When To See A Doctor
If your dandruff symptoms are mild, you may not need to see a doctor.
You should see a doctor when:
- Its been several weeks since you started using a dandruff shampoo and there is no improvement in symptoms.
- The skin on your scalp is very swollen and red or starts to drain pus or fluid.
- The symptoms have spread to other parts of your body .
- Your symptoms are accompanied by hair loss.
You should consult with a dermatologist any time you are living with psoriasis symptoms.
Consult with your healthcare provider if:
- Symptoms are worsening or your disease begins to flare up
- Treatments are not effective
Try A Parting Of The Ways
When applying a product, part your hair to expose your scalp so you can target plaques directly, says Fran Klapow, a hairstylist from Long Island, New York, who has scalp psoriasis. Repeat this sectioning piece by piece so you can treat your scalp without getting the gooey stuff all over your hair.
How Effective Is Sulfur
Sulfur is primarily an anti-infective and so is most effective in skin conditions associated with underlying infections, such as seborrheic dermatitis and acne. However, its rarely used to treat seb derm in shampoo form these days as it can discolor light hair.
Then theres the smell
Its much more commonly found in creams, masks and lotions and is often combined with salicylic acid to offset the smell.
It is an excellent antifungal agent though. Although the number of studies is limited, the results have been consistently excellent. For a number of skin conditions.
Sulfur compounds inhibit the growth of Malassezia fungus, which is strongly associated with seb derm.A 2012 report in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry determined that sulfonamides were as effective in preventing the fungus growth than ketoconazole the active ingredient found in Nizoral.
This in itself is remarkable. Ketoconazole 2% is a prescription strength seb derm treatment. Yet you can buy sulfur anywhere.
In another small study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, one sulfur-salicylic acid shampoo demonstrated effectiveness in treating tinea versicolor, a chronic fungal infection characterized by patches of discolored, scaly skin.
Like seb derm, the infection is linked to the Malassezia yeast and the same anti-fungal treatments are typically successful in tackling both conditions.
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How To Treat Scalp Psoriasis
Scalp psoriasis is one scalp condition you should never ignore. Compared to people with psoriasis who dont have scalp symptoms, people who have scalp psoriasis tend to be at higher risk of psoriatic arthritis, which is marked by joint pain and inflammation. So if you think you have scalp psoriasis, its a good idea to see a healthcare providerpsoriasis can affect many parts of the body.
This is one of the reasons that it is so important to recognize scalp psoriasis and treat it aggressively, says Dr. Friedman.
You can treat scalp psoriasis with some of the same shampoo ingredients used for dandruff.
How To Know If You Have Psoriasis
Unlike dandruff, psoriasis is an issue rooted in your body immune system. Its thought about an autoimmune disease, which indicates special proteins called autoantibodies attack healthy tissue.
Routine antibodies just appear to fight off an infection caused by an infection or bacteria. If you have psoriasis, your body immune system causes an unhealthy and abnormal growth of new skin that gathers in dry, flaky patches on your body, including the scalp.
Typically, dead skin is dropped in small, thin pieces from the outer layer of skin. Neither you nor anybody else can ever inform that youre losing dead skin. New, healthy skin cells are forming below the surface of your skin and in a matter of weeks rise to the surface area to change the dead skin.
If you have psoriasis, that procedure speeds up in different spots on your body, so theres no time at all for the dead skin to go through its regular shedding. That causes dead skin cells to develop on the surface area. This normally happens on the:
Psoriasis can take different kinds. In some cases your skin may look split and dry. Other times it might be reddened and dotted with small silvery patches.
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Finding The Right Shampoo For Scalp Psoriasis
Your shampoo should contain salicylic acid, which loosens up the scales and makes it easier to manage flaking and dry and irritated skin. Also, look for coal tarthis will slow the overgrowth of your cells that causes psoriasis buildup up and the thick plaques on the skin and scalp. Lastly, locate a shampoo that also offers lactic acidit helps maintain a balanced pH level in your scalp and keeps moisture locked in.
Once you find a shampoo that works for you, use it a few times a week so that your scalp adjusts to the medication or unique ingredients. Within a week, you will know if the shampoo is too harsh or just right based on how your flare-ups respond to it. You can also opt for shampoos that offer gentle cleansing and natural ingredients like honeya soothing properly.
Editors tip: Use a comb while washing your hair to help loosen up the scales and flaking in your scalp. This will remove more and give a deeper cleanse.
Dove Dermacare Scalp Soothing Moisture Shampoo
The Dove Dermacare line is specifically crafted to treat dry scalps experiencing dandruff and flaking. It will also help to manage your scalp psoriasis. Doves Dermacare Scalp Soothing Moisture Anti-Dandruff Shampoo cleans your hair without leaving it dry and causing damage. The brand-specific Olacare Scalp Actives remove dandruff without irritating the scalp and causing inflammation. You can also use it daily if needed to help keep visible flakes out of sight.
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Is There A Shampoo For Scalp Psoriasis
Youâll need to see a dermatologist, but itâs worth taking these steps first to make sure that you donât actually have dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis.
Not sure if itâs psoriasis?If your scalp is red, itchy and flaky it could be dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis or scalp psoriasis â so how do you tell?
Scalp psoriasis is much less common than dandruff, affecting only about 3% of the population, so itâs worth ruling out dandrufffirst before going to see a dermatologist.
Try replacing your usual shampoo with Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Shampoo first.
If youâve got dandruff, it will quickly tackle the problem and leave you up to flake freeÂ¹.
Just use it every time you wash your hair . If itâs dandruff, you should start to see an improvement in the first week.
After two or three weeks, you should see no visible flakes.
If youâve tried this and still have problemsâ¦The next step is to rule out seborrheic dermatitis, which is essentially a more severe form of dandruff.
The causes of seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff are the same, so if you have seborrheic dermatitis the dandruff shampoo should have helped reduce flaking â just not as much as you hoped for.
Our Clinical Strength Shampoo with selenium sulfide gives prescription strength protectionÂ² against seborrheic dermatitis, getting rid of the flakes and other symptoms fast.
Still suffering?You may have scalp psoriasis.
Â¹ visible flakes with regular use
The Mental Burden Of Skin Flakes In Psoriasis And Psoriatic Arthritis
You dont need a medical study to tell you that scaling and flaking is bothersome, but the evidence exists nonetheless: 65 percent of patients rank flaking, peeling, and shedding on their body as one of the top three most distressing symptoms they experience, per research published in The Journal of Dermatological Treatment.
The problem with any skin disease is that its on the outside. You have to deal with how the world is interacting with you and your skin disease. It can cause a lot of pain and suffering, says Amy Wechsler, MD, who is board-certified in both dermatology and psychiatry and author of the book The Mind-Beauty Connection. For instance, if psoriasis flakes are on your hands, you may be worried about shaking hands in work or social settings to say hello.
The challenge then becomes controlling and responding to flares, cleaning up flakes, and explaining them to friends, colleagues, and loved ones. Generally, the more widespread the disease, or the more difficult it is to cover up, the greater the effect it has on quality of life, says Dr. Bressack.
A 2020 study, which defined quality of life in part as well-being and happiness, found that psoriasis symptomsalong with social and clothing restrictions, the effect on professional life, and lack of a cureimpacted patient-perceived quality of life. It also discussed the stigma and prejudice patients suffer from the disease.
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How To Choose A Shampoo For Scalp Psoriasis
Still unsure how to pick the right shampoo for your hair and scalp? Heres what to consider:
- Severity of your symptoms. If youre experiencing a mild to medium case of scalp psoriasis, start with an OTC shampoo. If you have a severe case, or if OTC products dont seem to help, you may need to see your doctor for a prescription shampoo.
- Consider your hair type. Check the ingredients list before you make a purchase, especially if you have dry, curly, color treated, or fine hair. Some shampoos may contain drying ingredients, like sulfates, while others may be too heavy for fine hair.
- Do your research. If you didnt see a shampoo on this list you want to try, no worries! There are many shampoos out there that will work great for you. Just look for key ingredients, like salicylic acid or coal tar, and be sure to check reviews to see what others with scalp psoriasis have to say about it.
Medicine You Apply To The Scalp
This is the most commonly prescribed treatment. Your plan may include one or more of the following medicines.
Corticosteroids: This is the #1-prescribed treatment for scalp psoriasis in children and adults. Corticosteroids work quickly to reduce redness, swelling, itch, and scale. This makes it more effective than any other treatment that you apply to the scalp.
When used as directed, this medicine is safe. Because side effects can occur with long-term use, your dermatologist may recommend another treatment to use with the corticosteroid. This reduces possible side effects.
Medicated shampoos: This is often part of a treatment plan.
If you have stubborn scalp psoriasis, your dermatologist may prescribe a shampoo that contains clobetasol propionate. This can be quite effective when used in a shampoo. Studies show that patients can safely use this shampoo every day for up to four weeks. Its also safe to use it once or twice a week to maintain results.
Rubbing, scrubbing, and scratching your scalp can worsen existing psoriasis.
Scale softeners: If the psoriasis on your scalp is thick, it can be hard for the treatment you apply to work. A product that contains salicylic acid can soften thick, stubborn patches. Other ingredients can also help.
Tip for applying medicine
Lift your hair up and away when applying medicine to your scalp.
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A Clarifying Shampoo Keeps Your Scalp Healthy
A clarifying shampoo is more intense than a regular shampoo. Its formulated with surfactants and clarifiers that can break down stubborn dirt, buff away dead skin cells, purge congested pores, and dissolve stale sebum that encourages malevolent organisms like yeast to feast on .
A clarifying shampoo detoxes and purifies the scalp through every single pore to minimize bacterial infection that causes dandruff by removing dirt, dry flaking skin, impurities, and dirty oils.
Moreover, some clarifying shampoos also contain antibacterial and antifungal ingredients like apple cider vinegar or aloe vera that are super effective at killing bacteria due to their acidic and pH-lowering properties.
Overall, a clarifying shampoo is essential to give your scalp a clean slate when dirt and styling products start to accumulate. It keeps the scalp purified, hygienic, and pH balanced for optimum follicular activity and sebum production.
How Psoriasis Develops
This attack causes skin cell production to speed up, creating an unhealthy and abnormal growth of new skin that collects in dry, flaky patches on your body, including the scalp.
Normally, dead skin is shed in tiny, thin fragments from the outermost layer of skin. Neither you nor anyone else can ever tell that youre losing dead skin. New, healthy skin cells are forming beneath the surface of your skin and, in a matter of weeks, rise to the surface to replace the dead skin.
If you have psoriasis, that process speeds up in various spots on your body and theres no time for the dead skin to go through its normal shedding. That causes dead skin cells to build up on the surface. This usually occurs on the:
Psoriasis can take different forms. Sometimes your skin may look cracked and dry. Other times it may be reddened and dotted with small silvery patches.
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What Are The Risks
Sulfur is a known irritant, and so risks inflammatory skin reactions. A 2014 case report highlighted a patient with second-degree burns after exposure to a sulfur hot spring the case received global media attention .
It can also dry the skin after prolonged usage so use sparingly until you find out how much you can safely tolerate.
As with most medicines used to treat skin conditions, contact with the eyes and mouth should be avoided. Sulfur can discolor metallic jewelry, and mercury contact will produce hydrogen sulfide which has the classic rotten eggs sulfur smell .
Best Shampoo For Psoriasis: How To Treat Scalp Psoriasis
Dandruff or scalp psoriasis? It may be characterized by flakes, but scalp psoriasis couldnât be any more different from dandruff. Find out why, what scalp psoriasis is and how to go about treating it with our guide to this rarer genetic condition.
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Dermarest Psoriasis Medicated Shampoo And Conditioner
When youre treating your scalp, dont forget about your hair. Dermarest offers a medicated 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner to help remove scaly spots with 3% salicylic acid. This product is fragrance-free, and with good reason. Overly fragrant shampoos with numerous odorous botanicals can irritate already inflamed scalps affected with psoriasis patches, says Sandy Skotnicki, MD, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, department of medicine in the division of dermatology and occupational and environmental health.
Best For Damaged Hair
Dove DermaCare Scalp Dryness & Itch Relief Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
This pick from Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in the dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, contains zinc parathion, an ingredient that he says has both anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that can be effective at treating scalp psoriasis by minimizing yeast production. By lowering levels of yeast on the scalp, this shampoo can calm inflammation to improve itching, redness, and flaking, he explains. With consistent use, you should see a visible improvement.
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Sheamoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Bentonite Clay Shampoo Bar
Natural shampoo is one of the best ways that you should use to treat your scalp psoriasis. The SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Bentonite Clay Shampoo Bar isnt your traditional shampoo. Instead, its in bar form. The Jamaican black castor oil blends with rhassoul clay deeply moisturize your hair and gently cleanses.
The Bottom Line On All Things Related To Scalp Psoriasis
Although all forms of psoriasis dont have a cure, its easy to manage your symptoms with a simple hair care swap. Adding a medicated shampoo or a shampoo for scalp psoriasis will reduce the symptoms and irritation you are experiencing. If a new shampoo isnt helping, then its always best to seek your doctors advice and professional treatment.
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Types Of Psoriasis Shampoos
Psoriasis shampoo contains special ingredients designed to soften and loosen the scales of psoriasis on your scalp so that they can be washed away.
There are two types of psoriasis shampoo:
- Coal tar shampoo. As its name implies, the active ingredient in this psoriasis shampoo is coal tar, which is a byproduct of coal that is thick, black, and odorous. Coal tar shampoo is usually includes additional ingredients, such as salicylic acid, coconut oil, or sulphur. Some coal tar shampoos have a strong odor.
- Medicated shampoo. The active ingredients in these shampoos for scalp psoriasis include clobetasol propionate , salicylic acid, ketoconazole , Blue Lagoon algae, and zinc pyrithione.
There are various brands of each type of psoriasis shampoo on the market, and some contain more concentrated formulations of the active ingredients than others.
Ask your doctor which type and formulation of shampoo you should try. You may have to try more than one before you find the brand and strength that works for you.
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Finding The Best Psoriasis
Every product comes with the risk of side effects, including allergic reactions and worsening of psoriasis symptoms such as hair loss. Not every product will be effective for everyone it may take some trial and error. Work with your psoriasis treatment providers to get the best solution to your scalp psoriasis.
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