HELP!!!! Psoriasis of the Scalp

I am currently beginning law school, and my whole life I have been very open about my psoriasis. In the past I had found that not telling people I suffer from this condition opened the door for ridicule; however, once people know that it is a condition, suddenly they didn't feel so cool making fun of me for it. Well, law school is a whole new game. I am finding myself even more self conscious than ever before! This is a huge problem for me as being in law school demands confidence...which I have in my abilities, but the constant itch distracts from that. I have long hair which I don't want to part with, I have just recently grown it back out. The problem is that if I were to pull it up into a professional up-do, by the end of a few hours in the library, the flakes take over the bottom half of my head. Does anyone have any advice how to maintain a professional long hair-ed style with psoriasis? Wearing my hear down (its not a stylish cut just long and straight) definitely appears more laid back than I care to look in this school's not exactly the jeans and a hoodie atmosphere I am used to.

Also, if anyone is in San Diego, can you recommend a hair stylist who understands psoriasis?

Edited March 3, 2011 at 11:55 am

Report post

13 replies. Join the discussion

I have had the same problems with placque P on my scalp..
a few suggestions:
1. have you tried any solutions to treat your scalp? Clobetasol solution is great and I find very helpful. you can put it on your scalp and it doesnt get in your hair itself if you are careful. its designed especially for the scalp.

2. when you're at home, cover your scalp with oil (canola, vegetable, olive, doesnt matter). then wrap your whole head in a HOT, WET towel and cover that with a dry one, leave on for at least 20 mins and then remove and wash your hair. I find that really helps remove the big placques and helps wtih the itching (keeping it moisturized will minimize the symptoms). u can do this daily or even 2x/day if it is bad, and no medication side effects.

Hope this helps and good luck!! let me know how it comes out if you try it!

Report post

I too have long hair and scalp psoriasis....I was using clobetasol up until yesterday. My Dermo gave me samples of taclonex and after just ONE applilcation, my scales are half as bad!!! I know the medicine is hugely expensive, so if thats not an option - maybe try the oils like Ali said. I was using some thick Hair treatment oil and it was working to keep the scales at bay all day long! I hope you can find some relief soon! Moisture is key!!!

Report post

what do you guys mean moisture/ized? if my hair is wet it feels a ton worse...not sure if a lotion or oil er something i can use during the day? thank you soooo much for the advice!!!

Report post

IMHO, "Moisture" in the cosmetic world is synonymous with oil. (Looking forward to the flames on that one.)
I.E., the opposite of dry skin is oily skin, not "moisturized" skin.

I, too, have scalp psoriasis, which complements the patches on my elbows and knees nicely.

Anyway, I've relied on traditional medicine until lately, when I lost insurance.
Which is to mean I've used up my Enbrel.

So, I've been using Elta Tar on the scalp. Massage it in, put on a shower cap, sleep.
In the morning, wash it out. It is coal tar based in a petroleum goo.

To your question: You don't have to leave the oil on in the daytime.
For best effect, it needs to be on at least overnight.

However, later today I'm going to shop for a bottle of DooGro Stimulating Growth Oil.
See: my-daughters-psoriasis/

Most likely AliLA is correct - the type of oil used probably doesn't make a lot of difference.
However, folks are more inclined to trust something advertised to be used on hair more than a cooking ingredient.
The oil causes the flakes to soften and drop off. Be gentle with the shampoo as the skin is already irritated.
Note that I've read some leave the DooGro in all the time. Apparently, it is lighter or less greasy than other choices.

Diet is another thing for consideration. Some folks have had luck by eliminating sweets and dough products from their diets.
It's been difficult for me to skip breads, pizza and pastas, but I'm trying.

The thing to remember is once you've got it, it is probably forever. So, whatever you find that keeps it at bay, you must keep doing it.

Finally, traditional medical treatments have risks. I could get cancer or tuberculosis from using Enbrel. I'm older and was tired of the P, so took my chances. And I was given clobetasol by the VA clinic eleven years ago when first diagnosed - and only on elbows and knees. My dermotologist said that is too strong and put my on UV treatments and dovenex before moving to Enbrel.

Everything I've used helps - to a degree.

Good Luck!

Report post

a-train, moisturize -like oils or lotiony stuff on the scales will help with the itching I would think. :) I hope that helps!!!

Report post

Doo-gro works well for me when I have no scalp meds...apply it to your scalp after washing hair in warm water, and really rub it in...i sleep with it on my head covered by a shower may have to shampoo twice the next morning as it does make your hair very oily but will remove all those nasty flakes!

As far as a hair style is concerned, i usually pull my hair up in a loose bun, aligned with the ears, and let a few pieces sort of drape down behind my ears to cover the scaling...

And scarves help...i wear a scarf almost everyday, and i'm not talking bulky winter scarves. Anything with a print is great to accessorize while camouflaging those pesky scalp snowflakes...

hope this helps!

Report post

A-Train what type of shampoo do you use now?

For me I find that Sal-Acid shampoo's make it itch more for me , what works best for me at least is Tar Based Shampoos

The Tar based shampoo also seems to help me with the flakes.


Report post

Hi most of the solutions above are wonderful. However you have to conquer what causes the problem and that is scalp psoriasis. For the scalp - and I lost half a head of hair my scalp was so bad - I finally had to burn off the flakes and sores and scabs to the medicine can get in.

Nothing is going to work on your scalp anytime soon unless you either cut your hair or get some medicinal help to stave off the psoriasis. The scalp is the hardest to treat simply because of your hair. With every handful of medicine maybe a drop actually gets on the bad skin because the hair abosrbs it or blocks it off. And the bad oils from your hair gets into the open skin and really sets it off. One person mentioned liquid clobetasol which is good - another is liquid dovonex - most psoriasis meds do come in liquid form. You can go and buy TSal shampoo - Sal stands for salycylic acid but that takes longer.

If the flakes and scales are that bad ask your dr for salycylic acid in mineral oil and burn off the scales and extra skin that causes the flakes. Do that every night for about 8 hours then wash it out and get ready for work then put on the liquid solution while you are working. OTC things are good but are very temporary. As I said my scalp ps was extremely bad but I did 2 weeks with the acid in oil on my scalp and it has not come back except in little spurts - little enough to treat asap and it doesn't get bad.
Good luck and hope you find a solution that works for you


Report post

Something to consider for long hair styles with P... Use Aloe Vera Gel directly on your hair/scalp. Look for Aloe vera gel that has Lidocaine and Menthol for best results. After you shower and the hair is still wet, brush your hair back and apply it liberally. Then toss your hair forward/down and apply it back to front, on top of your hair but as close to the scalp as possible. Then brush it again and put the hair in a pony tail. When the gel dries, it gets kind of crispy, sort of looks like you styled and sprayed your hair. It's become my daily routine for maintaining a professional look that traps in moisture all day long. It's so good at keeping the flakes from forming that I don't even worry about flakes on my shoulders anymore.

Report post

Use T-Gel can get it at any pharmacy or grocery store. Your P will be gone in 2 to 3 weeks.

Report post

Alot of sound advice. What you hear throughout is get rid of the crust first, then the meds will work. It's just like exfoliating your face before you put on moisturizer. I used an rx to get rid of the crust. It was oily, I wore a shower cap, and left it on overnight. I hated it but was religious with it for 2 weeks. After a few days, I began using Olux (foam ) that goes on your scalp to treat the p. It took a total of 3 weeks to work. Believe it or not, I haven't had a problem since...that was 2 years ago. Now, that is not common, but what is common, is p has a mind of it's own and does what it wants. My hair is thick and mid length. As someone said, address the issue of the p, and your hairstyle becomes less of an issue. Best of luck! Laurie

Report post

I also have scalp P.

I have used Home Health Psoriasis Medicated Scalp and Body Wash. Available at Whole Foods and other natural foods stores. It doesn't dry my hair the way tar shampoos do. (They turned my hair to straw, no matter what I used to condition with.)

The active ingredient in this shampoo is 2% salycylic acid, which is aspirin. Sometimes when I can't afford the shampoo, I crush up about 4 aspirin tablets into a fine powder and add 1-2 tablespoons of any type of shampoo. Mix, and wash hair with this. It helps.

The best thing is to examine underlying dietary causes to make P go away from the inside out. Have had great success with visits to naturopath and with "Healing Psoriasis" by John Pagano.

I read this in someone else's post on this forum. Haven't tried it yet, but sounds like the person got a great result for scalp P:

Scalp psoriasis...I think the candida diet helped but the real help was the 777 oil and Psorolin removed the scalp P almost worked so well after struggling for years with different treatments , that I couldn't believe it at was too simple! it's been several months and my scalp is still is the rest of the P...(guttate and plaque P)

When I got guttate from poison ivy (after having been clear for a couple years!) I bought PsoriaGold from Dr. Heng! I also got a consultation from her, which was very informational....The gel was too expensive for me ( $98) to keep buying, it healed ny arms with one jar but I still had P all over.(I still suggest a free consultation from Dr Heng...she gives wonderful advice and does not push the gel she developed!),0,0,1,0,0

so I searched for something else and found the Psorolin ointment ($19.95) and it worked just as well.....

two places sell it...


Report post

thanks pat, i've tried the acid stuff but it burns so badly, im scared to try it again :( i haven't tried it with mineral oil yet, maybe that will relieve some of the burning sensation? i have a hard time making appts for dr's office bc of my shcool schedule so i'm trying to gather as much info as i can so when i can finally go in i'm informed and can use the time in the office efficiently! i appreciate EVERYONE's feedback so much!!

Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Things you can do

Support the National Psoriasis Foundation

Help the National Psoriasis Foundation reach its goals and support people like yourself by making a donation today.

Donate to the National Psoriasis Foundation

Discussion topics

Additional resources

Community leaders