5 things to help your dry scalp eczema or psoriasis

If you’ve ever had scalp eczema or an itchy scalp you will know how maddening it can be. Sometimes you wonder if you might even have nits and the dry skin flaking is embarassing.   Because eczema on the scalp is harder to treat it can get out of hand, hiding unseen under your hair – how do you keep your scalp moisturised without leaving your hair greasy?

Barefoot SOS Dry skin shampoo

Barefoot SOS Dry skin shampoo

Here are a few tips to save your scalp unecessary pain:

  1. Wash hair only when you need to. If it’s not greasy, try not to wash it. But if it’s particularly sore, bleeding etc. washing can help to clear up your scalp and help you feel cleaner.
  2. Don’t blow dry – if your scalp is particularly bad try to leave time for your hair to dry naturally if you can.  Hair dryers can really dry out your scalp and will exacerbate the problem.  Make extra time, get up earlier and towel dry instead. Drive with the windows open and just let it dry naturally.
  3. Use a scalp treatment – I find Betacap to be very effective but be warned. If you have broken skin on your scalp it does burn when you first apply it.  It hurts but the burning does subside and a few treatments with this stuff should really see off your scalp eczema.  Once you think it’s on the mend, do one or two more treatments so you make sure it’s completely gone.  Betacap is a liquid topical steroid and should be used sparingly but it doesn’t leave your hair too greasy so you can use it and not wash your hair the next day. I usually do prefer to wash my hair after using it – it does have quite a strong smell.  You will have to get Betacap on prescription.  Olive oil can really help psoriasis too but does make your hair greasy!
  4. Use gentle, natural shampoo – I’m trying BareFoot SOS dry scalp shampoo at the moment but there are lots you could try like Neutrogena, Faith in Nature or E45 dry scalp shampoo.  You could also experiment with soap nuts which are a truly natural alternative – more to follow on that soon when I’ve tried it myself. nb: Barefoot SOS products contain macadamia nuts – but even with a nut allergy myself I seem to be OK using this shampoo (I only spotted the nut ingredient after using the shampoo a few times)
  5. Throw away your sharp combs and brushes – This is a tough one.  A good sharp comb or brush can be absolute bliss for an itchy scalp but you can do huge amounts of damage when you are combing your hair… yeah we all know what you’re really doing.  Digging in the comb and having a really good old scratch of your poor scalp.  It may feel incredible but it’s not good. And having that nasty sharp comb lying around is too much temptation. Buy one that is soft smooth plastic, has wide tines and is not metal – it will be kinder to your scalp, even when you do give in and have a bit of a scratch…

So whether you have a dry scalp, excema or psoriasis on your scalp, these few tips here just might help. I may be teaching you stuff you already know but because it’s hidden under your hair it’s easy to ignore and not treat it till it gets quite bad.

What do you do when your scalp gets dry and itchy? How do you help eczema or psoriasis on your scalp heal quickly? What’s your top tip?


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About RuthS

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. http://www.whatallergy.com was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She runs a support group for the Anaphylaxis Campaign and also writes regularly for Exchange, The National Eczema Society quarterly magazine.


  1. Haven’t used this myself but Inkomfe Scalp Care Treatment is a consistent bestseller at our online store with a lot of repeat orders from customers with problem scalps who wouldn’t use anything else. The other successful treatment is to turn some powdered Sea-Med Seaweed Therapy into a paste with natural yoghurt, apply to the scalp and cover in clingfilm. Not a good look but works a treat! More info on Inkomfe and Sea-Med on the AllergyBestBuys website.

  2. I had a terrible itchy scalp. When my supermarket stopped selling the only shampoo which took some of the itching away, I panicked! Luckily I found it online.

    But since two years I can use normal shampoo as long I stick to my Paleo diet. For me a diet without grains and dairy products has cleared my scalp and acne and another 10 issues I had. So worth a try I would say.
    As well eating food with a high fat contents (oily fish, advocado, olive and coconut oil) etc, helps to grease it from the inside.

    • Food is so important, for me too. I am always telling people to look at their diet. I am not quite paleo but I don’t eat many, if any processed foods now. I do allow things like oat cakes (dairy and wheat free of course) and ready salted crisps on the diet, but basically I can eat anything as long as it’s not one of my allergens and not processed. There is a whole heap of lovely food out there that I can eat. Glad your scalp is sorted. I just tried out a new shampoo and mine is now awful. Can’t seem to settle on a good shampoo at the moment. Which one do you use?

  3. Thanks for sharing these tips on controlling eczema! I feel like I might have eczema on my scalp, especially since it gets so dry and flaky all the time. It is starting to get annoying, and I don’t want to have to worry about people seeing dry skin. Hopefully these treatments can help me get it under control, and if they don’t, I’ll definitely start looking for professional help.

  4. Yes, you got me, I mean the last one. It’s pure heaven to scratch with a brush, not just the scalp but Eczema on the body too. I do it at bathtime, have a good old scrub with the bath brush……..only cleaning of course, not too much though!. Scratching rules!.

    • Scratching is underated. I just had a really good scratch. Never giving up scratching but it’s all about learning how to satiate that itch without doing too much damage. I use a loofah at bathtime. Bliss! ;o) And yes, all over body scratching is best.

  5. I got the itching so bad I went to the doctor and he gave me Betacap, I’ve only used it for four days but the itching has virtually disappeared but the doctor said to wash it out the morning after but seeing an earlier comment I will leave washing it tomorrow and see. I use a shampoo for eczema and dandruff but this seems to make dandruff after using it (Alphosyl).

  6. I have to vary my shampoos because I have Psoriasis on my scalp, oily hair, plus I get dry scalp! It’s a lot to deal with! My hair is long, thick & wavy too, so maintenance is important. I have found that when my Psoriasis is getting painful – sore, itchy, really thick & cracking – the absolute best product I have found yet is Nourish Naturals Eczema & Psoriasis Cream. It comes in a 50g tube (I am in Australia – not sure if you can get this elsewhere) & it really is natural! It’s all herbal & does have a distinct odour but I do not find it altogether unpleasant. Mostly smells of lavender. I find it does sting on open wounds but if applied in the morning, it has gone a long way to closing that wound by the end of the day! It’s fantastic, relieves pain & itching, & assists in controlling my Psoriasis as well as dry skin. Unfortunately, it is a clay coloured cream so it does build up & needs washing regularly, causing the dry scalp to flare up. I like alternating between Selsun Gold dandruff control shampoo, Nutragena, & any sort of Coal Tar shampoo sold at Chemists (Pharmacies). But this all trashes the hair, so I like a nice, creamy conditioner & avoid massaging into the scalp, & just leave it on the length of hair for 3 or so minutes before a quick massage/lather & then rinse. This new routine is more beneficial to my scalp overall, although I do need to tweak that a bit still.
    But finding Nourish has been the absolute best discovery (& not expensive either!) that I have had in a long time for my Psoriasis control.

  7. In the winter I normally have my hair longer but the itching and dandruff has normally been horrendous, so I can sympathize with you girls that generally keep hair longer then us men.

    This winter, now I’ve got the Betacap to use when I need it, I’m going to keep my hair short and see how it goes. Probably will find it freezing, lol.

  8. Irritation and an itchy scalp can usually be treated with a medicated dandruff shampoo.

    The chemical ingredients in these shampoos, including zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid, and ketoconazole, among others, can help ease the inflammation and get rid of flaky, scaly skin when used two or three times a week.

    Topical creams, ointments, or sprays made from coal tar or corticosteroids can also be applied to help calm the irritation and stop the flaking.

    Avoid exposure to any suspected irritants and allergens
    Clean your scalp thoroughly, but avoid drying it out by using only a quarter-sized dollop of a gentle shampoo and warm, never hot, water
    Keep stress levels under control
    Shampoo your hair after you’ve been sweating heavily, like after a workout, as perspiration can be a trigger.
    Scalp eczema often responds to treatment but can return back.
    Be aware of eczema flare-ups, and start the treatment right away.


  1. […] 5 things to help your dry scalp eczema or psoriasis | what … – If you have problems with your dry scalp, eczema or psoriasis, here are 5 things that might help your heal and keep that dry skin at bay. […]

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