Michelle - Scalp psoriasis Q&A

Michelle took part in a Q&A for Psoriasis Awareness Week 2020 to share her experiences of scalp psoriasis with us.

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When were you first diagnosed with scalp psoriasis?

My name is Michelle and I am 25 years old. I live in Nottingham with my 3-month-old kitten, Max. I’m currently enjoying using my social media platforms to raise awareness of psoriasis and slowly regaining my passion of modelling. My journey with all things psoriasis began at the age of 7 in Zimbabwe, where I was born. The psoriasis mainly affected my body but it wasn’t long before it spread to my scalp.

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How does your scalp psoriasis affect you?

Scalp psoriasis affects me majorly as a young woman because I often feel I am unable to do everything I would like to do with my hair. It affects my self-esteem and confidence because I feel I have to keep it hidden to avoid people seeing it. It’s a constant battle of the mind. Scalp psoriasis for me at its worst has resulted in me scratching until I bleed, several fresh wounds on the scalp make it even harder to apply any type of treatment as this is really painful.

How do you treat/manage your scalp psoriasis?
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I have no solid treatment in place, I keep my hair bald as I have found this helps me because my scalp sweats less with zero hair on it and when it sweats less, I itch less. I wash my scalp with just warm water and moisturise with Cetraben and I keep my scalp under wigs too to keep myself from scratching my scalp. I keep my nails short or I have either gel or acrylics as I’ve found it easier to manage my scalp. The thickness of gel polish makes it almost impossible to actually scratch and cause any harm to the skin.

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What do you wish other people knew about living with scalp psoriasis?

I wish people knew that it is not easy living with something that is on the most visible part of your body. As humans we must extend grace and kindness when we see people who may look different to us. Sometimes scalp psoriasis leaves behind white bits in our hair which may resemble dandruff… it isn’t! We just have a lot of skin to work with.

What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed, or suspects they might have scalp psoriasis?

If you are only suspecting that you might have scalp psoriasis I’d strongly advise you to get an official diagnosis first otherwise you may cause more harm than good trying products that may make it worse.

For those newly diagnosed, I’d advise you take each day as it comes, it is easier to conquer one day than to overthink how the rest of your life will be with psoriasis. Conquer today first. It’s important to take your time with the acceptance process. I have had scalp psoriasis longer than I can remember and I still have days where I feel so insecure and want nobody to see me, but I remember that I’ve had better days and know the feeling won’t last.

Read more real-life stories from people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.