I've had scalp psoriasis for as long as I can remember. My parents tried many different treatments, from coal tar-based products to corticosteroids. None of them worked very well and some stunk horribly!
When I graduated from college and began working as a chemist for a large airplane company, I started reading the ingredient lists on the back of my dandruff shampoo bottles. I was so surprised to find some of the same ingredients I tested for at work were in my shampoos! Most of the ingredients were use to strip oil off metal plane parts! I don't know about you, but I didn't feel very comfortable using that shampoo anymore.
I started researching for a new, healthier alternative to treat my psoriasis. I tried things that made it worse before finally settling on a few techniques that made it much better. I'm by no means "cured" of psoriasis, but I've found the best way to keep flakes to a minimum.
Stop using dandruff shampoos.
Most dandruff shampoos contain salicylic acid, which chemically burns the flakes off your scalp. The surfactants (aka soap) in the shampoo are compounds that are meant to strip the oils from your hair, but oils are what keep your scalp moisturized and flake-free.
I know it sounds strange, but cutting back on how often you wash your hair will make a huge difference. Dull, lifeless hair and a flakey scalp are often the result of over-shampooing because — lathering, rinsing and repeating will only strip your hair and scalp of the essential oils they need to stay healthy.
Personally, I use an aloe vera-based shampoo 2-3 times a week followed by an aloe vera-based conditioner. They've worked better than any dandruff shampoo I've ever tried. JASON makes an excellent set, as does Desert Essence.
If you've been shampooing every day, your hair will probably be oily for the first few weeks as it adjusts to not having its oils stripped, but be patient! Before you know it, your hair will look gorgeous.
Eat an oil-filled diet.
I don't mean gorge on olive or coconut oil, but adding a little more to your diet will help, especially if you aren't consuming any at all. Be sure to also eat plenty of Omega-3's. Not only are they yummy, they'll help with the flakes.
Use a scalp moisturizing treatment once a week.
The best treatment that I've found is to do an oil or aloe vera-based mask once a week. It's a DIY treatment that's fun to make, smells great and totally gets rid of the redness on my scalp!
DIY Natural Dry Scalp Treatment:
- 1-2 teaspoons vitamin E oil or 1-2 tablespoons aloe vera
- 1 drop of lavender, peppermint or tea tree oil
Mix the oil/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 30-60 minutes. Shampoo your hair with a gentle aloe very shampoo and follow with an aloe vera conditioner. It's as simple as that! Now go enjoy your flake-free hair.
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