Shoulder flakes. White flakes on your shoulders. Flakes on your pillows. Not being able to wear your favorite dark shirts. Your head itches so much, but you don't want to scratch it because it'll get all over the computer keyboard.
If you've dealt with scalp psoriasis, chances are good you know exactly what I'm talking about, and the frustrating trial and error that's followed.
I know, because I've been there too for the past 25 years.
Fortunately, I've done a lot of research and even started a brand so you don't have to (and I think I've become an unofficial scalp treatment expert in the process).
Along the way, I've picked up a few things that really help control the flaking and angry scalps.
So, without further ado, here are 5 easy ways to start taking control of your scalp psoriasis.
(Caveat: these are things I found through 25 years of trial and error. People have told me that they help a lot, but if you already have a solid routine, don't feel like you have to change anything)
1 - Be gentle to your hair
At first glance, dandruff shampoo can seem like a great idea. After all, they're supposed to treat flaky scalps, which seems perfect for scalp psoriasis and dry scalps right?
Not so fast.
Because many are filled with harsh ingredients, dandruff shampoos may actually dry your scalp even further - which leads to a vicious negative feedback loop.
Prescription shampoos are the same. They worked like magic at first, but my scalp somehow learned to fight it and they eventually stopped working at all - and even making my scalp more vulnerable to flareups.
Fortunately, the solution is simple.
The next time you're shopping for shampoos, look for a sulfate-free one. They may be listed under names like sodium lauryl sulfate or ammonium lauryl sulfate. Sulfates are what many beauty companies use to make their shampoos "frothy" and create the illusion of your hair being cleaner.
The truth is, your hair will be just as clean without sulfates, and your scalp should be a lot happier.
Pro tip: In addition to being sulfate free, make sure you get a shampoo that has healthy oils in it. Argan oil, almond oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and shea butter are all fantastic choices for scalp psoriasis because of their heavy moisturizing properties.
2 - Change up how often you wash your hair
Some people wash their hair every other day. Some can go without washing for 3 days.
If you have scalp psoriasis, try to wash it every day.
As much as you may like to forego washing it every day, I (and many psoriasis experts) have found that it's better to wash off the dead cells than to keep them on your head for days. Plus, you won't have to worry about shedding all over the place.
Make sure you use a gentle shampoo from point #1. If you can skip the sulfates and have a heavy moisturizer built in, it should prevent your scalp from drying out in addition to giving your skin the moisture it deserves.
Pro tip: When you're washing your head, try to rub your scalp with the tips of your fingers, NOT your nails (though it may be tempting). Imagine giving your scalp a good massage that's just enough to rub off the dead cells, but not scratch it into oblivion.
3 - Load up on omega-3
What you eat shows on your skin. While the topic of eating with psoriasis is definitely outside the scope of this article, there is one thing that can help with scalp psoriasis, especially: Omega-3.
Omega-3s are one of the most proven and popular diet inclusions that doctors recommend for psoriasis because of their anti-inflammatory properties.
I can attest to that. I started seeing improvements within a month!
Keep your Omega-3 intake as high as possible. Individual needs are different, so I won't talk about any specific dosages here, but try to work in as many good Omega-3s in as you can tolerate.
Examples of good Omega-3s for scalp psoriasis include high-quality fish oil, krill oil, flaxseed, or even chia seeds. Alternatively, you can enjoy salmon, cod, or sardines just as they are.
Pro tip: One of my favourite ways to enjoy high-quality sardines is to put them on crispy toast with thinly sliced onions, red chili flakes, and a quick squeeze of lemon. It's absolutely delicious!
4 - Don't scratch (however tempting it may be)
I get it - not telling you to scratch your scalp may seem like the dumbest idea ever, but hear me out.
Scratching your head can actually make the problem worse. By scratching away the old cells, your body will interpret that as a signal to increase cell production, which leads to more and more flakes.
Instead, try to leave all of the dead cell removal for the shower and massage your scalp like we talked about in #2.
5 - Use a spray
Sometimes you just need quick relief for your scalp.
The type where you instantly feel like a fire's been put out and ants are no longer crawling on your head. You feel a soothing coolness that lasts and finally feel at peace.
Sprays are how you do that.
There are some scalp sprays designed to give relief to scalp psoriasis with ingredients like salicylic acid, hydrocortisone, or maybe some healing oils. Some work, some don't and a lot of trial and error is needed - not to mention the fact they may contain steroids and chemicals that your skin may not like.
But, if you want to skip the trial and error and go with something that's much more likely to work, please consider our own scalp spray.
After trying dozens of different treatments, I arrived at what is now our bestselling scalp spray that delivers instant relief and lasting comfort. It's non-greasy, soothing, and filled with fantastic ingredients that'll make your scalp feel better.
Customers have told us that they keep a bottle in the bathroom, in their purse, and even one in the car for "just in case" scenarios.
You can even use it on other body parts like your legs, arms, or even your belly!
Click here to get yours today, or get it as part of our ultimate psoriasis bundle.
As always, please remember that if you share this article and tag us (@skincalm_official on Instagram or @skincalm on Facebook), we’ll send you a code to get 15% off your next order. We’re a small company with big ambitions, and we’d appreciate your help to grow!