do you have scalp psoriasis or a bad scalp care routine?

Is It Scalp Psoriasis Or A Bad Scalp Care Routine?

Tiffany Amaro Body, Body Truths Leave a Comment

For most of my life, I thought I had scalp psoriasis.

I’ve had hair stylists tell me this. Doctors tell me this. My parents, even friends and extended family were convinced my itchy scalp was due to scalp psoriasis.

After years of trying medicated shampoos and conditioners, different diets, and various hair treatments that included things like clay masks and coconut oil soaks, I finally learned the simple truth:

I had never been taught how to take care of my curly hair and my scalp was suffering because of it.

Is It Scalp Psoriasis Or
JUST A BAD ROUTINE?

I have curly hair.

And for most of my life, I’ve seen that as a burden.

In my childhood, I didn’t “do” anything to my hair other than add a few barrettes, maybe throw in some pigtails once in a while, basic shit like that (I for sure had butterfly clips, both the plastic neon babies and the ones with glitter that bobbled when you walked down the halls looking like a boss fairy queen).

Be it because I clearly gave no shits whatsoever or because we lived in Florida at the time, my hair during my childhood wasn’t my biggest concern (that would be the impending doom that would be my first period to begin a lifetime of ever-more periods).

In my teens, I felt something like obligation to dye and straighten my hair. Not because the “cool kids” did it, but because my hair was a mess without it.

We had moved to Colorado and my hair reacted to the lack of moister…unfortunately. To combat that, I dove head first into hair augmentation. These were experimental times.

By the time I went off to college, my hair was a mess and I decided to swear off any alternations for the unforeseeable future.

I wanted to learn how to love my hair just as it is without adding a MFing thing to it.”Tiffany Amaro,
Your Friendly Lifestyle Revolution Alchemist

Thus began a ten year journey into cutting, styling, cleansing, and caring for my hair in some of the most ridiculous ways.

Despite it all, it wasn’t until last year (2019) when I finally figured out how to truly treat my hair.


Scalp Psoriasis
SYMPTOMS

Two things slowed me down to realizing that I didn’t have scalp psoriasis:

  • 1) I had a lot of the symptoms, and
  • 2) I had been told by doctors and family alike that I did, in fact, have scalp psoriasis.

This lesson keeps popping up for me in various layers as I address my shadow work:

In my youth, I soaked up everything anyone told me about myself.

  • I was told by an old lady in a JC Penny that I couldn’t wear red because it makes my cheeks stand out too much – I believed that for 10 years.
  • I was told I had chondromalacia – I believed that for 20 years.
  • I was told my hair looked disgusting when I left it curly (aka natural) – I believed that for 10+ years.

The list goes on, as too does the shadow work.

My point is that when you have similar symptoms to a disorder and the people you trust tell you that you have that disorder, you might choose to believe them – I sure as fuck did.

I had all of these common scalp psoriasis symptoms:

  • Scaly, red bumpy patches
  • Dandruff-like flaking
  • Dry scalp
  • Itching
  • Burning or soreness
  • Hair loss

I had teachers, family members, friends, hair stylists, and two doctors tell me that I had scalp psoriasis.

And so, I spent most of my life believing that I did.

Until one fateful day – one glorious, delicious, scalp-gods blessed day – I stumbled upon the curly girl method.


You Might Not Have
Scalp Psoriasis At All…

YOU MIGHT JUST
HAVE A BAD ROUTINE

The curly girl method, from Lorraine Massey’s book “Curly Girl: The Handbook,” is a hair care method that trades in damage routines for healthy routines using primarily conditioner and gel.

The two reasons behind this routine being fucking genius are:

  • 1) Curly hair requires more moisture, and
  • 2) Because of how curly hair coils out of the scalp, it requires more attention.

Curly hair grows out in a coil and can leave debris and buildup around the hair follicle.

This can lead to itchiness, dandruff, and dry scalp, three of my mystery symptoms 🤔

But what gets even worse is when you add an overwhelming shampoo regimen.

Over shampooing can dry out the scalp and cause it to either become itchy or oily. On top of that, it strips your scalp of the natural oils it needs for keeping your curly hair healthy and vibrant.

If you shampoo multiple times a week – like most straight-haired people do, like most of us were raised to do – then you’re brutally suffocating your scalp and your hair.

I went from shampooing my hair for every or every other shower, to only shampooing once a week.

Here’s are my new rules for a healthy scalp routine:

  • Only shampoo once a week (every Monday)
  • Use a scalp massager before each shower
  • Co-wash before every shower (1 part conditioner/6 parts water)
  • Use conditioner for every shower
  • Use leave-in conditioner once after every shower
  • Allow hair to air dry, flipping occasionally for comfort

I’ll go into each of these in more depth further down in this post.


Curly Hair Needs A
SCALP CARE ROUTINE

There are nine (9) types of curly hair ranging from loose waves to tight coils.

Having no idea how to care for my curly hair but being a decade into no dying, straightening or otherwise artificially altering my hair, I felt pretty good about narrowing down my curl type using this free quiz, from which I learned:

I am a 3B.

Upon further digging, I quickly learn that each type of curly hair needs its own unique scalp care treatment.

And so I began my scalp care journey.

“I wanted my scalp care to be a minimalist routine with maximum effect.”Tiffany Amaro,
Your Friendly Lifestyle Revolution Alchemist

I started by throwing out all of my crappy shampoos and in their place, I purchased Head & Shoulders Charcoal Shampoo.

In the future, I’ll probably purchase something a bit nicer, but for now, I wanted to see what minimal changes I could make to receive maximum results so I chose something clarifying that is meant for itchy scalps.

Then, I tossed out all my leave-in conditioner options and started experimenting.

  • Coconut oil left my hair too greasy
  • Gel gave my hair a defiant crunch, no matter how much I used
  • Anything from Garnier Fructis dried my hair out like straw

I’m sure a lot of these were user error more than anything.

I’m sure Garnier Fructis is a nice enough brand.

That being said, I was still looking for the simplest solutions and I wasn’t interested in tweaking anything for longer than two weeks.

It took three months of fiddling, but I finally figured out what works for my hair.

It’s now been one year and my scalp is 100% itch free with zero signs of anything resembling psoriasis, and my hair is thicker and longer and healthier than ever.


The Curly Hair Scalp Care Routine THAT PROVED
I DIDN’T HAVE SCALP PSORIASIS, I HAD A BAD ROUTINE

My hair wasn’t damaged, it was dry.

My scalp wasn’t riddled with psoriasis, it was being poorly treated.

I was essentially treating my scalp like dry skin that I didn’t want to moisturize, then getting mad at that skin for constantly being dry.

🙄

So I got my shit together and, now, I follow this routine:

  • Only shampoo once a week.

    I chose a day (Monday) and stuck with it. Outside of that day, it’s the co-wash life for me.

  • Use a scalp massage tool before each shower.

    I use this brush all over my scalp to loosen up any debris and stimulate the hair follicles. This is my favorite part of the whole experience!

  • Then co-wash before showering.

    I use 1 part conditioner to 6 parts water, mix it up with warm water, and then slow poor it over my dry hair until my hair is all wet.

  • Detangle with love after co-washing.

    Once my hair has absorbed the co-wash, I slowly – lovingly – detangle it with my fingers or a small brush.

  • Shampoo twice and rinse well.

    If it’s a shampoo day, I shampoo my hair twice through, being sure to rinse well after each shampooing.

  • Deep condition and set for 3-5 minutes.

    If it’s not a shampoo day (six days out of the week), then I put in a heaping handful of conditioner after detangling my hair with a co-wash and then throw it all up in a hair clip while I continue showering.

  • No towel drying, just air drying.

    I no longer wrap my hair in a towel, use a hair dryer, or do the plopping method. Instead, I let my hair air dry and just flip it side to side whenever feels right.

  • Leave-in conditioner and scrunch.

    Finally, I apply a leave-in conditioner and then scrunch my hair upwards to gently style where it falls. If I’m going to run my fingers through my hair at all, now’s the time to do it to break up curls and help everything set well.

  • Sleep with a bonnet or pineapple.

    When I sleep, I now use a bonnet, a silk scarf, or throw my hair up into a quick pineapple bun.


Repeat After Me:
BEFORE I LET ANYONE TELL ME WTF IS WRONG WITH ME, I’M GOING TO LEARN HOW TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF FIRST.
K THANKS.

Long lesson short:

Sometimes – most of the times – you gotta dismantle old storylines if you want to find out what’s really going on.

Thanks to this new routine – and a newfound adoration for my crazy fun curly hair – I’ve been itch, dandruff, soreness, and flake free for a full year!

“Just because it’s what you were taught, doesn’t mean it’s what you should do. Be discerning with all that you do, to yourself and others.”Tiffany Amaro,
Your Friendly Lifestyle Revolution Alchemist

Have you tried the curly hair method?

What have been your results?

Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear about other opinions and experiences!

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