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How Do You Know If You Have Scalp Psoriasis

Look For Scaly Patches Of Skin

Scalp Psoriasis What You Need to Know

The best way to look for this particular psoriasis symptom is to feel around on your scalp. You’re looking for patches of skin — particularly in areas you might not see in the mirror — that feel raised, bumpy, or scaly in nature. These bumpy patches of skin are the result of overactive skin cell growth. It’s believed that an autoimmune issue is the cause of this skin buildup. When skin grows so quickly like that, your body can’t shed cells fast enough. If you feel small patches or large areas of scaly skin on your scalp, it’s likely psoriasis.

What Is Scalp Psoriasis

Psoriasis can affect your scalp, and the red, scaly patches it causes can flake off like dandruff does. There are a few differences, though:

  • Itâs chronic: Psoriasis is long-lasting while dandruff may come and go.
  • Itâs more scaly than flaky. If itâs mild, scalp psoriasis looks like scaly, silvery, or powdery patches that may come off in tiny pieces. More serious outbreaks can be red and painful.
  • It may spread. Psoriasis patches can creep past your hairline to your forehead, the back of your neck, or the skin around your ears. You may have psoriasis patches on other parts of your body, too, like your elbows, legs, feet, palms, or back.
  • Itâs an autoimmune disease. Psoriasis is caused by your bodyâs immune system: White blood cells that should fight off diseases attack your skin cells instead.

Generalised Pustular Psoriasis Or Von Zumbusch Psoriasis

This causes pustules that develop very quickly on a wide area of skin. The pus consists of white blood cells and is not a sign of infection.

The pustules may reappear every few days or weeks in cycles. During the start of these cycles, von Zumbusch psoriasis can cause fever, chills, weight loss and fatigue.

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Shingles: A Rash And Severe Pain That Lingers

Shingles is another viral infection that shares some symptoms with psoriasis. Like psoriasis, shingles can make your skin burn and itch and produces a red, blistered skin rash. Shingles is caused by the same virus that first brings on chickenpox. The virus stays in your body and can come back years later to cause shingles, especially during times of stress or infection. The skin rash of shingles follows the course of a single nerve, usually on the trunk. In some cases, severe pain lasts long after the burning, itchy rash disappears. Shingles is more common in people over age 50.

What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider

Joel Schlessinger MD

If you have psoriasis, ask your healthcare provider:

  • How can I prevent outbreaks and control symptoms?
  • What medication will work best for me?
  • What else should I do to improve symptoms?
  • What are my options if creams dont work?
  • Will psoriasis ever go away?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Psoriasis, an itchy skin condition, can come and go throughout your life. Its related to an overactive immune response and is not contagious. If you have skin changes that arent going away, talk to your healthcare provider. There is no cure for psoriasis, but psoriasis treatments can improve symptoms. Your provider may prescribe a special cream or moisturizer or medications. Other therapies are available if creams or medicines dont work. Maintaining your overall health will also help improve symptoms.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/17/2020.

References

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Ringworm: Fungal Infections Of The Skin And Nails

Tinea is a type of fungal infection that resembles some symptoms of psoriasis. Psoriasis can cause the thick fingernails symptomatic of fungal nail infections, and both can cause red, itchy skin rashes. When tinea grows on your skin, it can cause a scaly, red skin rash that clears in the middle, called ringworm . Fungal infections of the skin and nails can be hard to treat. Antifungal medications work, but you may need to take them for a long time.

Symptom: Red And White Patches

The most common form of the disease is plaque psoriasis. It looks like areas of thick, swollen, red patches with well-defined edges. On top of these areas are the silvery-white scales. It’s easy to knock them off and cause bleeding, so be gentle with yourself when you comb your hair, shampoo, or put on and take off hats.

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Summary: Hemp Seed Oil For Psoriasis

Hemp oil has benefits for hair, skin, and nails. The long list of nutrients and vitamins help with normal hair growth and moisturized skin. When you have a condition like scalp psoriasis hemp oil helps even more.

Hemp seed oil helps with scalp psoriasis by slowing rapid skin cell growth and boosting your immune system. Hemp oil also moisturizes and gives you a strong scalp that can fight back when psoriasis flares.

Since no one knows exactly what causes psoriasis its best to find out what your triggers are. Then use hemp oil as a treatment to reduce those flares from coming back in the future.

Choose to use hemp seed oil topically to help with dryness and increase circulation. To help with your immune system try taking hemp oil internally. You can take hemp oil by the spoonful or try it in recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

No matter how you choose to use hemp oil for scalp psoriasis it will help calm your flare-up. Try hemp oil today to begin moisturizing your scalp and boosting your immune system.

What If Those Psoriasis Treatments Dont Work

Scalp Psoriasis Help for Long Hair

If psoriasis doesnt improve, your healthcare provider may recommend these treatments:

  • Light therapy: UV light at specific wavelengths can decrease skin inflammation and help slow skin cell production.
  • PUVA: This treatment combines a medication called psoralen with exposure to a special form of UV light.
  • Methotrexate: Providers sometimes recommend this medication for severe cases. It may cause liver disease. If you take it, your provider will monitor you with blood tests. You may need periodic liver biopsies to check your liver health.
  • Retinoids: These vitamin A-related drugs can cause side effects, including birth defects.
  • Cyclosporine: This medicine can help severe psoriasis. But it may cause high blood pressure and kidney damage.
  • Immune therapies: Newer immune therapy medications work by blocking the bodys immune system so it cant jumpstart an autoimmune disease such as psoriasis.

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Measles: A Facial Rash That Can Cover The Body

Like guttate psoriasis, measles also follow symptoms of an upper respiratory infection in children and cause a skin rash of small, red spots. However, the measles skin rash usually starts on the face and spreads down to cover the body and is accompanied by fever, cough, and a runny nose. Measles rash is also flat, while the rash of psoriasis is typically raised. Measles is caused by a virus and is contagious, though the measles vaccination has made this a rare disease in the United States.

What Does Scalp Psoriasis Look Like

The appearance of scalp psoriasis varies. If you have psoriasis on other parts of your body, your flare-ups on the scalp will likely look the same. Scalp psoriasis commonly presents with:

  • Scaly patches of skin
  • Bumpy patches of skin
  • Red or purple skin discoloration
  • Thick, silvery-white patches of skin and/or flakes that are like dandruff
  • Hair loss

Scalp psoriasis may be confused with another condition called seborrheic dermatitis . Like scalp psoriasis, this condition causes itchy and flaky skin. While psoriasis flakes are often dry and white or silver, the seborrheic dermatitis flakes often appear yellow and are greasy.

In some cases, scalp psoriasis is mistaken for dandruff, and if the psoriasis symptoms are mild, the conditions are nearly indistinguishable to the naked eye. It may take a specialist to tell the difference. If you have psoriasis on other parts of your body, its much more likely youre dealing with scalp psoriasis, especially if there are thick patches of skin on your scalp or the condition lasts for weeks without improving.

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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.

Acne: Blocked Pores That Lead To Pimples

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Some forms of psoriasis appear as pus-filled blisters that may be confused with pimples. Pustular psoriasis forms white blisters that are filled with pus and surrounded by red skin. Far more common than psoriasis, acne also causes a pus-filled pimple eruption. However unlike psoriasis acne is caused by excess oil, blocked pores, and bacteria. Acne is common in teens and young adults and occurs on the face, neck, back, or chest. Pustular psoriasis is usually seen in adults and can occur anywhere on the body, but less likely on the face.

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Is Dandruff A Fungus

Dandruff is a common concern for many people. Dandruff itself is not fungus, however, it can form as a result of fungus such as yeast on the scalp. Sickness, stress, and cold weather can also cause dandruff to form or worsen. When you have dandruff, dead skin cells and oils build up on your scalp and cause the skin to itch and flake.

Signs And Symptoms Of Scalp Psoriasis

The most common complaint is a dry, flaky, red scalp with occasional itchiness. Many people find that it worsens with stress and after some infections. Other common symptoms include:

  • Reddish patches on the scalp, sometimes thick and inflamed
  • Dandruff-like flaking and silvery-white scale that looks like dandruff
  • Dry scalp that may crack and bleed
  • Mild to intense itching
  • Temporary hair loss

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What Are The Symptoms

Scalp psoriasis causes redness and scaliness, which may also involve the hairline, the forehead, behind the ears and the back of the neck. It can range from very mild with slight fine scaling to very severe, crusted thick scaling covering the entire scalp. Hair loss during the flare-up can occur in some cases, but the hair will normally grow back. Psoriasis can be itchy, make the scalp feel tight and occasionally cause soreness, especially if there are cracks in the skin.

What You Can Do: Reach Out

Shampoo for Scalp Psoriasis & Sensitive Skin

If youve been feeling low for a while, consider getting help from a mental health professional like a counselor. Build a good support system, too. You can join a psoriasis help group through the National Psoriasis Foundation. It can make you feel better to talk about what youre going through, especially with people who understand. They can help remind you that youre more than your skin.

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How Is Psoriasis Treated

Psoriasis is usually treated by a dermatologist . A rheumatologist may also help with treatment. Treatments can include:

  • ultraviolet light from the sun or from home or office treatments. But in some people, sunlight can make psoriasis worse.
  • creams, lotions, ointments, and shampoos such as moisturizers, corticosteroids, vitamin D creams, and shampoos made with salicylic acid or coal tar
  • medicines taken by mouth or injected medicines

A doctor might try one therapy for a while and then switch to another. Or a doctor may combine different therapies. It’s all about finding one that works for each person.

Sometimes what works for a while might stop working. This is one reason why it’s important to work closely with a doctor. Trying out new treatments can get a little frustrating, but most people eventually find one that works.

How Do You Know If You Have Scalp Psoriasis

As we mentioned earlier, annoyingly, the symptoms of scalp psoriasis are similar to other scalp conditions.

Kingsley notes that scalp psoriasis looks like: ‘dry, flaky skin on the scalp and red bumps. It can be itchy and may feel like a burning sensation.’

Since its not always easy to self diagnose scalp psoriasis its worth visiting your GP or a trichologist for an expert diagnosis.

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How Do I Know It Is Scalp Fungus

  • The symptoms of scalp infections normally look like severe dandruff and may be mistaken for psoriasis. Make sure to get a diagnosis from a doctor before taking any medicine to treat a fungal infection the scalp.
  • Scalp fungus causes hair loss in patches because it affects the hair fibers. Fungus can cause those hairs to break and fall out more easily than normal, leaving a bald patch of skin. It also contributes to hair loss by causing itchiness, which makes us scratch the scalp and worsen hair loss.
  • Sometimes small blisters can develop on the skin.
  • In serious cases, scalp fungus can cause big bumps or swellings in certain areas of the scalp. These can hurt and, if not treated, can cause permanent hair loss and scars.
  • In case of a very severe infection, a fever and swollen glands may also develop
  • Still in doubt? Search online for some scalp fungus pictures to get an idea of what scalp infections look like. Compare your scalp to the scalp fungus pictures to see if it looks similar. Again, itâs important to get a firm diagnosis from a doctor before beginning a scalp fungus treatment regimen that involves medicine.

Guttate Psoriasis: Small Red Spots

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Guttate psoriasis the second most common type of psoriasis is characterized by multiple small, round red spots on the skin, usually widespread across the trunk and limbs. Often resulting from a bacterial or viral infection in children, such as strep throat, these spots come on suddenly and sometimes require oral medication or injections. Mild cases, however, may clear up without treatment.

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Ugh How Did I Get Scalp Fungus

Sometimes a scalp infection forms on its own because of the conditions on your scalp. Medications, cleanliness, weather, and other elements can all play a role in scalp health. However, scalp fungus can also be spread through outside sources.

Ringworm, or scalp fungus, spread from person to person through touch or sharing towels. It can also spread via animals, as dogs and cats sometimes have fungal infections on their skin. It primarily affects children. The fungi spores can stay alive for a really long time and spread from hairbrushes and even furniture. It is even possible to get fungus because the spores were floating in the air and then landed on your head! Although it is really easy to catch a scalp fungus, it does not affect all people. Some are just carriers of the spores and pass them on to others.

What Are Other Types Of Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is the most common type. About 80% to 90% of people with psoriasis have plaque psoriasis.

Other, less common types of psoriasis include:

  • Inverse psoriasis appears in skin folds. It may look like thin pink plaques without scale.
  • Guttate psoriasis may appear after a sore throat caused by a streptococcal infection. It looks like small, red, drop-shaped scaly spots in children and young adults.
  • Pustular psoriasis has small, pus-filled bumps on top of the red patches or plaques.
  • Sebopsoriasis typically appears on the face and scalp as red bumps and plaques with greasy yellow scale. This type is a cross between psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.

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What Does Psoriasis Look Like

You can generally tell that it’s psoriasis, thanks to the main symptom: dry, raised, scaly plaques that can be pink, white, or even silver in color. Sometimes these plaques will itch or crack and possibly even bleed. Psoriasis patches can range in size from small spots or dandruff-like flakes to large plaques that cover large areas of the body and they can also erupt in waves or flare-ups for weeks or even months at a time.

Unfortunately, even when the plaques are visibly in remission, they’re lying dormant and could appear at any moment. This is why psoriasis is a chronic disorder and for many people , keeping flare-ups at bay can be a lifelong battle.

Under the overarching psoriasis umbrella, there are also many different types of the condition. All forms of psoriasis are characterized by plaques, but the size, pattern, and location can differ. The most common kinds are plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, and inverse psoriasis, explains Nava Greenfield, a board-certified dermatologist in Brooklyn. Of these, plaque psoriasis is considered to be the most common form.

“Plaque will typically be on the elbows, knees, scalp, and trunk,” Greenfield explains. “Guttate lesions are smaller and usually mostly on the trunk, and inverse appears on sensitive areas such as axilla and the groin.”

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