Oh, scalp psoriasis—so much angst from such an important part of my body. It’s my head. It holds my brain. I am supposed to love and cherish it. Nope! Instead, I view my head as the evil psoriasis command center. I don’t know if you have taken a look at my picture on the contributor’s page, but if you have, you will see that I do not have a petite melon. In fact, most of my childhood I remained in the 150% percentile for head circumference. So, when my psoriasis decides to attack my scalp, which it often does, the extent to which I am affected is rather sizeable. Because of that, this area of my disease has proven to impact many aspects of my day to day life.
Aside from the obvious fact that I usually have to avoid dark colored shirts when my scalp is in full flare, I also end up completely giving up on hats during this time. I used to be that guy; you know, the one who wore hats for all of his favorite teams. In fact, it was like Christmas morning every time I found a pro-back Oregon Ducks hat—sorry Beaver fans—in my size (not an easy feat). I had a pretty impressive collection.
Unfortunately, I had to put my beloved hats up on the shelf when my psoriasis got worse. Not only did the hat serve as flake catcher that would unload copious amounts of skin every time I needed to adjust the fit or take it off, it also would make the problem worse. I would find that the front of the hat under the bill would rub against my forehead and cause just enough injury to my skin that the Koebner phenomenon would ride in at full force and turn the front of my scalp into a long lesion.
Cut It Out
Once I stopped wearing hats, it was harder to hide the fact that I let my hair grow a little too long. This made me face up to the thing almost every person with psoriatic disease I know despises—the hair salon. Haircut horror stories are a kind of ice breaker amongst the psoriasis community. We all have a story. I have been lucky enough to not have anyone overtly discriminate against me while getting a trim, but it causes me a lot of anxiety. From feeling like I am going to gross someone out, to cringing that the heavily scented shampoo will cause my scalp to go ablaze, to walking out and noticing they have to sweep up more skin than hair; it all makes me uneasy.
Even though I would muster up the guts to get a haircut, my hair never really looks that good when my scalp is covered by psoriasis. This is because I have to look like John Travolta in Grease. I literally become grease lightening! Ointments and hair are not a good combination. I have tried every trick under the sun, but I still end up with matted down, heavy, slick hair.
Shampoos seem like a good alternative to topical applications, but none have been able to eliminate my plaques due to their thickness. I will give the shampoo some credit, because it does lessen the flaking, but boy does the itch remain. Sometimes my scalp will feel even drier after a shower, so I will try not to wash my hair as often. This only adds to the 50’s look.
Many mornings I have debated in front of the mirror which is worse—flakes or oily hair? Ah…if only I could just cover it up with a hat.