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Psoriasis, patchy, flaky, blistery, painful nuisance that can plague even the most well cared-for scalps is persistent and difficult to treat. If you suffer from it, you are in good company, as even some famous members of the reality-TV elite have battled it. Like them, you may be wondering what triggers it in an effort to cure it. While they are only part of the story, limiting your use of certain hair care ingredients can definitely lessen flare-ups. Common scalp psoriasis triggers that you might regularly find in haircare products include those below. Of course, there are others such as parabens, but they are likely to be ingredients that are not part of a standard curly regimen.

  • Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS): Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, while not Curly Girl Method friendly, is still being used by those of us who wash and style silicones that are not water-soluble. Sulphates can strip your hair of its moisture and in the process irritate your sensitive, psoriasis-prone scalp. Avoid it if you can and replace it with a gentler curl-friendly shampoo. Ideally, look for shampoos that contain black soap and white willow bark, for example SheaMoisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo.
  • Urea: There are three forms of it that can be found in your hair care products: hydroxyethyl, diazolidiny, and imidazolidinyl. Hydroxyethyl is the most common, as it is a humectant and moisturizer.
  • Fragrances/perfumes: Any type of fragrance or perfume can trigger a psoriasis flare-up if you have sensitivities. A number of haircare lines carry fragrance-free options for a variety of curl types, for example Jessicurl and Koils by Nature.
  • Polysorbates: These are emulsifiers and thickeners that can be found in numerous hair products, particularly conditioners which have both oil and water-based ingredients.
  • Sorbic acid, sorbates: Used as preservatives, sorbic acid and sorbates are antimicrobial. If you react to them, look for products that contain rosemary oil or extract as a preservative.
  • Alcohols: While there is a big difference between drying alcohols like Isopropyl alcohol and denatured alcohol and the fatty alcohols (e.g., cetyl and stearyl) in terms of how hair looks and feels, when it comes to psoriasis, any alcohol can set off a flare-up of dreaded psoriasis.
  • Propylene glycol: Last year, in 2018, American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS) named Propylene Glycol Allergen of the Year. This illustrious (or rather, notorious) award was a nod to those of us scalp psoriasis sufferers who have been avoiding propylene glycol for years.
  • Minoxidil(brand name: Rogaine): While the alcohol or the propylene glycol in these hair loss products can be the main culprits, it is not uncommon for psoriasis sufferers to incur a flare-up from actual Minoxidil itself. If you are experiencing this, consider switching to a topical that contains rosemary which was shown to be as effective as 2% Rogaine in this 2015 study. Sunny Isle Rosemary Jamaican Black Castor Oil contains rosemary essential oil and Jamaican Black Castor Oil, both of which can help regrow hair.

If you have scalp psoriasis, which ingredients do you avoid to limit flare-ups? Share them with your Naturally Curly community in the comments. See How to Deal with Scalp Psoriasis, According to The Hair Doctor for more tips.And then