Natural Hair, Scalp Psoriasis, and Hair Loss….Oh My!

black-woman-screamingIn July 2009, I made a decision to stop relaxing my hair.   This came as a result of research and discussions with co-workers on the effects relaxers have on hair.  For the next year I’d try various lotions, potions, and moisturizers to figure out what worked best.   One thing I found out was that my hair loves shea butter.

Skip forward to January 2011.  I had an itchy scalp that was beyond anything I’d experienced before.  There was a flake here and there so I though it was dandruff.  Wrong!  I spent a lot of money before I figured that out.  And on top of that, it made my scalp irritated, itchy, dry, and caused more scaling in the back of my head.  For the next couple of months, I conducted more research.  Some medical websites and random blogs suggested eczema or maybe psoriasis, but some of the symptoms didn’t seem to fit….or so I thought.  And by this time, I was losing some of my hair in the back of my head.  I took a leap of faith and tried tea tree oil and coal-tar.  Both were smelly messes, and I didn’t see a difference in my scalp or reduction in hair loss.  Back to the internet I went.  Once I’d exhausted the searches, it boiled down to my having to see a dermatologist.

The first dermatologist that I saw could give two figs about what was happening to me.  I gave a thorough description and showed her where there was issue.  She barely looked at my scalp let alone touched it.  She acted like I was a leper.  I felt tainted and helpless.  She prescribed Derma-Smoothe for what she said was a bad case of dandruff.   I was hesitant to try it, but since the cost wasn’t bad due to insurance, I went for it.  It was yet another epic failure with a mess to boot.  My scalp was oily (with scales) and it made my hair feel icky.  Being African-American, washing my hair every day would cause dryness issues so I know that’s why there was the ickiness.  I discontinued that and went to a different dermatologist.

The second dermatologist asked questions and listened to what I described.  Off the bat she said it sounded like scalp psoriasis, but wanted to test to confirm.  Sure enough, that’s what it was.  She prescribed Clobex and Taclonex, but suggested that I try the Taclonex sample first.  Let me tell you, that stuff worked within a couple of days.  My scalp did not itch and the thick scales had disappeared.  Within a little over a month, I could feel the sprouts of hair coming back to the area.  I did not have another flare up for well over a year.

When the scalp psoriasis came back, it brought a few friends by way of thicker scales and now in different areas.  My prescription had run out and what Taclonex I still had was expired.  I considered going back to the dermatologist, but her fee and the cost of the ointment caused me to refrain.  At that time, I started to use henna and indigo powder from mehandi.com to dye my grays.  It did a beautiful job and……my scales were gone.  Could it be?  For about 3 days I was scale free, but it eventually came back.   So for about another year, I continued to use henna until I got tired of doing this time-consuming process.

Towards the end of 2013 I had had enough.  I went back online to see if there were any new developments on scalp psoriasis.  There were meds for psoriasis in general, but the side affects scared me off.  I came across a post by Christina Patrice on natural hair and scalp psoriasis.  Some of the suggestions I had tried without success, but there was one that I thought was worth a try.  It was the Shea Moisture Deep Cleansing Shampoo specifically for dandruff, eczema, and psoriasis.  Initially it worked similar to henna where the scales would dissolve and not come back for a few days.  That was great!  But when the scales came back I was noticing my hair thinning out again in those areas and my scalp was itchy.  It was time to stop pussy-footing around and go to the doctor.

I have a new prescription for Taclonex and this time it was $35 cheaper than before ($85 past, $50 this time – thank you insurance company).  Like before, the scales and itchiness were gone after a couple of days, but the difference this time is that the recommended duration of application is 4 weeks.  The first time I used it, the duration was 14 days.  So we’ll see how it goes.  I hope this information can help someone, but as always, do your research and follow the professional advice of your physician or medical provider.

Oh and one last consideration. Look at the types of foods/drinks you intake. I did notice that the itchiness was worse when I ate a lot of sweets and junk foods. Cutting back and drinking water helped a lot.

XOXO, Melanie Dawnn

Photo: Pinterest (via BeauTIFFul Curls)
Disclaimer: The above post is the opinion and experience of Melanie Dawnn, 
and should not be taken as medical advice.  Please consult with your 
physician or medical provider for health concerns.

Copyright © 2013-2014 ✽ All Rights Reserved
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