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

People at table having policy discussion
Expanding access to care starts in the boardroom. Here’s how we take it on the...
Psoriasis unexpectedly brings a mother and daughter closer together — and...
Make the transition to the classroom easier with free resources for kids and...
An annual public policy forum for everyone from lawmakers to educators gives us...
NPF patient advocates educate Congress about Medicare access challenges.
Eric Fielding
Two men with no scientific training bridge the gap between patients and...
Jody Quinn with Mayor Marty Walsh, Zakim Bridge in NPF colors, Quinn and Team NPF
Jody Quinn, of Kingston, Massachusetts, has had an impressive run advocating...
Advocates visiting Congress
Forced to retire early because of his PsA, former diplomat Stephen Keat...
NPF launches a clearinghouse for clinical trial info, including how to find one...