Scalp conditions like dandruff or dry scalp can be difficult to manage because of the constant itchiness and visual effects on the hair. But few conditions are as frustrating to handle as scalp psoriasis.
This problem causes itchy, inflamed and scaly skin underneath your hair that can be irritating and painful. Thankfully, there are a number of natural treatments to keep it under control.
What is scalp psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a condition that affects the skin. Cells die and build up more rapidly than normal on the skin, which causes red, bumpy and flaky patches that are usually itchy and can sometimes hurt. The condition can also create the appearance of white or silver scales on the skin.
Psoriasis can affect numerous parts of the body, but one common problem area is the scalp. Some people get patches of affected areas, while others may have problems across the entire scalp. The patches can also spread down the neck and ears.
Experts believe scalp psoriasis stems from an immune condition that affects the life cycle of the cells. It is not a contagious condition. Scalp psoriasis also tends to come and go—it does not always stick around permanently. Certain things may trigger the condition to flare up, including stress, infections, medications or nutritional deficiencies.
Scalp psoriasis can be frustrating because it causes an itchy scalp and a dry, flaky appearance that may harm your self-esteem. It can also be dangerous; if you scratch your itchy head too much, you may cause secondary infections of the scalp or suffer from hair loss (although this is not usually permanent).
Treating scalp psoriasis with tea tree oil
There are plenty of medicated creams and shampoos, as well as oral medications, that you can take to treat scalp psoriasis. However, these treatments can sometimes have negative side effects, including redness and thinning of the skin.
But hope is not lost for people searching for a natural, holistic solution! The essential oil tea tree oil is one of the most popular natural remedies for scalp psoriasis. While the effectiveness of tea tree oil has not been proven, many people have found relief after using tea tree oil remedies.
Having been used to treat skin problems for centuries, tea tree oil may also have a positive effect on the scalp. It has anti-inflammatory properties than can reduce the redness and inflammation of the skin during flare-ups. Tea tree oil is also believed to have antiseptic properties to fight fungi and bacteria. This means it’s also great for preventing infections on the scalp if you scratch too often and create a wound.
To use it, mix a few drops with coconut oil and apply the mixture directly to your scalp. You can also mix tea tree oil with your shampoo or purchase shampoos that contain tea tree oil as a major ingredient. Make sure you always dilute your tea tree oil before applying it to your scalp, since applying pure oils can cause more irritation.
Additionally, always make sure to test tea tree oil in a small area on the back of your hand before applying it to your scalp. Some people have severe allergic reactions to tea tree oil, which can make your itchiness and redness worse.
Other scalp psoriasis home remedies
Sometimes, scalp psoriasis can adapt to certain products and treatments, making them less effective than they might have been before. Switching out or rotating your natural psoriasis treatments may help prevent this and make them more effective overall.
Try some of these other home remedies in addition to tea tree oil:
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has historically been used as a disinfectant, but some people with scalp psoriasis claim that rinsing their scalps with it helps relieve the itch. Applying undiluted apple cider vinegar to an inflamed scalp can burn, so make sure to dilute it with water in a 1:1 ratio. Also, avoid this treatment if you have open wounds or sores.
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera extracted from the aloe plant is known for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. Applying creams made with aloe vera multiple times a day might help reduce redness, itchiness and scaling.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Taking omega-3 supplements or eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce psoriasis symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids are known anti-inflammatories, which may minimize inflammation on your scalp.
In addition to these home remedies, make sure to bathe or shower regularly to wash dead skin cells away from the scalp and avoid itching as much as possible to prevent long-term hair damage or hair loss. Finally, try to identify the triggers for your psoriasis and minimize them as much as possible to prevent intense flare-ups to begin with.