Recovering from Psoriasis: My Hair Journey Setback

Sideview of woman with natural hair
There has been a lot of trial and error throughout my natural hair journey.  I’m currently recovering from psoriasis which I’ve been battling for the past six months.  It left me with unbearably dry itchy skin and my scalp was out of control.  My hair ended up suffering as well since I was forced to cleanse my scalp more often.  This wasn’t my first experience with the condition but this time it came with a vengeance.     

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an auto immune disease that results in inflammation of the skin.  The skin cells rapidly form new skin in patches which have a dry, flakey appearance.  It not only effects my skin but my scalp as well.    A few years ago I wrote a post about how I cleared up my psoriasis with diet and supplements. The condition never truly went away but I was successful at keeping the flare-ups under control.  It turns out that my best chance at healthier skin was to follow some of my own advice.  

I didn’t always know what worked for my psoriasis.  I gained a much better understanding of how to recover from it after watching the documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, by Joe Cross.  In it he talks about inflammation, what causes it and what the body needs to help shut it down.  After taking some supplements, which I talk about here, the good news is I’m beginning to see some results!  Each week I’m noticing a difference in my skin and my scalp.  Now it’s time to turn my attention to my hair which suffered greatly during this time.

sideview of hair and scalp during psoriasis outbreak
My edges lost fullness after a recent bout with psoriasis. The flakes and dry itchy scalp were unbearable.

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Dry, Itchy Scalp Woes

I have Psoriasis and always have a rough time with it during the winter months.  It causes dry patches on my skin and flaky, dry scalp.  It can be really embarassing because my kinky, curly hair clings to everything which makes the flakes harder to get rid of.  I was in a minor car accident recently and since I’m having trouble with my back, I thought it would be easier to wear my hair straight.  I figured, I can oil my scalp and keep those flakes under control. 

I tried this theory out and boy was I wrong!  Not only did I see more flaking, but the itching was out of control!  I flat ironed my hair twice this month so that means five days of no washing each time I wore it straight.  I have come to the conclusion that until my scalp issue is under control, I have to wash my hair and scalp more frequently.

Sulfate free Shampoo to remove buildup
and Castor Oil to treat my dry scalp

For the first wash after wearing it straight, I knew I would have to oil my scalp one last time so that I could soften those flakes a bit (gross…I know).  Then I applied coconut oil to my hair to prep it for the shampoo I was about to use.  I washed with Everyday Shea’s Moisturizing Shampoo in Lavender which is sulfate free.  Afterwards, I deep conditioned using my new favorite, Tresemme Naturals Conditioner with Aloe and Avocado.  I put on a plastic cap and sat under the dryer for about 30 minutes.  Already I noticed a big difference in how my scalp felt.  After detangling, I dried my hair with a t-shirt, oiled my scalp with Castor oil and applied my leave-ins.  Then, I just wore it pulled back in a simple braided bun.

Today, I co-washed and applied leave-in conditioner.  I used Coconut Oil to seal and then Palmer’s Coconut Oil Replenishing Hair Milk to define my curls.  I then did a simple puff and let it air dry. 

I’m going to continue with this process of co-washing each day through the rest of the week and see how it goes.  It’s possible that my usual washing twice per week routine is what my hair and scalp likes best.  I can’t seem to go more than 3 days without wetting my hair or else major itchies.  Hopefully this works and will get me back on track.