Scalp psoriasis can be itchy, uncomfortable, and embarrassing. Learn what causes it and how to treat it at home using natural remedies and safe treatments.

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Scalp Psoriasis: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments

05/26/20228 min read

If you or a loved one has scalp psoriasis, you probably want simple ways to relieve your symptoms for happy, healthy skin. You’re in the right place!

In this article, we’ll share some effective and safe remedies that you can try at home. But before we get there, it's important to note that sometimes scalp psoriasis gets confused with other skin diseases.

If you’re unsure whether or not you have psoriasis, you’re in the right place. Here's a closer look at what this condition actually is.

What Is Scalp Psoriasis?

Psoriasis on a man’s face and scalp

Psoriasis is the name of a group of autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. The immune activity of psoriasis results in skin cells growing quicker than the normal rate, creating lesions and scales on the skin.

This condition can occur on any part of the body, including the head. When this happens, we refer to it as scalp psoriasis.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, around 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis. Of these millions of people, at least half have scalp psoriasis.

Common symptoms include:

  • Red and bumpy patches on the scalp
  • Scaly patches (These may either be thick and crusty or light and fine; they may also cover a small area or the entire scalp in more severe cases)
  • Dry scalp
  • Itching, burning, or soreness
  • Silvery-white scales
  • Temporary hair loss — While scalp psoriasis doesn't directly cause hair loss, scratching, using harsh treatments, stress, and picking the scaly spots can lead to temporary hair loss. After the skin clears, the hair usually grows back

Causes Of Scalp Psoriasis

There's still ongoing research about the exact cause of psoriasis, but we know that genetics plays a role. People with a family history are more likely to develop psoriasis.

Interestingly enough, you can live unaware that you have this condition until it flares up one day. Some external factors that can trigger psoriasis symptoms include:

  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Medications
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Skin injuries
  • Sunburn
  • Infections
  • Vitamin D deficiency

How To Treat Scalp Psoriasis At Home

1) Get The Proper Diagnosis

Dermatologist looking at a woman’s face

The first step in treating scalp psoriasis or any other skin condition is to get a diagnosis from a qualified medical professional. Without the proper diagnosis, you won't know what treatments are the most effective and what environmental factors may be triggering your symptoms.

Once your dermatologist has confirmed that you have scalp psoriasis, they are likely to recommend some medications or topical treatments, depending on the severity of your symptoms.

During your consultation, be sure to share any personal information. For example, be honest about any of your habits (e.g., smoking, drinking, etc.) that could be contributing to the flare-ups. This honesty will help your doctor devise the most suitable treatment for you.

2) Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is well-known for its skin-healing properties, so it's no surprise that this plant made it onto our list. Adding a topical gel or cream that contains at least 0.5% of this herb to your skincare routine can help reduce inflammation, redness, itching, and flaking on the scalp.

For aloe vera to work effectively, you may need to apply the gel or cream several times a day for a few weeks to start reaping the benefits.

However, it's important to note that this option should be for short-term use only. Sometimes, using it for extended periods can cause discomfort or redness at the application site. Ideally, you'll want to use it for a couple of weeks and then take a break before using it again.

3) Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar in a bottle

Apple cider vinegar is popular due to its internal health benefits. But some people don't know that they can also use it to ease the itching and burning feeling usually associated with psoriasis.

You can simply apply apple cider vinegar directly to the scalp a few times a week, leave it for a few minutes, and then rinse it off. If this causes a burning sensation, dilute it by mixing equal parts vinegar and water.

If you have cracked or broken skin, don't try this remedy. Instead, wait for your skin to heal first before applying the vinegar.

4) Oatmeal Soak

One of the most frustrating symptoms of scalp psoriasis is the intense itching and inflammation. To get some relief, try using oatmeal.

Raw, ground, and unflavored oats effectively help reduce the rash, itching, and flaking. Simply soak a cup of oats in water, apply the mixture to the affected area, wait for about 15 minutes, and then rinse it off.

If your psoriasis has spread from your scalp to other parts of your body, simply add some oats to a warm bath and submerge your whole body into it.

5) Vitamin D

Woman with long hair smiling on a beach

The sun has many incredible benefits, including helping relieve scalp psoriasis symptoms. Try to spend about 10 to 15 minutes in the sun each day if possible.

Remember to always apply sunscreen before heading out. It's also best to spend time outside either early in the morning or later in the afternoon when the sun isn't as intense to protect your skin from sunburn.

Note: If your doctor prescribed medication, be sure to speak to them first before soaking up some rays because certain medications may make you more prone to sunburn.

6) Bath Salts

An Epsom salt or sea salt soak is another excellent way to help reduce psoriasis symptoms.

All you need to do is mix one of the salts with warm water, apply the solution to the affected areas of your scalp for 15 minutes, and then rinse it off. This simple solution can help relieve the itching and remove scales.

7) Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Cooked salmon dish with lemon

Because of its essential nutrients and overall health benefits, fish is an important part of a healthy diet. So, it's no surprise that it can also help relieve psoriasis symptoms. Fish is rich in omega-3s, which help relieve psoriasis symptoms by reducing inflammation.

If you'd like to take omega-3s as a supplement, it's best to consult with your doctor first, as they may be able to recommend the most relevant supplements for you.

We also recommend including different types of fish in your daily diet, particularly cold-water wild varieties of fish (such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and herring) since these contain high amounts of omega-3.

8) Products With Salicylic Acid

Many over-the-counter products can help you treat scalp psoriasis in the comfort of your own home. For this route, it's important to look for products that contain coal tar or salicylic acid because these have incredible anti-inflammatory and anti-itching properties.

Our Psoriasis Scalp Relief Treatment is oil-free and contains salicylic acid to help reduce flaking and itching. With our exclusive blend of superior botanical ingredients, this treatment helps promote healthier, clearer-looking skin over time.

Earlier, we mentioned the benefits of soaking affected areas of your skin in oats or sea salts. After doing so, it's essential to lock in hydration by immediately applying a vitamin-rich moisturizer, like our Psoriasis Soothing Spray.

This soothing spray contains salicylic acid and is specially formulated to help reduce irritation, flaking, scaling, and itching on the scalp. The spray application also makes it easy to target those troublesome, hard-to-reach areas.

When To See The Doctor

As soon as you notice any new rash, irritation, inflammation, or any of the above symptoms, it's essential to see your doctor so that you can get the most appropriate medical care.

Psoriasis can also be difficult to treat. For example, there could be some environmental factors you aren’t aware of causing flare-ups. Your doctor can recommend the best medications and care plan for you.

If you notice no difference after a month of the recommended treatment, follow up with your doctor to discuss other options.

Say Yes To A Happier, Healthier Scalp

Woman touching her hair and smiling

Scalp psoriasis is a chronic condition that can affect your quality of life. Symptoms may include intense itching, inflammation, red and bumpy patches, scaly patches, a dry scalp, and sometimes temporary hair loss when you experience flare-ups.

While it may feel overwhelming, take comfort in knowing that you're not alone. Millions of Americans live with this skin condition, and multiple at-home treatments can help relieve some of your symptoms.

When it comes to over-the-counter skincare products, always look for options with salicylic acid, like our Psoriasis Scalp Relief Treatment and Psoriasis Soothing Spray, which are specifically designed to help reduce psoriasis symptoms and give you the relief you're after.

Better skin days are possible, even with psoriasis!

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