Scalp psoriasis, a condition in which skin cells build up and form scales and itchy, dry patches on your scalp, stems from the immune system yet unhealthy habits and environmental factors can trigger symptoms. Learn how to dodge the itchiness and flakes with these seven things that could be making the condition worse.
1. Change in Seasons
As the leaves turn brown and temperatures go down, our skin tends to dry out easier, causing scalp psoriasis flare-ups or even worse, dandruff. During the fall season, make sure to hydrate your scalp with a soothing formula free of exfoliant beads. Depending on the severity of your scalp psoriasis, you may also want to protect your skin and scalp with a pH-balancing scalp toner. For a quick, temporary alleviation from symptoms, simply cleanse with Apple Cider Vinegar.
2. Scratching It
Itching your scratchy patches feels eye-rolling good in the moment, but your future self hates you for it. Added irritation can cause swelling and infections which, as you see in the next point, is terrible for scalp psoriasis.
3. Burns or Infections
According to Susan Katz, clinical assistant professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, “If you have active psoriasis, a physical trauma to the skin can develop a new area of psoriasis, which is called the Koebner phenomenon.” As Everyday Health notes, vaccinations, sunburns, bruises, scrapes, surgeries, poison ivy, poison oak, or bug bites can all trigger a psoriasis flare. Note to self: keep your psoriasis infected areas protected whenever possible with a cute hat, cozy beanie, or necktie.
4. Hair Dyes
We hate to say it to you but getting your hair colored can exacerbate scalp psoriasis and cause a burning sensation throughout. Chemicals within hair dyes and bleach are to blame, so tell your colorist where you’re experiencing psoriasis for a gentler color application process.
Cancer sticks aren’t just bad for you, but they’re aggravating your psoriasis too. Jessica Kaffenberger, dermatologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, says that not only are smokers more likely to have psoriasis, but they tend to have more severe cases of the illness.
Be mindful of the medications you’re taking as certain drugs—such as lithium, a common treatment for bipolar disorder, and beta-blockers used to treat high blood pressure, heart disease—can cause flare-ups of psoriasis symptoms. If symptoms become unbearable, try process of elimination to determine which medication is the culprit.
Stress makes everything worse but it’s been known to be a big trigger for psoriasis. Work it out, try different breathing exercises, and remind yourself that we make up stress in our heads—and your psoriasis will thank you for it.