Dont Scratch That Itch
Refrain from rubbing or scrubbing your scalp when shampooing, as tempting as it may be to dig into those itchy spots. Scratching induces trauma which in turn induces psoriasis, a process known as Koebnerization, Bagel explains.
If youre finding it hard not to scratch, try applying a dab of hydrocortisone, a mild corticosteroid, to itchy spots, to help decrease itching and inflammation, the NPF says. Start with the least powerful topical steroid that works for you, and use it just three to four times a week.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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How To Treat Psoriasis On The Scalp
How to treat Psoriasis on the scalp is something that most Psoriasis sufferers know, more or less efficiently. But to treat this skin condition using natural methods is another thing.
People nowadays depend so much on conventional treatment that they forget that treating an ailment naturally can be more effective. It also has the great advantage of not having side effects.
Psoriasis on the scalp is where more than 50% of the sufferers will have it.
It can begin with a very mild Psoriasis outbreak, with light, fine flaking. It may also be very serious with hard, callous patches covering a lot, if not most of the scalp. Psoriasis can expand beyond the hairline even show on the forehead as well as the back of the neck and behind and around the ears.
Several other skin disorders, such as seborrheic dermatitis, can look like Psoriasis, except that scalp Psoriasis looks more like some kind of powder with a silvery glaze contrary to seborrheic dermatitis which appears more like a yellowish and greasy patch.
What Triggers Scalp Psoriasis
Scientists claim that scalp psoriasis is caused due to malfunctioning of your immune system. It is an autoimmune disorder in which your body produces an excessive number of T cells that begin to attack healthy skin cells on your scalp. This leads to the build-up of dead skin cells as plaques on your inflamed scalp tissue.
Some of the common factors that may trigger or increase the risk of developing scalp psoriasis are:
C. Guggulu tiktaka ghrita, etc.
It involves emesis procedures to flush out toxins from your body. However, virechana or purgation can also be carried out by your Ayurvedic doctor if needed.
Shamana Aushadha: It involves both internal and topical herbal medications.
A. Herbs For Topical Hair Care Regimen
Based on your elevated doshas, pick hair oils and shampoos which contain any of the following herbs to control your scalp psoriasis:
- Nimba: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
- Sariva: It balances all the three doshas.
- Chandana: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
- Patola: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
- Vasaka: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
- Madanaphala: It balances Kapha and Vata.
- Haridra: It balances all the three doshas.
- Kutaja: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
- Daruharidra: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
- Amalaki: It balances all three doshas.
- Yashtimadhu: It balances Vata and Pitta doshas.
- Guduchi: It balances all three doshas.
- Raktachandana: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
- Manjistha: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
- Khadira: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
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Hair Care Can Trigger An Outbreak
Any hair care that causes pain can trigger a new outbreak of psoriasis on the scalp. Maybe the hair is combed a little too vigorously. Perhaps the water for the shampoo is too hot. Or there is an allergic reaction to a dye or a hair care product. When this happens, the nerves in the scalp generate a neurotransmitter called substance P, the pain chemical, and the skin gets a signal to start an incredibly rapid repair process. Skin can produce 10,000 times as many new skin cells as are needed to repair microscopic damage, and redness, flaking, drying, and cracking start all over again.
Shampoo For A Dry And Flaky Scalp
Several kinds, both over the counter and prescription, can help. Try selenium sulfide , zinc pyrithione, ketoconazole , or tar-basedones for thin plaques.
For thicker scales, salicylic acid shampoos can work well. Not all of these work for every person. You may have to try one for a few weeks and switch to another if it doesnt work.
Use the medicated shampoo first when youd normally lather up. Its OK to use your regular shampoo and conditioner afterward. Know that tar-based options can be a bit smelly.
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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.
D Should You Wash Your Hair Everyday If You Have Scalp Psoriasis
No. Washing your scalp every day may result in more dryness on your scalp, which can trigger a flare-up of the condition.
A medicated or herbal hair wash twice or thrice a week is good enough to keep your scalp psoriasis in control, says Dr. Zeel.
Please do not administer any herbal or medical treatments mentioned in this article without consulting your doctor or Ayurvedic practitioner.
The Last Word
Scalp psoriasis is mostly influenced by your genetics, stress and lifestyle. Hence, its important to practice healthy lifestyle routines. Besides, a dosha-balancing hair care regimen, stress free lifestyle and a well-balanced diet are essential to keep your immune system healthy, that in turn reduces the risk of scalp psoriasis condition.
At Vedix, we analyze your doshas based on a simple questionnaire and customize an Ayurvedic hair care routine that addresses your unique hair problems.
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Tips On How To Treat Scalp Psoriasis
These tips on how to treat scalp psoriasis deals with the causes of itchy scaly scalp caused by psoriasis and the most effective remedies to control it.
Scalp is commonly involved in psoriasis. Many a times psoriasis starts on the scalp and remains localized to the scalp for many years. The lesions usually spread to other parts of body following application of superpotent class of topical corticosteroids like clobetasole propionate.
Treatment with systemic steroids followed by sudden stoppage of the medication can also cause the flares in other parts of the body.
Psoriasis scalp may be associated with scattered, isolated psoriasis plaques else where on the body or generalized psoriasis.
The area behind the ears is the most common site affected in scalp psoriasis. Occiput is another common site of involvement.
The lesions on the scalp may be either red, raised, scaly plaques scattered at different areas of the scalp or diffusely scaly to involve the whole scalp. Itchy and scaly scalp is the usual presenting symptom of scalp psoriasis. Surprisingly, even with generalized scalp involvement, psoriasis of scalp does not usually cause hair loss.
Harsh scrapping or vigorous rubbing can cause psoriasis plaque to appear in uninvolved areas of the scalp. This is the well known koebner phenomenon in psoriasis. Hence this should be avoided.
What are the Other Causes of Itchy and Scaly Scalp?
Read more about other causes of itchy scalp conditions and their management.
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.
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Unwind With Lavender And Calendula
Not many antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents are known for helping you relax, but thats the magic of lavender essential oil. You can also add calendula oil to the mix , along with a carrier oil, and apply directly to the scalp.
Just remember to only add a few drops of essential oil to each tablespoon of carrier oil you use, and do a patch test first to make sure you dont have a sensitivity to those particular oils.
Some potential carrier oils:
- avocado oil
- jojoba oil
Sadly the science here is still a little lacking, so make sure to do your homework and chat with a derm before oiling up.
Another option that doesnt involve topical application: Since stress makes psoriasis flares worse, you can sit in a quiet room with dim lighting, some lavender oil in the diffuser, and just chilllll. This may not affect your psoriasis in the short term, but it could help the flare go away faster. And, bonus points for caring for your mental health.
Scalp Psoriasis Vs Dermatitis
Scalp psoriasis and dermatitis are both common skin conditions affecting the scalp. These conditions share some of the same treatments and symptoms, including redness and flaky skin. However, these conditions have different causes and your doctor will be able to tell them apart.
Signs of scalp psoriasis include silver-red scales on the skin that often extend beyond the hairline, with itching and sometimes pain. With dermatitis, you may notice reddish skin covered by white or yellow scales, along with dandruff and itching. Treatment for psoriasis is often more aggressive than that for dermatitis.
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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.
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.
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Tablets Capsules And Injections
If your psoriasis is severe or other treatments have not worked, you may be prescribed systemic treatments by a specialist. Systemic treatments work throughout the entire body.
These medications can be very effective in treating psoriasis, but they all have potentially serious side effects. All the systemic treatments for psoriasis have benefits and risks. Before starting treatment, talk to your doctor about your treatment options and any risks associated with them.
If you’re planning for a baby, become pregnant or are thinking of breastfeeding, you should also speak to your doctor first before taking any new medicine to check it’s suitable for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
There are 2 main types of systemic treatment, called non-biological and biological .
Cut The Itch With Apple Cider Vinegar
Some people say to use this on your scalp a few times a week. Its long been used as a disinfectant, so it may burn a bit when you put it on. You can mix it with equal parts water to cut the sting. Some people like to use it full-strength and then rinse once it dries. But dont try this one if you have cracks or open skin. Itll really hurt! It may take a few weeks to notice a difference in itchiness. In general, check with your doctor before you try natural remedies.
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Treatment For Scalp Psoriasis
Your dermatologist can treat mild scalp psoriasis with topical medications. For more stubborn cases, oral or injectable treatments are also effective but may have side effects including increased infections.
At UCLA Dermatology, our specialists may recommend one or more of the following:
- Topical medications applied to the scalp, such as tar shampoos and steroid sprays, creams and solutions
- Medicated shampoos
Witch Hazel For Scalp Psoriasis
What You Have To Do
How Often You Should Do This
Do this once a week.
Why This Works
The antifungal properties of this powder that is commonly used for baking cakes can help reduce the intensity of the psoriasis patches. It can reduce the inflammation at the affected sites as well .
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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
Oats Or Colloidal Oatmeal
Some people also notice that their psoriasis symptoms get worse after eating certain foods or as a result of allergies. Research has not yet conclusively proven that these factors can trigger psoriasis, however.
It is worth noting that environmental triggers alone do not cause psoriasis. People without a genetic predisposition for psoriasis will not develop it, even when they experience these triggers.
In the following sections, we will cover the different types of shampoo and home remedies that people with scalp psoriasis can try.
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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.
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.
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