Last Modified on Jun 21, 2014
While prurigo nodularis is somewhat difficult to treat, many natural treatment options have been identified as effective. Bath soaks, exposure to sunlight and certain dietary changes offer relief from outbreaks of the condition. Certain natural oils, such as emu oil, are effective for softening and relieving the skin.
What is Prurigo Nodularis?
Characterized by firm, itchy lumps on the skin, prurigo nodularis is a progressive skin condition. Lumps generally range in size from 1 to 3 cm in diameter and have a raised, warty appearance. The condition often begins as a somewhat small, red , itchy bump that spreads to include more lesions. The cause of the condition is unknown at this at this point but scratching does exacerbate the disorder.
Home Remedies for Skin Lesions
Eliminating infection, minimizing itching and reducing inflammations are all important factors in treating prurigo nodularis. A variety of home remedies have been identified as effective for treating the condition. Salt baths, sunlight and dietary changes are among the most effective treatment options available.
A bath in sea salt or even a trip to the ocean is an effective treatment option for minimizing prurigo nodularis. During a soak, the salt water penetrates the pores and is absorbed into the blood stream. This salt helps remove accumulated lactic acid in the body, eliminated infection and dries out sores.
Exposure to the sun also has a rehabilitating effect for treating prurigo nodularis. When exposed to the sun, the skin releases a compound called nitric oxide, which helps stimulate blood flow and lower blood pressure. This compound also functions to remove toxins from the blood as it enhances blood filtration.
Dietary changes are another component used to manage this skin condition. Identifying and eliminating trigger foods is the goal for treating the condition through diet. Many individuals benefit from limiting soy lecithin, artificial sweeteners and gluten.
Nodular prurigo is an aggressive skin condition that manifests as very itchy firm lumps on the skin. While it is a condition that is relatively difficult to treat, many natural options offer relief of the condition.
[YEA] 06/17/2014: Barb G from Naples, Fl: "My PN started with 31 squamous cell cancers over a period of 3 years. Got rid of those with surgeries, radiation and scrape and burn. It stopped for a year after I took Soriatane for 4 months...had to stop that med because my hair started falling out. But no more cancers for a year. The next 7 biopsies came back as PN. I tried a lot of remedies I found in this forum. Got depressed and went to a psychiatrist who gave me amytriptoline and klonopin for the itching and depression. The next visit he said he researched PN and prescribed Valtrex as most of the PN was on major nerve lines and thought this might be a virus related to shingles. First 1000mg then 2000mgs per day the next month. Eureka! No new PNs and all the rest of the 39 I had are shrinking, drying out and turn white and peel off. Most are gone but the larger ones are white and peeling off.
I truly think this is viral. That's probably why tea tree oil helped some people.
As background...I also had MRSA from one of the squamous surgeries...and pseudemonas Aer...something after a MOHs surgery with a skin graft. One Doc gave me doxycycline IVs and I think Vancomycin for one of the infections. I noted several people online had MRSA and had one or two of these drugs. Maybe they set you up for PN...?
Another thing that helped was a chemo liquid for skin cancer called 5 FU...it only kills abnormal skin cells and helped stop the itching of PN and dried out the sores.
I recently had a painful reaction to the 5 FU on a fast growing bump. I had it biopsied and it was squamous cell cancer. This happened before I took the anti viral meds. A new dermatologist is going to try acutane next month for the prevention of any new cancers. I hope this helps someone."
07/28/2012: Sunshinejb01 from North Haven, Connecticut, Usa: "Last April/May 2011, May/June 2011, and October 2011 I was in the hospital with Cellulitis. In August 2011 I broke out with a rash all over me, hands, arms, chest, stomach, under arms, and the vagina area. I went to the Gyn and she put me on meds and she saw me back in 1 week. Went back to her and they didn't help so she prescribed something else and set me up to see a dermatogist the next day, the day I saw my Gyn Dr she also did a swab and that came back a week later and it was positive for MRSA. Had to go to the Infectious Disease Doctor she put me on Fluconzole 150 mg, Desonide 0.05% Lotion, Desonide 0.05% Cream, Ketoconzole 2% cream and Doxycyline Hyclate 100 mg - it really did not help too much but in October of 2011 I had another cellulitis which they put me in the hospital and on vancomyacin IV and had me in a room by myself for the MRSA.
After my stay at the hospital they sent me to a rehab center to be 2 more weeks on the vancomyacin IV and also isolated for the MRSA. Came home in November 2011. Still had the rash and sores from the MRSA so they had a home health and nurses come to see me 2 times a week. In March of 2012 the Infectious Disease doctor took a culture and it came back negative for the MRSA so she told me to go back to the Dermatologist because I still had a rash and sores all over me and it started to spread.
My Dermatologist did a swab and it came back as Prurigo Nodularis. She prescribed steroids and also gave me some creams to see what would help, she finally sent me to the Yale Dermatologist in June and he only prescribed an anti-depressant and said that there was no cure for what I have (prurigo nodularis), he said we have to control the itch for it to get better and that is why he prescribed the anti-depressant. The 1st one he prescribed gave me a severe headache every morning and nausea so he took me off of it and prescribed another one which only gives me a slight headache. It is not helping the itch at all, maybe it will when he goes up on it. He said he gave me a small dose to see if it was going to help me at all.
What else can I do to get rid of this? I've tried Apple Cider Vinegar- drinking it and putting it on the sores, etc. By drinking it, it did help the boil to go away that was on the outside of the vagina, but anytime I stop taking the Apple Cider Vinegar it starts to come back. I've been mixing 2 tablespoon of the Apple Cider Vinegar to Hot Water (like a tea), adding Ginger & Honey. Please let me know what else I can do to get rid of these sores and rash which is all over my body - Thank you!!!"Replies
12/21/2012: Lloyd from Charlotte, Nc replies: "Colloidal silver will kill MRSA. Drink two tablespoons daily for a month and get retested. Also use the CS by applying into sinus area. The MRSA will get into the sinus cavity. Irrigate sinus, ear canals etc. Gargle with it. In fact, if you are in the hospital, you know how they test you for MRSA... By swabbing the nose and 20 percent of the patients come back with a positive. This happened to my wife in a hospital stay. She has dealt with cancer issues so has been in the hospital numerous times. Often MRSA will be picked up there."
[YEA] 12/10/2013: Sharcai from Columbus, Oh replies: "Pruigo Nodularis: A dear friend of mine has been plagued with itchy nodules for about a year and a half. The patch was about 3-4 inches wide and about 10 inches long. She'd tried several prescripton creams (steroids) and nothing helped for long. I looked at botanicals that helped others on EarthClinic and other websites and asked her if I could concoct a salve for her arm. She said she had nothing to lose! I used 3 Tbl. Castor oil as my base and added 5 drops each of three essential oils: Tea Tree, Oregano, and Lavender. I painted the lower half of her arm (that was our test area) and covered it with gauze. She left this on for about 4 hours. She said there was a noticable difference in that short amount of time--less inflamation, less itch. She continued to treat that area at least every other day. It's been about a month now and her lower arm is almost completely healed. Her upper arm, which was the worse patch of the two, and which she started to treat a little later, is considerably better. She said she doesn't have the insane itching any more. I hope this helps others who have this horrible skin condition."
02/20/2014: Em916 from Saugerties, Ny replies: "What Dermatoligist did you see at Yale University? I have an apt next week with Dr. Kalman Watsky."
01/21/2010: Miss T from Houston, Tx, Usa: "Prurigo Nodularis - Pickers Nodules
Does anyone have any home remedies for pickers nodules my derm has suggested steroid injections but im trying to avoid those if at all possible. I am dark skinned and the injection will cause severe discoloration of the skin from what i've read. I think i developed my PN during a very stressful time. I also developed eczema during that time also.
Any suggestions you can provide would be greatly appreciated!!!"
03/29/2010: Gknot from Littlteon, Nh, Usa replies: "I have been suffering from neurodermatitis for 6 years and have had a hard time accepting this. I demanded that it was some other ailment. After 5 doctors and 3 dermatologist later I'm so desperate for relief! None of the prescribed methods have worked, steriod creams, predisone, injections (not sure what that was). I have turned to natural cures. I have to stop the scratch / itch cycle. What I understand is that the itch starts and once I give in then other areas itch. It was only on my legs my left worse than my right. Now it has spread to my buttocks, back and arms. The wounds don't get a chance to heal, acually they sometimes get infected and I have to do a antibiotic. So I have been rebuilding my immune systerm, I have been on a skin diet, (no allergins in my soap, laundry soap, creams. I often wonder if it's an allergy to a food I'm eatting. I tried being Gluten Free but it doesn't help my skin, just life long constipation. Then I read by looking up itchy skin that sometimes it's an iron deficiency. Because of this site I've tried Apple Cider Vinegar baths, Baking Soda Baths, Borax Baths, bleach baths. oatmeal baths, epsom salts baths. Nothing really helped, then a Doctor suggested I use zinc oxide cream 40% this helped heal sores but the dryness caused more scratching. Now I'm using oil of oregano with some relief. Also a new excema baby cream it contains calendula, this is really helping. When I wake up in the night scratching I apply it and try to stop scraching. It does give me relief. I also tried a liquid bandaid and that help me not open wounds. I hope this helps and I'm hoping for a successful stoping of the scratch/itch cycle."
03/18/2011: Sramzy45 from Atwater, Ca, Us replies: "For both Miss T and Gknot I have had PN for a number of years now and find that it is much worse in the hot summers around where I live. I have found more relief from those cooling gels they sell through cosmetics stores and Avon than anything. Besides that they're usually pleasantly scented so you get a nice scent to go along with them. Aloe Vera gel works well also and you can usually get a huge bottle of that at the dollar store. I also take cool showers twice a day at times and sometimes those calming pills or antihistamines work wonders. I try to stay away from scrips and the stuff from the medical doctors. Once you get the sore, tea tree oil takes them almost away and vitamin e oil really reduces the scarring. Tea tree oil also helps to relieve the itching once you've got the sores as well. But honestly try the gels they're great I bought a whole bunch a couple of years ago from an avon outlet catalog dirt cheap and am probably going to use the last one up the beginning of the summer. Hope this works for you. Take care."
11/24/2011: Aqua196 from Vineland, N.j replies: "I have had this problem for about 2 years, my dermatoligist had been injecting me with steroids, but I soon tired of the constant needles. I did some research on the Internet and found a soultion that works, but it may cause irritation to some individuals. The OTC drugstore brand of Capsaicin 0.1%, applied 3-4 times daily has worked for me, but beware, the cream contains cayenne, which, when first applied, gives a burning sensation to that area."
01/25/2012: Irina from Earth replies: "There is a huge international forum for prurigo nodularis patients on yuku forums - just google "prurigo nodularis forum" - you'll get there! There are about 300 people there and you can ask questions and share your remedies.
I found an AMAZING remedy there posted by AnnaMaria from Montreal. She bought several kilograms of dried chamomile herb and was making a tea and adding it to baths and healed her PN in 3 weeks (she had it for a year all over her body and scalp).
I only had about 10 bumps on my arms, which were healed (not bleeding), but I could not get rid of them for 3 months -they were still brown-purple... I used steroid creams, manuka honey, vitamin E oil, vitamin D oil - without much result. So I bought a bag of dried chamomile and were soaking small pieces of cotton in the tea and taping it to each bump. I first was only doing it overnight, and they got better. Then I added chopped onions to my chamomile tea (from eartclinic burns remedy) and kept in on 24 hours straight, just adding more tea to the cotton-ball pieces - all the bumps became white, all the ugly color is gone! I just hope I'll be able to get tan on them... It looks like keeping bumps soaked in chamomile/onion tea all the time make them heal really fast!"
05/18/2012: Cindy9 from Phoenix, Az replies: "I have been suffering with this for a few yrs. now too. The fight is exhausting but I will not give up for natural relief. I have tried the shots the steroids they just messed up my insides, since it is an autoimmune disorder. I have upped the game by staying away from Soy lecthin, they way the process it in certain prods. Is often the culprit there. I don't do rye, wheat, barley. Somewhat gluten free and it has helped but I have also noticed that too much salt will irritate it. I have recently found a cream called EMUOIL it is obviously a cream with emu oil in it, I have yet to order it b/c it's quite costly, but I am searching for a similiar prod. less expensive, but I will try it and get back to you guys. Sincerely suffering in the desert, you are not alone. I will also try that other blog."
06/07/2012: Jan from Palm Desert, Ca replies: "I've used pure Emu oil. It differently takes the itching away and softens the skin. But does not heal the lesions. And it is very expensive. 4 oz bottle approx $50.00. for the pure oil."
07/26/2012: Positivecate from Medina, Oh replies: "I have suffered for nearly 4 years with PN. I've tried just about everything including injections into the nodules (sometimes 30 per visit). There are many products that offer temporary relief to the itching/pinching but I've not found anything to actually heal them. Pure Emu oil has made the biggest difference in regards to controlling the itch. I would be lost without ice packs which I use throughout the day and night. However, I recently came across a study that was done by a German scientist and he claimed that 33 people with PN were put on Capsaicin 0.025% 4 times a day and all of the study subjects were healed of the nodules and symptoms. My doctor has prescribed the cream for me and I am going to begin using it today."
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 03/21/2013: Louise from New York: "Remedy for Prurigo Nodularis:
I have had this skin disease for years. The only thing that has worked for me is a combination of salt baths and sunlight. During the winter months, when I can't get to the beach, I put sea salt in my bath and soak in it. It clears up infected sores and dries them out and they form a crust which can be pumiced off with an emery board of callus pumice. It also helps to decrease the itching and therefore the scratching as well. When the weather gets warmer, I lie in the sun. Sun exposure is the best treatment. I have gone from approximately 200 sores on my arms and legs to about a dozen."Replies
04/11/2013: Cathydinmo from Blue Springs, Mo, USA replies: "I've had Prurigo Nodularis 27 years now. I had read something interesting. Have or do any of you had throat or tonsil conditions?"
05/30/2013: Mm from Virginia Beach, Va replies: "I seem to have this skin condition. I have hyperthyroidism. I went through a very stressful situation when I started getting the itch. It started on my arm. Initially the itch looks like a bug bite. It was very itchy. The more I scratch, the itchier it gets until it turned to be an open wound. Then I started noticing that the top portion of the itchy wound is filled with fluid. The itching didn't stop. I was placed on Prednisone for 10 days and the itching ceased but then I started to develop itch on my legs and lower back. I need the itch to go away. Dr don't seem to know what it is."