Psoriasis is a medical condition in which patches of skin become red, swollen, and scaly. These patches can appear anywhere on the body, including the scalp. Traditional shampoos can sometimes worsen the symptoms of this skin condition. Therefore, choosing an appropriate psoriasis shampoo is very important. Most shampoos designed for this purpose will contain salicylic acid or tar, although some other options are also available.
Coal tar is the most popular ingredient found in psoriasis shampoo. This ingredient is used to help soothe itching as well as to assist the healing process involving the scalp lesions caused by psoriasis. It is important to remember that psoriasis shampoo is used to treat the scalp itself and not the hair. A mild shampoo may be used to wash the hair. Some patients do not like the strong smell of psoriasis shampoo, which contains coal tar. Using a mild shampoo with a pleasant fragrance on the hair after treating the scalp often helps to combat this problem.
Some patients are a bit nervous about using coal tar shampoo to treat psoriasis. This is due to the occupational hazards involving those who work in coal mines. Coal miners do have an increased risk of cancer, believed to stem from inhaling the fumes and ash over a period of years. There is no clear scientific evidence that using coal tar in psoriasis shampoo is linked to any increase in cancer risk.
Salicylic acid is another common ingredient used in psoriasis shampoo. It has been shown to help relieve the itching, flaking, and irritation associated with scalp conditions such as psoriasis. Along with coal tar shampoos, those containing salicylic acid can be found in most drug stores. Prescription strength shampoos are available for patients who have not responded well to over-the-counter shampoos.
For the patient who prefers a gentler, more natural approach involving psoriasis shampoo, many herbs are known for their healing properties and success in providing relief for this kind of scalp condition. For instance, jojoba oil helps to restore skin to a healthy state and is often added to natural shampoos. Emu oil has quite a reputation for helping to reduce the swelling and inflammation common in cases of scalp psoriasis. Both peppermint and menthol extracts have been shown to provide a gentle yet thorough deep skin cleansing and are therefore frequently added to natural psoriasis shampoo. Many times, all of the aforementioned natural ingredients are combined into one shampoo in order to provide the best possible natural psoriasis relief.