If you have psoriasis of the scalp, you may feel defeated and have no solutions when it comes to treating your symptoms, but that’s not the case. You’re not alone, though. “125 million people worldwide—2 to 3 percent of the total population—have psoriasis, according to the World Psoriasis Day consortium.” Many seek to manage these symptoms and don’t have a starting point, so let us help. Keep reading to learn more about the causes of scalp psoriasis and the best treatments for it.
What Is Scalp Psoriasis?
“Symptoms may include fine scaling that looks like dandruff or appear as thick, crusted plaques that cover the entire scalp. Other skin disorders, such as seborrheic dermatitis, may resemble psoriasis. However, scalp psoriasis appears powdery with a silvery sheen, while seborrheic dermatitis looks yellowish and greasy. Scalp psoriasis is common in patients of color, but treating it can be particularly tough due to the hair type,” The National Scalp Psoriasis Foundation reports.
Sometimes, a few of these symptoms or even all will be present at the same time, especially an itchy scalp. This is why recognizing the signs of scalp psoriasis is so essential. Once you realize that the psoriasis is now in your scalp, it will better direct and guide you to what treatments you need.
How Is Scalp Psoriasis Diagnosed and Treated?
Consulting with your doctor is first and foremost before going ahead with any treatment. After your doctor gives the green light to try remedies, then proceed with caution. Be mindful that there is no cure for psoriasis, but there are many ways to manage it. Your psoriasis treatments for your scalp will depend on how severe of a case you have, how your psoriasis has reacted too previous treatments, and how much hair you have, along with how thick it is, too.
The most common treatments are medications for your scalp that either are specially formulated for your scalp or in the form of shampoo with soothing ingredients. If your doctor has not prescribed you a medicated shampoo, you will have to find one OTC. But, that doesn’t need to be a source of stress. Look for a shampoo that offers ingredients like salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione, or lactic acid.
Finding the Right Shampoo for Scalp Psoriasis
Your shampoo should contain salicylic acid, which loosens up the scales and makes it easier to manage flaking and dry and irritated skin. Also, look for coal tar—this will slow the overgrowth of your cells that causes psoriasis buildup up and the thick plaques on the skin and scalp. Lastly, locate a shampoo that also offers lactic acid—it helps maintain a balanced pH level in your scalp and keeps moisture locked in.
Once you find a shampoo that works for you, use it a few times a week so that your scalp adjusts to the medication or unique ingredients. Within a week, you will know if the shampoo is too harsh or just right based on how your flare-ups respond to it. You can also opt for shampoos that offer gentle cleansing and natural ingredients like honey—a soothing properly.
Editor’s tip: Use a comb while washing your hair to help loosen up the scales and flaking in your scalp. This will remove more and give a deeper cleanse.
The Best Scalp Psoriasis Shampoos and Treatments
1. SheaMoisture Sugarcane Extract & Meadowfoam Seed Miracle Multi-Benefit Shampoo
The Sugarcane Extract & Meadowfoam Seed Miracle Multi-Benefit Shampoo uses sugarcane extract and meadowfoam seed ingredients to add health back to your hair. The ingredients are also soothing and non-irritating. It’s also sulfate-free so that the shampoo won’t strip any moisture from the scalp and cause any further flaking.
2. Love Beauty and Planet Black Tea Kombucha & Red Ginger Sulfate-Free Shampoo
The black tea in this shampoo helps to prevent hair shedding caused by dandruff and flare-ups. After washing, your hair is soft with a subtle touch of shine.
3. RE-fresh Witch Hazel Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
If you’re experiencing dandruff caused by scalp psoriasis, then this shampoo with help to treat it. The added witch hazel offers relief for an itchy and irritated scalp. It also soothes tenderness in your scalp.
4. TRESemmé Scalp Detox Shampoo
The TRESemmé Scalp Detox Shampoo removes all build-up and excess oils contributing to the scalp being irritated and inflamed. However, it’s not a solution for psoriasis, but it is an excellent treatment to keep your scalp clean and clear.
5. Suave Professionals Tea Tree & Hemp Seed Oil Revitalizing Shampoo
Tea tree oil for treating your scalp psoriasis is another excellent remedy. The Suave Professionals Tea Tree & Hemp Seed Oil Revitalizing Shampoo adds tea tree oil and hemp seed oil to moisturize, cleanse, and soothe any inflammation. The tea tree oil fights bacteria and fungus that can cause your psoriasis to flare-up.
6. SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Bentonite Clay Shampoo Bar
Natural shampoo is one of the best ways that you should use to treat your scalp psoriasis. The SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Bentonite Clay Shampoo Bar isn’t your traditional shampoo. Instead, it’s in bar form. The Jamaican black castor oil blends with rhassoul clay deeply moisturize your hair and gently cleanses.
7. Suave Essentials Scalp Control Mint Deep Clean & Detox Shampoo
Scalp psoriasis is tricky in the sense that you don’t want to over-cleanse. But cleansing your hair and scalp actually benefits your condition. If your hair is washed and doesn’t have buildup and excess products, it will stay less irritated. The Suave Essentials Scalp Control Mint Deep Clean & Detox Shampoo provides a gentle wash while the formula removes flakes and any residue left from a dry scalp.
8. SheaMoisture Moringa & Avocado Power Greens Shampoo
Avacado is the star ingredient in this shampoo, and rightfully so—it has fatty acids that strengthen hair follicles. Avacado also contains phytosterols and vitamin E that fight against a dry and damaged scalp. If your scalp psoriasis is irritating, then try this shampoo. It soothes your scalp and will leave it fully hydrated and calm.
9. Suave Professionals Charcoal & Aloe Vera Clarifying Shampoo
The Suave Professionals Charcoal & Aloe Vera Clarifying Shampoo’s formula contains charcoal—which takes toxins out of the scalp. Removing the toxins allows the scalp to breathe and catch a break from being overwhelmed with excess cell growth and plaques. The shampoo will help to remove flaking skin too.
10. SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Shampoo
This formula removes impurities and still leaves your hair moisturized. The sulfate-free shampoo is formulated with 100% virgin coconut oil and shea oils that work together to remove dryness from the scalp. You will also find coconut milk and acacia Senegal that finishes the hair with a shine effect.
11. Dove Dermacare Scalp Soothing Moisture Shampoo
The Dove Dermacare line is specifically crafted to treat dry scalps experiencing dandruff and flaking. It will also help to manage your scalp psoriasis. Dove’s Dermacare Scalp Soothing Moisture Anti-Dandruff Shampoo cleans your hair without leaving it dry and causing damage. The brand-specific Olacare Scalp Actives remove dandruff without irritating the scalp and causing inflammation. You can also use it daily if needed to help keep visible flakes out of sight.
The Bottom Line on All Things Related to Scalp Psoriasis
Although all forms of psoriasis don’t have a cure, it’s easy to manage your symptoms with a simple hair care swap. Adding a medicated shampoo or a shampoo for scalp psoriasis will reduce the symptoms and irritation you are experiencing. If a new shampoo isn’t helping, then it’s always best to seek your doctor’s advice and professional treatment.