Confident Hairstyles That Won’t Aggravate Scalp Psoriasis

When scalp psoriasis flares up, don’t reach for your favorite hat. There are plenty of simple and versatile hairstyles that can camouflage your scalp when inflammation strikes.

The thick scales caused by the chronic condition can appear along your hairline and extend to the back of the neck or behind the ears. They can pose a real challenge when it comes to hair styling.

The key is to find a flattering style that doesn’t require a ton of products and allows your scalp to breathe while concealing the scales.

“Hairstyles that provide maximum access to the scalp are advised,” says Candrice Heath, MD, a dermatologist in Philadelphia. “The goal is to have access to the scalp for topical treatments.”

She advises to be gentle when styling your hair, especially during psoriasis flare-ups. 

“Due to the buildup of scales, some people experience hair loss, which can be aggravated by vigorous scalp manipulation as they style their hair,” Heath says.

The takeaway? Go easy to avoid further irritation and damage to your hair follicles.

No matter your hair type, there’s a style that’s right for you. Don’t know where to start? Let these expert tips and hair styling tricks guide you to a beautiful, confident look.

Voluminous Curls

Give your strands a break and let your hair down, literally. Pulling the hair too tightly can irritate the scalp, causing flare-ups. Keep your style loose with bouncy curls or waves.

“If your hair is straight, using a curling iron to create curls can instantly add volume,” says hairstylist Mikko Dooley, founder of Rich Education Salon in Chicago. “It can hide the scales and scalp while providing a full look.”

Just make sure you don’t let the curling iron get too close to the scalp; the heat can cause or intensify a flare-up.

People with naturally curly or textured hair can try this look, too.

“You can do a two-strand twist-out on natural hair to add lift and provide volume that can conceal the scalp,” Dooley says. “Gently fluff towards the front if the flare-up is along the forehead.”

Here’s a step-by-step guide to achieving this look:

Step 1: Apply a heat protectant to your hair.

Step 2: Section and part your hair.

Step 3: Hold the curling iron horizontally and wrap the section of hair you are curling around the wand.

Step 4: Repeat the process around your head.

Step 5: Let the curls fall down over your hairline

Half Up, Half Down

Whether you have curly or straight hair, this easy style is effective in covering scalp psoriasis around the hairline and on the back of the neck.

“Half-up, half-down styles are great for masking scalp psoriasis,” says Corrinn Dinan, a hairstylist in New York City. “It works well on those with medium to long hair because the loose pieces can cover exposed areas of irritation.”

 Here’s a step-by-step guide to achieving this look:

Step 1: Softly gather the hair at the crown.

Step 2: Use an elastic tie or bobby pin to loosely secure in place.

Step 3: Pull on small pieces of hair around the crown of your head to add more volume.

Step 4: Grab a small section of hair on each side of your head to create face-framing tendrils.

Curtain Bangs

Concealing redness or scales along the hairline is a cinch with peek-a-boo curtain bangs. Just as the name suggests, the style frames both sides of your face just as curtains frame windows, and they can work with a variety of hairstyles. Dinan recommends this low-maintenance look for those who are looking to cover up the front of the hairline.

“It’s a very versatile way to hide any psoriasis that may be visible along the fringe forehead area,” she explains. “Sweeping bangs like this can be pushed from side to side and will work that way too.”

 Here’s a step-by-step guide to achieving this look:

Step 1: Part hair down the middle.

Step 2: Section out the hair from the center part of your head using a flat comb.

Step 3:  Using trimming shears and a flat comb, cut your bangs straight across at chin level. 

Step 4: After separating into two equal parts, cut each side of your bangs at an angle.

Step 5: Cut your bangs vertically to feather them.

Low-Sweeping Mermaid Braid

Soft, romantic braids are another effortless way to hide scales without compromising style. A low-sweeping braid can do wonders for hiding problem areas around the nape of the neck.

“The whole purpose is to cover the most inflamed areas where silvery scales are exposed,” Dooley says.

Be sure to braid loosely to eliminate any extra stress put on your hair, but be sure that it’s tight enough to hold. Braids are a good option because they don’t require potentially irritating styling products.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to achieving this look:

Step 1: Bring your hair to one side. If it’s long enough, pull it over to one shoulder.

Step 2: Separate into three sections.

Step 3: Weave the strands together by pulling the right strand over your inner right strand. The two will switch places. Next, weave the same strand under the inner left. Finally, bring the right over the left.

Step 4: Repeat to the end of the braid and secure with a hair tie.

Step 5: Pull down tendrils to provide additional coverage at the nape of the neck.

Cascading Layers

Styles with layers create volume, which prevents hair from being flat. Dinan suggests face-framing layers.

“That bit of lift, layers, and movement can blend and hide away any exposed irritation from the psoriasis,” she says. “It gives a little softness that can cover the hairline.” 

For best results, consult with a professional stylist to achieve this look.

Pixie Cut

Short hair has its benefits. It can cut down on washing and styling time. Plus, it makes applying medicated shampoos and other treatments easier. Best of all, it can hide psoriasis along the hairline.

“Pixie cuts are great for camouflaging psoriasis because you can bring the hair forward over the hairline,” Dooley says.

For best results, consult with a professional stylist to achieve this look.  

WebMD Feature



American Academy of Dermatology.

Candrice Heath, MD, Assistant Professor, Dermatology, Temple University, Philadelphia.

Mikko Dooley, Rich Education Salon, Chicago.

Corrinn Dinan, Corrinn Dinan Hairdressing, New York.

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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