When To See A Doctor
If you suspect you have scalp psoriasis, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor. They may examine your scalp to rule out other conditions before sending you to a dermatologist for further evaluation and treatment.
If you dont already have a dermatologist, the Healthline FindCare tool can help you find a physician in your area.
What Are The Causes
We still don’t understand what exactly causes scalp psoriasis at a baseline level. What we do know is that psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that often runs in families and is characterized by flare-ups that can be triggered by stress, skin injury, infection, weather, as well as certain medications like lithium and antimalarials. We also know that those patches are caused by an internal inflammatory response. It goes something like this: White blood cells overproduce cytokines, signaling molecules that regulate your body’s immunity and inflammation response, which trigger inflammation in the skin. The inflammation, for some reason, causes an abnormally fast multiplication of keratinocytes, the main cells in the outer layer of the skin. And thus you’ll see raised, scaly patches of skin.
What Are Causes And Risk Factors Of Scalp Psoriasis
It is generally accepted that scalp psoriasis, like all psoriasis, is related to genetic defects that affect certain parts of the immune system. There are undoubtedly environmental risk factors that trigger its initial development in genetically predisposed individuals. The notion that “emotional stress” plays a causal role or at least exacerbates psoriasis has been difficult to prove. There is no question, however, that psoriasis of the scalp can be an extremely stressful experience.
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Practice Gentle Hair Care
No more tangles has to be a priority, but pomades for frizzy hair are a no-no. Dont use harsh shampoos either. Finally, tilt your head back when you rinse so any irritant chemicals in your shampoo splash on less noticeable regions of skin. Board Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Leslie Storey recommends using tar shampoos, Nizoral or Tea Tree Oil Shampoo.
Things To Help Your Dry Scalp Eczema Or Psoriasis
01/10/2013 by Ruth Holroyd
If youve ever had scalp eczema or an itchy scalp you will know how maddening it can be. Sometimes you wonder if you might even have nits and the dry skin flaking is embarassing. Because eczema on the scalp is harder to treat it can get out of hand, hiding unseen under your hair how do you keep your scalp moisturised without leaving your hair greasy?
Here are a few tips to save your scalp unecessary pain:
What do you do when your scalp gets dry and itchy? How do you help eczema or psoriasis on your scalp heal quickly? Whats your top tip?
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Make Time For Afternoon Tea
Tea tree oil isnt messing around. This strong antimicrobial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory oil can treat scalp psoriasis when paired with a carrier oil .
Dont go nuts with this one. Start with just a drop or two and see how your skin reacts. Also, if youre pregnant, breastfeeding, have linear IgA disease, or are taking the antibiotic vancomycin, then this oil is not for you.
The Impact Of Scalp Psoriasis And Hair Loss
Its not really known why the scalp is so susceptible to psoriasis. One possible reason its such a prime area is that the high follicular density of the scalp reduces natural light exposure. Ultraviolet rays from light exposure can help clear or prevent psoriasis.
Although scalp psoriasis alone involves a small percentage of the body, it can have a profoundly negative affect on a persons quality of life and self-esteem. But when it leads to hair loss psoriatic alopecia in doctor-speak it can be particularly distressing.
The decrease in hair density is typically mild and difficult for the doctor to see, but of course, we take it very seriously, says Vinicius Domingues, MD, a rheumatologist in Daytona Beach, Florida, and medical advisor for CreakyJoints.
Rest assured, once scalp psoriasis is under control, most people with hair loss experience complete regrowth of their hair.
The key is to seek medical help promptly, since scarring that results from psoriasis common in longstanding scalp psoriasis can cause permanent hair loss.
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Besides medications, the treatment for hair loss can also include a hair transplant. In this procedure, small pieces of the scalp containing hair follicles are transferred to the bald areas. The surgery can be risky because it involves the usual risks of surgery, including shock and pain. Furthermore, it is expensive and is often not covered by insurance. But if you dont want to live with a bald area thats affecting your confidence and your appearance, hair transplant surgery may be the right option.
If the baldness is caused by a fungal infection, you can consider undergoing a hair transplant. In this procedure, tiny pieces of scalp are removed and moved to the bald spots. Despite the risks, this procedure is highly effective and is often covered by health insurance plans. A hair transplant can cost thousands of dollars, and you will most likely need to pay a large part of it out of pocket. The only downside to hair transplant surgery is the high cost.
Although alopecia is an embarrassing problem for many people, it can also be caused by trauma. People who undergo painful procedures on their hair may be at risk for traumatizing alopecia. This condition often results in thinning or falling hair. In some cases, the scalp becomes red and the scalp can even become inflamed. Antibiotics and antimalarial drugs may also be prescribed to help treat this disorder.
Is There A Connection Between Scalp Psoriasis And Hair Loss
Psoriasis is a common skin condition where skin cells multiply faster than normal, resulting in raised, red plaques covered in silvery scales. More than 7 million Americans have psoriasis and about half of those affected develop psoriasis on their scalp.
The condition can range from mild to severe and typically causes itching and discomfort. Symptoms of scalp psoriasis include dandruff-like flaking, dry scalp, bleeding, burning sensation or soreness, and hair loss. It can affect the entire scalp or present as one or more patches. Experts believe psoriasis is caused by a problem with the immune system, and often flare-ups are brought on by stress.
Scalp psoriasis does not directly cause hair loss, but excessive scratching and picking at the scales can lead to a temporary loss of hair. Even some of the chemicals used to treat psoriasis can cause breakage and hair loss. Once the psoriasis is treated and your skin clears, the hair usually grows back.
There are several treatment options available for people suffering from scalp psoriasis, including over-the-counter and prescription-strength topical treatments. In addition, dermatologists may prescribe light treatment or steroids. If you have questions about scalp psoriasis, talk to your doctor.
Because excessive scratching can result in hair loss, try these tips to alleviate itching:
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What Is An Ingrown Hair
Ingrown hairs typically arent anything serious, but they can be quite irritating and visually unpleasant. Ingrown hairs form when a hair follicle is unable to get past a clogged pore, forcing the strand of hair to curl back in. This undesirable growth pattern of a hair growing back into the skin is more likely to occur after hair removal, including shaving, tweezing or waxing.
What does an ingrown hair look like? Its usually an inflamed red bump or a cluster of bumps that look similar to small pimples. Sometimes, you can visibly see the hair growing in the wrong direction, but not always. An ingrown hair can also turn into a more painful, pus-filled sore.
Some conditions that can be mistaken for an ingrown hair include acne, eczema, a cyst, keratosis pilaris, heat rash, impetigo, pustular psoriasis and molluscum contagiosum.
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.
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Tips For Managing Scalp Psoriasis
The following tips can help people to manage scalp psoriasis:
Seek treatment: A health professional can provide a topical ointment or oral medication that will help manage symptoms and itchiness.
Treat the scalp gently: People with this condition should avoid washing and combing the hair vigorously, as this can lead to breakage, especially if the hair is fragile due to treatment.
Avoid scratching: Scratching can lead to bleeding and possibly an infection.
Moisturize: Keeping the scalp moist will not cure psoriasis, but it may help improve the appearance of the skin.
Avoid triggers: If possible, individuals should identify their triggers for scalp psoriasis and consider things ways to limit them.
It is important to seek treatment, as this can reduce the risk of further complications, such as hair loss or cracked and bleeding skin on the scalp.
It is difficult to prevent scalp psoriasis, because the exact cause remains unclear.
However, treating the condition as soon as symptoms appear may prevent it from becoming worse.
Scalp psoriasis affects individuals differently. Some people have an occasional flare-up while others deal with the condition frequently.
If a person knows what triggers symptoms for them, they can try to avoid these factors.
Herbal And Natural Remedies
The National Psoriasis Foundation suggest that the following alternative preparations may help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis:
Apple cider vinegar: Applying organic apple cider vinegar directly to the scalp may help reduce itching. However, it can also cause irritation. To avoid this, dilute it in equal parts with water or rinse the scalp after the vinegar dries. Do not use it on open wounds.
Aloe vera: Applying gel or creams containing 0.5 percent aloe vera may help reduce redness and scaling.
Oatmeal: Adding oatmeal to a bath or applying an oatmeal paste to areas with psoriasis helps reduce symptoms in some people, although there is no research evidence to support this.
Tea tree oil shampoo: This may help relieve symptoms, although there is no scientific evidence to prove it. Try a little first, because some people have an allergic reaction to tea tree oil.
Turmeric: Consuming as a spice in food, as a supplement, or in a topical gel may help reduce symptoms or psoriatic activity.
The Office of Dietary Supplements note that turmeric is generally considered safe when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. However, people should check with a doctor before using any complementary therapies or supplements.
Capsaicin ointment: This may help reduce itching by numbing the nerve endings, but it may also cause a burning sensation. More research is needed to guarantee its safety and effectiveness.
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Do Scalp Psoriasis Home Remedies Work
How you take care of your hair and scalp can have a big impact on your scalp psoriasis flare-ups. In addition to the treatment plan your doctor recommends, you may want to try some of the following tips at home12:
Skip styling tools when possible: Since heat can further dry out your scalp and exacerbate symptoms, its best to avoid blow-drying, curling, and straightening tools if you can. When brushing your hair, use gentle pressure to avoid further irritation. If you have natural hair and are used to consistent styling that requires heat, talk to your dermatologist or stylist to figure out a plan that reduces the risk of potential flare-ups while maintaining the health of your hair.
Avoid the tight up-do: If you have longer hair and have hair loss, you may also want to avoid pulling it back tightly in a ponytail, since that can pull on the already-fragile scalp and possibly lead to more hair loss. If you must pull your hair back, keep the hair low and loose to prevent excess tugging.
Choose hair products wisely: Using certain hair products, such as hair dyes, can also be irritating to your scalp. Ask your dermatologist for brand recommendations or if there are ways your stylist can dye your hair that might be more gentle on your scalp.
Is Hair Color Safe
Many hair dyes, hairsprays, and other products are safe for people with psoriasis. But to be sure, your stylist should always do a patch test before using a new one.
If typical hair dye irritates your scalp, there are a few options that may be gentler on your skin.
Highlights. Unlike all-over color, highlights donât reach your scalp.
Henna. Pure, 100% henna is a natural alternative to chemical-laden hair dyes. It can tint your hair red or reddish-brown. You should avoid so-called black henna . It may contain irritating ingredients.
Other plant-based dyes. Some ânaturalâ boxed dyes contain pigments from a variety of plants, such as buckthorn, hibiscus, and rhubarb.
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What Causes Hair Loss In Psoriasis
Temporary hair loss occurs as a result of scratching the scalp, because it loosens the plaques that cause the hair to fall out. When plaques flake-off, the hair can sometimes come out in tandem. Again, psoriasis does not cause hair loss, hair loss typically comes from aggressive brushing or scratching the scalp.
Special shampoos containing chemicals like salicylic acid are used to treat it and can also cause the hair to fall out. After treatment, when the skin clears, the hair grows back.
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Another way to treat hair loss is to undergo a surgical procedure. This is a surgery that uses a small piece of scalp, which contains hair follicles. The procedure is expensive and is not covered by insurance. If the balding area is large, it may not be possible to find sufficient hair for transplant. This method requires two surgeries, so the cost can vary from person to person. The surgery can be covered by your insurance provider, but it is not cheap.
Surgical procedures to correct the underlying problem are available as well. In some cases, doctors may use birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, or antiandrogen medications to correct the hormonal imbalances. If the cause of your hair loss is a psychiatric disorder, you will need to consult with a doctor to determine the best treatment options for you. Sometimes, you may need to undergo more than one surgery, so it is best to seek help from a dermatologist.
The first step in treating hair loss is to see a doctor. Your physician will run a blood test to determine the cause of your hair loss. This will help you choose the most effective treatment. Your doctor may prescribe a medication to stop your hair growth. Patients with psychiatric problems may also require special consultations and treatments. A therapist will be able to help you deal with your underlying psychiatric condition.
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Topical Steroids Reduce Psoriasis Inflammation
Best for: Mild to moderate psoriasis
Why it works: Topical steroids work by reducing the inflammation thats driving the skin changes seen in psoriasis, Daveluy says. This type of treatment for scalp psoriasis is likely to be a liquid instead of a cream. When your hair is wet, create a part and apply a small amount. Then create a new part right next to it, and apply again, and keep doing this until your whole scalp has been treated, he says. A shower cap may also be worn to keep the product from staining pillowcases.
Topical steroids can be bought or prescribed at different strengths, depending on your symptoms. Some people may also need steroid injections for short-term treatments.
Hair Dye And Psoriasis Flares
What if you need to dye your hair during a psoriasis flare? If you have a âcanât missâ hair color appointment on your calendar , do everything you can to prevent a flare from happening.
Keep up with your psoriasis treatment. For scalp psoriasis, treatment may include one or more of the following:
- Medicine applied to the scalp
- Medicated shampoos
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What Are Scalp Psoriasis Symptoms And Signs Can Scalp Psoriasis Cause Hair Loss
Psoriasis appears as a small bump, a papule, surmounted by scale. When these papules coalesce, a plaque is formed that is often covered by thick layers of horny scale. When this scale is shed, it appears as dandruff, which can be quite unsightly. Scratching these plaques, either because of itching or because of the impulse to remove it, is a very poor idea because of what is called the Koebner phenomenon . This may cause psoriasis to develop in areas of inflammation and trauma. Scratching off the scale will only make things worse. Although most patients do not note hair loss, there can be extensive alopeciahair loss in severe cases.