This story is part of Survivor’s Guide, a series on navigating the impact of psoriasis through beauty and self-care.
It’s pretty safe to say that scalp problems of any nature, including itchiness and flaking, are extremely annoying to anyone who suffers from them. But scalp psoriasis — a common condition characterized by thick, red, scaly patches of skin that can cover the entire scalp and be chronic — is arguably the most painful and inconvenient. Scalp psoriasis treatment often comes in the form of oils, steroid solutions, and even ointments, but basic care starts in the shower with the shampoo you use.
Those battling scalp psoriasis want to aim for a formula that simultaneously sloughs away flakes while soothing irritation. New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Sejal Shah says you should look for a shampoo with ingredients such as salicylic acid and coal tar, which is a dark liquid by-product of coke and coal gas from coal and is used in medications to treat psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. Coal tar may sound scary, but dermatologists say it significantly helps to slow the rapid growth of skin cells while reducing inflammation. Ahead, find Shah’s favorite shampoos for scalp psoriasis, as well as other expert recommendations.
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