About 8 million Americans (and 125 million people worldwide) are affected with psoriasis, many of whom have the condition on their scalp, aptly called scalp psoriasis. Scalp psoriasis formation has no relation to our hair types or textures, so pretty much anyone can develop the condition. Mild to moderate symptoms may include fine, powdery flakes, and scales, while more severe cases can include plaques, which are raised, scaly patches of skin.
On lighter skin, these plaques appear red and silver; on darker skin, plaques appear purple, grey, or dark brown. The condition can cause itchiness, inflammation, and discomfort, and the temptation to scratch might lead to infection or hair loss.
Managing scalp psoriasis involves some trial and error, as you find the over-the-counter shampoo or topical that works for you, without causing further irritation. A board-certified dermatologist can also prescribe medicated formulas, oral treatments, or administer a laser if you're not seeing an improvement from home remedies, if you would prefer to go that route.
Ahead, we offer solutions for managing scalp psoriasis with home remedies, so you can get relief fast!
What Is Scalp Psoriasis?
Scalp psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that affects the scalp and appears as flaking plaques. It can also spread to your forehead, the back of your neck, or behind and inside your ears. Some people may experience itching, burning, soreness, or discomfort. Now let’s take a look at these home remedies and dive right in…
1. Soften Scales With a Salicylic Acid-Based Shampoo
In mild to moderate scalp psoriasis, silvery scales can develop on the scalp. Some people might also experience thicker plaque-like scales. To treat, you can try using salicylic acid. Salicylic acid acts as a keratolytic to help soften the scales and decrease the thickness of the plaques. Salicylic acid-based products, also known as scale softeners, are generally best to help soften and eliminate the scales. Daily washing of the hair can help to eliminate some of the dead skin.
You can also leave the salicylic based product on to let it penetrate deep in areas where thicker plaques persist. Let it sit for up to 10 minutes before rinsing.
2. Reduce Yeast With a Mild Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
In milder cases of scalp psoriasis, where thick plaques and scales are not as persistent, a dandruff shampoo containing zinc pyrithione can help with scalp psoriasis in addition to seborrheic dermatitis, as it helps to reduce yeast on the scalp.
Daily washing is crucial for people with scalp psoriasis. Finding a shampoo formula that you like is most important, as it is often recommended for those with psoriasis to wash their scalp daily or every other day. This helps eliminate excess build up of dead skin, which can worsen the flaking. When choosing a shampoo, consider that in general, it’s best to avoid any products that may be irritating or drying on the scalp, but the specific type of formulation that is preferred may vary based on hair type. So it generally is a personal preference.
3. Treat Scalp With Witch Hazel
One of the most well known potential herbal treatments is witch hazel. To use, massage it directly onto scalp after washing. Continue to massage the area until the witch hazel is fully absorbed. From there, you can rinse you scalp and style your hair as you normally would.
4. Apply Aloe Vera to Scalp
We found that the soothing properties of aloe vera can have some healing properties for people with mild to moderate scalp psoriasis. Aloe vera creams or gels that contain 0.5 percent aloe can help reduce itching, inflammation, flaking, and redness on the scalp. This cream should be applied up to three times per day to keep skin moist. It may take up to a month to start feeling and seeing positive effects.
5. Try an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
A home remedy to combat itchiness involves applying an apple cider vinegar rinse. Apple cider vinegar may help reduce itchiness associated with scalp psoriasis. Dilute the apple cider vinegar with water, apply to the scalp, and rinse the skin thoroughly to prevent irritation. You will be able to see results in several weeks. Use up to a few times per week. Please note that people experiencing cracked or bleeding skin should not use apple cider vinegar at all.
6. Mix Tea Tree Oil Into Your Shampoo
Tea tree oil, due to its antioxidant properties, can be soothing to scalp psoriasis. You can try mixing psoriasis-friendly ingredients, such as apple cider vinegar or tea tree oil with your usual shampoo. This can serve as a gentle, homemade psoriasis remedy. However, this is usually only an effective measure in very mild presentations of scalp psoriasis.
7. Massage Coconut Oil Into Scalp
A coconut oil hair treatment might be one of the more indulgent ways of managing scalp psoriasis; plus, the healthy fats are known to boost skin health. Massage a few drops onto your scalp and put on a shower cap. Once the oil is on your scalp, set your timer for 20 minutes. After your time is up you may remove the cap and wash your hair as usual.
8. Avoid Scratching
Scalp treatments are important for people with scalp psoriasis to help eliminate some of the dead skin. For an at-home scalp treatment, try a moisturizing and ultra hydrating hair mask made of natural ingredients to not clog your follicles or irritate your scalp with store bought ones containing fragrance, preservatives, and occlusive agents like mineral oil or petroleum.
9. Limit Your Use of Styling Tools
Be gentle when styling your hair, in order to avoid irritating the scalp. It’s best to avoid tight hair styles, as pulling too tight on the scalp can lead to irritation. Additionally, curling irons, rollers, coloring, perming or relaxing your hair should be limited–especially if there is an active flare–as these can be irritating on the scalp.
If you're concerned about concealing plaques, try a low pony with added texture to hide irritation at the nape of your neck. You can add volume to down-dos by gently teasing strands at the root to conceal any scaliness behind the ears. If the hairline is typically your trouble zone, full or side-swept bangs can help hide redness.
10. Switch Your Shampoo & Conditioner
For daily help in relieving your scalp psoriasis, get rid of the commercial bought hair care products and go the natural route. Wild Naturals Eczema & Psoriasis shampoo and conditioner was specifically formulated for these skin diseases to help manage and soothe your scales, itchiness, and bring back that much needed nourishment to your hair!