Tell us about your experiences with weight management. Take our survey!

a woman with her head tilted back, breathing while her hair is tossed by the wind

How Ditching Shampoo in Favor of New Wash Helped My Scalp

I’ve now lived a majority of my life with psoriasis symptoms. I was diagnosed with psoriasis when I was in third grade (over thirty years ago!), and in my late 20s, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.

My psoriasis is most obvious if one looks at my pitted nails or happens to catch me scratching my scalp. The arthritis portion of the diagnosis isn’t as apparent unless I’m having a flare.

Trying different shampoos for scalp psoriasis

Over time, I’ve used innumerable shampoos and conditioners to treat my scalp psoriasis. As far as I know, I was the only kid I knew who occasionally had to use T-Sal or T-Gel shampoo. In my 20s, I’d occasionally buy Head & Shoulders shampoo, not really sure if it was appropriate for my psoriasis, but hopeful it could help with the scalp flakes. The bonus was it smelled way better than the medicated shampoos.

What I didn’t realize is that most shampoos have ingredients that were aggravating my scalp. These shampoos were drying out my scalp as well as my hair. The added fragrance, which I was very particular about due to the fact that strong smells can trigger my migraines, was often comforting, but apparently was a result of an artificial additive that didn’t play well with my sensitive scalp skin.

The scalp reaction

Thankfully, the discomfort I occasionally felt while lathering up with shampoo was calmed somewhat by the conditioner. I was in my thirties when I learned that most commercial shampoos strip the hair somewhat harshly and that conditioner helps recalibrate. What's unfortunate is that the scalp and hair, especially on someone with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, don’t much like that process.

My friends own a salon in Athens and are so thoughtful to all clients, including me. They know that I love getting my scalp massaged pre-cut, but they also know that the way I have to position my neck on the hair washing bowl aggravates my neck pain and often triggers a migraine attack. They are very deliberate and careful and kind, which I really appreciate.

They also invite me to smell any product they want to use on my hair; they will not use anything that I suspect might trigger a migraine.

Finding a product that works

Years ago now, I went in for my cut and color appointments. As I lay back in the chair, ready to get my hair washed, my friend said, “We got a new product in for washing your hair, and I think you’ll like it. Smell?” I smelled it, and I loved it. Phew.

“This stuff has limited ingredients and is designed to gently clean your hair and scalp without damaging your hair.” It was New Wash.

It took me a few visits to bite the bullet and buy myself a New Wash subscription, but now I am a die-hard fan. Last summer, I was cutting costs and ended up getting big bottles of Bed Head shampoo and conditioner from TJ Maxx. My hair smelled great, but my scalp psoriasis started to flare again.

The benefit of fewer chemicals

I went back to New Wash and my hair has calmed down. That is until my pandemic-induced scratching habit made a dramatic and unwelcome return. My psoriasis plaques on my scalp finally chilled out and stopped being painful, let alone itchy.

Turns out using fewer chemicals can help with hair texture (it’s so soft now, y’all) and psoriasis flakiness. I did the math - buying bottles of shampoo and conditioner relatively frequently ends up costing only a little less than getting my New Wash in the mail every x number of days. The added bonus is you can pick the frequency.

Another bonus is that the refill packs are sent via USPS and you don’t end up creating a ton of plastic waste. You’re refilling the initial bottle they sent you with your first order.

Excited about clean hair

You likely won’t believe me, but the following is true: it’s late at night, I’m wrapping up my writing, and I’m going to go get a shower because I just got so dang excited about having clean hair at the end of a long day.

Disclosure: I did not receive any freebies or incentives for writing this review. Sadly, for me, I have yet to get any free New Wash.

Do you have any hair and/or scalp treatments or products you especially love? How about any that you tried and they backfired in regards to your scalp psoriasis?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.