Read on to find out how different hairstyles might help your symptoms.
If you’re living with Plaque Psoriasis (PsO) you probably already know that it’s an autoimmune, inflammatory condition that causes rapid turnover of skin cells resulting in thick, scaly, silvery plaques that may be itchy, inflamed, or painful. These plaques mainly affect the knees, elbows, and scalp.
PsO lesions on the scalp can be particularly distressing as they can interfere with hygiene, fashion, and confidence — not to mention these particular lesions are very difficult to treat, can be painful, and even bleed.
There’s a lot of buzz about how one wears their hair day-to-day and how it affects PsO scalp plaques. Does haircut, color, and style matter when it comes to the care, maintenance, and prevention of recurring scalp lesions? Don’t shave your head just yet — let’s talk about it.
The impact of hair length on scalp PsO can vary from person to person. While there’s no definitive answer supporting whether short hair is better for scalp PsO, it may be easier to manage and can simplify certain aspects of treatment. Here’s how:
However, although shorter hairstyles can help some people manage their PsO plaques better, this may not be the case for everyone. It’s possible that the severity of your scalp plaques will not change in response to your hair length.
Getting a professional haircut may be anxiety-provoking if you have PsO plaques on your scalp, but here are some great tips:
If you have PsO plaques on your scalp, you should choose products that are free of colors and dyes, made for sensitive skin, and offer gentle cleansing. You may need a combination of sensitive and medicated products, too. This may take some trial and error, but many people with scalp PsO can find a regimen that works for their scalp and their lifestyle.
Try to avoid any chemical processing of the hair, especially close to the scalp. If you can’t avoid that monthly root touch-up, look for organic product options with hemp or vegetable dyes.
Additionally, look for products with more sodium, potassium, and ammonium sulfates, as these are typically less irritating. Avoid products with alcohol as these can dry out the scalp and make PsO plaques worse.
Heat on the scalp can lead to Koebner’s phenomenon, the triggering of PsO plaques after a trauma to the skin or scalp. If you can avoid heat by air drying your hair, this is the best option, but if you can’t, use low heat settings on your hot tools including flat irons, curling irons, straighteners, and especially blow dryers.
You can also use the “cool shot” button if your hot tool has this feature, especially when you’re closer to your roots and scalp.
Any skin injury may contribute to a flare or irritation of PsO. Keep this in mind when using brushes, trimmers, or blades on your scalp.
Style can matter when it comes to managing scalp PsO. If you have plaques on your scalp, you have probably already discovered the magic concealing effect of a low ponytail to cover the nape of the neck or side-swept bangs to cover plaques on the forehead.
Sideburns, or hair pulled in front of your ears, can also camouflage plaques around the ears and hairline. Loosening that ponytail can also help reduce the aggravation of scalp PsO plaques.
If you need eyeglasses for seeing or reading, opt for contact lenses if you can. The skin behind your ears is an extension of the skin on your scalp, and the friction from glasses can worsen plaques in this area.
Don’t forget to include sun protection in your style routine. Barriers, such as hats, hoods, and umbrellas, are great options. There are also a handful of scalp and hair-specific sunscreen products available that are effective at shielding you from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Plaque psoriasis can present differently across different ethnic groups.
For example, a 2022 review finds that people with darker skin tones can experience thicker plaques and larger surface areas of impacted skin. Additionally, nonwhite groups have reported lower quality of life as a result of these clinical differences.
If you have a darker skin tone and have PsO that affects your scalp, here are some tips that might help:
A well-established routine for scalp care is the best way to manage scalp PsO. If you’re still struggling to manage your scalp PsO, be sure to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional to review your treatment options.
Medically reviewed on August 03, 2023
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