Understanding Scalp Psoriasis and How to Combat It

woman scratching her scalp

Psoriasis is a condition that affects over 7.5 million Americans and can appear anywhere on the body, including the scalp. Scalp psoriasis causes red, itchy, and scaly patches to form on the scalp, which can lead to discomfort and embarrassment for those who suffer from it. In this blog post, we will be discussing what scalp psoriasis is, its symptoms, how it differs from dandruff, and most importantly, how it can be treated.

What Is Scalp Psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects the scalp. It is caused by an overactive immune system, which causes skin cells to multiply faster than normal. This results in the buildup of thick, scaly patches on the scalp. Scalp psoriasis can occur on its own or in combination with other forms of psoriasis, such as plaque psoriasis.

What Are the Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis?

The symptoms of scalp psoriasis can vary from person to person, but common symptoms include redness, itching, flaking, and scaling of the scalp. Some people may experience hair loss in the affected areas, while others may experience a burning sensation. It’s important to note that scalp psoriasis can spread beyond the scalp to the forehead, back of the neck, and behind the ears.

What Is the Difference Between Dandruff and Scalp Psoriasis?

The symptoms of scalp psoriasis can often be mistaken for dandruff, but there are a few differences to take note of. Dandruff is a common scalp condition caused by the overgrowth of yeast on the scalp, which leads to the flaking of skin. Unlike scalp psoriasis, dandruff does not usually cause redness or itching, and it is not typically accompanied by scaly patches on the scalp. Additionally, dandruff is generally milder than scalp psoriasis, and can often be treated with over-the-counter shampoos.

How is it Treated?

Scalp psoriasis can be challenging to treat, but there are a number of options available. Mild cases can often be managed with medicated shampoos containing coal tar, salicylic acid, or selenium sulfide. More severe cases may require prescription medications, such as corticosteroids and vitamin D derivatives.

Some people find relief with biologic medications, which work by targeting specific parts of the immune system. Light therapy, or phototherapy, can also be an effective treatment option.

Tips to Help Treat and Soothe Scalp Psoriasis

In addition to medication, there are a number of things you can do to help manage scalp psoriasis and reduce symptoms. Here are some tips to consider:

Try Light Therapy (Phototherapy):

Phototherapy uses ultraviolet light to slow down the growth of skin cells and reduce inflammation. This treatment is performed in a doctor’s office under controlled conditions. The usual treatment frequency is three times a week for 6-8 weeks or until the plaques have cleared to an acceptable degree.

Be Gentle:

Avoid harsh hair treatments and styling products that can irritate your scalp. Use a gentle, fragrance-free shampoo and conditioner, and avoid using hot water when washing your hair.

Try Tea Tree Oil:

Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, which makes it a popular natural remedy for scalp psoriasis. Dilute a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and massage it into your scalp. You can also mix tea tree oil with water or olive oil and apply it on the affected areas.

Use Over-the-Counter Products to Soothe Symptoms:

Look for shampoos, creams, and ointments that contain ingredients like aloe vera, jojoba oil, and chamomile. These ingredients can help soothe redness, itching, and flaking. If you suffer from scalp psoriasis, you might want to consider coal and wood tar shampoos, recommended by doctors and dermatologists. Made from petroleum, coal sources, and wood sap, respectively, these shampoos can help slow skin cell growth, reduce inflammation, itching, and scaling. But we have to be mindful of safety concerns surrounding these products.

Look for Turmeric:

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Adding turmeric to your diet or taking turmeric supplements may help reduce inflammation and improve symptoms. In a modest study performed in 2015, participants with scalp issues applied it for nine weeks and noticed significant improvement in their symptoms.

Find More Ways to Ease Stress:

The National Psoriasis Foundation notes that stress is one of the primary triggers of psoriasis, including scalp psoriasis. Stress is a common trigger for psoriasis flare-ups. Finding ways to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, or relaxation techniques, may help reduce symptoms.

Try natural oils:

Want a natural solution to get rid of psoriasis flakes? Try using olive, coconut, or avocado oil! These oils can help soften plaques and make them slough off more quickly. However, be careful not to apply too much as it can weigh down fine hair. If you have dry or frizzy hair, these oils can actually help to moisturize and tame your locks. Massage 1-2 tablespoons of oil into your scalp, leave it on for 10 minutes to overnight depending on your hair type, then gently remove loosened scales with a fine-toothed comb and rinse. Give it a try and see the difference it can make for your scalp and hair!

Healthy scalp requires care:

Are you taking good care of your scalp? For a long time, it’s been overlooked but now it’s finally getting the attention it deserves! There are now numerous products available to ensure the health of your scalp.

Notes to take away

In conclusion, scalp psoriasis can be an uncomfortable and embarrassing condition to live with, but there are many treatment options available to help manage symptoms. From medicated shampoos to light therapy, there are a variety of options to explore. Additionally, there are a number of things you can do at home to help soothe symptoms and reduce the frequency of flare-ups. With the right combination of treatment and self-care, you can successfully manage scalp psoriasis and improve your quality of life.

Do you suffer from scalp issues? Share your tips and tricks with us!

About author

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