This content reflects the views of the individual blogger and is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals. If you would like to see more tips from people living with scalp psoriasis, check our Heads Up To Psoriasis page.
When I was first told that I had scalp psoriasis I was scared to put anything on my hair just in case it increased the dreaded irritation I was experiencing daily. I was scared to use products on my scalp psoriasis and I didn’t want to put heat anywhere. I had no idea what to do but knew that I needed to ensure I had a good and easy to maintain routine in place to look after my hair and not affect my psoriasis.
Below I outline some of the tips and tricks I’ve found useful to make sure these changes have been seamless.
Visiting the hairdressers
In my opinion, a great place to start is to build a an open relationship with your hairdresser. Many people with psoriasis can be anxious to go to the hairdressers. I have found that once you explain to your hairdresser what you need, they should be able to work with you to ensure that they are not irritating your scalp during the session and so you can leave happy with your hair. The hairdresser is meant to be a treat and relaxing occasion – in my experience they want to make sure that is the case too!
As someone who likes to experiment with different hair colours and styles having this relationship is even more important. My relationship with my hairdresser has to be really open and honest about my psoriasis and my style. This meant that instead of putting bleach all over my hair, they advised that it would be best to do a full head of highlights (and I mean a full head, it was very heavy!) and then tone the hair. For me this option caused me no irritation and I left with a colour I loved however, everyone is different so make sure to do a patch test before you go ahead. Since then I have changed my colour many times (I’ve gone from blonde to grey to purple to blue and back again) without causing any irritation, redness or excessive itchiness.
At home hair care
Let’s be honest, no one wants to be scratching at his or her head all day, nor do they want the dandruff look that doing so can leave you with. It’s not just colourants that can irritate scalp psoriasis so using the right hair care products is vital to keeping as happy a scalp as you can!
There are different hair and scalp treatments you can use. I like to use oils before I wash my hair. I like to slather on a good amount to my scalp and in particular the bit with the worst psoriasis patches. I then pop on a shower cap and leave this to work for up to twenty minutes. I then wash my hair as normal which removes the product.
The reason I like to do this before I wash my hair or during a particularly bad psoriasis flare, is because it helps break down my patches and soften psoriasis flakes allowing time to wash out more easily. It can also feel like a luxury scalp spa treatment which makes me feel like I am indulging in some proper self-care and not the usual feeling of it being a chore!
Once I have washed this out and shampooed my hair, I like to use a hydrating conditioner all over my hair making sure I am getting right into my scalp. Using a hydrating conditioner can help to hydrate the scalp as well. I like to use products that are nourishing and you need to leave on for a few minutes to get the full effect of the product. A good conditioner will not only help your scalp and hair, but will make brushing the wet hair easier once out of the shower.
Another thing I like to do is make sure the water temperature isn’t too hot when washing my hair. Personally, I find if it’s too hot then my psoriasis will be super irritated afterwards (my skin really does not like the heat). Keeping the temperature lukewarm means my scalp is less irritated but also a quicker shower as I am keen to jump out and warm up!
As well as watching my temperature in the shower, I also ensure that my hairdryer isn’t on the hottest setting, again this causes irritation to my scalp and I find it better to use a colder setting. I never fully dry my hair either. I dry it to about 60% and then let it air dry as I also find that this is gentler on my scalp (plus apparently, it’s good for your hair too!).
These are my main tips for ensuring my hair is kept in good condition and cared for whilst having scalp psoriasis. As with many things we are all different, it can be trial and error finding the right products for you, but hopefully you can implement some of these tips whilst searching for them!
If you would like to see more tips from people living with scalp psoriasis, check our Heads Up To Psoriasis page.
MAT-38724 October 2020. Article developed in partnership with LEO Pharma.