By Christina Patrice
Three of the most common scalp conditions are psoriasis, eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis. I suffer from psoriasis.
Psoriasis is an auto-immune condition characterized by skin redness and irritation. With psoriasis, the skin growth/regeneration process is accelerated, causing scaly plaques of skin to surface rapidly. It can be aggravated by stress, fragrant lotions/sprays/body washes, alcohol consumption, dry skin, and injuries to the skin. There is no cure for it, only various medications and treatments to help those with it cope.
Having psoriasis presents a particular set of challenges:
- Frequent flaking makes wearing scalp-showing styles embarrassing (no cornrows or braids).
- Scales surface quickly (every 3-4 days), requiring frequent washing/lifting from scalp, which leads to high manipulation, and drying of hair.
- Scales are itchy, and frequent scratching lends itself to damaging skin, making sufferers more prone to infections (and hair loss at site of infection).
- Frequent scale removal increases hair loss (because strands of hair become caught in the flaking skin).
- Psoriasis adapts to treatments quickly, which requires a rotation of products to maintain effectiveness.
There are a lot of products out there that claim to provide relief from psoriasis. Here are the two that have helped me the most:
African Black Soap
I use it as a shampoo and it has been a godsend. It is all-natural and sulfate-free and definitely provides relief in terms of reducing itching and inflammation.
Heart-Shaped African Black SoapFrom: $7.00
It does not dry out or irritate the scalp, and gently cleanses hair. As a psoriasis treatment African Black Soap requires regular use and rotation. It will not make psoriasis disappear, but will provide significant, noticeable relief.
Back in January, I began a quest to strengthen and thicken my hair and discovered henna. My hair was thinner than normal, and weak/brittle from frequent manipulation due to psoriasis. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about relief from psoriasis – but rather a solution to make my hair more resilient.
I went to Whole Foods, purchased my first of many boxes of Light Mountain Red Henna, did a four hour treatment of henna, water, and coconut oil, and was in for the surprise of my life.
After washing out the henna with African Black Soap I discovered my scalp was completely clear. Like, I could part my hair clear. I figured it was an anomaly but weeks later, my scalp was still clear. After about a month, I experienced some slight itching towards the nape, and felt a few small flakes. So I henna’d again, and it went away.
Twice is nice, but the 3rd time is the charm. After my March henna treatment, I realized that this plant was providing something I hadn’t had in YEARS – a clean scalp.
There isn’t a lot of research on henna, nor a solid explanation for why but for me, the proof is in the pudding.
Henna smells awful (although creating a henna mix with yummy smelling Coconut Whipped Shea Butter does help), and is incredibly messy, but I am committed to monthly treatments at the beginning of every month.
Coconut Whipped Shea ButterFrom: $7.00
I am on month 7 of henna treatments, and I will continue them until it becomes ineffective.
Hopefully, this helps provide some relief and sheds some light on alternative treatments for psoriasis. It is difficult to deal with, and a definite hurdle in the race for healthy hair. Over 6 million people in the US suffer with it, and every little bit of information helps. Pass this on to someone you know.