Psoriasis plaques can develop on any part of the body, but if you are one of more than three percent of Americans, you may develop it on your scalp. If left untreated, the condition, which causes dandruff-like symptoms, can lead to hair thinning and hair loss. This can be a challenge for many women, who value their hair. Fortunately, there are ways to care for your hair whether you are doing it at home or heading to the hair salon.
Caring for scalp psoriasis
Over-the-counter and prescription shampoos with coal tar or salicylic acid, lotions, topical treatments like steroids, biologic drugs and light therapy are all great treatments for scalp psoriasis. However, even with proper management and use of these treatments, brushing and styling your hair without aggravating your scalp can be challenging, Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical Center and a dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology in New York City tells Everyday Health.
Because of this, many people turn to hairstylists for a solution. Hairstylists can be a great resource, but it is important that he or she is aware of your scalp psoriasis and knows how to treat it.
“If your stylist has a look at your scalp and says something like, ‘We’re going to get your hair nice and clean,’ take that as a red alert,” Ghanima Abdullah, a hair expert and cosmetologist at therighthairstyles.com tells Everyday Health. “[That person] is probably about to pile shampoo in your hair and scrub your scalp for all it’s worth… That’s a ticket to major irritation.”
Finding the right hairstylist
A hairstylist that is familiar with scalp psoriasis is your best bet.
“Hairstylists who are not familiar with scalp psoriasis and similar scalp conditions may stigmatize it and may offend the client by giving wrong advice,” says Monica Davis, a hairstylist in Dallas and editor-in-chief of My Straightener.
However, whether the hairstylist you choose is a scalp psoriasis expert or not, it is possible to find the perfect hair salon that can safely pull off the hairstyle you desire. So how do you do it? Here’s how:
1. Ask for a recommendation
Know someone who has scalp psoriasis? This is your opportunity to ask them if they can offer any recommendations or provide any tips on how they style their own hair. If you don’t know anyone living with the condition, try a quick Google search for local salons in your area. You can also visit the National Psoriasis Foundation and contact your regional community development manager.
2. Call the salon ahead of time
Finding the right salon may take some time and research because you don’t want anyone touching your hair, especially if you have scalp psoriasis. One good way to do this is by calling the salon ahead of time before you come in. This will allow you to gain some insight into whether or not the salon is a good fit for you.
Things you should be on the lookout for when doing an initial call with the salon include: