Scalp psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin condition that results in bumpy, scaly, reddish patches. Although it can affect any area of skin on the body, it most often develops on the scalp, face, back, knees, elbows, feet, and palms. Scalp psoriasis is not contagious, but can spread from one part of the body to another. It affects an estimated 2 – 3% of adults worldwide, which translates to around 125 million people. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural solutions that can help with scalp psoriasis treatment at home.
Causes & Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis
As is the case with other types of psoriasis, scalp psoriasis is believed to be caused by a malfunction of the immune system, which is related to heredity factors. While it is most likely inherited, the causes are still not clearly understood. As per the teachings of Ayurveda, the condition results from Vata and Kapha dosha imbalance and can be managed with dosha pacifying herbs that also possess anti-inflammatory properties. Stress, skin injuries, frequent infections, vitamin D deficiency, smoking, and alcoholism are also regarded as psoriasis triggers that can cause a flare up of symptoms, even exacerbating them.
While our understanding of the causes may be limited, there’s no uncertainty when it comes to scalp psoriasis symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Small white scaly patches
- Red and bumpy patches
- Dryness of the scalp and flaking
- Itching and burning sensation
- Hair loss
Although mild cases may barely cause any visible symptoms, the condition can deteriorate with more severe scalp psoriasis, leading to a lower quality of life.
Scalp Psoriasis Treatment with Natural Remedies
Ayurveda and other traditional medical systems offer a wealth of information on herbs and natural products that can help to treat psoriasis naturally, but it can be hard to tell which scalp psoriasis remedies actually work. Fortunately, researchers have made several breakthroughs in recent decades, providing us with evidence to support the use of certain herbs and ingredients in a natural scalp psoriasis treatment plan, while others have been shown to be ineffective. We’ve looked at the data and have highlighted a few of the best remedies based on traditional Ayurveda and modern science.
This yellow-colored root belongs to the same botanical family as ginger and like its relative, turmeric has long been used in Ayurveda to treat a variety of medical conditions. Due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric makes an excellent remedy for psoriasis.
What makes this herb so beneficial is its active ingredient, curcumin. This compound has the ability to counter proteins responsible for inflammation and spreading of the disease. As one study points out, “curcumin, with high efficacy and safety, has a great potential to treat psoriasis.”
Besides orally consuming turmeric, you can also harvest additional benefits by topically applying curcumin gel or a homemade turmeric hair mask onto your scalp.
2. Aloe Vera
Also known as ghrita kumara in Sanskrit, aloe vera is an important ancient folk medicine used for treating wounds and relieving inflammation. In Ayurveda, this plant is often applied for soothing redness and itchiness associated with psoriasis, while it also works as a natural moisture to reduce dryness of the scalp.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, topical application of aloe vera may help reduce redness and scaling, but it is important that the cream used contains at least 0.5% aloe vera.
Homemade aloe gel is a great option, but if you haven’t extracted or used the herb before, you should exercise caution as parts of the leaf can produce an allergic skin reaction. Keep in mind that while aloe vera will provide relief and reduces the severity of symptoms it is not a cure for psoriasis.
Colloidal oatmeal is a solution of oats and water that has long been used for treating various skin conditions. Due to its high beta glucans content, colloidal oatmeal can reduce inflammation and soothe the skin, making it a useful scalp psoriasis remedy for symptom relief.
According to scientific research, “colloidal oatmeal has a long history of beneficial use in dermatology. It is a natural product that has an excellent safety record and has demonstrated efficacy for the treatment of atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, drug-induced rash and other conditions.”
A bag of oatmeal groats
You can apply colloidal oatmeal topically to treat any type of psoriasis. If you want to make your own solution, grind a cup of oats into a fine powder. Pass this powder through a sieve a couple of times to get rid of bigger pieces. Mix 1 – 2 tablespoons of the powder in a cup of water to create colloidal oatmeal.
Diet & Lifestyle for Scalp Psoriasis
Although we don’t have a clear understanding of the causes of scalp psoriasis, we do know that there are certain behaviors and lifestyle choices that can trigger the condition. Minor changes to your diet and lifestyle can therefore go a long way to helping you cope with the condition. Here are some recommendations that you should follow.
By including more anti-inflammatory foods in your meals, you can reduce redness and swelling caused by psoriasis flares. Consequently, this will also help to reduce other symptoms such as itching and burning. Some of the best foods to include for their anti-inflammatory effect are:
- Fruits and veggies like apples, strawberries, blueberries, and leafy greens
- Nuts like walnuts and almonds
- Fatty fish like mackerel, tuna, and salmon
- Whole grains
- Olive oil
There are some foods that are best restricted or avoided altogether as they may encourage psoriasis flares. Some foods that are commonly associated with psoriasis flares include nightshades, sour foods like lemons and pickles, fermented foods, whey and refined flour, salty and spicy foods, fried foods, sugar-rich or sweet foods, meat products, tobacco, and alcohol.
Meditation and exercise may also help counter the effects of psoriasis by reducing your stress levels. Additionally, Ayurveda recommends the practice of Pranayama, a technique involving controlled breathing that calms the body. Yoga would be the best physical activity or form of exercise to take up as it combines physical poses with pranayama and meditation, making it one of the most effective activities at promoting relaxation.
Young man meditating
The Final Word
Scalp psoriasis treatment with natural methods will help to treat the condition, but only to the extent that they can provide relief from symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of psoriasis flares. There is, however, no permanent cure for the condition, whether you use conventional or natural medicine. To many, natural remedies are the best option as they can be used consistently without risk of side effects, thereby helping to prevent psoriasis flares, not just to treat them when they do occur. If your symptoms worsen or do not abate with these home treatments make sure to consult a dermatologist as soon as possible.
- Kang D., Li B., Luo L., Jiang W., Lu Q., Rong M., Lai R. (2016). Curcumin shows excellent therapeutic effect on psoriasis in mouse model. Biochimie. Apr;123:73-80. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2016.01.013.
- Cerio R., Dohil M., Jeanine D., Magina S., Mahé E., Stratigos A.J. (2010). Mechanism of action and clinical benefits of colloidal oatmeal for dermatologic practice. Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD. Sep;9(9):1116-20.
- Afifi, L., Danesh, M. J., Lee, K. M., Beroukhim, K., Farahnik, B., Ahn, R. S., … Liao, W. (2017). Dietary Behaviors in Psoriasis: Patient-Reported Outcomes from a U.S. National Survey. Dermatology and Therapy, 7(2), 227–242. http://doi.org/10.1007/s13555-017-0183-4