There are numerous types of psoriasis, and one of them is scalp psoriasis.
Scalp Psoriasis occurs in the scalp by its name and causes some extreme itchy, sore, and scaly white and red patches.
But don’t you worry, as this one is not a communicable disease, meaning this disease is not transferable by touch, air, or anything.
There are several options for treating Scalp Psoriasis, but more than that is the prevention that can be done to avoid future episodes.
Scalp psoriasis is an inflammatory disease caused by the scalp skin that affects the adult population aged 15 to 25.
But scalp psoriasis can be found in children too, and it is seen that this skin disease touches the peak around 5 – 8 years old in children.
Also, know everything about psoriasis here, if you understand it well, there is a bigger change in controlling it.
- What Are the Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis?
- What Treatments Are More Efficient for Scalp Psoriasis?
- What Solution There Is for More Severe Cases of Scalp Psoriasis?
- What if Nothing Works for My Scalp Psoriasis?
- Does Scalp Psoriasis Cause Hair Loss?
- Does Scalp Psoriasis Prevent hair growth?
- Is Scalp Psoriasis Related to Dandruff?
- What Are the Causes of Scalp Psoriasis?
- Can Scalp Psoriasis Be Related to Surrounding Factors?
- Important Scalp Psoriasis Triggers to Avoid
- How To Prevent Scalp Psoriasis?
- How To Treat Scalp Psoriasis?
What Are the Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis?
For many patients this is an embarrassing condition, and many of them feel ashamed.
This happens because of the flaking scales and severe dandruff that goes with it.
Some people are susceptible to lose hair with it, the main symptom is the dry and itchy scalp but others report to have no symptoms at all.
It tends to be a chronic problem lasting for many years that tends to come and go with some severity.
What Treatments Are More Efficient for Scalp Psoriasis?
Before discussing treatment options, it is important to remember that most treatments don’t start working until you are using them regularly for at least a couple of weeks.
So persistence is key on this one.
The first thing you can try is special medicated shampoos, it is a cheaper solution, and you can buy over the counter.
They work by removing the scales and proceeding to treat the inflammation and the itch.
An example is Ionil “T” shampoo, which contains coal tar and salicylic acid.
These work best if you rub them well in the scalp; wait for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse and apply again.
Rinse after another 5 minutes, and then you can use your normal shampoo and conditioner afterward if you don’t like the smell of it.
You can use these daily but if they start to hurt your scalp, drop it down to once or twice weekly.
An alternative is to use a plain coal tar shampoo like Polytar Plus if you don’t have too many scales on your scalp.
This can be used just like the prior solution.
Coal tar preparations are a solution that has been around for quite some time, and they tend to work very well, but they are a bit messy, and the smell is something that might not please everyone.
Another type of treatment can be medicated anti-fungal shampoos; these are very helpful to dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis.
Despite not being so good for Scalp Psoriasis as the coal tar preparations, they can help a little bit as well.
Medicated shampoos need to be left in the scalp for longer periods than a regular shampoo.
Ideally, you need to wet your hair at least 10 minutes before you apply the shampoo.
Once the shampoo has been applied, massage it gently into your scalp, leave it for another 10 minutes, and then rinse it off to use any normal shampoo or conditioner of your preference.
What Solution There Is for More Severe Cases of Scalp Psoriasis?
For these cases, the next best options are left in the scalp applications. In the first instance, you can try a prescription gel such as Daivobet.
This is both a topical steroid and a vitamin D analog that reduces the skin’s itching and redness.
You apply the gel to your scalp at night and then wash it off in the morning.
Typically you should use these up to two or three times per week, otherwise you’ll notice your scalp psoriasis getting worse.
There is also an ointment called Coco-Scalp which you can get over the counter, it contains a combination of coal tar, salicylic acid, and sulfur which is particularly effective.
It is applied by using a small amount into your scalp and massaging it gently.
Leave on at least for one hour and then shampoo it off later.
It is important to mention that this product stains a little bit, so if you have any jewelry or clothing that you don’t want to stain, please remember to take it off.
You’ll want to use this daily until your skin and scalp start to improve, and then you can reduce it down to once weekly.
What if Nothing Works for My Scalp Psoriasis?
Finally, if the previous solutions aren’t doing any effect, there are other options you can always try.
There are treatments like UVB-Combs that you can use on your scalp, and depending on your situation, you might also want to talk to your dermatologist about tablets that target your whole body.
Examples of such include Acitretin or Methotrexate, these might be an effective solution if none of the above work.
Does Scalp Psoriasis Cause Hair Loss?
Scalp Psoriasis appears as white and red itchy scales that turn into slightly raised bumps combined to form plaques on the scalp.
As the disease becomes severe, it can also cause a loss of scalp hair.
Does Scalp Psoriasis Prevent hair growth?
Although the scalp is thick skin, the itchy and rough scalp is caused by intense rubbing, leading to hair fall as a result.
But nothing to worry about; lost hair will return if the disease remains controlled and the scalp is looked after properly.
Is Scalp Psoriasis Related to Dandruff?
There is a myth that leads people to believe that scalp psoriasis is nothing but extreme dryness and dandruff of the scalp and most people who are not aware of the seriousness of this issue don’t give it much attention.
However, when the problem exceeds a whole new level and starts to cover the forehead, neck, or area around the ears, people should consult a professional.
Otherwise, they will keep implementing their own treatment methods to eradicate dandruff, which is not the main problem.
Meanwhile, researchers have proven that scalp psoriasis is caused by an issue related to the immune system. It is known that the skin goes through a process called cell turnover.
And in this process, the skin cells grow rapidly and rise to the surface of the skin.
This process normally happens over the course of a month, but in people who have psoriasis, it happens over the course of just a few days, leading to those dry thick, scaly patches on the scalp.
What Are the Causes of Scalp Psoriasis?
Scalp Psoriasis like other types of psoriasis on the skin, is related to the genetic anomalies that affect parts of the immune system, and hence the disease takes over the skin.
Psoriasis is known to develop when the immune system sends a wrong signal to the body.
The signals are sent to the cells, and hence the cell production there is multiplied, leading to excessive cell production on the skin’s surface, and scaly whites on the skin are formed.
In a normal person’s scalp, the cell formation takes weeks and usually a month, but people with psoriasis have the cell formation multiplied, and it happens over the course of a few days.
This makes it quite difficult for the skin to shed the excessive cells produced.
The cause for this is still unknown; what most researchers suggest is that there is a connection link.
It can be related to someone in the family with scalp psoriasis or any psoriasis; for that reason, you have a higher risk of developing this extremely stressful scalp psoriasis.
Keeping in mind that the scalp is a heavy hair-bearing area, and this is why there are issues and delays in its diagnosis and treatment.
Can Scalp Psoriasis Be Related to Surrounding Factors?
Undoubtedly, some risk factors trigger this problem’s initial development in genetically defected individuals.
But the thing that we hear the most about scalp psoriasis is “emotional stress.”
However, no scientifically proven studies show that stress even plays a causal or at least is the reason to exacerbate psoriasis.
Risk factors that contribute to Scalp Psoriasis
A lot of reasons are there that might be the ones to increase further and intensify the disease but they are not the real causes.
These might include:
- deep injury on the skin, such as a burn, cut, or bruises
- infection, or strep throat
- Being stressed may worsen the symptoms or trigger them for the first time.
- the use of some medications that might trigger the disease for the first time, such as Indomethacin, which is primarily used for treating arthritis, or Quinidine, a cardio-related medication
- Allergies that attack the skin
- Extremely dry or cold weather conditions
The factors that are proven or are connected somehow to affect the immune system are:
- Family history
Family history is the main and a proven risk factor as this condition runs in genetics that is family.
Having one parent or grandparent with psoriasis clearly increases your risk of inheriting the disease, while having both of the parents with psoriasis makes you the one with even more risk.
Smoking tobacco and consumption of alcohol not only increases your risk of acquiring psoriasis but can also be the reason that increases the severity of the disease.
Smoking may also be a huge contributor in triggering the initial development of the disease.
Important Scalp Psoriasis Triggers to Avoid
Some people may be free from any symptoms for many years until this disease is triggered by the usual factors.
Common scalp psoriasis triggers may include the following things:
- Infections at some point might become dangerous and start affecting the skin in the form of scalp psoriasis.
- As the extremely dry and cold weather causes dandruff and rough dry skin conditions so this might lead to psoriasis.
- Skin injuries such a deep cut scratch, bug bites, or sunburns might become a trigger
- Stress affects the immune system and this disease is also a result of a default in the immune system
- Heavy and regular alcohol consumption
- Medications that alter blood pressure, for cardio, arthritis, and a few antimalarial drugs
- Rapid withdrawal from the use of corticosteroids
How To Prevent Scalp Psoriasis?
Scalp Psoriasis tends to damage your scalp making it extremely and painfully itchy and unbearable doesn’t seem to spare hair on it.
Scalp Psoriasis usually results in hair loss, due to the rough scalp and weak roots.
However, this hair loss is only temporary.
As you might accidentally scratch your head harshly to relieve the annoying itching caused by scaling. This causes your hair to fall out.
Sometimes, when we forcefully try to remove the scales to clear our scalp, the hair falls out, and it repeats, and thus hair loss is there.
But if you find an effective and long-term solution to this problem, your hair will grow back normally for sure.
To prevent the annoying scalp itching that results in hair loss, try to follow these tips:
- Use a conditioner regularly to keep your scalp moisturized and peaceful.
- Limit the use of heating tools, such as blow dryers, straighteners, or tongs, when styling your hair.
- Make use of hair products that contain menthol in them so that it gives off a cooling effect.
- Make a habit of pressing a wet towel or ice against the itchy scalp.
While you can’t totally prevent psoriasis hair thinning and breakouts, you can manage the condition well by following these tips and, most of all, consulting your doctor about ways to manage your stress level, alcohol intake, different medications, and other major or minor changes in your health.
How To Treat Scalp Psoriasis?
Scalp psoriasis is somewhat hectic to treat because of the scalp that is covered with sufficient hair acting as a major barrier for any medications.
It requires a lot of patience and effort to find the best suitable treatment that works well with you.
However, the good news is that there are many treatment options available for the scalp psoriasis. Some are as follows:
- OTC Products
Over-the-counter (OTC) products are a good source of managing the mild symptoms of scalp psoriasis.
The two main active ingredients to check-in OTC products will be salicylic acid and tar.
This can be either wood or coal tar. Salicylic type of acid is known to soften the plaques and tough scales formed and remove them gently from the skin.
Moreover, using tar to your hair might sound a bit strange but it helps to slow down the cell growth.
Topical treatments means the usage of professionally recommended medicated shampoos, steroids and tars.
As here we are discussing the scalp psoriasis and hair is a big obstacle in the way for treating the scalp with some topical treatment.
Your dermatologist or any other professional would prescribe you the shampoo and its proper usage and how frequently it should be used so that the topical treatments effect gradually to treat psoriasis.
- UV light
Another solution to eradicate or at least lessen the scalp psoriasis, the use of ultraviolet (UV) rays is recommended. It helps as well to slow down the skin cell growth.
Photo-therapy devices that are built for scalp psoriasis have integrated combs that help UV rays reach the scalp.
- Oral treatments
Oral treatments and biologics are often used to cure scalp psoriasis on areas beyond your scalp that is neck or around the ears.
It also helps when no other treatment option is working on you.
- Herbal treatments
Some herbal treatments also help gradually in easing out on your itching or treating the scalp psoriasis in the long term.
- Apple cider vinegar
- Aloe vera gel
- Tea tree oil shampoo
- Dead sea salts
What triggers scalp psoriasis?
Scalp psoriasis can be triggered by certain lifestyle habits such as stress, depression, use of certain medicines, or most commonly by skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis which is characterized by red scaly patches on the scalp and face. Tinea cruris can also trigger scalp psoriasis on occasion.
How can I prevent scalp psoriasis?
The key to preventing scalp psoriasis is to reduce your levels of skin inflammation and inflammation-generating chemicals in your body.
The best way to do this is by avoiding artificial sun exposure, maintaining low levels of sugar, fat, sodium, and alcohol in your diet, eating more vegetables and a high-quality protein source like wild salmon at least twice a week.
Take care of vitamin D deficiency with regular supplementation or ultraviolet light therapy.
What is the difference between dandruff and scalp psoriasis?
Dandruff is a build-up of dead skin cells on the surface of the scalp. It usually forms from excess sebum and can be treated with shampoos.
When psoriasis occurs in the scalp, it typically causes red patches to form with flaky scales that cause itching, tenderness, crusting, and scaling.
Is it bad to pick scalp psoriasis?
Picking scalp psoriasis can cause infection and can actually aggravate your disease. You should avoid picking as much as possible (unless instructed by a doctor).
Should you remove psoriasis scales?
The answer is no for most of the time. If you have scalp psoriasis, the scales can be removed only if erythema (redness) or peeling occurs.
How long does it take to get rid of scalp psoriasis?
The answer to this question may vary from person to person and in some cases may depend on the severity of the case.
It can take anywhere between 1-12 weeks for a complete cure, according to ThePsoriasis.org.
What home remedy is good for scalp psoriasis?
There are no good home remedies for scalp psoriasis.
There is a lot of misinformation on the internet about what’s classified as a “home remedy,” however, because many people think that if it’s natural and it doesn’t cost much money, then they have found an answer (like using hot milk or tea bags).
The only thing you should be doing is getting yourself examined by your doctor.
They will determine what type of treatment will work best to make your scalp feel better and prevent further outbreaks.
Should I wash my hair everyday if I have scalp psoriasis?
It is best that you test it out and see how your scalp feels after you have shampooed the day before.
You can also try other types of shampoos besides ones specifically geared towards psoriasis, but keep in mind that they may not be as effective.
Does washing hair make scalp psoriasis worse?
Washing hair does not directly cause psoriasis, but it can worsen the symptoms of scalp psoriasis.
What should you not do if you have scalp psoriasis?
Scalp psoriasis can be worsened by friction against your head from things like hair drying after washing or brushing, wearing hats or tight braids, and shaving your head.
Should you brush scalp psoriasis?
Brushing is not the worst thing you can do to a scalp psoriasis sufferer – though it is probably not the best.
Conditioners and liquids are best for brushing or combing psoriatic scales because they loosen up the scales and make them easier to remove with shampooing.
Should I apply oil if I have scalp psoriasis?
You can try applying a lotion or oil on the affected area, but you need to be careful as this may make your scalp psoriasis worse.
It is important not to scratch the area and potentially damage your scalp with an infection.
Scalp Psoriasis is not an easy thing to handle, but thanks to modern medicine and many trials throughout the years, there are already some effective methods for dealing with it.
Even with those, it should not be a neglected disease, as its symptoms can have devastating consequences.
Always follow your doctor’s advice and embrace Scalp Psoriasis wisely.