I’m a beauty editor and this is the £2 shampoo that soothes my itchy scalp (and trust me, I’ve tried everything)


Anyone who’s ever suffered with an itchy or flaky scalp will know there’s not much else quite as annoying: it’s that the feeling of constantly needing to scratch that slowly but surely turns into a subconscious habit of having one hand scanning your scalp for flakes, waiting for the itch to hit at any moment.

That’s not a feeling I was familiar with until two years ago, but it seems like the stress of living through the uncertainty of a pandemic, coupled with six months on furlough and eventually having to go through redundancy (where my pre-pandemic, secure full time job became was cut down to two days a week) eventually took its toll.

At first, I didn’t take much notice – but when I realised I couldn’t wear black clothes without being covered in flaky pieces of skin that had fallen from my scalp, I realised there was probably a bigger issue at play. I searched online and researched specific ingredients (like piroctone olamine, apple cider vinegar, urea and even lactic and salicylic acid) which all promised to cure the issue. 

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As a beauty editor, I’m in a very fortunate and privileged position that means I have access to lots of brands, meaning I could experiment with products without spending a fortune – but regardless, nothing I tried seemed to touch the sides. Not the pre-, post- or probiotic shampoo, not the ginger-based scalp serum, not the rosemary scalp scrub, not the pre-wash oil, not the overnight treatment mask – in fact, some products did more harm than good and ended up exacerbated the problem.

Eventually I went to my GP who told me it was nothing to worry about and that I should just invest in a scalp massager to loosen flakes. That still didn’t fix the issue, so I took things a step further and saw a trichologist – somebody who specialises in the hair and scalp – who diagnosed me with psoriasis, likely caused by stress, which is a common trigger, and prescribed me with steroids.

In short, psoriasis is a common condition where skin cells can’t shed normally and instead build up thickly, causing flaky, red patches of skin covered in scales. It can occur all over the body but its usually worse on scalps, elbows and knees, and while it’s not a contagious condition, you’re more likely to get it if it’s that runs in the family – and I’ve since learnt that my great grandad suffered quite badly. Luckily, I only have a smallish patch above my left ear and around my hairline at the minute – but constant flare-ups can cause it to spread.

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