From the embarrassing flaking to the continuous need to itch, dealing with scalp psoriasis (suh-rye-ah-sis) can be very frustrating and can even lower self-esteem. Although there isn’t a cure for scalp psoriasis (which sucks), the great news is that there are products and scalp psoriasis treatments you can use to control your flare-ups.
What Is Scalp Psoriasis?
Scalp psoriasis is a disorder that happens when skin cells on the scalp grow way too quickly and pile up to form plaques. These plaques develop anywhere on the scalp and can even extend to the forehead, neck and around the ears. The actual cause of psoriasis is unknown. Some say it’s caused by a defect in the immune system, where skin cells grow too quickly, and others say it’s a genetic condition. Scalp psoriasis can be mild and unnoticeable or severe and visible. Certain factors like stress, smoking, alcohol, weather and allergies can trigger your psoriasis to cause a flare-up.
What does scalp psoriasis look like? It depends on the stage; meanwhile. many pictures of psoriasis of the scalp look like this:
What Are the Symptoms?
Scalp psoriasis is like having dandruff, but on overdrive! Some noticeable symptoms include scaly dandruff-like flaking, itchy inflamed scalp and soreness. Some might mistake scalp psoriasis for extreme dandruff. For example, for years I thought I was suffering from excessive dandruff but, after a trip to the dermatologist, I was diagnosed with having scalp psoriasis.
How to Treat Scalp Psoriasis?
Before attempting to treat scalp psoriasis permanently, you should see a certified dermatologist to be properly diagnosed. Unfortunately, scalp psoriasis has no actual cure, but there are certain natural and chemical products you can use to treat, manage and control your flare-ups. As someone who’s been living with this condition for more than 10 years, here are some tips and products I recommend.
Natural Scalp Psoriasis Treatments
Like many other conditions, natural remedies can be used in treating scalp psoriasis at home.
Essential oils such as tea tree oil or peppermint oil are antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory. Adding a few drops in your oil mix and applying it directly on your scalp can help soothe the itchiness caused by scalp psoriasis. Not to mention, that minty feeling on your scalp feels amazing! For a bonus tip, you can also add drops of tea tree oil or peppermint oil to your shampoo or use shampoos that have these oils as their main ingredients.
Did you know that apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains antiseptic and disinfective properties? Well, this is why ACV is a great natural scalp psoriasis treatment that can help reduce itchiness and soreness caused by scalp psoriasis. When using ACV to treat your psoriasis, don’t apply it directly on your scalp because it might burn, especially if the affected area is already an open wound. So, always mix it with some water to cut out the sting. A great way to implement ACV in your hair-care routine is by using it as a rinse after shampooing and before applying your conditioner.
Whether it’s using the gel straight from the plant, or buying it in bottle form, applying pure aloe vera gel on your scalp has an incredibly soothing effect that can reduce the irritation caused by scalp psoriasis. If you love a good DIY, you can make your own soothing aloe vera hair masque by mixing fresh aloe vera gel with a few drops of lavender oil (which also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties). On your next wash day, why not try this scalp masque? Make sure to leave it on for 20 to 30 mins, and then wash it out with your shampoo of your choice, maybe one with tea tree oil or peppermint oil — as mentioned above.
Chemical Scalp Psoriasis Treatments
If you’re looking for an over-the-counter fix to control your scalp psoriasis, you can always opt for shampoos containing salicylic acid (Neutrogena, MG217 and Maple Holistics make the best-selling shampoos for scalp psoriasis). Generally, the salicylic acid in the shampoo will help slow down the growth of skin cells, reduce inflammation, and remove dead skin from psoriatic plaques. Although chemical shampoos are effective, they may contain sulfates, which can make your hair very dry. So, you’ll need to use a very moisturizing conditioner after using the salicylic acid shampoo.
For a more severe chemical scalp psoriasis treatment, you can use topical steroids. However, a dermatologist must prescribe these high-potency steroids, which can be in the form of cream, gel, or (liquid) solution. From experience, topical corticosteroids worked well for me, but I stopped using it because the side effect of it possibly absorbing into my bloodstream was unsettling. So make sure you discuss all potential side effects with your dermatologist before using this treatment.
Final Tips for Treating Scalp Psoriasis
Having scalp psoriasis is, without a doubt, annoying, but using one of the aforementioned remedies can definitely help you manage to live with it. Here’s a pro tip: No matter what remedy you pick, be ready to switch it up regularly because, after a while, your scalp psoriasis will adapt to a particular treatment. For a final tip, always fight the urge to itch; when removing flakes, do so gently; and keep your scalp moisturized at all times.
Getting Social with Scalp Psoriasis
Remember, you’re not alone! Here are some social media communities for people like us living with scalp psoriasis. Join in on these online conversations and find out how others manage their scalp psoriasis. Here are some of my favorite Instagram blogs: @national.psoriasis.forum, @psoriasis_hu, @lovetheskin_ur_in.
In the meantime, tell me what products you use to treat your scalp psoriasis. You can DM me @lushbraidsbyb.
Featured Image via Instagram