Signs of Scalp Psoriasis: How to Support Your Suffering Clients From Within Your Salon

Psoriasis is one of the most complex skin conditions to diagnose and treat.

Signs such as redness, dryness, flakiness, itchiness and stinging are common. However, psoriasis is more than just an uncomfortable skin disease. Psoriasis is linked to our immune system and is typically an inflammatory response to issues happening from within. Stress and gut health also play a role.

In a 1993 article published by The International Journal of Dermatology, higher patient self-ratings of psoriasis severity correlated to higher depression scores. At the time of the study, 5.5 percent of patients reported active suicidal ideation. 

Sufferers of the disease are often quick to seek treatment without fully understanding its causes, leading to further irritation.

What is psoriasis?

Dr Irene Prantalos is a registered acupuncturist, Chinese medicine practitioner and founder of Salubre. She is all too familiar with the debilitating impact psoriasis can have. She suffered with psoriasis into her twenties, and set about studying the disease.

“Psoriasis is a systemic disease,” Dr Prantalos explained. “This means the inflammation in the body can lead to disease in other areas such as the joints (Psoriatic Arthritis) and the bowel (IBD).”

“In the case of psoriasis, when inflammation enters the body, the immune system reacts by signaling the skin cells to shed every four days (psoriatic skin) instead of every 28 days (healthy skin). With this information, we need to move our focus towards the inflammation in the body and to find ways to reduce inflammation both topically and internally.”

For the last two decades, treatment of the condition has become Dr Prantalos’ specialty. Due to the complexity of the disease, psoriasis should be managed by a trained professional.

The treatment of scalp psoriasis

This year, Dr Prantalos’ research has focused on the condition and its appearance on the scalp. In a recent White Paper on the topic, she noted that the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) found that half of all psoriasis sufferers will also experience scalp psoriasis.

“Based on my own experience with having psoriasis and scalp psoriasis since the age of 11, the biggest misconception is that suppressing the immune response in the skin will simply get rid of psoriasis,” Dr Prantalos said.

“If we miss the importance of reducing inflammation in the body and simply focus on suppressing the immune response, we often are faced with two outcomes; firstly the psoriasis warrior is required to stay on the medication forever as ceasing it will only see the psoriasis return.”

“Secondly, in most cases the inflammation increases (as the key factors causing inflammation are not addressed), so the medication no longer works. This then leads to the need of increasing the strength of medication to ‘contain’ the level of inflammation in the body.”

In instances of scalp psoriasis, Dr Prantalos explained that hair acts as an extra obstacle. Plaques build on the scalp, “forming a barrier over the top of the inflamed skin.” Therefore, topical applications struggle to penetrate the thick plaques to reach the inflamed skin beneath.

Additional side effects, such as hair dryness and brittleness can occur from excess washing in order to eliminate greasy treatment ointments.

“Personally, I used every topical ointment and every tar-based, medicated shampoo on the market and it did nothing but irritate my scalp even more,” Dr Prantalos added. “To successfully address scalp psoriasis, the first step is to gently exfoliate the thick plaques. Then, the use of anti-inflammatory ingredients will help reduce the pain, itchiness and dryness of scalp psoriasis.”

New solutions for sufferers

Dr Prantalos recently launched new products designed to treat scalp psoriasis. The Salubre Triple Threat Scalp Pack consists of a Non-Greasy Scalp Treatment Spray, Enriched Scalp Oils, and a Nutritive Scalp and Hair Mask. Two additional products – a Shampoo and Conditioner – are due to launch in July 2023.

It was important to Dr Prantalos to formulate products that smelt good and didn’t leave the hair looking flat and lifeless. “We have been working on this formulation for some time now.”

The Salubre Triple Threat Scalp Pack launched in May 2023.

Scalp treatment products work in three ways to reduce symptoms: the gentle exfoliation of thick plaques, the reduction of inflammation, and the restoration of hair health via follicle supplementation. 

Some of the hero ingredients featured in the range include bentonite clay (to detoxify the skin), kokum butter (to moisturise), methylsulfonylmethane (MSM – to reduce irritation), colloidal oatmeal (to sooth), and white willow bark (containing salicin that is converted to salicylic acid).

Dr Prantalos said feedback on the range had so far been “resoundingly positive”. “We have found that our stockists have been inundated with clients looking for a natural solution to their psoriasis, especially scalp psoriasis. They know that going to their GP means they will be given topical cortisone that often comes with its own list of side-effects.” 

[left to right] Before and After using the Salubre Triple Threat Scalp Pack

The partnership program

For salon owners looking to onboard additional support for their psoriasis-suffering clients, Dr Prantalos introduced the ‘Skin Confidence by Dr Irene™’ Partnership Program.

“[This program] gives beauty salon owners’ clients direct access to professional consultations for their skin and scalp concerns,” she explained. “It’s a unique client-focused program that connects your business to a respected medical skin practitioner. This simple act will become the starting point for you to then deliver a true change in their skin and scalp condition.”

Partnering beauty salon owners can schedule their clients in for a virtual 30-minute consultation with Dr Prantalos or a member of her team. “Once the diagnosis is complete, the client is then offered a product prescription that they fulfill at that beauty owner’s business,” providing a channel for additional income.

To learn more, call Dr Irene Prantalos on 0422 713 184 or email

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