Safe styling for scalp psoriasis

| Emily Delzell

Have scalp psoriasis and want to visit a hair stylist? Here's what you need to know.

Baring your scalp psoriasis to a hair stylist for the first time can cause some self-conscious moments, but with clear communication, salon visits needn't be embarrassing—or a potential source of psoriasis flares.

Hala Wachter, a salon owner in Birmingham, Ala., has had many clients with psoriasis in her 25-plus years as a hair stylist. "I understand it can feel embarrassing, but most experienced stylists have seen lots of scalp conditions, including psoriasis, so clients should be reassured that open communication is the way to go."

Talking with your stylist about your unique condition also ensures he or she has the information needed to protect your scalp from trauma, which is important to keep in mind for flare prevention, said Jason S. Reichenberg, vice chair of the department of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Austin.

"Psoriasis only indirectly affects the hair, so with a few cautions, I don't ask patients to change their styling practices," he said.

He and Wachter offer these tips for maximizing comfort and minimizing flares.

  • Inform your stylist. Most stylists are familiar with psoriasis, but for those who aren't, explaining that the condition isn't contagious or a fungal infection are key points to make, Reichenberg said. A consultation is the first part of any hair treatment, and this is the time to talk with the stylist about your scalp psoriasis as well as any sensitivity to styling products of which you're already aware.
  • Understand the styling process. Having scalp psoriasis doesn't necessarily rule out any hair treatment, including coloring, straightening or relaxing, or blow-outs, said Reichenberg. But he noted almost any ingredient—as well as intense heat—can cause a reaction, so talk with your stylist about the potential for irritation with specific treatments before going forward. If there's any doubt, check with your dermatologist first.
  • Protect your scalp. Wachter works with clients in a number of ways to shield their scalp—some, for example, bring in their own hair products instead of using a salon line. For others, she applies a barrier around the hairline and ears to prevent irritation. And clients who've had past sensitivity to all-over hair color can often get highlights without a problem because the stylist applies color just above the scalp and wraps the treated hair in foil to process.
  • Ask for gentle treatment. Avoid burns from hot irons and trauma from firm brushes, which shouldn't be rubbed against the scalp.
  • Safeguard your style. Check with your stylist about potential interactions among the ingredients in your own products and the salon treatment. Coal tar, for instance, can discolor bleached or tinted hair.

Learn more

 


Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

Recent Advance Posts

Giving Tuesday save the date logo
#GivingTuesday gives you a worthwhile alternative to the holiday shopping...
Mason Zimmerman and Ethan Stafford at Team NPF Cycle
Meet the 12-year-old boys leading the next generation fighting against...
FDA APPROVED stamped on dab of cream
Clinical trials show new topical corticosteroid may help achieve clear or...
woman on sofa blowing her nose
Adopt these simple habits and stay healthy all winter.
Volunteers walking through the halls of Congress
NPF Advocacy Action Networks harness the power of many voices to support one...
There are more treatments now for PsA, but we still have a long way to go. NPF...
researchers in a lab
NPF just awarded more than $2 million in research grants and fellowships. Here’...
A recap of 2018 health care policy in the Golden State shows victories for...
Expanded availability of short-term plans may come with hidden costs and...