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A main's unruly hair is shown with scalp psoriasis inflamed all around the hairline while clippers and scissors float around it.

My Scalp Psoriasis Was So Bad I Couldn't Even Get a Haircut

I have suffered from scalp psoriasis since I was 11 years old. I suffered cradle cap as a baby but was diagnosed with scalp and plaque psoriasis when I was 11.

For many years, I only suffered in minimal amounts and all I used to clear my plaques was a coal-tar shampoo. But when I was a teenager, my scalp psoriasis came back, worse, angrier and redder than it ever had before.

It starts with red plaques on your scalp

Scalp psoriasis starts as red lesions in your hair. You may suffer from psoriasis on the hairline too which tends to come out in red patches also. On top of the red patches is skin that forms. They can grow quite thickly so it’s difficult to cut or loosen.

There are lots of treatments out there for scalp psoriasis. Salicylic acid, coal tar shampoos, Enstilar foam, the list goes on.

The impact on mental health

I ended up depressed and let my hair grow. Scales became thicker and thicker and it became impossible for a barber or hairdresser to cut my hair. I felt in despair.

I was embarrassed to go out, to see friends or be seen anywhere in public. I hated having this condition. And, I started developing bald patches where I had been itching or scratching. It was horrible and I thought there were no treatments available that could help me.

Tips for management

I finally found some relief in combining my coal tar shampoo with coconut oil. I would buy tubs of coconut oil from a local pharmacy shop and made sure I had a couple of spares just in case I ran out.

Each night before bed I would first wash my hair with the coal-tar shampoo. After, I would take a chunk of the coconut oil out of the tub and lather my hair. I would make sure all of the scales had the coconut oil over them. I would then leave the coconut oil in my hair overnight and use a shower cap to prevent it from staining the pillow.

When I woke up, I would use a small comb to get the scales out of my hair. Sometimes, the scales were so thick they would bleed, so I had to be careful. Some would come out very easily, others would take chunks of my hair out with it.

Managing severe symptoms

This was a horrible process, but one I had to do. Afterward, I would wash the coconut oil out with the coal-tar shampoo. Sometimes, it would take a good few washes to completely clear but I did eventually get it out. I repeated this process each day. While it never cleared my psoriasis, it helped to manage some of the more severe symptoms.

I stopped doing this process a year ago because I am currently on an effective biologic that has cleared my psoriasis. Sometimes, if I feel a flake or two in my hair, I will use the coconut oil just to soften it again, but this is rare.

What have you done to help with scalp psoriasis? I’d be keen to hear your thoughts below.

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