The Nitty Gritty Of Scalp Psoriasis
Its easy to think that patches of dry, itchy skin on the scalp are caused by some kind of lack of hygiene. But cleanliness has nothing to do with scalp psoriasis.
Psoriasis is actually a chronic inflammatory disorder caused when the immune system doesnt work quite right. Doctors arent sure why, but some people have an immune system that churns out too many skin cells. Since the body cant get rid of these excess cells fast enough, they pile on top of each other, forming flakey, silvery scales.
Psoriasis can pop up anywhere on the body, but when it shows up on your head, dry skin patches can appear under the hair, on the back of the neck, and behind the ears.
Its easy to confuse psoriasis with dandruff, and sometimes dermatologists arent so sure themselves. When it looks like a blend between psoriasis and dandruff, they call it sebopsoriasis a cute couples name for seborrheic dermatitis, aka dandruff, and psoriasis.
However, some clues that your scalp irritation might be psoriasis include more defined or patterned pink scale-like plaques.
Dandruff looks more like generalized greasy flaking with pink patches. Over-the-counter shampoos can typically knock out dandruff, but scalp psoriasis is a little harder to treat.
Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo
If youre looking for a natural black hair shampoo that is good for your hair, consider the Oribe Gold. It is formulated to repair hair damaged by color, environmental elements, chemical processing, and heat styling.
The Oribe Gold is sulfate-free, gentle, and effective in black hair growth. It contains natural ingredients that lock all the moisture in the hair strand.
This is a good shampoo for those struggling with dry hair and brittle hair.
The Oribe moisturizing shampoo works well for those with coarse textured hair. However, it may be too heavy for those with thin fine hair.
You can expect your hair to smell good with the Cote dAzur fragrance. The best part is that it is color-safe and will not strip away any existing hair color.
The company conducted a seven-day study that found that 91% of participants had an improvement in hair appearance.
Suave Professionals Charcoal & Aloe Vera Clarifying Shampoo
The Suave Professionals Charcoal & Aloe Vera Clarifying Shampoos formula contains charcoalwhich 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.
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Safety And Side Effects
Keep in mind that these products wont cure scalp psoriasis, but they may help manage flare-ups.
If your condition worsens, its best that you check in with your doctor. Some cases of scalp psoriasis are more severe and may require prescription shampoos.
As with any new product, be sure to do a patch test before using a scalp psoriasis shampoo over your whole head. To do a patch test, put some product on the inside of your wrist and wait 24 hours. Keep an eye out for any signs of irritation.
Coal tar might not be safe to use during pregnancy or on infants, so its always best to talk with your doctor first.
Using some of these shampoos alone can be drying to your hair because coal tar and salicylic acid strip away oils. Find a good conditioner and make sure that youre keeping your hair and scalp moisturized.
Kenkoderm, Head & Shoulders, and Vanicream have conditioners that pair with their respective shampoos. As for other shampoos, you can pair them with moisturizing or intensive care conditioners.
Following Your Treatment Plan Is Key To Getting Results
When working with a dermatologist, it is important to use the treatment exactly as prescribed and for as long as recommended. Many patients fail to see clearing because they stop following their treatment plan.
ImagesBefore and after treating scalp psoriasis: Photographs used with permission of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. J Am Acad Dermatol 2008 58:614.
ReferencesAl-Mutairi N, Al-Haddad A. Targeted phototherapy using 308 nm Xecl monochromatic excimer laser for psoriasis at difficult to treat sites. Lasers Med Sci. 2013 28:1119-24.
Bagel J, Lynde C, et al. Moderate to severe plaque psoriasis with scalp involvement: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of etanercept. J Am Acad Dermatol 2012 67:86-92.
Chan CS, Van Voorhees AS, et al. Treatment of severe scalp psoriasis: from the Medical Board of the National Psoriasis Foundation. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009 60:962-71.
Guenther L. Current management of scalp psoriasis. Skin Therapy Lett. 2015 20:5-7.
Paghdal KV, Schwartz RA. Topical tar: Back to the future. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009 Aug 61:294-302.
Renton C. Diagnosis and treatment of adults with scalp psoriasis. Nurs Stand. 2014 Feb 26-Mar 4 28:35-9.
Wong, JW, Kamangar F, et al. Excimer Laser Therapy for Hairline Psoriasis: A Useful Addition to the Scalp Psoriasis Treatment Algorithm. Skin Therapy Letter. 2012 176-9.
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Why Does Psoriasis Turn Black
Once your psoriasis begins to resolve, it can leave behind dark or light spots. This is called either post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation. This happens because psoriasis causes your skin to produce more inflammatory chemicals, which affects how your body processes melanin, or pigment.
Use An Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Apple cider vinegar is a do-it-all ingredient, and when used as an apple cider vinegar rinse, it can help lower the pH of the hair, giving you the silky, shiny locks you’ve always wanted. Villaneuva says it’s a great natural at-home remedy to alleviate itching and irritation. “Apply an apple cider vinegar rinse to the scalp and wait for it to dry,” she suggests. Once the vinegar has dried, rinse the solution off of the scalp. However, only use this on mild flare-ups: “You’ll want to avoid using apple cider vinegar if your skin is cracked, bleeding, or there are open wounds.” This is safe to repeat a few times a week to reduce irritation.
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A Natural Regimen For Christina Patrice And Scalp Psoriasis
Patrice prefers natural treatments to using steroids because of potential side effects, including redness and thinning of the skin, although Pariser said these concerns apply more to the face and other areas where the skin is already relatively thin.
Largely through experimentation, Patrice recommends these tips for beautiful hair with scalp psoriasis:
Try henna.Though henna is a hair-coloring product and not a psoriasis treatment, Patrice found her scalp virtually scale-free after just one treatment. It boggled my mind, she said. Initially she used it just to condition her hair, but she now applies it monthly to manage her psoriasis. In fact, she would use it more often, she said, except that applications are labor-intensive, and the henna has to stay on the hair for several hours or even overnight. She mixes the henna with coconut oil to soften the scales and create a sweet-smelling conditioner. Any 100 percent henna treatment will do, she said.
Rotate products. After a while, psoriasis will adapt to a certain product, Patrice noted on her blog. So, she rotates even her most effective products, sometimes washing with just a sweet-smelling conditioner for a month before going back to Shea Moisture.
Diminish The Appearance Of Lesions Safely
In general, its not advisable to use makeup to cover active psoriasis lesions, but it may be safe to use a bleaching cream to help lighten hyperpigmentation of fully healed lesions. Dont do this without talking to your dermatologist first. And remember: The more consistent you are with regular treatment and the sooner you deal with a flare, the less likely it is to leave behind discoloration.
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How We Chose The Best Shampoos For Scalp Psoriasis
To create this list, we looked mainly for products that contain salicylic acid and coal tar to target scalp psoriasis. These are two ingredients recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology Association .
Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid thats often used as an exfoliant. It helps soften and break down plaques and scales for easier removal. Removing the plaques should help ease symptoms, like itching, burning, and irritation.
Coal tar is derived from black coal, and, according to the AAD, has been used to treat psoriasis for over 100 years. It helps pump the brakes to make sure the skin cells on your scalp arent growing too fast and building up. Still, coal tar can be drying and can stain.
We also included shampoos with other research-backed ingredients, like selenium sulfide.
Finally, we looked at reviews from customers with scalp psoriasis to determine the effectiveness of each one.
Managing Scalp Psoriasis And Your Natural Black Hair
What is scalp psoriasis?What causes scalp psoriasis?andCommon triggerstriggers
- A skin injury
- Certain medicines, e.g. lithium, some antimalarial medicines and anti-inflammatory medicines including ibuprofen
- Other immune disorders e.g. HIV
What can you do to control scalp psoriasis?1. See a doctor or a trichologistHere is very useful information on treatments that work from the British Medical Journal Group: Psoriasis Information from the British Medical Journal File Size: 2. Ideally do not use celebrity and TV or internet doctors’ advice. 3. Don’t aggravate the psoriasis:Unique issues you may face with natural hair
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Is Your Scalp Irritated
Symptoms of a sensitive scalp may include the following: burning, tingling, pain, itching and redness. If your symptoms are severe, you may have a hyperreactive or hypersensitive scalp. Regardless of whether your case is mild or extreme, it is important to consider the factors that can cause the sensitivity of the scalp.
The symptoms may be due to an unbalanced diet or the use of the wrong shampoo. Also, exposure to certain weather conditions, pollution or stress may cause you to experience sensitivity in the area of the scalp. Taking these and other factors into account will help you determine why your skin is so sensitive and how to best improve this situation.
In many people, shampoos containing harsh chemicals is one of the main causes of scalp sensitivity. The cleansers or aggressive surfactants, present in many shampoos, can wash away the acid mantle of the scalp, that is, the natural acidity that protects your skin, leaving it vulnerable to dryness and irritation.
Some people report having a hypersensitive or sensitive scalp after receiving treatment for skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis or psoriasis.
When the natural protective barrier of the skin has been altered by one or more of these factors, microinflammation of the scalp can also become a major cause of the increased sensitivity. This occurs when the skin cells of the scalp become inflamed, increasing vulnerability to irritation.
How To Live With Psoriasis
Here are a few general pieces of advice for living with psoriasis:
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Understand Your Treatment Options
For the most part, Black skin responds to most psoriasis treatments in the same way white skin does. One possible exception is phototherapy, as the light used to treat psoriasis can worsen dyspigmentation darkening or lightening of patches of skin caused by flare-ups. Ask your dermatologist about this risk if they recommend phototherapy for you.
Note too that scalp psoriasis is more common in Black people. However, treating the scalp often involves frequent use of medicated shampoo plus medication applied directly to the scalp, which may be drying to African-American hair, causing it to break easily and be difficult to style. Talk to your dermatologist about other options if shampooing this frequently isnt a good match with your hair care routine.
Sheamoisture Moringa & Avocado Power Greens Shampoo
Avacado is the star ingredient in this shampoo, and rightfully soit 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.
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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 doesnt need to be a source of stress. Look for a shampoo that offers ingredients like salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione, or lactic acid.
Eat A Low Inflammation Diet
Since one aspect of psoriasis is inflammation, finding ways to reduce and control inflammation can help to keep the condition manageable. There’s also initial research that suggests psoriasis is a condition that may be characterized by a leaky gut . Proudman suggests avoiding processed meats and processed foods high in sugar, salt or fat. “Eating anti-inflammatory foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables decreases inflammation and oxidative stress,” she says.
Austin-based holistic doctor Elena Villaneuva, D.C., confirms there is a direct connection between diet and inflammation. “There is a major connection between gut health and skin health,” Villaneuva says. “We’ve found that the key to reversing most skin conditions is to start on the inside.” She recommends avoiding gluten, sugar, and dairy altogetheras research has shown a connection between these foods and psoriasis.
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Living With Psoriasis And Curly Hair
I remember it like it was yesterday.
My freshman year of high school, I woke up to prepare for school and noticed that there were scaly lesions on my arms and legs. Panicking, I showed my parents.
After a week went by, the scaly patches had spread to my face, back, and scalp — leaving me itchy and humiliated.
Was it eczema? A rash? They told me to put on some vaseline, and they’d monitor the situation. After a week went by, the scaly patches had spread to my face, back, and scalp — leaving me itchy and humiliated.
I mean, could you imagine? Starting your high school career with patches of scaly skin all over you? Needless to say, I have no pictures from my first year of high school. In the meantime, my mom took me to the doctor, who referred me to a dermatologist, who handed down the official diagnosis — psoriasis.
At the time, I didn’t know what it meant. I just wanted it to hurry up and be over with so I could look normal and stop wearing hoodies, headbands, and long pants in 90 degree weather. I spent the next few months using topical creams like Dovonex and Clobetasol to supplement the twice per week UV light therapy sessions. I remember the one time I cranked the light up too high, and sunburned the hell out of myself. Needless to say, I was in a lot of pain and even more embarrassed when my burnt skin began to crack and peel.
Luckily, those treatments were effective, and I was able to finish high school in a fairly normal fashion. That was almost 15 years ago.
Treating Skin Of Color
For some psoriasis patients, getting the right diagnosis isnÃ¢t always so black and white. And once minorities receive the proper diagnosis, they often face unique risks, challenges and stigmas.
Editorâs note: This story was updated on 06/17/2020. NPF has released a statement regarding the current racial injustice in the U.S.
When Brenda Kong was diagnosed with psoriasis in 1993, her family had been in the U.S. about 11 years. Ã¢My parents spoke limited English, and there isnÃ¢t a word in our language for psoriasis,Ã¢ says Kong, who was born in Cambodia and whose parents spoke Khmer. Ã¢They didnÃ¢t understand what it was, and for a long time, they couldnÃ¢t understand why Western doctors couldnÃ¢t heal me.Ã¢
Kong, now 37, was diagnosed with psoriasis at 13 and psoriatic arthritis at 22. As an active young athlete, she tried to hide her skin by wearing long socks when she played volleyball and tennis, but her condition was difficult to conceal. Her parentsÃ¢ friends offered unsolicited advice about which foods to cut from her diet and which herbal teas to drink. TheyÃ¢d ask embarrassing questions and lift her sleeves to examine her skin. Ã¢They were trying to help, but when youÃ¢re a teenager, youÃ¢re sensitive to everything,Ã¢ says Kong, who lives in Oakland, California.
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