Scalp psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes scaly, itchy patches on the scalp. There are many remedies people can try at home to help relieve the symptoms, such as medicated shampoos, topical treatments, and herbal remedies.

Psoriasis is a group of autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. Autoimmune conditions cause the immune system to target the wrong cells or overreact to harmless triggers.

In the case of psoriasis, the autoimmune activity makes skin cells grow more quickly than usual, creating scales and lesions on the skin.

The symptoms of psoriasis on the scalp can range from mild to severe. A variety of home remedies and shampoos can reduce pain and itching associated with scalp psoriasis and help accelerate the healing process.

However, treating scalp psoriasis can be complicated. A person might need to try numerous combinations and treatments before they find one that works for them.

This article looks at how to recognize scalp psoriasis, what causes it, and how best to manage it.

A collage depicting home remedies for psoriasis -1.Share on Pinterest
Design by MNT; Photography by Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images & MiMaLeFi/Getty Images

It is possible to make a psoriasis-relieving shampoo at home.

People can try mixing psoriasis-friendly ingredients with their usual shampoo. For example, the National Psoriasis Foundation notes that people may find that apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil may help relieve scalp psoriasis symptoms.

However, this may not be suitable for more severe forms of scalp psoriasis. More research is necessary to confirm how safe and effective these ingredients are for scalp psoriasis.

A person can also purchase over-the-counter shampoos containing salicylic acid or coal tar. These can help people manage mild scalp psoriasis. These might also be available in the form of creams, lotions, and ointments.

Before applying these shampoos or ointments, a person may use warm water to make the plaques softer. They can then comb the hair in a gentle circular motion to help remove plaques from the scalp.

Whether homemade or store-bought, any psoriasis shampoo should contain one of the following ingredients to be effective:

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a medication that helps soften thick patches of scalp psoriasis and remove them from the skin.

People may start with a product with relatively low salicylic acid content and gradually increase the strength based on how their skin reacts. Stronger treatments contain more salicylic acid and may irritate the skin.

Some other acids, including glycolic and lactic acid, can also help the skin peel. However, like salicylic acid, they can irritate the skin at higher concentrations.


Ketoconazole is an antifungal agent that can help people with dry, scaly skin associated with psoriasis. Shampoos that contain ketoconazole can help remove both dandruff and psoriatic plaques.

Some people with scalp psoriasis have a higher risk of fungal infections than people who do not have the condition. Ketoconazole is a beneficial ingredient that can protect the scalp from painful yeast infections.

Selenium sulfide

This is a preparation that people use to treat many conditions that affect the skin, including hyperkeratosis and seborrheic dermatitis.

Research has indicated that selenium sulfide is also effective for treating scalp psoriasis.


Some people use coal tar to treat psoriasis, including scalp psoriasis. Although researchers have carried out more studies into coal tar and psoriasis, pine tar soaps and shampoos may also work.

People can start with a low concentration and work up to more potent formulas. However, people need to check with a healthcare professional about the maximum strength they can use.

If shampoos and milder treatments are ineffective, a healthcare professional might consider prescribing more intensive topical treatments. Examples include:

  • Calcipotriene (Dovonex): This synthetic form of vitamin D helps by slowing cell growth in the skin, shedding scales, and reducing the size of lesions.
  • Calcipotriene and betamethasone dipropionate (Taclonex): Research from 2022 found that using a foam containing both calcipotriene and betamethasone for 4 weeks improved the symptoms of scalp psoriasis in all 10 case studies.
  • Tazarotene (Tazorac): This topical retinoid helps reduce the speed of skin cell growth and decrease inflammation.
  • Topical prescription corticosteroids: These can help reduce swelling, itching, and scale.

A healthcare professional might also consider systemic therapies. These are medications that affect many systems in the body and target the autoimmune activity at the root of psoriasis.

Treatment might become less effective if a person uses the same medication for a long time. A healthcare professional may change their treatment regimen if this is the case. People can rotate a combination of treatments for the best long-term results.

No home remedy can resolve scalp psoriasis on its own. However, certain natural and alternative treatments can help improve the appearance of psoriasis lesions, moisturize the skin, and soothe itching when a person uses them alongside more traditional treatments.

The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends the following herbal remedies for psoriasis:


Some research in rats suggested that turmeric can reduce the inflammation associated with psoriasis.

A 2018 randomized controlled trial suggested that turmeric tonic has anti-inflammatory effects in those who have scalp psoriasis. The study authors reported satisfactory results supporting its use as a treatment.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can help relieve itching. People can buy a bottle from the store and apply it to the scalp a few times per week.

If apple cider vinegar causes a burning sensation, rinse it after it dries or dilute it 1:1 with water. People whose skin is cracked and bleeding may avoid this remedy.

Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts

People can try mixing either of these with warm bathwater and soaking in the solution for around 15 minutes.

The salts might help a person remove scales and relieve itching. People who try this remedy can moisturize the area afterward.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a plant-sourced gel that can help soothe red skin and reduce scaling in people with psoriasis.

A person can apply the gel directly to the scalp and then wash their hair using a psoriasis-friendly shampoo.

Oats or colloidal oatmeal

Oats or colloidal oatmeal can soothe irritated skin and may help with extremely dry plaques on the scalp.

A person can combine colloidal oatmeal with some water and either use this to rinse their hair after using shampoo or apply the mixture to their scalp for a short time before rinsing.

A person can also take a colloidal oatmeal bath, ensuring they soak their scalp in the water.

Shampoos and home remedies may improve the appearance of scalp psoriasis, but they will not cure the underlying condition.

Without treatment, psoriasis can lead to serious complications, such as heart disease and certain types of cancer, including head and neck cancers and malignant growths in the digestive tract.

Living with psoriasis can affect a person’s self-esteem and may give rise to depression or anxiety. For this reason, people with psoriasis may wish to try out some positive coping strategies to boost their well-being.

People who experience symptoms of psoriasis on the scalp can seek medical attention. A range of systemic and topical treatments can slow the progress of the condition.

There are various remedies that a person can try at home to manage the symptoms of psoriasis that have developed on the scalp.

A person can add psoriasis-friendly ingredients to their current shampoos, such as apple cider vinegar. They can also use over-the-counter medicated shampoos containing ingredients such as coal tar, salicylic acid, or ketoconazole.

Another option includes topical treatments, such as corticosteroids, calcipotriene, tazarotene, or a combination of calcipotriene and betamethasone dipropionate.

Herbal remedies are also a potential option. A person can try taking a turmeric tonic or applying apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, or colloidal oatmeal to the scalp.

Herbal remedies will not cure scalp psoriasis. However, a person can speak with a dermatologist about how to use these remedies in conjunction with other treatment options.

Read this article in Spanish.