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Grapefruit Seed Extract for Psoriasis & the Skin

By Emma Cale

Infections trigger psoriasis symptoms, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. A 2002 study published by University of Texas researchers in the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine” indicates grapefruit seed extract may be a safe and effective anti-bacterial and anti-viral treatment. Psoriasis patients who seek a method of infection control may consider grapefruit seed extract supplementation to limit outbreaks.


The exact cause of psoriasis remains unknown, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Classed as a chronic disease of the immune system, psoriasis tends to run in families and its symptoms vary from person to person. An unidentified mechanism prompts the immune system to generate skin cells too quickly -- within three or four days as opposed to the normal cycle of 28 to 30 days. Rather than shed as standard skins cells do, the psoriasis-afflicted skin cells pile up and cause painful, itchy, red lesions.


Infections trigger psoriasis flare-ups, according to the American Academy of Dermatologists. Certain types of psoriasis like guttate psoriasis seem especially susceptible to the streptococcal bacterial infection -- widely known as strep throat. Yeast infections appear to aggravate inverse psoriasis, causing inflamed lesions in body folds. Other infections associated with psoriasis irritation include staphylococcal skin infections, or boils, and upper respiratory viruses.


According to a 2004 study published by Manchester University researchers in the journal “Burns,” the essential oils derived from grapefruit seed extract exhibited the most significant antibacterial effects against MRSA, a form of the skin infection staphylococcus. The researchers concluded that grapefruit seed extract can potentially treat and minimize skin infections.


In the opinion of the faculty of the Harvard Medical School, gleaned from the medical website InteliHealth, not enough scientific evidence exists to prove or disprove any antibacterial or antifungal claims for grapefruit seed extract at this time. While some studies have shown its effectiveness in treating bacterial infections, they tend to be small studies, or the results remain limited to non-human trials.


Grapefruit reacts to some medications, according to InteliHealth. It can also cause irritation when applied directly to the skin. Some studies also suggest that grapefruit may increase or decrease the development of kidney stones, although results conflict. Speak to your doctor or medical health practitioner if you suffer from psoriasis or other skin irritations before using grapefruit seed extract.

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