Scalp psoriasis is real, and it affects 45 to 56 percent people living with psoriasis. With the scalp, it can affect the areas of and around the scalp, such as the hairline, forehead, skin around the ears, as well as the back of the neck. Although the causes are not necessarily 100% known, most experts believe that it’s due to an issue with the immune system that causes the skin cells to grow too fast, building up into patches that tend to be red, raised, and often, scaly and very itchy.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), there are 7.5 million Americans that have psoriasis, of which half of this number have it on the scalp as well. The issue with psoriasis is that it is quite itchy and flakey, leaving many to deal with the side effects because of it. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with these problems. And even better, they could possibly be sitting in your kitchen pantry.
According to a nurse practitioner named Melodie Young, who happens to specialize in chronic skin disease at Mindful Dermatology in Dallas, there’s no need to suffer. She explained, “We now have so many fantastic ways to treat scalp psoriasis.” There are medicated shampoos and topical steroids, as well as prescription medications, and injectable biologics for more severe cases.
But for those who prefer to go the more natural route when it comes to treatments, there are a few alternatives to try to alleviate issues of itchiness, flaking, and the burning sensation that can come with scalp psoriasis.
Before starting any new treatment, even if it’s a home remedy, it’s best to speak with your dermatologist to see if these possible natural remedies are safe for you. It’s always best to do a patch test to make sure that you don’t have an allergy to any of the remedies you’ll attempt to try. This means applying the treatment to a small area of skin, such as the inside of your forearm, then covering it with a bandage for a couple of days. Be sure to check it every day to see if a rash forms or if anything else begins to show.
Here are 5 natural home remedies to try to treat scalp psoriasis.
1. Oatmeal Can Help Fight Inflammation
You’ve probably seen a number of items for skin issues that include oatmeal in the ingredients, and that’s because oatmeal is actually a major skin soother. Many people use oatmeal baths as an at-home treatment to alleviate the pain and itchiness that come with rashes cause by sunburn, chicken pox, and poison ivy.
That’s also why naturopathic doctor and founder of the Burns Integrative Wellness Center in Phoenix, Jennifer Burns, NMD, shares that oatmeal can help with the inflammation that comes along with scalp psoriasis.
She suggests taking some uncooked oatmeal and mix it with water, adding in a couple of drops of olive oil. Once a paste is formed, smooth it on your scalp and leave it there for at least 10 minutes. Make sure to rinse thoroughly once done, then shampoo and condition.
2. Tea Tree Oil Can Help Keep the Scalp Infection-Free
Tea tree oil happens to be an extract that comes from the leaves of native plant in Australia known as tea tree, which is known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties. Moreover, it helps keep the scalp free from infection that tends to come from scratching.
The suggested use is to combine 1 part tea tree oil to 10 parts olive oil, and mix. Then dab the mixture using a cotton ball on the areas of the scalp that have psoriasis, leaving the mixture on for at least five minutes before rinsing it off.Again, be sure to do a patch test before using the mixture to make sure that you don’t have negative reactions from the tea tree, as they are not uncommon. Take a very small amount and dab it onto the inside of your forearm for a day or so to see if there is a reaction.
3. Use Olive Oil to Loosen the Flakes
Dermatologist and clinical instructor of dermatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, Soheil Simzar, MD, shares that olive oil happens to be a major contributor to the Mediterranean diet, which is great for those who practice the Mediterranean diet.
She suggests taking 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil and massage directly onto the scalp. And depending on the severity of the scalp psoriasis, you can leave it for just 10 minutes, or even overnight. Just be sure to use a shower cap to make sure your pillow doesn’t get drenched as well. Then before rinsing, take a comb to remove the loosened flakes gently, then rinse your hair thoroughly.
4. Use Dead Sea Salts to Soften the Scales
Dead Sea salts are incredibly remedial and curative, mostly known for cold sore use, stuffy or runny nose, heartburn, and bed bugs, just to name a few. But they can also help when it comes to removing the scales and soothing the itch that comes along with scalp psoriasis.
Dr. Burns suggests to take some Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts and combine them with some olive or coconut oil to form a paste. Then take a small amount and gently rub it onto the scalp in the areas affected by the psoriasis. This can be done a few times a week, or even once a day, depending on how bad the psoriasis actually is. You can even store the paste that’s unused for later on use.
5. Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Relieve Itchiness
Apple cider vinegar is known for its antibacterial properties, which help lessen irritations that can come from blisters and bug bites. But experts also agree that it can be used to help ease the itch that comes with psoriasis scales.
Dr. Simzar suggests making a mixture of 1 to 2 parts water and 1 part vinegar to use on the scalp, leaving it on the affected areas for at least 10 minutes several times a week. Once its saturated the area, use a comb to gently remove the scales, then be sure to shampoo and rinse it out completely. Be sure to check the scalp first in case it’s cracked or bleeding as this will cause intense pain to the area, which means this particular remedy should be skipped all together.