6 expert tips for navigating the hair salon with PsO

Ready to give your look a makeover? Here’s what to know before your appointment.

For the average human without a chronic scalp problem, going to the hair salon can seem like a real luxury. On the flip side, for people with scalp psoriasis, a condition that affects 45% to 56% of people living with the inflammatory skin disorder, a salon visit can be both stressful and intimidating. It doesn’t have to be that way, even when the flakes, redness, and painful itchy patches are part of the equation. Do you hear that, PsO warriors? We turned to leading experts for their advice and guidance on how to navigate the salon during a scalp psoriasis flare. Spoiler alert: advocacy is everything.

Do a little research

To avoid an uncomfortable salon situation, like dealing with a stylist who has never seen scalp psoriasis before, do a check before you make an appointment to make sure you are in the hands of someone who has not seen scalp psoriasis before. knows the disease. “When you first make an appointment at the salon, ask if any of their stylists have ever treated clients with scalp psoriasis,” suggests Sanam Hafeez, Psy.D., a New York-based neuropsychologist and director of a psychology firm called Comprehend the Mind. “If none of the stylists are experienced and you are fixed on this particular salon, take the opportunity to explain that you have psoriasis when you arrive; that it is a non-contagious disease that causes plaques on different parts of the body, including the scalp. Alternatively, you can call ahead to add a note to your reservation and give your stylist time to prepare.

Once they have a basic understanding of what psoriasis is, Dr Hafeez says you should reassure them that they can’t get it by touching you, and from there, explain to them what ‘this is a condition that requires attention and care. “Please tell them to avoid anything that could irritate your scalp,” says Dr. Hafeez. “For example, to avoid irritation, you can ask your hairdresser to use lukewarm water, to avoid excessive brushing, and to limit the number of chemicals used.”

Bring your own products

If your scalp psoriasis is on the more serious side (see: it covers the majority of your head and gets inflamed every week), you may not be able to tolerate some products found in your local salon, including those made. with irritating artificial fragrances, dyes, and sulfates. If so, there should be no problem bringing your own products (although it can’t hurt to call ahead to ask).

“One thing I recommend is bringing your medicated shampoos with you for the hairstylist to massage the scalp for several minutes,” says Adam Friedman, MD, certified dermatologist and director of the associate residency program in dermatology at GW Medical Associates at Washington, DC. He explains that these shampoos should be used as real scalp treatments because they need to be left on the skin for several minutes to be effective. They can be used in place of regular shampoo before using conditioner.

Prepare before your appointment

If you’re worried about how your scalp psoriasis might be perceived at the salon, Dr. Friedman suggests using a salicylic or coal tar shampoo a few days to a week before your appointment to reduce redness and hair loss. peeling. “These shampoos are good for temporarily removing encrusted scale and can be useful to use before your visit if you are afraid of people’s perceptions or just want your scalp to be in the best possible shape before you have your hair down. capped, ”he explains.

That said, you shouldn’t feel like you have to prep your scalp to look a certain way before you get your hair done. Bottom line: If you’re in a reputable, inclusive salon with compassionate, professional stylists, your scalp condition won’t be an issue at all.

To be a teacher

A great way to normalize scalp psoriasis is to simply educate people about what it is and how many lives it affects (7.5 million people in the United States, to be exact). Take it from Dr Hafeez, who says, “Educating others can help them see that you are no different from who they are on the inside – if people care and respect you, they will. sympathetic and understanding. She adds that some stylists may be curious and want to know how they can best help you. “Having an honest and open conversation with your stylist helps him better understand what it’s all about and hopefully he’ll appreciate your spending time talking to him. Plus, educating your stylist will prepare them for success on their next appointment with someone with scalp psoriasis.

Don’t ignore rude comments

Hope you never get in a situation where a stylist makes an insensitive comment on your scalp. However, if this happens to you, Dr. Hafeez recommends taking a moment before responding. “That way you can be more intentional in your words and avoid not responding on impulse or becoming defensive,” she says. “From there, stick to the facts. ”

For example, if a hairstylist says something like “You need to wash your hair more,” suggests Dr Hafeez explain to them very simply that psoriasis is by no means caused by poor hygiene. “You might even tell them that taking more showers won’t improve your condition and that spending too much time in hot water can make psoriasis worse,” she adds. “Remember, you can’t control the behavior of others, but you can control your reactions. Insensitive comments reflect the temperament and mood of the other person, not who you are as a person.

Experiment with different styles

Although people with scalp psoriasis should be wary of coloring their hair, as many standard formulas contain ingredients like alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and ammonia, all of which can be irritating, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment with your cut and style. Before your date, browse Instagram or Pinterest to find different looks you like, then on date day you can chat with your stylist about which one will be best. For example, if you suffer from dander or patches along the hairline, you might consider trying bangs that hide certain edges of your scalp. Of course, don’t forget to communicate with your stylist throughout the process to make sure he’s super soft throughout the cutting and styling process.

Ultimately, stick to the facts about psoriasis, educate others, and enjoy the healing session, says Dr. Hafee. And always remember that “standing up for yourself is a form of self-care that empowers you and allows you to set limits”.

Kaleigh Fasanella

Meet our writer

Kaleigh Fasanella

Kaleigh Fasanella is a Brooklyn, New York-based beauty, wellness and health writer and previously worked for magazines like Seduce and Vogue teens. She is a strong advocate for skin acceptance and self-esteem, and she really enjoys writing about topics that help break down the stigma surrounding chronic conditions like psoriasis and eczema. When not writing to pay rent, Kaleigh hides her face, watches all the cooking documentaries on Netflix, and plans her next trip to Italy.

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