patch on her leg. Her caregivers had been applying a medicated cream from the doctor, but it persisted. When I visited, I treated twice a day, first with amber Listerine, then with coconut oil. It was healed in about a week. Previously, she had it on her scalp & spraying the amber Listerine on it was pretty effective. Following that with coconut oil may have been even better.

  6. Kahleen
    Reply

    I am going to try the Glycerin on my scalp psoriasis as well. Anyone tried it on their head yet?

  7. Barbara S.
    Reply

    I have Contact Dermatitis on my neck and can’t find a product to help with the itching and redness. Can you recommend something?
    People’s Pharmacy response: The usual recommendation would be OTC hydrocortisone cream. The home remedy approach might be coconut or olive oil. Be careful with the remedies, so as not to trigger a worse reaction.

  8. Don
    Reply

    I have used original Listerine (the amber color stuff)and it has done wonders for getting rid of my psoriasis, after trying a variety of doctor prescribed medications. The skin on my knee and elbow are still a bit reddish in color but the white plaque is all gone.

  9. JC
    Reply

    This is true, Glycerine doesn’t always work for everyone, but it has worked well for me and many other people. I had Guttate Psoriasis all over my legs, and the itching was intense, Glycerine was the only thing that stopped the itch-the lesions slowly began to fade after a few weeks,
    my legs are now clear after 12-15 months, I still apply the Glycerine to odd spots that pop out on my torso ect. Sometimes I mix it with Zinc cream for areas where there is inverse Psoriasis, with great results so far. very cheap and worth trying.

  10. Jane Pound
    Reply

    I just wanted to thank you for your email in question/answer form. I have enjoyed your articles for years but find this format much easier to read.
    Thanks you so much for the sensible advice. I have been in healthcare for over 50 years and I always look to you first.
    Keep up the good work.
    Jane Pound

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.