I have suffered with scalp psoriasis for around 18 years. Psoriasis is a skin condition where the skin cells reproduce faster than normal and as a result create flaky itchy patches.
Basically it is like a very bad case of dandruff, is extremely itchy and scratching makes it worse and casues raised sore bumps.
A bit of a nightmare as you can imagine and although not life threatening it does affect my daily life, what I can and can't wear as it shows on dark clothing and so affects my confidence.
It seems to be worse around the hairline, in my case at the back of my neck and around my ears, but luckily I don't have it on my forehead.
Psoriasis never seems to be completely cured and I use a range of treatments to keep it under control, most of which are messy, smelly and sometimes irritate my face.
Capasal is a shampoo I uses as part of treatment which also includes a steroid gel, and a leave in scalp treatment.
This is a shampoo I get on prescription but you can buy it over the counter. It is also used as a treatment for dermatitis and dandruff.
It contains three active ingredients, coal tar, coconut oil and salicylic acid , which combined are designed to tackle the psoriasis.
Coal tar will be familiar to most people and is a common ingredient in psoriasis treatments. You may like the smell, but I hate it and when I use this shampoo I can smell it all day. Nothing seems to mask the the smell which I find really strong.
No one knows why coal tar it works , but it is mildly antiseptic and has anti-inflammatory qualities which target the itchiness . It is absorbed into the skin cells and I believe it may slow down skin cell production.
Salicylic acid works on breaking down the skin which results in shedding of the skin cells.
Coconut oil helps to moisturise and soften the skin.
Use as you would any normal shampoo, but shake the bottle first.
Then massage into wet hair for several minutes, rinse and repeat.
Make sure you rinse thoroughly.
Also I recommend applying a good conditioner after using this.
Try to avoid getting it in the eyes as it stings and avoid getting it on clothing as the brown liquid can stain.
I would not recommend using this in the shower, unless you like the smell!
I put on old clothes and wash my hair in the sink.
Sometimes I shampoo several times and leave this on my hair overnight as it is not as messy as the scalp treatment, which is difficult to administer, oily and stains.
Leaving it on overnight makes this more effective than simply shampooing, however this will stain bedding and the smell lingers, so you may need to change the bedding
Extremely stinky hair and towels, a smell which lingers all day irrespective of what you apply before or after drying hair.
My hair feels like has been stripped of all it's life, it feels spongy and coarse,really horrible, like coconut matting.
However despite the negatives the shampoo lifts the skin cells which is what it is meant to do, but if you have a scaly scalp your hair will be full of flakes. This is a sign that the shampoo is working, so I would warn against wearing any dark coloured clothing.
I detest this shampoo, so I only use it once a week as it makes my hair look and feel terrible and when I did use it on a regular basis it stripped the colour from my hair.
A real dilemma as I need to use this but have chosen to use it less frequently , so I use this once a week, do the scalp treatment once a week overnight and use the steroid gel in between.
That is the theory, but as you can imagine my routine slips sometimes, as this all requires dedication.
The shampoo does work at lifting the cells and slowing down the production of cells but in my case it needs to be used in combination with other treatments to clear up completely. I do find my condition improves but if I lapse and miss one element of the treatment it is back again.
The shampoo does ease the itchiness, but not completely . Scalp psoriasis leaves the scalp feeling really tight and hair washing rather strangely eases the tightness, but not for long.
I use moisturiser on the hairline or almond oil to try and get some relief, but that isn't something I can use during the daytime.
Would I Recommend
Yes it is a necessary evil at managing scalp psoriasis.
In my case this alone would not keep the psoriasis under control , but it may be more effective on milder cases.
The effect it has on the condition and colour of my hair , makes this difficult to use as regularly as it should be. So I use normal shampoos in between using this, to maintain condition and depending on the severity of the psoriasis, adapt what I wear so the flakes are not visible.
The other negative for me is the strong coal tar smell.
The positives are it does lift the skin cells, making the flakiness worse at first, but gradually they start to reduce and my scalp feels less bumpy.
Price and Availability
Ranges fron £7 + delivery for 250ml online or from chemists or available on prescription.
My rating is on how effective this shampoo is at dealing with flaky scalps , which it does well so I will award 4 stars.
I can't praise this shampoo highly enough: it works for me. Still, people's needs differ and no product of this nature will suit everyone. So, in keeping with my usual practice, I'll just briefly relate my personal experience and keep technicalities to a minimum.
According to the accompanying leaflet, this therapeutic shampoo is a treatment for a range of 'dry, scaly scalp conditions'. It also gets your hair clean!
This is technically a 'topical' treatment. In other words it's for external use - you just use it much like any other medicated shampoo. Full instructions can be found in the leaflet that comes in the box with the plastic bottle.
It contains salicylic acid, coconut oil and distilled coal tar (the main active ingredients). Golden brown in colour, it is very concentrated and a little goes a very long way.
~~Availability and price~~
Capasal is widely available without prescription, online or over the counter at local pharmacies in the United Kingdom. At over £6 for a 250ml bottle, this is certainly not the cheapest medicated shampoo on the market but for me it has been worth every penny.
Luckily I've had few problems with my hair over the years (apart from keeping it cut and under control, that is!) So when I suddenly developed a seriously scaly scalp out of the blue last summer I was quite concerned, fearing all sorts of dire conditions and consequences, needless to say...
I tried several off-the-shelf medicated shampoos for some time, but to no avail. Finally I decided to consult my doctor, who immediately recommended this product. I'd never heard of Capasal and assumed it was only available under prescription, but I subsequently discovered it was also available 'over the counter'. Hence this brief review.
Following advice to use this daily, using the bottle cap as a measure, I found within a week or so that the symptoms had mercifully disappeared. No more scales or itching! So far, these have not returned and I've now reduced the frequency to slightly less than daily.
The only slight drawback may be the faint scent of coal tar. Personally, this does not bother me and is far outweighed by the benefits.
~~A unique solution?~~
According to the 'netdoctor' website (address below), 'There are currently no other medicines available in the UK that contain this combination of active ingredients'. Having said that, I do recall briefly trying an ointment containing similar ingredients and also a mousse of some sort; but I soon discontinued these, much preferring the simplicity and efficacy of the shampoo.
I make absolutely no claim to any specialist medical knowledge. While this brief review is purely an account of my own personal experience, I hope it may be of more general value or interest.
As with all medicines, you are advised to consult a doctor or qualified pharmacist before using this product.
~~Further instructions & information, printed and online~~
The package leaflet provides quite detailed information, including possible side effects, sensitivities etc. Some information may also be available online - see links below.
* It works for me!
* The slight lingering smell of coal tar may not appeal to all.
* More expensive than some better known alternatives
* netdoctor 'Capasal therapeutic shampoo' : www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/100000446.​html
[© SteveS001, 2011. A version of this original review may be found on other review sites]