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Everything You Need To Know About Scalp Psoriasis

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

What is scalp psoriasis? 

One of the most commonly affected areas of psoriasis, scalp psoriasis, is an autoimmune disorder where raised, scaly and itchy plaques are seen on the scalp. 


Scalp psoriasis can either appear in patches or can affect the entire scalp. In some cases, the disorder can spread to the hairline, the upper neck and inside the ear. 

Psoriasis on the head is not contagious and you can’t catch this disorder from someone else. In an autoimmune disorder, the skin cells grow faster than usual and form patches on the head. 

In some cases, scalp psoriasis is mild and unnoticeable, but there are also severe cases where it lasts longer and creates crusted sores. Excessive itching can cause skin infections and hair loss. 

Scalp psoriasis should not be confused with dandruff and ignored. Scalp psoriasis is usually associated with discolouration of skin. You’ll notice red patches with silvery scales.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Symptoms of scalp psoriasis 

Scalp psoriasis symptoms can range from mild to severe. 

In the case of mild scalp psoriasis, the symptoms are fine but with slight scaling.

For moderate and severe cases, scalp psoriasis symptoms include:

  • Silvery white scales
  • Scaly and bumpy red patches
  • Dry scalp with itching
  • Flakes similar to dandruff
  • Hair loss
  • Soreness or burning sensation

In some cases of hair fall, the hair may grow back once the skin clears up, but in other cases, one may notice a permanent thinning of hair. 

You may need to treat your scalp differently in the morning and evening. This can make treatment more effective and help reduce side effects.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

Treatments for scalp psoriasis

Consult a dermatologist for the evaluation and treatment of your condition. Based on the overall analysis of your health and severity, your doctor will prescribe you treatment that can include-

Topical creams and lotions– scalp psoriasis treatment may include medicated shampoos, gels, lotions, creams, soaps or ointments that you have to apply directly on the scalp. Some of these are easily available over the counter, but you may require a doctor’s prescription for others. 

Medication for scalp psoriasis

In the case of moderate to severe cases of scalp psoriasis, the treatments can vary. The doctor might prescribe the following:

  • Oral medications to tackle the autoimmune condition.
  • Phototherapy
  • Laser therapy

Corticosteroids are the most frequently prescribed treatment for scalp psoriasis in children and adults, these along with medicated shampoos work quickly to reduce redness, swelling, itch, and scaling.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

Natural and home treatments

There are some natural scalp psoriasis treatments that are popular but do not assure improvement for everyone. Some of these popular home remedies to reduce scalp psoriasis symptoms are-

  • Apple cider vinegar: Apply organic apple cider vinegar to the scalp. Dilute the vinegar with equal parts of water. Also, once the vinegar dries, rinse the area. This may not suit everyone and is not recommended by dermatologists. 
  • Tea tree oil shampoo: Tea tree oil has antiseptic properties and it may help to reduce the discomfort due to scalp psoriasis. 
  • Turmeric: Turmeric has antiseptic properties and adding it to food or applying a curcumin gel helps to reduce scalp psoriasis symptoms. 
  • Dead sea salts: Dead sea salts can be added to a warm bath. This can reduce itchiness and scaling, but it is recommended to apply a moisturiser after the bath.

Also Read: Dandruff Vs Dry Scalp: Recognizing the Difference and Treatment Options

Tips for managing scalp psoriasis

It can be difficult to resist the urge to itch, but there are certain tips that you can follow to manage the effects of scalp psoriasis.

  • In order to prevent any complications like cracked skin or hair loss, it is recommended to seek medical treatment. Visit the healthcare professional or a dermatologist for guidance on how to proceed. 
  • Avoid washing the scalp roughly and combing the hair vigorously. The hair is fragile and can lead to excessive breakage and damage.
  • Refrain from scratching the scalp, as it can worsen the infection and cause bleeding.
  • Stick to the treatment plan and use the medicines consistently and in the dosage prescribed.
  • Do not self-medicate. 
  • Keep the scalp hydrated. 
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle, stay away from sugary and oily food.
  • Reduce smoking and alcohol intake.
  • Sleep well and manage your stress levels.

Key takeaways

As the exact causes of scalp psoriasis causes are unknown to us, it is often difficult to prevent the disorder. Hence, it is important to receive the correct treatment as soon as the symptoms appear. 

The disorder affects people differently; hence identifying and avoiding the triggers of scalp psoriasis is the best way to keep this autoimmune disorder at bay.

Also Read: Why Does My Hair Get Greasy So Fast: Unraveling the Causes and Fixes

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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