Scalp psoriasis is an inflammatory non-contagious skin concern that causes itching, flaking, and redness on the scalp. It’s a chronic condition which means it tends to come and go with time. There is no permanent cure to get rid of psoriasis.
Out of people suffering from psoriasis, 45% to 56% have scalp psoriasis. It can extend beyond the scalp onto the forehead, back of the neck, around the nose, beard area, and behind or inside the ears.
Causes of Scalp Psoriasis
Scalp psoriasis occurs when your immune system doesn’t work properly and there is the fast growth of skin cells which leads to the formation of flakes. New skin cells are formed within days which normally take few weeks. As a result, the extra skin cells keep piling up on the surface of the skin causes patches to appear on the scalp. Therefore, it eventually leads to a flaky red scalp.
Stress, excess smoking, and alcohol consumption worsen scalp psoriasis. In addition, the following can deteriorate it further:
- Cold, dry weather
- Scratches, bites, and skin injury
- Hormonal imbalance
- Certain medications
- Excess sun exposure
- Hot water head baths
- Certain Food
Moreover, it links to chronic inflammation which occurs with other health problems such as:
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol and insulin resistance
Treatment of Scalp Psoriasis
Though treating scalp psoriasis can very complex and difficult task, you might need to try several combinations of treatments before you find one that works for you.
Let’s explore various options to manage scalp psoriasis in the best possible way.
Home Remedies for Scalp Psoriasis
Certain natural treatments can help to alleviate the symptoms of scalp psoriasis and improve the appearance of lesions, soothes itching, moisturize the dry skin when you use them along with other traditional methods. Use the following things to treat scalp psoriasis at home:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apply organic apple cider vinegar to your scalp a few times a week to relieve the itchiness from the scalp psoriasis. To prevent skin burning dilute the apple cider vinegar with water in a 1:1 ratio. Rinse your scalp thoroughly after the solution is dried to avoid irritation. Don’t try this remedy if your scalp skin is bleeding or cracked.
Aloe Vera can have some soothing effect on people with mild to moderate scalp psoriasis. Creams containing 0.5% aloe vera can help reduce redness, flaking, and itching on the scalp. Apply it two to three times a day to keep the skin moisturized. It may take up to four weeks before you see any positive results.
Coconut oil is with healthy fats that boost skin health. It might be one of the most liberal ways to manage the symptoms of scalp psoriasis. Therefore, massage a few drops of coconut oil on your scalp and cover it with a shower cap. After 20 minutes, wash your hair as usual. This helps to reduce the scaling of the skin caused due to psoriasis. Moreover, it keeps the skin moist.
Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda might give you some relief from itchiness. Mix one and a half cup of baking soda with three gallons of water. Apply the mixture to itchy skin with a cotton pad or a washcloth. If it causes a burning sensation, then add the baking soda to your head bathwater.
Dead Sea Salts
Magnesium-rich Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts might give you some relief from your scalp psoriasis. Add these salts tour bathwater (warm not hot) and soak your body along with the affected head for about 15 minutes. Apply psoriasis-friendly moisturizer as soon as you get out of the tub to lock in moisture and prevent dryness.
Though there may be no evidence in favor of oats to treat psoriasis symptoms, however, many patients swear that they have experienced a reduction in itching, flaking, redness, and inflammation with an oatmeal bath. Add a cup of raw unflavored oats, crush them in a blender and then add them to your bathwater. Ensure to keep the affected area fully submerged while bathing.
Turmeric has medicinal properties in numerous health conditions including scalp psoriasis. It contains curcumin, an antioxidant that protects the skin by neutralizing free radicals. Moreover, it also accelerates the healing process. Add a teaspoon of wild turmeric to your pasta, rice, or veggies every day. Mix it with a little pepper in your juice and drink it down.
Tea Tree Oil
Due to the antioxidant properties, tea tree oil can be soothing to scalp psoriasis. Add tea tree oil to your shampoo while having a head bath. This is the gentle treatment for psoriasis at home. It is known to treat inflammatory skin conditions and works as an antiseptic that alleviates redness.
Although these all-home remedies may take some time to show positive results, they can reduce the symptoms of scalp psoriasis. Above all, these are great for your overall well-being otherwise. However, it is suggested to run through your dermatologist before trying these remedies to treat scalp psoriasis at home.
Shampoos for Scalp Psoriasis
Scalp psoriasis treatment strives to soothe itching and remove plaques. Due to the presence of hair and skin sensitivity, it is complicated to treat psoriasis. There are many different shampoos available for people experiencing scalp psoriasis.
Shampoos containing coal tar and salicylic acid are available over-the-counter section. It may be available in the form of ointments, lotions, and creams. Whether shop-bought or homemade, any shampoo for psoriasis should contain one of the following:
Studies have shown that usage of coal tar can treat the symptoms of scalp psoriasis. You can also wash your psoriasis-affected scalp with tar soap. The soap is highly concentrated and has a distinctly strong smell that can irritate your skin. You are advised to start with low concentration and work yourself up to stronger formulas. Check with your skin specialist regarding the strength to be used.
Selenium sulfide is used to treat people with many skin conditions including seborrheic dermatitis, hyperkeratosis, and scalp psoriasis. It helps in the reduction of flaking and scales.
An antifungal agent, Ketoconazole can help with scaly and dry skin in case of scalp psoriasis. Shampoos containing this ingredient help in the removal of both psoriatic plaques and dandruff. People with scalp psoriasis are at higher risk of developing fungal infections than others. Moreover, Ketoconazole protects the scalp from painful yeast infections.
As salicylic acid helps in the skin peeling, it removes the psoriasis scales and helps in the faster healing of skin patches. A stronger concentration of salicylic acid might cause skin irritation. So, it is suggested to start with the low salicylic acid content product and gradually increase the strength based on the skin’s reaction. Further, other acids such as lactic acid and glycolic acid can also help in the peeling of the skin.
Moreover, you can make your own shampoos at home by adding the ingredients that are best suited to treat scalp psoriasis. For instance, you can add tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar to your shampoo.
If milder home remedies and shampoo treatments are not effective, then dermatologists might consider prescribing a more intensive topical treatment, such as but not restricted to:
- Tazarotene (Tazorac): a topical retinoid helps in the reduction in the speed of skin cell growth
- Anthralin (Zithranol-RR): helps in slow skin cell production
- Calcipotriene and Betamethasone Dipropionate (Taclonex): reduces skin cell production, makes lesions flatter, soothes itching, and removes scales.
- Calcipotriene (Dovonex): a synthetic Vitmain D-3 that helps in scale shedding, reducing lesion size, and slowing skin cell growth.
Consult your dermatologist before trying any of the treatments to avoid any problem. Psoriasis brings the risk of other co-morbid diseases with itself. So, take care of yourself.