Home remedy scalp psoriasis

5 DIY Tricks to Calm Scalp Psoriasis Irritation

Psoriasis symptoms can show up anywhere on your body. Itchy or sore patches of raised, red, dry skin known as plaques can occur on the face, arms and hands, legs and feet, and the back. One of the most common types of psoriasis affects the scalp. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), at least half of the 7.5 million Americans who have the disease have it on their scalp.

How you treat any type of psoriasis depends, to some degree, on how severe it is. The symptoms of scalp psoriasis can range from mild scales and flaking to moderate and severe plaques that cover the entire scalp and can cause the hair to thin in areas. Severe scalp psoriasis can go beyond your hairline, across the forehead to your neck and around the ears.

Depending on your symptom severity and how much of your skin is affected, your doctor may recommend a variety of treatment options. Fortunately, if one treatment doesn’t work or stops being effective, there are likely to be others that you can try.

“We have so many fantastic ways to clear psoriasis and to treat scalp psoriasis,” says Melodie Young, NP, RN, an advanced practice nurse focusing on gerontology and dermatology at Baylor Scott and White Modern Dermatology in Dallas.

For milder cases of scalp psoriasis, shampoos with ingredients such as coal tar extract and salicylic acid can be helpful. “Liquid or foam topical medications are easy to apply to the scalp,” says Dina D. Strachan, MD, a dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

Severe flares may require the use of oral or injectable medication in conjunction with such topical treatments.

Dermatologists will sometimes treat mild scalp psoriasis with steroids, injecting scalp lesions with the medication. The steroids act to locally reduce the inflammation that causes this frustrating buildup of scaly skin cells.

Doctors don’t typically prescribe systemic medicines for scalp psoriasis alone, but if you have moderate-to-severe psoriasis on the scalp, you’re likely to have it elsewhere too. In that case, systemic medication can really help, says Colby Evans, MD, a dermatologist in Austin, Texas, and chairman of the board of trustees for the NPF.

Even though the symptoms of scalp psoriasis may appear to come and go, it’s important to remember that psoriasis is a chronic condition that will need to be treated and managed over time.

If you have flaking, itchiness, or redness caused by scalp psoriasis or another form of irritation, try one of these five easy, at-home treatments to control your symptoms. But always be careful to check with your doctor before trying any at-home treatments, to make sure they’ll be safe and effective for you. And remember that the worst thing you can do is scratch an itchy scalp. That’ll just worsen the psoriasis and raise the risk for infection if you create an open wound.

Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune skin disease that causes inflammation and scaling of the skin that affects approximately 2 percent to 2.6 percent of the U.S. population. (1) Normal, healthy skin experiences cell turnover about once a month, but when you have psoriasis, the skin cells rise way too fast and actually pile up on top of each other. Thankfully, you can help combat this condition with by following a proper psoriasis diet treatment plan.

We know that psoriasis begins in the immune system and involves a type of white blood cell called a T cell. (2) When you have psoriasis, the T cells are put into action by mistake and become overly active, leading to unhealthy swelling and fast turnover of skin cells.

A major dermatology focus in the realm of skin diseases, psoriasis symptoms can vary according to the form of psoriasis (of which there are several – more on that below). You might be thinking psoriasis is just an annoying skin condition, but it can also result in psoriatic arthritis, an inflammation of the joints that affects approximately 30 percent of all psoriasis patients.

Conventional psoriasis treatment might work, but it often doesn’t or is only a temporary fix that doesn’t get to the heart of the issue. There are many natural remedies for psoriasis, with a psoriasis diet making the very top of the list.

Why is a psoriasis diet so important? Studies have shown that intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome is very common in psoriasis patients. Making the right food choices can make a world of difference when it comes to psoriasis. As the National Psoriasis Foundation says, “Happy diet, happy life.” (3) I couldn’t agree more!

Psoriasis Symptoms and Causes

The most common psoriasis symptoms, especially those seen in people with plaque psoriasis, include: (4)

  • plaques of red skin, sometimes also covered with a crust of scales that tend to be silver or white
  • loose skin or lesions that can be sensitive, itchy and painful
  • dandruff on the scalp
  • cracked, discolored skin that easily bleeds and bruises
  • discoloration in the finger and toenails or growth of toenail fungus
  • nails that detach from the nail beds and can be painful or bloody
  • many people with psoriasis also suffer from emotional problems due to feeling embarrassed and hopeless about their skin (5)

Psoriasis is most often found on the elbows, legs, scalp, lower back, face, palms and soles of the feet. However, it can also occur in other locations, such as the fingernails, toenails, genitals and inside the mouth. Scalp psoriasis affects about 50 percent of people with psoriasis, making it one of the most obvious concerns in people with the condition.

Most doctors are unsure about what causes psoriasis, but many natural physicians have found contributing factors. Psoriasis causes include:

  • Overactive immune system (psoriasis is an autoimmune disease)
  • Poor diet
  • Abnormal small intestine permeability
  • An increased number of T cells in the blood, dermis and epidermis
  • Difficulty digesting protein
  • Emotional stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Genetics
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Poor liver function

If you want to overcome psoriasis, you can see great improvements by following a healthy and healing psoriasis diet.

Conventional Treatment vs. Natural Treatment of Psoriasis

Psoriasis is believed to be an autoimmune disease in which the body mistakenly detects its own tissue as foreign and attacks itself. When it comes to conventional treatment, doctors take into consideration how serious your case is, the type of psoriasis and the size of the psoriasis patches. Doctors will often switch conventional treatments if one isn’t effective, you have a bad reaction or if it stops working all together. (6)

Conventional treatment is often difficult, and currently the most common remedies are retinoids or immunosuppressant drugs. The latter are often steroids or cyclosporin, which come with concerning side effects even if they’re effective in treating psoriasis.

Topical treatment is very common and involves applying a cream or ointment to the problem areas. Another conventional option is light therapy, also called phototherapy, which uses a combination of natural ultraviolet light from the sun and artificial ultraviolet light. PUVA is a form of light therapy treatment that uses a combination of a drug that makes skin more sensitive to light and exposure to ultraviolet A light.

When psoriasis is severe, doctors will likely use systemic treatment, which means prescription drugs or medicine given through a shot. Combination therapy for psoriasis uses topical, phototherapy and systemic treatments in unison, all of which come with side effects that a natural remedy like a psoriasis diet does not.

5 Natural Treatments for Psoriasis

Natural or holistic treatment aims to get at the root of the problem. For many people, anti-inflammatory foods combined with a healing psoriasis diet is one of the best ways to naturally treat psoriasis.

Studies have been looking at the link between intestinal structure and function in the development of psoriasis for decades. (7) Some experts believe that psoriasis is actually caused by intestinal permeability, specifically in the area between the duodenum and the jejunum. Consequently, the body seeks to eliminate the toxins through the skin. In this model, psoriasis represents the body’s desperate attempt to cleanse itself.

Here are some natural ways to help combat psoriasis:

1. Reduce Stress

Stress is also known to play a big role in psoriasis, which is why mind-body therapies and stress management can really help naturally heal psoriasis. Prayer, meditation and hypnosis can all help. Studies actually show that people who meditate before receiving light therapy have better outcomes than people who had light therapy alone. (8)

2. Exercise and Drink Water

It may sound too simple, but exercise and drinking plenty of water are two easy and effective ways to help heal psoriasis.

When it comes to bathing, you definitely don’t want to use water that’s too hot because this can further dry and inflame your skin. Soaking in a lukewarm bath containing dead sea salts, Epsom salt or oats for around 15 minutes can help remove scales and calm itching.

Be sure to apply moisturizer to your skin as soon as you get out of a bath or shower — this way you can seal some water into your skin, which can help to calm and heal psoriasis patches.

3. Apply Nature-Based Topical Remedies

There are three nature-based topical remedies that have shown positive effects on psoriasis: Oregon grape (10 percent) cream, avocado and vitamin B12 cream, and aloe (0.5 percent) cream. Research has shown that using Reliéva, a homeopathic cream containing Oregon grape extract, is effective and well-tolerated in patients with mild to moderate psoriasis. (9)

Early research suggests that a proprietary cream containing avocado oil and vitamin B12 may decrease psoriasis symptoms. Several studies have shown that a cream containing 0.5 percent aloe vera extract is superior to a placebo with no negative side effects. (10)

4. Try Homeopathy and Other Alternative Treatments

Homeopathy is another natural remedy shown to improve psoriasis. Studies have shown that homeopathic treatment of psoriasis patients results in improved symptoms and overall quality of life. (11)

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine may also help some people with psoriasis. In Chinese medicine, psoriasis is viewed as a health issues caused by the stagnation of blood. Some herbs a Chinese medicine doctor may prescribe include turmeric, zedoria (similar to ginger), dang gui, red peony and sarsaparilla. Dittany, sophora and tribulus may also be prescribed to relieve psoriasis-related itching.

If you’re a fan of Ayurvedic medicine, you may want to try Panchakarma therapy, which involves plant-based remedies and dietary changes aimed at detoxifying the body. A vegetarian diet is often recommended as well. The Panchakarma treatments include consuming ghee and medicated enemas.

5. Eat a Psoriasis Diet (see more below)

A psoriasis diet is crucial. If you have a leaky gut, then partially digested protein and fat can seep through your intestinal lining, making their way into your bloodstream and causing allergic responses. If left unrepaired, it can lead to more severe health issues like psoriasis as well as depression, anxiety, migraine headaches, muscle pain and chronic fatigue.

Studies have shown a link between abnormal small intestine permeability and psoriasis. (12) A psoriasis diet can help heal your gut, which in turn can end your suffering with psoriasis as well as psoriatic arthritis.

The Psoriasis Diet

Wondering how to get rid of psoriasis naturally? As I always say, your diet is the basis for good health, and it’s no different when it comes to psoriasis. Not only is your diet a treatment for active psoriasis, but it’s also a way to prevent psoriasis in the first place.

When it comes to natural treatment for psoriasis, these are some of the best foods to consume on a regular basis. I also recommend these food choices for anyone looking for a psoriatic arthritis diet. The more you consume healing, anti-inflammatory foods, the more improvement you will see in your skin’s health.

Probiotic foods — Consuming foods high in probiotics is a great way to support digestion, remove toxins from the body, help reduce inflammation and boost immunity. Look for organic, raw, cultured dairy like kefir, yogurt and cultured vegetables which can give your body the bacteria and yeast that it needs to be healthy. There have been many, many personal accounts of probiotics clearing up stubborn psoriasis that did not respond to conventional treatment. One sufferer had psoriasis on his heels for about 10 years that did not respond to topical treatment. He started taking probiotics for a different condition, and his heels cleared up and stayed clear of psoriasis. (13)

High-fiber foods — By upping your intake of high-fiber foods you can help to keep your digestive system healthy, which helps avoid constipation and keep your natural detoxification processes on track. Fruits, vegetables, beans and seeds are all rich in fiber.

Foods high in antioxidants — Similar to the lineup for fiber-rich foods, foods high in antioxidants include vegetables, fruits, herbs, beans and nuts. Some choices that top the list when it comes to antioxidants include goji berries, wild blueberries, pecans, cilantro and kidney beans. Antioxidant consumption is especially important since psoriasis sufferers are at a greater risk for cancer and heart disease.

Foods high in zinc — Zinc is critical for keeping skin healthy. Some evidence shows that zinc helps reduce pain and joint swelling for psoriasis sufferers. (14) Grass-fed beef, lamb, pumpkin seeds, kefir and chickpeas are all great sources of zinc.

Foods high in vitamin A — Think orange, yellow and dark leafy green vegetables. By adding these winners to your diet on a daily basis, you will increase your vitamin A, which is critical for skin healing. Good sources of vitamin A includes cantaloupe, carrots, mango, tomatoes, kale, collard greens and watermelon.

Wild-caught fish — Fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines are excellent sources of vitamin D as well as omega-3 fatty acids, which are both key to improving psoriasis. Vitamin D is clinically proven to help fight psoriasis. (15) If you have psoriasis, fish should be the new leading protein in your life rather than meat and conventional dairy products. Studies have shown that eating fewer protein-rich foods, primarily meats and dairy products, may help ease psoriasis flare-ups.

Raw dairy — Raw milk is a much healthier choice than conventional milk. Rich in vitamin D and enzymes, raw dairy products can be therapeutic to psoriasis.

Herbs and spices — Herbs and spices are anti-inflammatory and contain antioxidants. Curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice known as turmeric, is known for its potent health properties. A 2012 scientific review specifically notes turmeric’s ability to alter TNF cytokine expression, which are known to play an essential role in the start and continuation of psoriatic lesions. This is probably why patients find turmeric helpful in minimizing psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis flare-ups. You can liberally add this spice to your food, keeping in mind that the FDA considers 1.5 to 3.0 grams of turmeric per day safe. (16)

Aloe Vera — Applied externally and taken internally, aloe vera is very soothing to the body, especially to the digestive system and skin.

When you’re on a psoriasis diet, you definitely want to avoid processed foods, simple sugars, alcohol, conventional dairy, conventional meats, hydrogenated oils and fried foods. You should also keep caffeine intake low. For some sufferers, a gluten-free diet helps improve symptoms.

If you or your doctor think that you might have a gluten allergy or any other type of food allergy, then food allergy testing or an elimination diet can help guide you toward what to avoid in your diet.

Top Supplements and Essential Oils for the Psoriasis Diet

If you’re wondering how to treat psoriasis naturally, a psoriasis diet is most crucial, but supplements can also be very helpful.

These are the top five supplements I recommend for internal treatment of psoriasis:

  1. Hydrochloric acid (1–3 capsules per meal) — Helps with protein digestion and decrease psoriasis flare-ups.
  2. Fish oil (1,000–2,000 grams daily) — Fish oil is anti-inflammatory and can aid in the healing of psoriasis.
  3. Vitamin D3 (5,000 IU daily) — Low levels of vitamin D may be associated with psoriasis.
  4. Milk thistle (250 milligrams three times daily) —Milk thistle helps promote liver detoxification and reduces cellular growth.
  5. Probiotics (50 billion units daily) — Probiotics improve digestion by increasing good bacteria and crowding out bad bacteria. Digestive issues are linked to psoriasis.

Bonus Remedies:

Other home remedies for psoriasis that can reduce symptoms include cleansing, bone broth, vitamin B12 and digestive enzymes. Also, getting 20 minutes of sunshine a day can greatly improve vitamin D levels naturally and is very therapeutic to psoriasis.

Essential oils for psoriasis like tea tree, lavender, frankincense, myrrh and geranium essential oil can bring relief to inflamed skin and support the healing process.

Tea tree oil — When you use tea tree for your psoriasis, you prevent infection while also reducing inflammation and stimulating the immune system to support your skin health. Scientific research has confirmed the psoriasis-reducing effects of tea tree oil. (17)

Lavender oil — With calming and anti-inflammatory properties, it helps soothe the skin while also promoting new skin growth and healing.

Frankincense oil — With antiseptic, antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, frankincense can help provide relief for stubborn psoriasis patches.

Myrrh oil — Excellent at healing the chapped, flakey and cracked skin of psoriasis patches.

Geranium oil — Geranium is great at improving circulation and decreasing inflammation. It also helps relieve stress.

Coconut oil — It’s not an essential oil, but it’s a great choice for a base oil. You should always dilute essential oils in a base oil before applying them to problem areas. Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory, very gentle and moisturizing.

EO recipe idea: Mix three drops of lavender oil and three drop of frankincense oil with on teaspoon of coconut oil and rub onto affected area.

It’s also a great idea to use these essential oils in aromatherapy for psoriasis. You can diffuse these oils as a natural method of stress relief.

Psoriasis Overview, Types and Complications

Psoriasis causes and symptoms can be a tricky subject because of the various types of psoriasis and psoriatic disease complications that can occur – this isn’t just one of the skin diseases. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the signs and do what you can to treat your condition naturally and with the supervision of your doctor.

The main types of psoriasis include: (18)

Plaque psoriasis (also known as psoriasis vulgaris) – This is the most common form of psoriasis, found frequently on the knees, elbows, lower back and as scalp psoriasis. People with scalp psoriasis generally have psoriasis on other areas of their body as well, but this location can be particularly frustrating because it can cause a dandruff-like appearance and may even lead to temporary hair loss.

Guttate psoriasis – Unlike the large, raised lesions common with plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis is characterized by small dots and seen frequently in childhood or early adulthood. This form of psoriasis can be brought on by a case of strep throat.

Inverse psoriasis (may be referred to as flexural psoriasis or intertriginous psoriasis) – Body folds, such as behind the knee or in the groin, are the prime location for the smooth and shiny red areas of inverse psoriasis. In dermatology, it is commonly understood that this form of psoriasis probably occurs during an outbreak of plaque psoriasis somewhere else on the body.

Pustular psoriasis – The bumps of pustular psoriasis look like blisters or pimples but are actually filled with white blood cells. Often, people assume this is a contagious infection, but it is not. These pustules are usually surrounded by red skin and occur most frequently on the hands and feet.

Erythrodermic psoriasis (sometimes called exfoliative psoriasis) – The most severe of the psoriasis types, erythrodermic psoriasis is usually found in people with unstable plaque psoriasis. It is known by the wide, fiery outbreak and is accompanied by severe itching and pain. During an outbreak of erythrodermic psoriasis, skin often comes off in “sheets.” Only about three percent of people with psoriasis have this type of psoriasis, and it requires immediate medical attention because it can cause increased heartrate and body temperature changes. Some cases, particularly if left untreated, can lead to protein and fluid loss, shivering episodes, pneumonia and even congestive heart failure.

Psoriatic diseases including psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have an elevated risk of related conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease, Crohn’s disease, depression, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, osteoporosis, uveitis (an inflammatory disease of the eye) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. (19)

Any psoriasis overview would be incomplete without noting the underlying mechanisms of this conditions and the related issues. A combination of genetic predisposition and an extreme action of the immune system lead to these unsightly, uncomfortable and even painful conditions. No wonder it’s associated with the autoimmune issues common in leaky gut syndrome!

Scalp Psoriasis vs. Seborrheic Dermatitis

Certain skin diseases look like psoriasis but actually fit another diagnosis. One example of this is seborrheic dermatitis, a red, itchy rash that appears most often (but not always) on the scalp.

Seborrheic dermatitis (or “seborrhea”) seems to have roots in stress, genetic factors, a particular yeast that lives on skin, certain diagnoses or medications and cold, dry weather. Newborns, men and people with oily skin are at the highest risk of this particular form of dermatitis.

Dandruff is caused by seborrhea. Infants with the condition are often referred to as having “cradle cap,” as well as given an improper diagnosis of diaper rash when the redness occurs around the groin.

Like psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis most often clears and flares throughout the lifetime. If you have symptoms of these disorders, see a dermatologist for a confirmed diagnosis and treatment options. Since seborrhea is not an autoimmune disease, treatment looks different – although many of the same items and supplements on my psoriasis diet are similar for those with seborrhea.

Precautions Regarding Psoriasis

If you already use conventional treatment for your psoriasis, check with your doctor before adding any supplements or other natural remedies to your regimen. Also, check with your doctor before taking any supplements if you have any ongoing health concerns or are currently taking medication. Some supplements and herbs may interact with common prescription medications, such as blood thinners and birth control pills.

If you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, ask your doctor before using any conventional or natural treatments for psoriasis.

When using essential oils for psoriasis, always perform a small patch test to make sure you don’t react badly to any essential oil. Also, always dilute the essential oils in a base oil like coconut. If you generally have sensitive skin, be even more careful when using essential oils.

Final Thoughts on the Psoriasis Diet

  • There are many natural, home remedies that have been scientifically shown to improve psoriasis.
  • Psoriasis is an immune system issue so anything you can do to improve your immune system will be helpful to improving psoriasis symptoms.
  • One of the best ways to get to the root of the problem is through a healthy, healing, anti-inflammatory psoriasis diet.
  • People with psoriasis may find that certain foods seem to trigger flare-ups so speak to your doctor about food allergy testing or try an elimination diet.
  • When it comes to how important a psoriasis diet is to healing any type of psoriasis, remember this: “Happy diet, happy life!”


Pain can take over our thoughts, dump crap all over our good times and can seriously impair our quality of life.

As positive as we try to be, it’s almost impossible to be our happiest, shiniest, best-ever selves when we’re dealing with pain, whether it’s from a splitting headache, a stubbed toe or a chronic disease like fibromyalgia or osteoarthritis.

People with chronic pain are three times more likely to develop psychiatric symptoms like depression and anxiety, and it’s no wonder. When you’re in pain, it’s harder to enjoy doing the things that you love.

Luckily, we have options. While over-the-counter painkillers can be really helpful, and in some cases may be the best option, they can also cause gastrointestinal upset and definitely aren’t the best long-term strategy for coping with chronic pain. My goal is, of course, to try and help relieve pain by getting to the root cause.

But sometimes, we need a little something to take the edge off. At those times, I turn to the power herbs and nutrients, whether in food form or ready-blended supplement.

Here are five remedies to reduce joint pain and inflammation:

1. Bromelain

Bromelain is a powerful enzyme found in the most delightful tropical fruit, pineapple.

While most enzymes get broken down in the digestive tract, bromelain actually gets absorbed into our bodies whole, resulting in system-wide effects. Once absorbed into the bloodstream, studies have shown that it can reduce inflammation and reduce pain (though it’s not well-understood why this happens).

Eating pineapple can provide you with some bromelain, especially if you juice the hard stem and drink it on an empty stomach. Juicing pineapple in a combo with aloe, ginger and turmeric (see below) is a powerful of anti-inflammatory pain relief remedy.

Bromelain can also be found on its own as a supplement.

2. Turmeric

Turmeric is a root. It looks a lot like ginger, but it’s bright orange inside. It’s available as a whole fresh fruit, or more commonly in North America, as a dried, ground spice.

Turmeric has been used for 4,000 years to treat a ton of different conditions ranging from infections to cancers to inflammation to digestive problems. Amazingly, in a 2009 study, researchers found that turmeric eased pain as much as ibuprofen did in patients with arthritis.

Turmeric can be enjoyed as a tea, or used in recipes (many Indian-inspired dishes call for turmeric). You can also buy curcumin (the powerful compound in turmeric) in capsule form.

3. Devil’s Claw

Devil’s claw is definitely not the paw of a devil but it kind of looks like one! It’s a creepy looking root that’s well worth a google image search to to catch a glimpse of its funny shape.

Studies have shown that it can reduce pain and physical functioning in patients with osteoarthritis. Devil’s claw contains components called iridoid glycosides, which are thought to be the source of its pain relieving properties.

Devil’s claw root can be taken as a tea, and it is also often sold in capsules and ointments.

4. White Willow Bark

White willow bark is the bark of the white willow tree, obviously! Please ensure are very familiar with identifying the tree before you start peeling the bark and brewing a tea!

White willow bark has been used for thousands of years to reduce fever and inflammation. It contains salicin, a compound very similar to aspirin. Studies have shown that willow bark is effective for reducing lower back pain. I like to keep a bottle of this on hand when traveling, as the pressure in airplanes tends to help with my headaches.

White willow is available dried as a tea, powdered in capsules or as a tincture. It’s also often used as an ingredient in combination pain-relief supplements.

5. Egg Membrane

The egg membrane is that transparent layer between the eggshell and the gel-like part inside of an egg. It’s easy to see on hard boiled eggs.

Egg membrane contains the components of the membrane that is designed to protect the egg, including collagen and glucosamine. According to a recent study, egg membrane significantly reduced joint pain and stiffness in patients with arthritis of the knee when compared to a placebo.

Egg membrane can be purchased in supplement form. If you have a cut or a wound you can also use the membrane from your boiled egg in place of a Band-Aid for accelerated healing.

What are some of your favorite natural pain management strategies?

Itchy Scalp No More: 15 At-Home Treatments for Scalp Psoriasis

While you should def keep your healthcare provider in the loop, these natural, at-home treatments may help soothe those psoriasis patches.

1. Pop some shamps’

At the regular drugstore, you’ll find OTC shampoos to help keep flakes away. Be sure to avoid dandruff shampoos as they’ll be less effective. Instead look for specific psoriasis shampoos, especially ones that include coal tar or salicylic acid.

These shampoos should give you relief from itching and some removal of flakes. You may need to keep doing this on a regular basis to control your psoriasis. Just make sure to keep the bottle handy for the next time psoriasis decides to visit your scalp.

2. Stop, drop, and de-inflame

Psoriasis is often caused by a bout of inflammation in the body. By avoiding foods that fuel inflammation and tinkering with your diet, you could help keep psoriasis at bay or shorten the span of a flare-up.

They key word here being “could.” A lot of research has been done regarding psoriasis and diet and the results are, unfortunately, underwhelming.

However, there are a couple promising exceptions. The jury is still out, but some research suggests going gluten-free might help. Fish oil is another potentially helpful option (more on that below).

Additionally, though the science is so-so, limiting red meat, dairy, and processed foods could help improve symptoms.

There’s not much to support anti-inflammatory eating, but a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats has benefits beyond improving your psoriasis since people with psoriasis are at a higher risk of diabetes, liver issues, and heart problems.

Last but not least, weight loss may also improve symptoms if you’re a person with overweight.


Specific foods might not do much for your psoriasis symptoms, but sticking with an anti-inflammatory diet could lead to weight loss and ultimately improve your overall health.

3. Reach for aloe vera

If you’ve ever had a sunburn, you probably understand the deep, skin healing properties of aloe vera. If you use a cream with .5 percent aloe vera, it can moisturize the skin and reduce redness, itchiness, and flaking. Even better, aloe vera is super gentle, so you can apply it up to 3 times per day to lessen irritation and keep skin hydrated.

4. An apple (cider vinegar) a day…

Apple cider vinegar, you media darling! You can use it to aid digestion, flavor your salad dressing, clean your kitchen, and potentially boost skin health.

Be warned — much as we love it, ACV isn’t exactly dermatologists’ favorite at-home option. It needs more research and has actually been found in some cases to make skin conditions like eczema (and in some cases, psoriasis) flare and make skin irritation worse. So use at your own risk.

For people who have experienced success with ACV, it’s been suggested as a treatment for itching (which means it won’t do anything about those plaques or flakes).

As with all topical treatments for scalp psoriasis, check with your derm to make sure it’s the right choice for you and apply gently. Use a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water and delicately dab onto the scalp. Let it sit for a few minutes and rinse with warm water. Don’t pick or scratch! It’ll only make the breakout worse.

5. Get baking (soda)

Another kitchen miracle ingredient, baking soda can provide quick relief for an itchy scalp. Draw yourself a bath and stir in 1/4 cup of baking soda (you can experiment with how much baking soda to add, but don’t exceed 2 cups). Relax for up to 40 minutes, rinse, and gently pat dry.

If chilling with your head submerged in the tub doesn’t sound great, you can also create a little scalp bath in your sink. Pull up a chair, lean back, and soak. Just remember to start with less baking soda to compensate for the smaller “tub” of water.

FYI: don’t use this as a scrub! Baking soda is a powerful scrubber and it will irritate your scalp if you really rub it in. If you don’t go overboard when using, it can relieve a lot of discomfort.

6. Go (coco)nuts

Get more for your money by using coconut oil as a psoriasis soother and a hair mask. Massage about a teaspoon of coconut oil on your scalp then put on a shower cap. If you can keep the coconut oil on overnight, that’s amazing. If not, shoot for at least an hour. Although there isn’t support for its use in psoriasis, the oil might nourish the scalp.

7. Make some oatmeal

Science has yet to figure out why oatmeal is so soothing, but an oatmeal bath may help irritated skin (plain of course — we don’t need any dried apple bits floating around).

There’s no support for its use in psoriasis but you can give it a try. Draw yourself a lukewarm bath and add a cup of ground colloidal oatmeal to the water. Soak for about 5 to 8 minutes (be sure your scalp is submerged, obv) and you may notice reduced itching and less redness.

8. Get minty fresh

The natural menthol in peppermint oil cools inflamed skin and usually reduces redness and itching. Mix 2 to 3 drops of peppermint oil with coconut, almond, or your carrier oil of choice. Then, massage the mixture into the scalp (gently!).

If you don’t have time for an oil treatment, you can mix 5 to 7 drops of peppermint oil with a cup of water, then spritz the mix on your itchiest areas. Relief should be quick and you get the added bonus of smelling like a candy cane.

9. Pass the salt

This is another *maybe* treatment. Studies support bathing in water from the Dead Sea for treating psoriasis. But since it’s kind of expensive to make the trip, people have DIY’d this treatment via at-home Epsom salt baths.

Take note: It’s unclear if and how this salt water swap works, so it may or may not be helpful as an at-home treatment.

To try the homemade version, take a whole body soak in warm water and Epsom salts for 15 minutes. After you’re done, dry carefully and apply a moisturizing agent (like coconut oil) to make sure that your scalp psoriasis flare doesn’t dry out after your bath.

10. Make time for afternoon tea (tree oil)

Tea tree oil isn’t messing around. This strong antimicrobial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory oil can treat scalp psoriasis when paired with a carrier oil (like coconut).

Don’t go nuts with this one. Start with just a drop or two and see how your skin reacts. Also, if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, have linear IgA disease, or are taking the antibiotic vancomycin, then this oil is not for you.

11. Soak up some sun

Often for severe scalp psoriasis, doctors will prescribe phototherapy. Basically, they shine artificial UVB light on your scalp and those rays help slow the growth of skin cells.

To get a low dose of phototherapy, go sit in the sun (but only after talking to your dermatologist first about how to do so safely)! Natural sunlight also contains UVB rays and may help treat psoriasis.

Whenever you’re out in the sun, be sure to wear sunscreen since prolonged sun exposure isn’t great for the rest of your skin — also, sunburn can be especially dangerous for people with psoriasis.

If you’re on a medication for psoriasis, you may be more prone to sunburn. And to be clear, sunlight isn’t as effective as artificial phototherapy, so ask your healthcare provider before you give sunbathing a try.

12. Try some tar

The idea of putting tar soap in your hair might sound like some kind of Huck Finn-esque punishment, but coal tar is actually very effective in treating scalp psoriasis.

Coal tar contains carbazole, an ingredient that’s been shown to stop cells from getting inflamed. This is great for scalp psoriasis, since it comes in the form of a shampoo.

As you might guess, coal tar is a strong ingredient, so it should only be used during flare ups, 3 times per week at most. If you’re not flaring, put the coal tar away, it’ll only irritate your skin.

Bottomline: Tar shampoo may not be for everyone, but it’s a classic treatment for psoriasis and could definitely be worth trying. To give it a shot, try this doctor-recommended option.

13. Unwind with lavender and calendula

Not many antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents are known for helping you relax, but that’s the magic of lavender essential oil. You can also add calendula oil to the mix (it contains anti-inflammatory properties as well as being antibacterial, and healing/soothing to skin), along with a carrier oil, and apply directly to the scalp.

Just remember to only add a few drops of essential oil to each tablespoon of carrier oil you use, and do a patch test first to make sure you don’t have a sensitivity to those particular oils.

Some potential carrier oils:

  • grape seed oil
  • avocado oil
  • jojoba oil

Sadly the science here is still a little lacking, so make sure to do your homework and chat with a derm before oiling up.

Another option that doesn’t involve topical application: Since stress makes psoriasis flares worse, you can sit in a quiet room with dim lighting, some lavender oil in the diffuser, and just chilllll. This may not affect your psoriasis in the short term, but it could help the flare go away faster. And, bonus points for caring for your mental health.

14. Go Omega

This is one oil you don’t have to put on your head. Omega-3 fatty acids are touted as being anti-inflammatory and fish oil supplements are a great way to get a lot of these lovely fatty acids. Though the jury is still out on fish oil supplements, a 2018 systematic review suggested it may be helpful.

15. Turn up with turmeric

Another noted anti-inflammatory and skin soother, a daily turmeric supplement can help treat psoriasis (just be diligent in your research, as some supplements have been found to have lead contaminants — bleck).

If you’d rather not take a turmeric pill, you can add the spice directly to your food. Whether you enjoy a turmeric latte or a delicious curry, there are lots of turmeric recipes to try to help your skin.

I’ve had scalp psoriasis for as long as I can remember. My parents tried many different treatments, from coal tar-based products to corticosteroids. None of them worked very well and some stunk horribly!

When I graduated from college and began working as a chemist for a large airplane company, I started reading the ingredient lists on the back of my dandruff shampoo bottles. I was so surprised to find some of the same ingredients I tested for at work were in my shampoos! Most of the ingredients were use to strip oil off metal plane parts! I don’t know about you, but I didn’t feel very comfortable using that shampoo anymore.

I started researching for a new, healthier alternative to treat my psoriasis. I tried things that made it worse before finally settling on a few techniques that made it much better. I’m by no means “cured” of psoriasis, but I’ve found the best way to keep flakes to a minimum.

Stop using dandruff shampoos.

Most dandruff shampoos contain salicylic acid, which chemically burns the flakes off your scalp. The surfactants (aka soap) in the shampoo are compounds that are meant to strip the oils from your hair, but oils are what keep your scalp moisturized and flake-free.

I know it sounds strange, but cutting back on how often you wash your hair will make a huge difference. Dull, lifeless hair and a flakey scalp are often the result of over-shampooing because — lathering, rinsing and repeating will only strip your hair and scalp of the essential oils they need to stay healthy.

Personally, I use an aloe vera-based shampoo 2-3 times a week followed by an aloe vera-based conditioner. They’ve worked better than any dandruff shampoo I’ve ever tried. JASON makes an excellent set, as does Desert Essence.

If you’ve been shampooing every day, your hair will probably be oily for the first few weeks as it adjusts to not having its oils stripped, but be patient! Before you know it, your hair will look gorgeous.

Eat an oil-filled diet.

I don’t mean gorge on olive or coconut oil, but adding a little more to your diet will help, especially if you aren’t consuming any at all. Be sure to also eat plenty of Omega-3’s. Not only are they yummy, they’ll help with the flakes.

Use a scalp moisturizing treatment once a week.

The best treatment that I’ve found is to do an oil or aloe vera-based mask once a week. It’s a DIY treatment that’s fun to make, smells great and totally gets rid of the redness on my scalp!

DIY Natural Dry Scalp Treatment:

What can I do about scalp psoriasis?

Share on PinterestShampoos are available to treat scalp psoriasis.

Treating scalp psoriasis can be difficult due to the sensitivity of the skin and the presence of hair. Treatment aims to remove plaques and soothe itching.

It is possible to make a psoriasis-relieving shampoo at home. People can try mixing psoriasis-friendly ingredients, such as apple cider vinegar or tea tree oil, with their usual shampoo.

This can serve as a gentle, homemade psoriasis remedy. However, this is usually only an effective measure in very mild presentations of scalp psoriasis.

Shampoos that contain salicylic acid or coal tar are available over the counter. These can help people manage mild scalp psoriasis. These might also be available in the form of creams, lotions, and ointments.

Use warm water to make the plaques softer before applying shampoos or ointments. Comb the hair afterward in a gentle circular motion. This can help remove plaques from the scalp.

Whether homemade or shop-bought, any psoriasis shampoo should contain one of the following ingredients (but not in combination) to be effective:

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a medication that helps the skin peel. It may also remove psoriasis scales and help the patches of skin heal faster.

Stronger treatments contain more salicylic acid. However, this might irritate the skin. People may wish to try starting with a product that has relatively low salicylic acid content and gradually increasing the strength based on how their skin reacts to it.

Shampoos containing salicylic acid also support other scalp psoriasis treatments, such as topical corticosteroids.

Some other acids, including glycolic acid and lactic acid, can also help the skin peel. However, much like salicylic acid, they can irritate the skin at higher concentrations.


Ketoconazole is an antifungal agent that can also help people with the dry, scaly skin associated with psoriasis. Shampoos that contain ketoconazole can help remove both dandruff and psoriatic plaques.

Some people with scalp psoriasis have a higher risk of fungal infections than people who do not have the condition. Ketoconazole is an especially beneficial ingredient that can protect the scalp from painful yeast infections.

Selenium sulfide

This is a preparation that people use to treat many conditions that affect the skin, including hyperkeratosis and seborrheic dermatitis.

Research has indicated that selenium sulfide is also effective for treating scalp psoriasis.


Some people use coal tar to treat psoriasis, including scalp psoriasis. Although researchers have carried out more studies into coal tar and psoriasis, pine tar soaps and shampoos may also work.

It is also possible to wash the scalp with tar soap. However, the soap has a strong, distinct smell and can be irritating to the skin. One 2016 review concluded that the evidence for using coal tar is not yet strong enough to confirm its benefits.

People should start with a low concentration and work up to more potent formulas. However, it is important for people to check with a doctor about the maximum strength they should use.

How ACV Helps

For the many folks who are affected by psoriasis — the fast buildup of skin cells that results in scaling and redness — slathering on steroid creams and gallons of greasy moisturizers day after day and night after night can get tiring fast. It can be especially frustrating if those products aren’t even helping your psoriasis all that much. Not to mention some of those products can make your skin thinner, which isn’t a great side effect by any means. Injections can be expensive, require lots of doctors’ visits, and have negative side effects.

So why not try an easy and effective all-natural way of treating psoriasis? This ingredient is something you may already have in your kitchen cupboard (or, if you’re like me, in your bathroom to use as a conditioning hair rinse): apple cider vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar may be a staple in the kitchen cabinets of salad lovers everywhere, but it has also long been used to treat skin conditions. Since the 18th century, ACV has been used to treat poison ivy and other skin issues because of its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and disinfectant properties.

You can’t treat psoriasis and other skin conditions with just any kind of apple cider vinegar, though. For both bathing and drinking, your best bet is always going to be raw, organic, unfiltered ACV. The most commonly praised brand is Bragg’s ACV, which contains the important ingredient of “the mother.”

The Topical Treatment

While treating psoriasis from the inside with apple cider vinegar is going to have the most drastic results, applying ACV topically can also help to relieve any itchiness and irritation associated with the condition. You can add 1-2 cups of ACV to your bath water once or twice per week and soak for 20-30 minutes. You can also fill a smaller tub with diluted ACV and soak only the areas that are affected, or for fingernails and toes, dip them into a small bowl of pure ACV for five minutes daily.

Adding ACV to a spray bottle (diluted, of course!) and spraying directly onto your scalp can also work wonders. Just be careful not to use ACV on your scalp until any open wounds or cracks have healed. A quick spot treatment for smaller areas: apply ACV to a cotton ball and dab it onto the affected areas. Within just a few weeks, your psoriasis may be long gone, or at the very least improved, and no longer as itchy!

Oral Ingestion

Of course, applying ACV to your affected areas is better than many of the alternatives, but many psoriasis sufferers see the most improvement when they drink diluted ACV. Because psoriasis can stem from internal inflammation — which is why changing your diet to minimize inflammatory foods, as well as anti-inflammatory creams and steroids can help to a certain extent — it’s best to treat psoriasis from the inside out.

Consuming ACV can help to fight the negative effects of a modern-day diet by lowering the pH in the body. Yes, ACV is an acid, but when digested it becomes alkaline, which we think is pretty cool! This, in turn, helps digestive functioning and kills toxins, helping to eliminate psoriasis. ACV also has a large amount of good for you nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamins B1 & B6, Vitamin C, as well as Potassium and Iron, among others.

While the taste of straight apple cider vinegar leaves much to be desired, diluting it with water can make it more palatable, and it’s very important to do unless you want an upset stomach. Add 1-2 tablespoons of ACV to your water (or even apple juice!) once per day. Sipping from a straw is always a good idea prevent the ACV from eroding your teeth. Rinsing your mouth after consumption can also help with this. It can take up to a month to see the effects, but many people notice a difference around the two-week mark.

Other benefits of pouring some good old ACV down the hatch may be:

  • Weight loss
  • Regulating blood sugar
  • Relief from indigestion
  • Helps Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • General health and wellness (fighting off infections, some protection against heart disease, etc.)

Speaking of hearts, check out what we at SLAB Handcrafted Soap are ♡’ing this fall.

Other All-Natural Ways to Treat Psoriasis

There are a lot of all-natural alternative treatments for psoriasis other than ACV, but they are not always the easiest nor are they the most accessible. For example, sunlight can help with psoriasis, so if you have the luxury of soaking up some rays in September, be sure to take advantage of that while you can. However, short of moving to Arizona or another sunshine state, getting consistent UVB light therapy, or using potentially harmful tanning beds, the benefits of light for psoriasis aren’t always available year-round. This is especially true for us Oregon dwellers… although the bright side of living in Oregon is getting to visit our two SLAB Handcrafted Soap stores, especially on $5 Fridays.

Salt water is deemed helpful by those suffering from psoriasis, however, it can be quite a hassle to get ahold of. For those of y’all who don’t live near an ocean, or who don’t want to turn into a human popsicle during the cooler months, dead sea salt bath products can help. We have a Himalayan Sunset Bath Bomb that will do just the trick. Alternatively, you can buy a big bag of dead sea salt and add a generous amount to your bathwater. One thing to note though is that salt is best combined with sun to really make an impact on psoriasis.

Another all-natural remedy for psoriasis are products with tea tree, although treating psoriasis isn’t the only thing this essential oil can do. You can read all about the benefits of tea tree oil here. If you’ve been on the hunt for a high-quality tea tree oil, look no further, as we sell the exact same oil we use in our soaps: Tea tree oil (on sale now!) Our Pine Tar Shampoo Soap is also a good choice for psoriasis of the scalp, and you can subscribe and save 20%.

Finally, another good for you option of treating psoriasis is cutting out alcohol, sugar, gluten, and a category of food called nightshades (which includes potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and more.) These foods can all be inflammatory towards the condition, and so eliminating them can be helpful for psoriasis sufferers. Keep in mind that a lot of these options can take a while to show their effects on psoriasis.

Other natural ways of treating psoriasis include:

  • Reducing stress
  • Acupuncture
  • Oats
  • Having small fish nibble at your skin
  • Epsom salt baths
  • Coconut and olive oil (which are ingredients in all our handcrafted soaps.) Read more about the benefits of C.O. and O.O. here.

Spring cleaning isn’t only for the home. You can spring clean your insides, even in September, and the best all-natural way to accomplish this inner cleansing is with apple cider vinegar. Just about everyone could stand to gain an improvement in health by clearing out the toxins in their bodies with apple cider vinegar, though ACV is especially beneficial to those with psoriasis.

So, if you’re tired of dealing with patches of painful, flaky, red and rough, scaly, skin and your goal is smooth, healthy skin, give apple cider vinegar a try and be one step closer to that healthy, all-natural lifestyle. Then, take the next step and switch out some of the products that contain bad for you ingredients like triclosan, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Aren’t sure what those are, or what harmful effects they can have? Read more about these harmful ingredients and why soaps handcrafted with all-natural ingredients are so much better for you.

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