How To Treat Scalp Psoriasis
Explore our tips and advice on scalp psoriasis - the causes, the symptoms, and the treatments you need.
Scalp psoriasis is a rare genetic condition, affecting only about 3% of the world’s population. If you have a close relative with scalp psoriasis, there’s a chance you may have it too – in fact 30% of people who have a relative with this severe scalp condition also suffer from it.
What Causes Scalp Psoriasis
It is categorised as an autoimmune disease that sends faulty signals to your body to increase cell growth. This hyperactive immune system causes a build-up of cells on your scalp, and it takes on the form of scaly patches. It is often mild and hidden under the hair, which can go unnoticed. But it can become severe quite quickly and turn into thick crusted sores, screaming for a scalp psoriasis cure.
It is largely genetic in nature and is passed on down through generations of a family. It does not mean that if your parents have it, that you will necessarily get it. But if you do have it, obesity, smoking, alcohol, stress, skin infections and even some medications can trigger your body into a bout of scalp psoriasis. This could be crucial in finding scalp psoriasis treatments that can manage the symptoms.
Symptoms Of Scalp Psoriasis
Scalp Psoriasis is characterised by raised patches of skin, which can be in the form of one large patch or multiple patches spread across. The colour depends on your skin tone – Lighter skin tone tends to have red patches with silvery scales, and darker skin tone will usually have dark brown or purple patches with grey scales.
The itching can be extremely severe and is the biggest complaint. It is often associated with a sharp burning sensation and soreness. These red bumpy patches can also be found on your elbows, knees, back, scalp, armpits, palms, groin, face, navel, and behind the ears. Basically wherever there is skin to skin friction.
You might also experience hair loss, which is typically caused by scratching or removal of the scales. It is usually temporary and the hair regrows once the scalp psoriasis clears. You should try not to scratch and use sharp combs/brushes, as this can lead to bleeding.
Scalp Psoriasis Treatment
Unfortunately there is no scalp psoriasis cure, but you can control it. You can start by reducing your exposure to the triggers. Reduce stress, bring your weight down, stop smoking, cut down drinking, and keep an eye on the medications you use. You could also use some home remedies for scalp psoriasis, but that is not recommended.
The main treatment is through medicated shampoos, creams, gels, lotions, sprays and other forms of topical application. Doctors might also suggest corticosteroids, vitamin D derivatives, retinoids, coal tar shampoos, salicylates, etc. It is important not to self-medicate, as this can have unintended consequences.
If these don’t work, oral medication might be prescribed to you. For some people, doctors even use injections or scale softeners. But these are all based on individual cases. Phototherapy treatments have also become popular for psoriasis, which uses UV light to calm down the inflammation. It has shown positive results in certain cases.
Difference between Scalp Psoriasis and Dandruff
There are some similarities between psoriasis and the symptoms of hair dandruff such as flaking and itching, but the difference ends there:
• Dandruff is not genetic. The cause of dandruff is excessive oil and a fungus.
• There are no silvery-white scales in dandruff.
• Burning or soreness is generally limited to psoriasis.
• Dandruff affects almost half of the world.
• Hair loss is not a common symptom of dandruff.
• Dandruff is usually found on your face or scalp. Psoriasis can spread all over the body.
• Dandruff will be associated with an oily scalp, while psoriasis is with a dry scalp.
• Psoriasis hair treatment requires medicated products. This is not always the case with dandruff.
If you realise that you are suffering from dandruff, there are various options available to you. You can look at anti dandruff shampoos that are meant for your condition. Try the Head and Shoulders Active Protect, that cleans your scalp and keeps the dandruff from reappearing. Or you can look at the Head and Shoulders Neem, which takes one of the best dandruff remedies from nature and uses its properties to get rid of the dandruff causing germs on your scalp.
When to see a doctor?
If your condition does not resolve on its own, it is important to visit a doctor to get a correct diagnosis. There are a number of options available over the counter including creams, ointments, scalp shampoos and gels. But it is important that you talk to your dermatologist to find out the best treatment for you.
Scalp psoriasis, or psoriasis in general, can seem like a heavy burden to bear. But with the advancements in technology and pharmaceuticals, you can find a way to keep the symptoms under control and get on with living a stress-free life.