The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) estimates that at least half of the 7.5 million Americans with psoriasis have it on their scalp. Different hair types or textures do not affect the formation of scalp psoriasis, so anyone can develop the condition. Symptoms may be mild to severe, including occasionally itchiness or more serious scaly patches of skin, also known as plaques.
Plaques appear red and silver on lighter skin, while they appear more purple or gray on darker skin. Scalp psoriasis can cause intense itching, inflammation, discomfort, and the desire to scratch incessantly. Over-scratching can lead to infection, or even hair loss in more serious cases. Although there are several ways to help manage the condition, there is no one-size-fits-all remedy for everyone. It’s often a process of trial and error for each person.
You don’t have to suffer if you have scalp psoriasis, as there are many home remedies that provide relief. There are also topical prescriptions or medicated shampoos for mild to moderate scalp psoriasis. If you prefer the natural route, though, several ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen work to thwart itchiness and flaking. Just remember that it’s best to check with your dermatologist before experimenting with any home remedy. The goal is to make sure that it’s safe for your skin. Once you determine if the following remedies are safe, give them a shot to see if they provide relief.
An Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Apple cider vinegar is a common ingredient that fights back against itchiness. The antibacterial properties may ease irritation and relieve itchy scalp. Potentially, apple cider vinegar may help remove psoriasis scales. In order to prepare an apple cider vinegar rinse, create a mixture of one to two parts water and one part vinegar. Apply this mixture to the scalp several times per week for 10 minutes at a time. Use a comb to gently remove scales and then shampoo and rinse. Important note: do not try this rinse if your scalp is bleeding or cracking.
Dead Sea Salts
The Dead Sea, which is a salt lake in Israel that borders Jordan to the east, is the lowest body of water of the Earth’s surface. At roughly 1,300 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea has a high degree of salinity, and the salts have rejuvenating properties for the skin. In fact, some say that the salts are legendarily therapeutic. A DIY treatment of Dead Sea salts with olive or coconut oil may help remove scalp psoriasis scales, or at least soothe itchiness. After creating a paste with Dead Sea or Epsom salts and the carrier oil, gently massage a small amount into the scalp, leave on for 10 minutes, and then rinse. Apply anywhere from once a day to once per week, depending on the severity of scalp psoriasis.
Carrier oils like olive oil have numerous skin-enhancing properties. According to dermatologists, olive oil may help reduce flakiness, making it an excellent natural remedy for people with scalp psoriasis. All you have to do is massage one to two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into the scalp. Depending on the severity of the condition, you can leave the oil on from 10 minutes to overnight. If you leave the olive oil in overnight, wear a shower cap to keep the pillowcase clean. Before you rinse, use a fine-toothed comb to gently remove loosened scales.
Sticking with carrier oils, coconut oil may be an excellent way to help manage scalp psoriasis. The healthy fats in coconut oil work to boost the overall health of the skin, in addition to relieving itchiness. Massage a few drops of coconut oil into the scalp, put on a shower cap, and let the oil remain on the scalp for 20 minutes. Once the time passes, rinse your hair and shampoo.
Tea Tree Oil
Many studies confirm the anti-fungal and antibacterial properties of tea tree oil, which is distilled from the leaves of the plant native to Australia. It may help to keep the scalp free of infection that commonly results from excess scratching. Because certain skin types are sensitive to tea tree oil, do a patch test on the forearm before you try it on the scalp. Always dilute tea tree oil in a carrier oil; one part tea tree oil to 10 parts carrier oil is a great ratio. Once you make this mixture, dip a cotton ball in it and use the cotton ball to dab the areas of scalp psoriasis. Leave the mixture on for five minutes before rinsing.