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Shampoos for scalp psoriasis

Best shampoos for scalp psoriasis

Scalp Psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis is a common skin condition that affects the scalp. It is characterized by scaly patches on the scalp that are red or silvery-white in color. While scalp psoriasis appears to be similar to dandruff, it is quite different. Dandruff is caused due to the overproduction of skin cells, while scalp psoriasis is caused due to an accumulation of dead skin cells. We often confuse the two conditions, but they are very different.

Scalp psoriasis is a skin condition that causes patches of dry, scaly skin to appear on the scalp. It can be very itchy and occasionally painful. The scales are often white.

The affected areas can vary in size from very small patches to large plaques that cover much of the scalp. Scalp psoriasis most commonly affects middle-aged men, but it can affect women and children too.

The causes of scalp psoriasis are unknown. It is not thought to be an infection or contagious, which means it's not caused by contact with other people who have psoriasis. It's also not related to any food you eat or an allergy, so diet changes won't improve your symptoms.

The symptoms of scalp psoriasis include scaly, red, bumpy patches, white scales, dandruff-like flaking, dry scalp, burning, itching, and hair loss. 

Ingredients That Can Help With Scalp Psoriasis

The first line of defense against scalp psoriasis is topical treatments like applying lotions, creams, gels, soaps, ointments, and medicated shampoos.

The best ingredient for scalp psoriasis, according to dermatologists, is the anti-inflammatory ingredient corticosteroid. It can be used to treat scalp psoriasis by calming the inflammatory response that causes the scalp disorder or it can be used as a preventive measure.

Pyrithione zinc and salicylic acid help in the treatment of psoriasis as they can soothe the scalp and reduce irritation and itching.

When it comes to treating scalp psoriasis, salicylic acid and coal tar have been around for a while. Treatment with coal tar is available in a shampoo formulation and a lotion formulation.

Both these ingredients are keratolytic, which means they help loosen the bonds between cells so that the skin can shed or scale easily.

Salicylic acid and coal tar have been proved to be beneficial in the treatment of scalp psoriasis and are also approved by the FDA. 

Therefore, the best shampoo for scalp psoriasis is the one that contains either salicylic acid or coal tar.

Still skeptical about how to pick the right shampoo for scalp psoriasis? Here’s what you need to consider before buying:

  1. Severity of your symptoms: If you are someone with a mild to medium case of scalp psoriasis, start with an OTC shampoo. Severe cases of scalp psoriasis will not get cured with OTC products, so this may indicate that you need to visit your doctor for a prescription shampoo.
  1. Consider your hair type: Check the labels and look out for ingredients that you might be allergic to. Some shampoos may contain drying ingredients, like sulfates, while others may be too heavy for fine hair.
  1. Research well: If you couldn’t find the right shampoo for your condition, worry not, because there are many shampoos out there that will work just fine for you if they contain salicylic acid or coal tar. Make sure you are checking the reviews to see what others with similar conditions like you have to say about it.

Medications for Scalp Psoriasis

Prescribed medications for scalp psoriasis may have higher concentrations of either salicylic acid or coal tar. Other FDA-approved medications include:

  • Anthralin
  • Antimicrobials
  • A strong derivative of Vitamin D called Calcipotriene
  • A strong derivative of Vitamin A called Tazarotene
  • Betamethasone dipropionate

Oral medications can cause serious side effects, including liver damage, and therefore they require a doctor’s close eye. It's also important to know that oral vitamin derivatives are different from and more powerful than OTC vitamin supplements. Ordinary vitamin A and D supplements do not help.

Oral medications include:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Cyclosporine (Sandimmune)
  • Methotrexate (Rheumatrex)
  • A strong derivative of vitamin A called Soriatane
  • Apremilast (Otezla), a small molecule inhibitor taken twice daily

Home Remedies to Treat Scalp Psoriasis

There are numerous home remedies for treating mild scalp psoriasis but further research is needed to prove the efficacy of these ingredients. However, there is no harm in testing out these remedies as they do not show any side effects.

1. Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar can be used bi-weekly either full strength or mixed with water. It can help with scratching impulses and you can rinse it off after it dries out. Avoid applying apple cider vinegar on areas where your scalp is bleeding or cracked.

2. Turmeric: Turmeric has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that may cut down your psoriasis flare-ups. Turmeric is also mixed with olive oil for scalp massages. It can help you achieve a healthy scalp and keep your scalp free from infections.

3. Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal properties, and soothing properties that may help psoriasis on your scalp. You can also opt for shampoos that contain tea tree oil.

Take Away

If you're on a budget, you can wash your hair with shikakai powder (available easily at any store). It helps in cleansing the scalp and cooling down the inflammation. For baby or children's scalp psoriasis, medicated ghee helps in soothing the scalp.