Scalp psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that is non contagious and affects the scalp; largely characterized by red, scaly patches that can be itchy and uncomfortable. Psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system that triggers skin cell production, leading to the buildup of dead skin cells on the scalp or other areas. While there is no known cure, there are certain methods that can help calm the skin when flare ups occur.
Here is our suggested routine to help with scalp psoriasis:
Cleanse + Condition
Use a gentle, fragrance-free shampoo to cleanse your scalp. Avoid harsh shampoos that contain sulfates and fragrance, as these can further irritate the scalp. Some examples of gentle shampoos include Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo, and Free & Clear Shampoo. After shampooing, use a gentle conditioner to moisturise your scalp and hair. Look for conditioners that are free of harsh chemicals, such as Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner or Bioderma Node DS+ Anti-Dandruff Intense Shampoo. Even though it might be uncomfortable, it's important to continue to clean the scalp and keep it moisurised.
P.S. avoid harsh hair products and styling tools as this will cause more inflammation!
Stress can worsen psoriasis symptoms, therefore it’s important to self-manage stress levels and avoid triggers that pre-empt high stress. Some relaxation techniques that may help to de-stress your mind and body include meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or taking a relaxing bath. Make sure to take time for yourself and maintain a self care routine.
Exposure to the sun or wind can amplify the symptons of psoriasis when a flare up occurs; use a hat or scarf to protect your scalp and avoid the risk of worsening symptoms. Be sure to choose a breathable material, such as cotton or linen, to avoid trapping heat and moisture on your scalp. These materials are also light weight so they should not aggravate or irritate the skin further.
Picking or scratching at the affected areas is not helpful! When you feel the need to scratch, use a cool, damp cloth or a cold compress to soothe any itching or inflammation on your scalp. This can help to reduce discomfort and prevent you from causing further damage to the fragile skin.
P.S. Use a humidifier for extra hydration and calming effects!
If prescribed by your dermatologist, apply your prescribed topical medication directly to the affected areas of your scalp, following all instructions provided. When applying to your skin, apply gently and slowly, monitoring your skin’s reaction.
Every person’s skin is different, so it is important, particularly with aggressive skin conditions, to work with a dermatologist to develop a personalized treatment plan for your scalp psoriasis. With the right care and attention, you can manage your symptoms and enjoy healthy, comfortable scalp and hair!