An itchy scalp may be due to psoriasis.
Scalp psoriasis ranges from mild to severe. The redness, scaling, dryness, itching and other symptoms can be embarrassing and physically unpleasant. Mild to moderate cases are more easily managed with natural treatments than severe cases, but everyone with scalp psoriasis can benefit to some extent from natural remedies. If you’re rejecting oral and topical medications and shampoos, there are plenty of natural options to try in treating your scalp psoriasis. Know ahead that the success of each varies from person to person.
Phototherapy refers to using ultraviolet radiation to soothe a skin condition. The natural UVA and UVB radiation from the sun can help treat scalp psoriasis. Spend 15 minutes or so per day in direct sunlight. Be sure to use sunscreen elsewhere on your body, though, if you’re going to be out longer.
There are a number of devices — some of which are sold for use at home — that create artificial UVB radiation for phototherapy. It’s perhaps debatable whether this is a purely natural treatment, but it operates on the principles of a natural remedy and allows for more controlled application of radiation that is potentially harmful in the long run.
Daily baths help remove the scaling skin and soothe the inflammation associated with scalp psoriasis and make flareups less likely or less severe. Use tepid water only. Certain natural bath additives further calm the condition and reduce itching. Add in colloidal oatmeal and let your scalp soak for about 15 minutes. If this doesn’t provide noticeable relief, try Epsom salt, Dead Sea salt or a natural moisturizing bath oil instead.
Supplements and Herbs
You may have luck with supplements or herbs for managing scalp psoriasis. Remember that “natural” isn’t necessarily synonymous with “safe,” though; always check with your physician before supplementing to prevent potentially harmful effects or interactions with other drugs or supplements you take. Get clearance and specific dosage and other usage recommendations.
Fish oil, folic acid and shark cartilage are three supplements the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests may have some benefit. On the herbal front, UMMC says there is preliminary evidence that creams made with aloe vera, Oregon grape or avocado and vitamin B12 may help treat psoriasis. It adds that coleus forskohlii and oregano oil are also commonly used in topical preparations for psoriasis, but that there is not scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness.
Scalp psoriasis typically has triggers that bring on or aggravate flareups. A basic, natural part of management is avoidance of personal triggers, which may include cold weather, stress, certain foods or contact with particular materials. Refrain from scratching or picking at irritated sites. In addition, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and quitting smoking can be beneficial.
Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet consisting primarily of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, unsaturated fats and some low-fat or fat-free dairy. Limit processed foods, sodium, added sugar and saturated and trans fats. Also, use a natural moisturizer on your scalp throughout the day. Apply it before bed, too, and wrap your scalp in plastic wrap overnight. In the morning, remove the wrap and shower to wash off loosened scales.