I’ve had psoriasis on my scalp for as long as I can remember. My parents tried various types of different treatments, from coal-tar-based products to corticosteroids. None of them worked very well and most of them stunk horribly!
Psoriasis is a chronic dermatological condition that causes scaly skin and red, itchy patches. These patches can form anywhere on the body, including the arms and legs to finger and toenail beds. When it forms on the scalp, the embarrassment of skin flaking or dandruff is added to the mix.
Psoriasis can appear anywhere on the skin, but the scalp is one of the most common spots. Scalp psoriasis can range from mild (small, red, rash-like bumps) to severe (thick, scaly plaques). Scalp psoriasis can cause very uncomfortable burning and itching, as well as severe dandruff.According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, at least half of the 7.5 million Americans who have psoriasis have it on their head.
This post may have affiliate links, meaning we earn a small commission on purchases through the links (at no extra cost to you). This does not change our opinion but does help support the site. Thank you!
Factors that can cause a psoriasis flare-up include:
- injury to the skin
- certain medications
- cold or dry air
To help protect against making the condition worse, dermatologist advises people to not pick, brush or peel the thick parts of the scales from the scalp. Shampoo should also be chosen wisely.
Remember that shampoo for psoriasis is only designed to treat the scalp, not the hair. This means that you can follow a psoriasis treatment with your favorite cosmetic shampoo and conditioner for general hair care. This can also reduce the smell that some psoriasis shampoos have. Some medicated psoriasis shampoos now have scents that are cosmetically pleasing, which could be surprising.
MG217 Psoriasis Shampoo
This coal tar shampoo was designed to treat psoriasis. However, it can also be used to treat dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. It quickly treats flaking, scaling and itchy scalp. It also leaves your hair more manageable. This treatment controls the itching, scaling, flaking, and scalp build-up that can be caused by dandruff, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis. This shampoo uses a special blend of coal tar and other ingredients to make the maximum strength formula possible.
MG217 Psoriasis Shampoo also doesn’t leave your hair smelling awful like most other medicated shampoos. Its herbal scent was designed to cover up the chemical smell that is left behind like other medicated shampoos that are used for the same purposes. MG217 is a nicotine green, unlike many other coal tar shampoos.
Works better than prescription shampoos
Contains doctor recommended ingredients
Recommended by the National Psoriasis Foundation
- Conditioning formula
- Contains coal tar solution USP 15%
- Contains an herbal scent without the chemical fragrance
- Smells like tar
- May cause allergic reactions
“Over the last few years, I have tried a huge amount of the apple cider vinegar, and baking soda cleansing methods with very mixed results. But, this product has changed my life. Within two days, the small patches on the back of my back of my neck and my hairline had almost completely cleared up. Most of the redness is almost gone. My hair now looks fantastic and healthy.”
ArtNaturals Scalp 18 Shampoo
ArtNaturals Scalp 18 Shampoo has been used by many people who have seen successful treatment of dandruff. It is a powerful shampoo, but it is easy on the hair and provides instant relief from the itching, scratching, flaking, scaling and more. The long-lasting relief that this product provides is due to the essential oils that are the key part of this shampoo.
These oils are perfect for hydrating and healing the hair, also repair the split ends, which helps make dry hair more manageable. The results start appearing within just a few days. It is safe to use on all hair types, by both men and women.
Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo
Neutrogena T/Gel is one of the best-known dandruff shampoos that has been around for decades. It is still an excellent product for getting rid of dandruff and restoring healthy hair. It will start working after the very first use. This shampoo controls redness, bad itching, and flaking of many of the more severe scalp conditions that can cause dandruff.
This shampoo is made with 0.5% Neutar, which provides the scalp with effective dandruff therapy even hours after the shampoo has been rinsed out. Your hair will be gently cleaned and it also contains conditioners that will make it soft and manageable.
Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo will work to correct many scalp conditions including dandruff, psoriasis, and other problematic conditions that cause flaking, itching, irritation, and redness. It will start working immediately and continues to work on the scalp to correct the problem even after it’s been rinsed out.Check the best price
Psoriatrax Anti-Dandruff Tar Shampoo
This coal tar-based shampoo provides an excellent anti-dandruff experience and is made with 5% coal tar.
This shampoo eliminates many other scalp-based health problems, including eczema and psoriasis to seborrheic dermatitis. Psoriatrax specializes in providing its customers with a solution for the treatment of psoriasis and many other scalp conditions.
They offer a 3% shampoo that is a great option for people who have cleared their scalp. The 5% shampoo is best used to minimize the symptoms because this concentration of coal tar maximises the shampoo’s efficiency when it comes to removing dandruff.
Psoriatrax Anti-Dandruff Tar Shampoo is very easy to use as well because all you need to do is shake the bottle before each use, wet your hair, and apply and massage the shampoo into your hair.
After you do an application, leave it in for around 5 minutes, and then rinse and repeat. Psoriatrax recommends that you use this shampoo daily until your symptoms start disappearing. You can expect to see effective results in three to seven days and your dandruff will disappear. You should also lower the coal tar percentage as the symptoms diminish.
Puriya Scalp Therapy Shampoo
This is a great option for anti-dandruff shampoos, especially if you have been experiencing flaking and itching. The shampoo is made with sage, rosemary, arnica, and tea tree oil. All these ingredients were picked because of their anti-fungal properties. This special combination is created to reduce itchiness and dry scalp, while removing visible signs of dandruff, like flaking.
Puriya Scalp Therapy Shampoo is extremely safe and is recommended to be used daily for more severe hair and scalp conditions. All the ingredients are entirely natural and there are no harmful chemicals added in its formula. This is why anyone can use this shampoo, adults and children alike, regardless of their type of hair. Improvements should be seen after just a few uses of the shampoo.Budget Pick
Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo
This shampoo is made from 98 natural compounds. It is also paraben and sulfate free. Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo has been recommended for dandruff, dry itchy scalp as well as flaky scalp, hair loss and regrowth and even as a lice prevention shampoo.
Along with Tea tree oil, it also contains botanical Keratin, Jojoba and Argan Oil as well as Rosemary and Lavender essential oils. The reviews about this natural antifungal and anti-bacterial shampoo are very positive. People have found that this leaves their scalp feeling wonderful and their hair feeling clean. It also relieves itching and reduces flaking.
Hair is softer, moisturized and tangle free. It has also been said to help with lice prevention and to reduce the amount of oil that is produced by the hair.
Best Shampoo for Psoriasis Shampoo Buyer’s Guide
Depending on your condition, you may need a shampoo with a special mixture of ingredients to treat your psoriasis. If the right preparation is not available in an over-the-counter or prescription shampoos, you should not attempt to mix different shampoos. This is very dangerous.
There are many brands that offer different types of psoriasis shampoo. So, you may discover some have a higher concentrated formulation with active ingredients than others. If you are wondering what ingredients and types of psoriasis shampoos you should choose, you should ask your doctor. You may need to try a few before you find a shampoo that works for you.
Salicylic Acid Shampoo
Salicylic acid works well for a lot of skin problems because it helps you shed dead skin. With psoriasis, it helps lift, soften, and get rid of scales on your scalp.
This type of shampoo is simple to use. You just need to wet your hair, and then work the shampoo into a lather in your hair. Rinse and Repeat until the hair is completely clean. This should be done at least twice a week, or follow the directions. Avoid getting the shampoo in your nose, eyes, mouth. You should also not use these products if you have a cut or rash.
Some salicylic acid shampoos will also have sulfur, which will stop fungus growth. If you have a yeast infection on the scalp, shampoo with sulfur may be right for you. This type of shampoo can be used once or twice a week, even after the infection. This can help keep the infection away and help keep the scalp and hair healthy.
Shampoo With Steroids
You’ll need a prescription from your doctor for these. They’re usually used for only a few weeks used for a few weeks and will help reduce swelling and redness. After that, your doctor may suggest you switch to a coal tar shampoo.
Don’t wet your hair before you shampoo with steroids — you need to put it on your scalp when your hair is completely dry and leave it for 15 minutes. Then wet your hair, lather in the shampoo, and rinse it out.
Be sure to keep the shampoo off your face and away from your ears — your skin is thinner in those areas. It’s also important to wash your hands well afterward. You should also avoid touching your skin when you are using a steroid shampoo.
Coal Tar Shampoo
Coal tar has been used to treat psoriasis for over 100 years. You can find coal tar in shampoos as well as creams, oils, and lotions.
Coal tar shampoos help with scaling, hardening, and thickening of the skin on your scalp. This is done slowing down the growth of skin cells. These shampoos can also ease itching and make your scalp look better overall.
To use coal tar shampoo, you just massage it into your scalp, leave it on your hair for 5 to 10 minutes, and then rinse the hair clean.
Be aware, that coal tar shampoo may make your scalp sensitive to the sun. Tar can stay on your skin for over 24 hours, and your chances of sunburn go up during that time. Protect your head and scalp with a hat or stay in the shade if you’re outside.
If you have blond or other light-colored hair, shampoo with coal tar could make the hair darker. Treatments with coal tar also can stain your clothes or skin.
Many people do not like the smell of coal tar shampoos. You may want to use a regular shampoo and conditioner afterward to make your hair smell good. This can also keep the hair shiny.
Tips for Better Results
- When using a psoriasis shampoo, massage the product into your scalp
- Leave it on for a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes unless otherwise instructed, and then rinse it out
Before using the shampoo, you may want to coat two cotton balls with petroleum jelly and place them in your ears to keep the shampoo out of them. You should also think about rubbing petroleum on the forehead and the neck around the hairline.
When you are suffering from scalp psoriasis lesions, you could need to use your shampoo repeatedly to get your lesions under control. This means that you need to use the psoriasis shampoo daily for a few weeks.
Most shampoos that help treat psoriasis are safe to use every day, but this could lead to scalp irritation over time. Once you have your psoriasis under control, you should cut back on your use of shampoo to about twice a week.
What Are Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis?
Different people can experience verify symptoms. However, there are a few common symptoms of psoriasis. One of the most common symptoms is persistent itching. The itching can range from very mild, to consistent itching. Scratching can lead bleeding and even scarring and hair loss.
Other symptoms of scalp psoriasis include
- reddish patches on the scalp
- dandruff-like flaking
- dry scalp
- a burning sensation or soreness
These symptoms can come and go. Some people have mild flare-ups on their scalps, but some symptoms can be much more serious.
If you still feel the need to scratch
- Use a moisturizing conditioner or hair products after you shampoo your hair. You could find medicated conditioners that will help your psoriasis and hair. However, cosmetic conditioning after using a medicated shampoo is just fine to use because it will keep your scalp from becoming too dry and itchy
- Be aware of the amount of heat you’re using on your scalp. Hair styling tools do not only damage and dry out to the hair, but they can affect your scalp, too, and cause dryness. Most times, taking very hot showers can have the same effect. If you’re using a medicated shampoo every day, you should try lowering the temperature of your shower
- For quick relief, you should cool down any red patches on the scalp. You can apply ice packs or a cold, wet cloth directly to the scalp. Cold water applied directly on the scalp can also help. These options are not for long-term relief, but they can provide some soothing comfort for several minutes
- Look for psoriasis shampoos that contain the ingredient menthol. Menthol will provide a cooling sensation that should last after each use
Use a scalp moisturizing treatment once a week
Along with medical treatments, you should be incorporating certain behaviors into your daily routine that can keep outbreaks, flare-ups, and symptoms to a minimum.
Some people with psoriasis have found that keeping your scalp hydrated and moisturized can help fight outbreaks. Shampoo can penetrate your scalp better if your hair is kept well-groomed, short and clean. The more hair you have, the more difficult it is to treat scalp psoriasis.
There are many people who use natural treatments to help reduce their symptoms. Phototherapy or light therapy can be used to treat psoriasis. This exposes your skin to controlled amounts of artificial or natural UVs.
The best psoriasis treatment that I have tried is to do an aloe vera or oil based hair mask once a week. It’s a simple DIY treatment, which smells great and totally gets rid of scalps redness.
DIY Natural Hair Mask
- 1-2 teaspoons vitamin E oil or 1-2 tablespoons aloe vera
- 1 drop of lavender, peppermint or tea tree oil
Mix the oil or aloe vera with the essential oil. Massage the mixture into your scalp as best you can. If you have long hair, tie it up loosely in a bun and let the treatment soak into your scalp for 30 minutes to an hour. Shampoo your hair with a gentle shampoo and follow with a conditioner. Yes, it’s as simple as that! You can now enjoy flake-free hair.“I’m a big believer in that if you focus on good skincare, you really won’t need a lot of make-up.”
– Demi Moore
Scalp psoriasis can require different treatment than psoriasis that is in other areas of the skin. This is due to the fact that the skin on the scalp is thicker and your hair can get in the way. Many consumer systemic and topical treatments could help treat some of your symptoms. For example, special shampoos and conditioners can help in the daily preventive treatment of scalp psoriasis or at least reduce the systems.
Psoriasis treatment is usually a combined effort between medication and lifestyle methods. Diet, exercise, low-stress levels, foods high in fiber, fruits, and topical and systemic measures can all help reduce psoriasis flare-ups and ease your discomfort.
Psoriasis is very unpredictable. This is why a product works for someone else may not work for you. The scalp can become resistant to medications, especially when they are used regularly. You should talk to your dermatologists or doctor to help control or reduce your psoriasis symptoms.
If you use a specialized shampoo or other hair product to treat your skin condition, you are already on the right track. Psoriasis is both physically and emotionally painful. However, finding the best shampoo for psoriasis can clear up your scalp.