Are you struggling with dry, flaky skin on your scalp and hair loss? Depending on how mild or severe your symptoms are, scalp psoriasis can feel like a slight nuisance. Or it can look like large patches of scaly skin, insistent scratching, bleeding, and/or infection. For some adults, scalp psoriasis can also be accompanied by a burning sensation and itchiness. While the condition can start on the scalp, it can also progress to the ear, forehead, and neck.
As we transition into fall, the colder temperatures and dryer air can exacerbate symptoms and cause silvery dry scales to form and hair loss to increase. Physicians find that it’s the abrupt transition from cold, dry air outside to the humid warmer air inside that aggravates symptoms. It’s not that psoriasis causes hair loss on its own. It creates a cascading ripple effect of events that lead to hair loss. Psoriasis causes irritation, which then encourages us to itch our scalp, pull on our strands, and can form microscopic scratches that can lead to infection.
Learning how to take care of your hair is extremely important. Today we’ll cover what you can do to prevent hair loss and improve hair health with just a few easy changes.
How to Prevent Hair Loss with Psoriasis
Use A Different Shampoo
Who knew that the secret to stopping scalp psoriasis could be at the bottom of a shampoo bottle? Search for shampoos that have either of these two powerful ingredients: coal tar and salicylic acid.
Scalp psoriasis tends to form thick scales and patches, but shampoos with coal tar can help with the hardening, scaling, and thickening of your skin because it slows down the growth of skin cells. In some ways, coal tar shampoo can stop the cycle of hardening, and scratching in its tracks and save your strands. Concentrate on massaging it into your scalp, and then you can rinse it out after 5 to 10 minutes.
Salicylic acid is an excellent solution for many skin conditions because it helps our bodies shed dead skin. Salicylic shampoo can lift and soften the scales on your scalp and reveal the softer skin underneath. Keep in mind that salicylic acid is incredibly potent. If you use it too frequently, it could actually dry out the scalp and cause more flakes to form.
If you do decide to take the medicated shampoo route, don’t use it with every wash for a few reasons. Medicated shampoos also have a harsh drying effect. You’ll want to keep your regular shampoo in the rotation and then alternate between “medicated” and “non-medicated” shampoo days. That way, you don’t cause excessive hair and scalp dryness, or additional thinning.
Also, coal tar shampoo can make your hair and skin more sensitive to the sun rays. After a wash, it can linger on the hair and scalp, so it’s best to avoid the sun for 24 hours.
Use Conditioner After Every Shower
When we’re running short on time, it can be really tempting to skip the conditioning stage altogether. But when you’re managing psoriasis, you can’t afford to avoid any steps. Remember, psoriasis tends to attack the scalp, making it feel dry and itchy. Conditioner can help soothe the irritation and give your scalp time to heal.
Medical professionals strongly suggest products like medicated shampoos during your wash routine, but what’s the consensus on conditioner? They actually suggest trying non-medicated conditioners.
With plaque psoriasis being such a common skin issue (affecting nearly half of all adults), it’s a surprise we don’t talk more about it. Even though psoriasis doesn’t initially cause hair loss, the inflammation, dryness, itchiness, and redness can attack your scalp and hairline. Look for products that contain high-quality ingredients that not only combat irritation and clear dead skin cells, but also restores hair loss.
Remember, the journey to healthy hair and scalp will take time. Incorporating some of our tips today, like switching your shampoo and conditioner can be an excellent start. It may take a few months of consistently changing your routine before you start seeing results. If you notice that your scalp is still feeling dry and you’re still experiencing thinning or hair loss, it might be time to speak with a professional. A specialist can identify the root cause of your specific symptoms and give you their best recommendations. Good luck!