Scalp psoriasis
Scalp psoriasis can be difficult to treat because plaques can thicken under hair.

It is beneficial to brush your scalp with scalp brushes because it massages and exfoliates the scalp. Brushing the scalp removes the sliver flakes produced by scalp psoriasis, but it must be done gently and with caution. You should never brush the scalp vigorously, especially at the site of bumps on the scalp, or try to scrape away the scales because it may further irritate the skin.

Scalp psoriasis usually manifests as tiny, red patches that enlarge and produce scales. The skin seems thick but picking or rubbing off the scales may cause bleeding. Rashes may itch, and scratching or vigorous brushing causes the skin to split and discomfort.

  • To remove psoriasis scales, it is advisable to brush your hair and scalp with care.
  • Comb or brush your hair gently after you apply a suitable shampoo and conditioner. 
  • Though there is no permanent cure for scalp psoriasis, you can control flare-ups.
  • You may follow the treatment suggested by your doctor to manage scalp psoriasis.

Treatment options for scalp psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis can be difficult to treat because plaques can thicken under hair. Hair makes applying lotions and ointments to affected regions more difficult. Because everyone reacts differently, finding the correct medication or combination of therapies might take time. 

Treatments must be rotated because they might have negative effects or become ineffective if taken for an extended time.

Topical medications

  • Topical corticosteroids: Topical corticosteroids are the first-line prescription therapy for moderate to severe scalp psoriasis in children and adults. These are available as lotions, gels, sprays, or shampoos that can penetrate hairy regions more readily. Because steroids might promote skin thinning, they should only be administered for two to four weeks in a row. Dermatologists often prescribe shampoos containing clobetasol propionate for severe cases. According to studies, these products are very effective and safe for daily usage for up to four weeks. A topical steroid-containing scalp oil can be applied one or two times a week before shampooing.
  • Nonsteroidal topical medications: Nonsteroidal topicals, such as the vitamin D analog calcipotriene cream, can be used with steroids. They are applied to the scalp before going to bed to penetrate scales and then, wiped off in the morning. Tazarotene, a synthetic version of vitamin A, is advised for topical nightly usage. Anthralin, a medicated shampoo or cream that suppresses the proliferation of skin cells, is another prescription topical.
  • Coal tar: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved coal tar for the treatment of mild to moderate psoriasis, and it may be found in a range of ointments, gels, and shampoos.

Systemic medications

  • Retinoids: Oral retinoids, a synthetic version of vitamin A, can limit cell proliferation and are prescribed to treat scalp psoriasis.
  • Cyclosporine: Cyclosporine is an immunosuppressive medicine that limits cell proliferation. It was originally developed to help transplant patients avoid organ rejection.
  • Methotrexate: Methotrexate is an anticancer drug that can treat various inflammatory diseases. It is administered intravenously or taken orally to treat scalp psoriasis.
  • Biologics: Biologics are powerful immunosuppressants that are administered intravenously to reduce inflammation by calming down the immune system. These are relatively newer drugs used to treat scalp psoriasis.

Phototherapy

  • Phototherapy, popularly called light treatment, is a procedure where regulated ultraviolet (UV) light is administered to alleviate psoriasis symptoms. It can be difficult to administer in those with very thick hair.

QUESTION

Psoriasis causes the top layer of skin cells to become inflamed and grow too quickly and flake off. See Answer

5 home remedies for scalp psoriasis

  1. Coconut oil: A coconut oil hair treatment could be one of the more indulgent ways to treat scalp psoriasis, and good fats are proven to improve skin health. Apply a few drops to the scalp, massage it, and leave it for at least 20 minutes before shampooing the hair.
  2. Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil is rich in antioxidants, which can help soothe scalp psoriasis. You can combine a few drops with shampoo and work on your scalp to treat mild scalp psoriasis.
  3. Aloe vera gel: Aloe vera has healing properties and can be soothing to the scalp. Aloe vera cream is to be applied on the scalp to reduce redness, inflammation, and flakes caused by scalp psoriasis.
  4. Avoid scratching: Scalp psoriasis can be quite itchy and increase your impulse to scratch it. However, the more you scratch the worse itching can get. Scratching causes skin breakouts and inflammation, thus more flakes are produced.
  5. Avoid heat styling the hair: Because heat can aggravate symptoms and further dry up your scalp, avoid using blow-drying, curling, and straightening equipment if possible. Brush your hair gently to avoid causing more discomfort.

What is scalp psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis affects the scalp. It is frequently confused with dandruff. While they may appear to be the same at times, there are some significant differences.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease and a widespread skin condition marked by red, scaly, thickened areas (plaques) and often affects the scalp. Scalp psoriasis can develop alone or in conjunction with other types of psoriasis.

The back of the head is the common site for scalp psoriasis. However, it can affect many separate parts of the scalp or the entire scalp. Scalp psoriasis is distinguished by a thick scale on well-defined, red thickened skin. The scale is frequently silvery white. Psoriasis may develop beyond the hairline, and it is called facial psoriasis.

Usually, the hair covers up the scalp psoriasis but sometimes, excessive dandruff-like flakes are seen, which attributes to social humiliation. Scalp psoriasis might be either asymptomatic or severely irritating. It is often a chronic issue that lasts for many years although its severity and range of spread frequently change. Although scalp psoriasis may cause temporary minor localized hair loss, it does not cause permanent baldness.

10 symptoms of scalp psoriasis

The symptoms and intensity of the symptoms range from mild to severe and vary with people. Some of the most common symptoms of scalp psoriasis include:

  1. Thick, red patches or bumps on the scalp
  2. Silvery, white dry scales that resemble dandruff are seen in the hair
  3. Dry scalp
  4. Lesions behind the head, behind the ear, or on the forehead
  5. Burning sensation and soreness of the scalp
  6. Itching sensation of the scalp, which worsens further with scratching
  7. Bleeding due to excessive scratching
  8. Skin infections
  9. Lesions of psoriasis found on other parts of the body
  10. Depression due to cosmetic problems caused by the condition

Hair loss is often seen with scalp psoriasis. However, scalp psoriasis is not the only cause of hair loss, but it is caused by excessive itching of the scalp. Scalp psoriasis increases the risk of psoriatic arthritis. It is estimated that 20 to 30 percent of people with scalp psoriasis may acquire psoriatic arthritis.

What are the causes of scalp psoriasis?

The exact causes of scalp psoriasis are unclear. However, some studies have revealed a connection between the immune system and the development of scalp psoriasis. When your immune system sends signals to your skin cells, they proliferate too fast, resulting in scaly areas.

Other possible causes and risk factors of scalp psoriasis include:

Scalp psoriasis is not contagious. Treatments can help improve your symptoms. It is crucial to take care of the skin, particularly the scalp. If you find any plaques growing on your scalp, contact your doctor.

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Types of Psoriasis: Medical Pictures and Treatments See Slideshow

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Medically Reviewed on 6/15/2022
References
Image Source: iStock image

American Academy of Dermatology. Scalp Psoriasis: Symptoms. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/psoriasis/treatment/genitals/scalp-symptoms

Ansorge R. Scalp Psoriasis. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/scalp-psoriasis

National Psoriasis Foundation/USA. Scalp Psoriasis. https://www.psoriasis.org/scalp/