Communications (December, 1997)

Scalp P has Got To Go!
by LeAnne

Hi: My husband has psoriasis on his legs, elbows, but worst of all on his scalp. The legs and elbows we can deal with, but the hair and scalp has got to go. Can you help suggest what to do?

You like cats, too? We have 5, and 2 dogs. Please let me know what to do.

Signed, Let-him-lose-the-hat-in-too-hot-Florida!


Ed's Reply:

I used exactly those words to my derm about five years ago, LeAnne. I said, "The scalp psoriasis has got to go." He said, "There is a way, and it's pretty fast, but it's pretty repugnant, too. Do you want to hear about it?"

My derm calls it "scalp cocktail" and you can't buy it off the shelf. A pharmacist has to prepare it and, according to my pharm, "it's a bitch to make." (It must be, it costs me about $70 for 8-10 ounces, which lasts for about 10 treatments of my [hat] size 7 and one-quarter head.)

I don't know the names of the ingredients, but my pharm tells me it's coal tar extract (like they use in the best dandruff shampoos) and salicylic acid (commonly used for descaling in OTC products). These two things normally don't work well together, so the secret in Scalp Cocktail is some kind of gel-like bonding agent that holds the two together long enough to work.

To apply it, I have to rub it in vigorously (to ensure it penetrates the hair and gets to the scalp), then occlude it under a shower cap. The cap has to have a very tight elastic band to do its job—or, you have to tape it down under your ears, on your forehead, and on your neck. Then you sleep at least six to eight hours. If it leaks onto your linen, it will stain. It smells awful. It works very well!

On mornings following my treatments I usually wet my scalp, rub in some Pentrax shampoo, then let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour before showering. I rinse and apply another coat of Pentrax, then rinse again in the shower. The post-shower hair combing rakes out lots of flakes.

Usually, five to seven consecutive nights of this treatment will calm down my scalp P for a month or longer. If your husband wants to try it and you can't find a derm or pharmacist that prepares Scalp Cocktail, e-mail me and I'll try to get more information. -Ed

PS - Always glad to hear from a fellow cat fancier. According to your email, you have 5 cats and 2 dogs and want me to tell you what to do. My only recommendation: Move to a bigger home. :-)

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