Plaque Psoriasis: Symptoms And Causes
Despite various kinds of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis is the most common type of this skin disorder. This plaque may appear on several body parts, such as elbow, knee, back, face, and scalp. A plaque psoriasis is signed by the occurrence of raised red patches with white dead skin flakes. With severe psoriasis, these patches and flakes might break and cause bleeding. Like other kinds of psoriasis, a plaque psoriasis is caused by fast growth of new skin cells. This growth causes excessive skin cells which turn into skin flakes. Psoriasis susceptibility might have been inside some individuals and might be triggered to appear when these people experience immune system dysfunction.
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.
Steroid Creams Or Ointments
Steroid creams or ointments are commonly used to treat mild to moderate psoriasis in most areas of the body. The treatment works by reducing inflammation. This slows the production of skin cells and reduces itching.
Topical corticosteroids range in strength from mild to very strong. Only use them when recommended by your doctor.
Stronger topical corticosteroids can be prescribed by your doctor and should only be used on small areas of skin or on particularly thick patches. Overusing topical corticosteroids can lead to skin thinning.
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The Nitty Gritty Of Scalp Psoriasis
Its easy to think that patches of dry, itchy skin on the scalp are caused by some kind of lack of hygiene. But cleanliness has nothing to do with scalp psoriasis.
Psoriasis is actually a chronic inflammatory disorder caused when the immune system doesnt work quite right. Doctors arent sure why, but some people have an immune system that churns out too many skin cells. Since the body cant get rid of these excess cells fast enough, they pile on top of each other, forming flakey, silvery scales.
Psoriasis can pop up anywhere on the body, but when it shows up on your head, dry skin patches can appear under the hair, on the back of the neck, and behind the ears.
Its easy to confuse psoriasis with dandruff, and sometimes dermatologists arent so sure themselves. When it looks like a blend between psoriasis and dandruff, they call it sebopsoriasis a cute couples name for seborrheic dermatitis, aka dandruff, and psoriasis.
However, some clues that your scalp irritation might be psoriasis include more defined or patterned pink scale-like plaques.
Dandruff looks more like generalized greasy flaking with pink patches. Over-the-counter shampoos can typically knock out dandruff, but scalp psoriasis is a little harder to treat.
Avoid Scrapes Cuts Bumps And Infections
Its extra important for people with psoriasis to avoid bumps and cuts. Trauma to the skin can cause a flare, a condition called Koebners phenomenon. Infections can also cause problems. Be especially careful when shaving. Avoid acupuncture, tattoos, and do your best to prevent insect bites and chafing. Get more information on Koebners phenomenon and psoriasis.
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It Can Affect The Scalp Hairline Forehead Back Of The Neck And Skin Around The Ears
Did You Know?
Symptoms may include fine scaling that looks like dandruff, or appear as thick, crusted plaques that cover the entire scalp. Other skin disorders, such as seborrheic dermatitis, may resemble psoriasis. However, scalp psoriasis appears powdery with a silvery sheen, while seborrheic dermatitis looks yellowish and greasy. Scalp psoriasis is common in patients of color, but treating it can be particularly tough due to the hair type.
Scalp psoriasis may be an indicator of psoriatic arthritis , as many people have both. If you think you have scalp psoriasis, see a dermatologist to diagnose scalp psoriasis and visit a rheumatologist to screen for psoriatic arthritis.
No matter how severe your scalp psoriasis is, there are options for treating the itching and flakes â from over-the-counter shampoos and topicals to light therapy, oral treatments and biologics.
Treatments To Stop Psoriasis From Spreading
If you donât want your small skin patch to become larger, and you donât want more psoriasis patches to show up on your body, then you should start on a psoriasis treatment plan. This may include:
Topical steroids. Also known as corticosteroids, these are some of the most common medications for mild to moderate psoriasis. Topical means you apply the medication to your skin. Topical steroids are available as an ointment, cream, lotion, gel, foam, spray, solution, or shampoo.
Other topical therapies. Steroids arenât the only topical medications that can get your psoriasis patches under control. Others include:
Steroid shots. Doctors can treat stubborn psoriasis patches with a steroid shot directly into the inflamed skin.
Pills. There are a few types of pills that can lower your bodyâs production of skin cells:
- Methotrexate, which stops cell growth
- , a phosphodiesterase inhibitor that blocks cells that cause inflammation
- Acitretin, a retinoid, which may stop cells from growing as fast
- Cyclosporine, which suppresses your immune system
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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.
How Can You Mask Scalp Psoriasis Symptoms
While your scalp is clearing up, talk with your hairstylist about alternative hairstyles that can help conceal affected areas.
Psoriasis itself does not cause hair loss, but your hair can enter a resting stage known as telogen when you are under stress. When too much of your hair goes into telogen at once, fewer hair follicles are available to grow new hair.
Consider wearing light-colored tops or shirts to help to disguise the falling silvery plaque scales that are easily mistaken for dandruff.
While the symptoms of scalp psoriasis may seem to come and go, psoriasis is a chronic condition that will need to be treated and managed over time.
And, according to Strachan, treating your psoriasis promptly is the best way to reduce its impact on your appearance. Its also important to leave it alone: Psoriasis can develop in unaffected surrounding areas that have been scratched and traumatized.
If youre not sure whether you actually have scalp psoriasis, consult your doctor as soon as you can for an accurate diagnosis and to develop a psoriasis treatment strategy that works for you.
Additional reporting by George Vernadakis
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Coconut Or Avocado Oil
Coconuts and avocadoes are filled with healthy fats that boost skin health. Massage a few drops of either type of oil, cool or lightly heated, onto your scalp and put on a shower cap. Wait 20 minutes, remove the cap, then wash your hair as usual. This can reduce and remove some of the scaling associated with the condition.
How Do Health Care Professionals Diagnose Scalp Psoriasis
The fact that the scalp is a hair-bearing area in most people produces challenges in diagnosis as well as treatment. If scaling plaques are present on portions of the body in a distribution characteristic of psoriasis, then the diagnosis of the scalp disease is much easier to make.
The most important consideration in treating scalp psoriasis is getting an effective medication into the skin. Both the hair and any scale covering the disease act as an impediment to treatment. Removal of the scale in a nontraumatic fashion is very important. This can be accomplished by shampooing frequently. Using tar, selenium, or salicylic acid-containing shampoos can be helpful. This may have to be done at least twice a day initially if the scale is sufficiently thick. Gently rubbing off the scale with the fingertips and not the nails is important.
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What Is Scalp Psoriasis When Can Scalp Psoriasis Begin
Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease of the skin that is estimated to affect about 2.2% of the adult population. In children, the onset of psoriasis can be before the age of one year but peaks around 5-8 years. Psoriasis produces scaly, itchingbumps on the skin. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to psoriasis. The genes affected seem to be involved with control of the immune system. Psoriasis appears as red scaling, slightly raised bumps that merge to form plaques. Psoriasis classically appears on the elbows and knees, but it can affect any part of the skin. The scalp is also characteristically affected in many people. Like psoriasis anywhere on the body, scalp plaques produce excess scale and can itch. Severe disease can cause a loss of scalp hair, which usually will return if the disease can be controlled. Scalp psoriasis somewhat difficult to treat when the scalp is covered with hair sufficient to act a barrier to the application of topical medications.
Ways To Treat Psoriasis Naturally
Guest writer for Wake Up World
Psoriasis is a common, chronic relapsing/remitting immune-mediated skin condition believed to be caused by an overload of toxicity through diet, some medications or our environment. It is characterized by red or white scaly patches and plaques, which usually itch. The condition affects up to five percent of the general population.
The causes of psoriasis are not fully understood, but a build up of toxins is known to be strongly correlated with most cases, especially for plaque psoriasis which is the most common type.
Not only are psoriasis flare-ups aggravating, but they make many people with the condition so self-conscious about their appearance that theyre reluctant to go out in public without ample covering. Probably most frustrating of all is that theres no magic formula to cure the condition indefinitely. You have to learn how to deal with flare-ups as they come, and take good care of yourself and your skin.
The good news is that is can be reversed through many different natural remedies, most of which should resolve the symptoms before ever requiring medication. Here are 12 effective natural remedies most found in your kitchen to help treat psoriasis discomfort, plus some simple everyday changes you can make to help prevent outbreaks.
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What You Can Do
Most people who get plaque psoriasis have it for the rest of their lives. You can do a few things to deal with it better:
Avoid triggers. Things like stress and smoking don’t cause psoriasis. But they can make it worse. Try to figure out what triggers your flare-ups. You may be affected by:
American Academy of Dermatology: “Psoriasis.”
Medscape: “FDA OKs Biologic Guselkumab for Plaque Psoriasis.” “Plaque Psoriasis.”
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “Psoriasis.”
National Psoriasis Foundation.
UpToDate: “Treatment of psoriasis.”
Weigle, N., American Family Physician, May 2013.
Bruce E. Strober, MD, PhD. associate director of Dermatopharmacology, Department of Dermatology, New York University School of Medicine co-director of the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Center consultant for Amgen, Biogen, Genentech, Fujisawa, and 3-M.
Jeffrey M. Weinberg, MD, director of the Clinical Research Center, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York City assistant clinical professor of dermatology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons consultant for Amgen and Genentech.
Abel, E. “Dermatology III: Psoriasis,” ACP Medicine, April, 2005.
Ways To Treat Psoriasis At Home
Even though it affects your skin, psoriasis actually begins deep inside your body in your immune system.
It comes from your T cells, a type of white blood cell. T cells are designed to protect the body from infection and disease. When these cells mistakenly become active and set off other immune responses, it can lead to psoriasis symptoms.
Even though theres no cure, many treatments exist to ease the symptoms of psoriasis. Here are 12 ways to manage mild symptoms at home.
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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.
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.
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How To Treat Scalp Psoriasis
While scalp psoriasis is a chronic condition, you can help ease uncomfortable symptoms with the right plan. Its important to see a dermatologist as soon as you suspect you may have the condition, though, as scalp psoriasis treatment is highly individualized and requires some persistence.
It depends on things like hair type, what treatments people have tried in the past, whether people have open sores, their stress level, even how long their hair is, Dr. Bhutani says. Please see your dermatologist. Even if what youre dealing with turns out to be just really bad dandruff, you shouldnt have to live with it.
The most common scalp psoriasis treatments include11:
I usually recommend treating scalp psoriasis from the outside first, Dr. Bhutani says, explaining that she often prescribes topical corticosteroids first. Although topical treatments are very effective for short-term management of scalp psoriasis flare-ups, if the symptoms are severe or if the plaques spread to other areas of the body, additional treatment may be needed.
Is Psoriasis The Same As Eczema
Psoriasis and eczema are two different skin conditions. They differ in where the disease appears on the body, how much it itches and how it looks. Eczema tends to appear more often behind the knees and inside the elbows. Eczema also causes more intense itching than psoriasis. Many people, especially children, can get both eczema and psoriasis.
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Turn Up With Turmeric
Another noted anti-inflammatory and skin soother, a daily turmeric supplement can help treat psoriasis .
If youd rather not take a turmeric pill, you can add the spice directly to your food. Whether you enjoy a turmeric latte or a delicious curry, there are lots of turmeric recipes to try to help your skin.
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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Can Plaque Psoriasis On The Scalp Cause Me To Lose My Hair
Some people with scalp psoriasis might worry that the plaques will cause them to lose their hair.2 Hair loss is not very common for people with mild or moderate psoriasis on the scalp. In some cases, people with severe scalp psoriasis may temporarily lose some hair in areas of the scalp affected by severe plaques. For example, small areas of hair might fall out due to combing or scratching off scaly areas of plaque. However, for most people, that hair will tend to grow back fully over time.