(Photo : Vecteezy / Towfiqu Ahamed Barbhuiya)

Having to cope with scalp psoriasis and its symptoms is a common problem. Although professional treatments are highly recommended, top choices for over-the-counter (OTC) treatments can still soothe dryness and itch.

Scalp Psoriasis 

First, note that scalp psoriasis can be an indicator of psoriatic arthritis, so it is important to consult a dermatologist for diagnosis and a rheumatologist for screening if you suspect you have it. 

This skin disorder, affecting about half of Americans, can vary in appearance based on skin tone, presenting as raised, reddish patches with white scales on lighter skin or purple patches with gray scales on darker skin. 

While scalp psoriasis is not contagious, it can affect quality of life due to its high-impact nature and potential for discomfort, itching, and embarrassment. 

Treatment options, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, can help manage symptoms and improve overall comfort. While scalp psoriasis can be challenging to treat, it is not impossible, and seeking professional advice is key to finding the right approach for you.


Scalp psoriasis symptoms can vary from fine scaling that resembles dandruff to thick, crusted plaques covering the scalp. It may present as red or purple bumpy patches with silvery-white scales, dandruff-like flaking, dryness, itching, burning, soreness, and even temporary hair loss due to scratching or harsh treatments. 

Top OTC Choices

For managing mild scalp psoriasis, OTC products like shampoos and topicals containing salicylic acid or tar can be effective. Salicylic acid helps soften and remove scales, while tar slows skin cell growth and reduces inflammation and itching.

It is important to follow your healthcare provider's recommendations and use OTC or prescription medications as directed, including antihistamines for severe itching.

For a dermatologist-approved approach to relieve symptoms, explore OTC options that offer solace for dry patches, itchiness, and soreness associated with scalp psoriasis. Here are a few:

Dermarest Psoriasis Medicated Shampoo + Conditioner

Dermarest Psoriasis Medicated Shampoo + Conditioner is a fragrance-free formula designed to relieve and prevent scalp itching, irritation, redness, flaking, and scaling due to psoriasis. Formulated with 3% salicylic acid and a unique zinc complex, this product removes and controls scalp buildup, soothes irritation, eliminates itching, and restores moisture. 

Dermatologist-tested and recognized by the National Psoriasis Foundation, this shampoo plus conditioner is recommended for use at least twice a week or as directed by a doctor. 

Nutrafol Stress Reliever Scalp Essence

Nutrafol Stress Reliever is a scalp essence designed to soothe and calm a dry, red scalp, reducing itch, flakes, and dryness for healthier hair. Formulated with gentle ingredients like pre- and postbiotics, peach gum, and prickly pear, it's safe for sensitive scalps. 

Clinically tested, 97% of users felt their scalp was soothed after four weeks of use. Certified microbiome-friendly, this scalp care product is a great addition to your hair health routine.

Scalpicin Anti-Itch Liquid

Touted as America's No. 1 scalp itch medicine, Scalpicin Anti-Itch Liquid offers quick relief without interfering with your hair's look or feel. Its fragrance-free, greaseless formula contains 1% hydrocortisone to help relieve scalp itch associated with psoriasis. 

The enhanced formula not only soothes itching but also improves scalp condition and makes hair easier to comb. This product is made with aloe so it is a non-greasy liquid that is fast-acting. You can use this product if you still experience flaking and redness; however, use it only for a maximum of seven consecutive days. 

Act + Acre Cold Processed Scalp Detox

This product is a natural scalp treatment designed to cleanse, moisturize, and nourish your scalp for healthy, strong, and thick hair growth. This vitamin-rich hair oil removes buildup and relieves dryness, itching, flakiness, and oiliness, delivering essential nutrients to boost scalp health and optimize hair follicle function. Made with plant-based ingredients and powered by patented technology, this cruelty-free scalp oil is free of sulfates, parabens, silicones, phthalates, gluten, and synthetic fragrances. 

Act + Acre Cold Processed Scalp Detox is clinically proven to remove over 95% of buildup on the scalp and hair after just one use, making it highly recommended for overall scalp health and addressing scalp conditions like psoriasis.

Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo

Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo is a dermatologist-recommended treatment for scalp conditions like psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and dandruff. Its 3% salicylic acid formula effectively clears crusty buildup, relieves itching and flaking, and continues to work even after rinsing. 

This conditioning shampoo is free of added color, preservatives, and fragrance, providing maximum relief for dry, itchy, and flaky scalps. Experts recommend using Neutrogena at least twice a week.

Lifestyle Changes

Experts emphasize that lifestyle changes like reducing stress, limiting alcohol, quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy diet are necessary to manage psoriasis. Seek the assistance of your pharmacists when purchasing non-irritating over-the-counter products to soothe scalp psoriasis.