Dealing with Scalp Psoriasis


NaturallyMe writes…

Psoriasis is a very common skin disease that causes scaling and swelling. The most common type of psoriasis is in the scalp. Scalp psoriasis is also known to cause increased shedding and even hair loss. Dealing with scalp psoriasis can be very difficult and frustrating especially while trying to maintain healthy hair.

While I don’t have psoriasis, I did have horrible dandruff when I had relaxed hair. I noticed when I stopped relaxing my hair the dandruff was gone. The chemicals in the relaxer where contributing to drying my scalp out. Both dandruff and psoriasis have some of the same symptoms and are commonly confused. Psoriasis is definitely much more severe.

Dehydration is one of the main causes of dandruff. Maintaining moisture is key to getting rid of a dry scalp and trying to control psoriasis. When we perm our hair we think of water as one of our worst enemies, but it is actually the best moisture for your hair – both inside your body and out. A sufficient amount of water intake a day is not only great for your body but for your hair too! When choosing moisturizing products for your hair those that list water as one of the first ingredients are the best.

With lack of moisture and hair loss being a major concern with those who have psoriasis below are some products, and even items in your kitchen cabinet, that are said to help with the struggles of controlling psoriasis:

1. ACV (apple cider vinegar) rinses are a great cleansing agent. An ACV rinse helps remove product buildup and restore the pH balance of the scalp and hair. It also promotes blood circulation in the scalp which in turn can stimulate new hair growth. Click Here to see the ACV recipe I use.

2. Although I have not tried, Shea Moisture Deep Cleansing Shampoo is said to help those with scalp concerns. This is from their black soap line. They also have a dandruff and dry scalp elixir in the same line. As these are all natural products (and since I have used the other 2 lines in their collection) I am sure this will be a helpful product to include in your regimen.

3. Marshmallow root is said to be good. Check out this Marshmallow Root Rinse Recipe

4. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) has many benefits for the hair. The anti-fungal and antibacterial properties of olive oil are great for helping get rid of dandruff. It is also great for promoting hair growth. You can do an olive oil treatment by mixing with either PURE coconut oil or castor oil – yes the castor oil mom use to give us when we were little; massage the scalp with the mixture; place a shower cap on and sit for approx. 30 mins. then rinse and shampoo. Click here for more olive oil treatment recipes.

5. Some other oils that are good are tea tree oil, jojoba oil and neem oil.

6. Shampoo with sulfate free shampoos. Also co-washing more is said to help. Not everyone likes to co-wash but it is a good alternative to shampooing frequently.

7. Coconut milk and honey are said to be good as well. I actually on occasion mix both with my conditioner prior to doing my deep conditioner treatment. Click Here for more info on honey.

As I know this is a growing concern for those trying to maintain healthy hair, as I come across other products or items that are said to help I will include in future posts. I am by no means an expert on psoriasis and what works for some may not work for others, but at least I hope you now have some ideas on where to start.

Do you have any other remedies or products that they have found to help?? 
Please include by commenting below.

About Jenell B Stewart

Jenell Stewart MS, the founder and editor in chief of the award winning website KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.com dedicates most of her free time educating and uplifting women with natural hair by way of her extremely popular website and YouTube channel. Jenell has been featured in Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise.com, and starred on the Dr.Oz television show as a Beauty Expert. In 2012 she was named one of Essences top Instagramers and that same year KinkyCurlyCoilyMe won an award for “Favorite Website” of the Natural Hair Community.
  • JenellyBean

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Heidi

    The Q-Redew is a new hand held hair steamer. It emits warm mist as steam. Just water. Just minutes. Use it to reshape hair and add moisture.

  • Mimi Z.

    I have had good results after cleansing my immune system and then introducing supplements like garlic, turmeric, fish oil and especially vitamin d. For some, psoriasis may be a result of vitamin d deficiency.

  • queenbee9

    Psoriasis of the scalp affects about 30% of Psoriasis sufferers. Many believe the driving component in psoriasis is an autoimmune reaction caused by an overload of stress, food allergies and product allergies. Usually an allergic reaction coupled with a lot of stress triggers the body to respond with outbreaks.
    to minimize the spread of psoriasis (those who have outbreaks KNOW how a small scaly patch can end up being the size of a lemon or larger if not careful) DO NOT SCRATCH. Scratching is the way the body gets the sufferer to open up the outside of the skin surface so that the disorder can manifest–it does so by generating immature skin cells to push through to the surface. If you can control SCRATCHING you can control a lot of the outside symptoms of psoriasis.
    To minimize scratching, here are some products used on the scalp and skin:
    1. Sea Buckthorn salve* this orange salve can stain clothing, Part hair and apply to scalp like grease, it is very light and will not block absorption of other nutrients also according to Chagrin Valley soap and salve,, sea buckthorn will not harm or deter hair growth
    2. Tamanu oil–this oil is the bomb. it helps to stop itching and inflammation and contains antimicrobial and antiviral properties. it aids in stopping skin irritation. For me, this works better than the sea buckthorn though I use both in tandem for flare ups on my palms.
    3. Avocado oil–this oil is soothing, readily absorbed into the scalp like coconut oil and is usually well tolerate by those with eczema or psoriasis. if you put some in your bath, it will leave irritated skin silky and soothed and reduces some inflammation.
    Those who have psoriasis often have it on more than their heads, For this reason, many seek medical remedies –another procedure for psoriasis used by many sufferers either by going to a dermatologist or investing in a unit they purchase themselves is the use of UVB light therapy, this stops the overgeneration of cells (that cause the scaling) giving the skin time to slow down, heal and stop being so reactive–many people find relief this way and go into remission. The units cost between 275.00 and 1000.00 and you have to be careful to not overuse them, most exposure is about 3 times a week for less than 30 seconds per body part or less
    4. Finally, what I have found to be very useful for me–I have hyper reactive skin and ketitanosis–this is a fancy way of saying that I have something like psoriasis but does not present with all the classic symptoms so drs often want to give it a different name. I take baths with bokek dead sea salt.’
    This is not cheap. bokek salt runs about 44.00 for 20 lbs and this lasts me about 10 days but most people could probably get by with it lasting them a month. I take at least 3 baths a day and have a very large Jacuzzi tub which I use 4 cups in the bath at one time.
    The salt soothes the skin, reduces itching and inflammation and makes it easy to peel off or remove skin debris (which you MUST do if you have psoriasis or you will get build up and other topical medications will not be able to get through.)
    I found coal tar soaps to be harsh to hair and scalp and very, very drying since most have an alcohol component and I actually react to coal tar and break out.
    Both the coal tar and the UVB light come with risks if over used or abused so you have to be careful.
    right now, I soak in dead sea salt, wash with sea buckthorn soap and apply tamanu and seabuckthorn salve from Chagrin Valley 3 a day. Several of my psoriatic areas are decreasing, and most of the excessive scaling has stopped though the patches are still visible. I am hoping with continued use, the patches will also disappear.
    since conferring with the head of Chagrin Valley, I have begun using the Tamanu oil on my scalp. I have not been diagnosed with psoriasis on my scalp but due to the fact that these kind of disorders can spread anywhere on the body and the fact that I have begun to react negatively to CO and other oils (except avocado and coconut) I have begun to use the Tamanu because it stops lot of the itching –so far so good.
    The key to most autoimmune skin disorders often lies in the DIET. For me, I have to give up tomtoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant, and chocolate. I am okay with almost everything except tomatoes, potato chips and chocolate and peppers. I love peppers. So I almost stay with some part of me broke out. My plan is to stop all for a while to see if I can go completely into remission. I especially have to stop the potato chips, tomatoes and chocolate which means no spaghetti, tacos with seasoning, potato chips–you know the stuff people love to eat?

  • anonymous

    As informative as this post was I was still shocked at the use of the term perm. Perms are used to curl hair.

    • Bri

      No, actually is used to keep hair from not being curly. My hair was had curly as the lady in the pic till I got a texturizer and then I get perms at least 3 times a year so my curly hair doesn’t come back. Although I want my curly hair to come back my psoriasis has to get under control first

      • queenbee9

        Anonymous is correct. Blacks call relaxers–perms and have done so since the 1950s. It comes from the word “Permanent” and we thought it meant to permanently straighten hair. As far as cosmetology is concerned, the term Perm means to apply ammonium thioglycalate to hair and then to use perm rods to curl the hair.

        A relaxer “RELAXES ” the natural curl pattern by using a base or alkaline chemical such as sodium hydroxide or calcium hydroxide to weaken the hydrogen bonds so that curly hair can be arranged in a straight shape.

        No matter what is taught in cosmetology school, most blacks still and forever will call relaxers perms and will call curly perms jheri curls or curls.

        A texturizer is nothing more than a mild perm left on for lesser time to not take all of the curl out of natural hair–it is still not natural to have a texturizer and bonds in the hair are weakened though not as much as with a regular relaxer.

        To recap–whoever anonymous is, they are correct—a perm uses perms rods and curls hair and relaxer straightens hair.

        Most blacks call relaxers perm and the act of relaxing is referred to as perming the hair. It is INCORRECT but since most do it and seem to think it is what is happening to their hair–what are we to do?

        Call it what you please, but remember to not apply any perm to a scalp that is open or has sores or is bleeding or inflamed. Then, once your psoriasis is under control–RELAX away or if you wish to still say it–Perm your hair, if you like…

    • queenbee9

      You are correct but colloquially (in the black community) relaxing hair is referred to as perming because long ago, using chemicals to straighten hair were called “getting a permanent” the term “relaxing” was coined in the 1970s to differentiate chemical straighteners of blacks from the chemical straighteners of whites–so for all intents and purposes, hair school not withstanding we refer to the straightening as “perms” like they used to call it in the 1960s.

  • queenbee9

    The most common type of psoriasis is not on the scalp it is on the trunk of the body (causes a skin rash) About 30% of psoriasis sufferers will get scalp psoriasis and about 33% of psoriasis sufferers will get psoriatic arthritis. About 12% of psoriasis sufferers will get palmar plantar psoriasis which affects the palms and soles of the feet and is the most difficult to treat. I have palmar plantar psoriasis.

  • Adrian Sean

    This article has just helped me so much. I literally have all the symptoms of psoriasis including unfortunately the premature hair loss. I thought it was weird because I’m still in my twenties Going to the dermatologist as soon as I can afford it

  • beverly

    Actually, my sister has the same problem!!!! Dandruff, itchyness, scabs on the scalp, etc….

    I’ve been doing a lot of resarch, but unfortunately there are not that much info on the net.

    From what i read, there are some treatments that work pretry well for it. But we wont try because we would like to use natural products.

    Starting this weekend, my sister will follow a new hair journey using aloe vera and some essential oils. I’ll post a video on my YT channel to let you know if this routine worked or not!!!!

    Thanks for the article! A lot of people have scalp psiorasis without knowing it.

  • Vic

    I have scalp psoriasis, I’m washing my hair right now as a matter of fact… I agree with everything in the post but in addition diet and living a stress-free life is very important. I love using the Shea Moisture Black soap collection it’s works wonders although there’s no tingling and when I’m in a financial jam I use the neutrogena t-gel shampoo. I lightly oil my dry scalp daily and wash every week to prevent excessive buildup. I deep condition weekly and add peppermint oil, tea tree oil, jojoba and vitamin e (to repair and relieve my scalp).