Scalp Psoriasis And Hair Loss
Scalp psoriasis is a medical condition in which patients suffer from an itchy and uncomfortable scalp, unfortunately by scratching your scalp you could be making the condition worse and contributing to hair loss. The condition is thought to affect more than seven million Americans alone and patients of psoriasis are fifty percent more likely to develop scalp psoriasis also.
The condition develops when the immune system turns over skin cells at a faster rate than normal this causes red and scaly patches of skin which appear as silver scales on the skin surface. The condition can range from mild to severe amongst patients and can affect small patches on the scalp or the entire area.
Patients of scalp psoriasis are likely to suffer from hair loss however thankfully the hair loss is often temporary and can be reversed. As mentioned above, scratching can contribute to the problem but other methods in which the scales are forcefully removed can also cause hair to fall out.
Scalp Psoriasis Treatment And Complications Scalp Psoriasis Is Often Treated By Topical Medication And Shampoos Which Can Frequently Be Drying If The Person With Psoriasis Then Also Blow Dries Colors Perms Or Otherwise Chemically Treats Their Hair It Can Lead To Brittleness That Leads To Hair Breakage And Hair Loss Certain Treatments For Psoriasis Such As Those That Include Salicylic Acid Can Also Damage Hair Stress From Psoriasis Can Also Lead To A Longer Shedding Phase And Shorter Growth Cycle For Hair Fortunately Hair Loss From Psoriasis Is Usually Temporary Talk To The Dermatologist Treating Your Psoriasis If You Think Its Contributing To Hair Loss Sometimes A Change In Medication Or Treatment Can Help Other Medical Conditions That Could Be Contributing To The Hair Loss Could Also Be Ruled Out If Complications From Psoriasis Such As Damage To Hair Follicles From Scratching And Excessive Scale Picking Lead To Hair Loss That Isnt Temporary Contact Rhrli For A Consultation To Determine Treatment Options
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What Products Should You Use For Scalp Psoriasis
The first line of defense for scalp psoriasis is a psoriasis shampoo. You should look for one that contains salicylic acid together with moisturizing and conditioning agents. By using a salicylic acid based OTC shampoo you can often control the scaly build up so the plaque patches will not get thick. Salicylic acid is an ingredient that will naturally help your body to exfoliate the extra skin cells so they do not get thick. Your scalp will also need moisturizing ingredients which can be found in some shampoos or as a separate cream. For severe plaque buildup the use of a scalp oil may be necessary. A scalp oil is designed to help loosen the dead skin cells so they can be removed more quickly. There are some companies that sell a complete scalp treatment kit that includes a topical cream, daily shampoo and conditioner along with a scalp oil.
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Treatments For Scalp Psoriasis
Its important to find a doctor who specializes in psoriasis and whos familiar with the latest treatments. This is because many new methods to treat scalp psoriasis are available, including different topical methods, light treatments, and other medications.
Your doctor may recommend using topical applications for your scalp psoriasis. These include:
- creams, such as topical steroids
- oils, such as mineral oils, which you apply to the scalp overnight
- sprays, such as clobetasol propionate
- foams, such as steroid foams
- medicated shampoos containing ingredients such as selenium or tar
After Psoriasis Has Cleared Up
Scalp diseases that are linked to hair loss, such as psoriasis, can be treated easily, but the hair loss might be permanent. If youve suffered from permanent, or even temporary, hair loss following a case of psoriasis, Canadian Institute of Hair and Scalp Specialists offers a number of treatment options.
A hair transplant takes your existing hair and grafts it to the areas on your scalp affected by hair loss for natural-looking results. Depending on the severity of hair loss you can have either a micro-graft of three to four hairs or a maxi-graft of four to six hairs. No one will be able to tell the difference and the results are indistinguishable from your natural hair.
For patients who are fatigued with medical procedures following treatments for psoriasis, or if the hair loss is just temporary, we also offer hair systems that combine natural and synthetic hair.
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Treatments To Clear Scalp Psoriasis And Stop Hair Loss
The good news is that there are many effective ways to treat scalp psoriasis. Once your skin clears, your hair will usually grow back.
The bad news is that scalp psoriasis can sometimes be difficult to treat. Hair makes the scalp inaccessible for topical therapies, which are thick and gooey and hard to get in and out of your hair.
The practicality of applying a cream, ointment, or foam into the scalp makes it difficult for topical treatment of psoriasis of the scalp, says Dr. Gohara. If you dont wash your hair every day, who the heck wants to slather creams and ointments on their scalp?
This is especially problematic for Black and brown-skinned people, she says, who tend to wash their hair more infrequently.
Treatment depends on the severity of the condition.
How Psoriasis And Psoriatic Arthritis Affect The Scalp
For many patients, the scalp is the only part of the body where psoriasis occurs or its the first location where the autoimmune disease develops.
Research shows that at least a quarter of people with plaque psoriasis, the most common type of psoriasis, initially present with lesions on the scalp.
Its very common for psoriasis to affect the scalp statistics show a range of 40 percent to 80 percent of people with psoriasis have scalp involvement, says Mount Kisco, New York, dermatologist David Bank, MD, who is also an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. It may occur in isolation or with psoriasis in other areas.
Scalp psoriasis can run the gamut from mild to severe .
Sometimes, in addition to the scalp, plaques also cover nearby areas such as the forehead, back of the neck, and the skin around the ears.
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Home Remedies For Scalp Psoriasis
We can also limit the development of the disease using home remedies. Home remedies should, however, only be an addition to special medical treatments. Patients with psoriasis should watch out for any factors that affect skin irritation. They must therefore watch out for excessive sun exposure. The head should be washed with a mild shampoo. Avoid scratching the scalp, as this will damage the skin and weaken hair follicles. Hair must be combed gently, by using soft brushes or combs with widely spaced teeth. A balanced diet and avoiding alcohol and cigarettes, will also support your treatment.
Concluding Thoughts On The Relationship Between Scalp Psoriasis And Hair Loss
The connection between Scalp Psoriasis and Hair Loss is a very important one. If you have psoriasis, then the chances of hair loss are high due to it being an inflammatory disorder that can cause hair follicle inflammation which leads to scalp psoriasis. Because not every case of hair loss has something like this as its root cause, it is still important to do some more research on Scalp Psoriasis and Hair Loss if you are having hair loss problems. There are many possible treatments for hair loss, but the best option may be to Treat Scalp Psoriasis first.
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Topical Treatment To Treat Scalp Psoriasis
A good topical treatment for scalp psoriasis is called topical vitamin D analogues calcipotriol scalp solution. This on-the-scalp psoriasis treatment can be used alone or along with other topical psoriasis scalp treatments.
What is vitamin D analogues? Vitamin D is divided into 5 analogues the two most common ones are vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.
Tips For Living With Hair Loss Caused By Psoriasis
Although scalp psoriasis can be very itchy, it is best to minimize scratching as much as possible. In addition to causing hair loss, scratching can cause the scalp plaques to bleed. Being very gentle while shampooing is also important because scrubbing and scratching can make the plaques worse1.
If you need to remove scale for psoriasis plaques on your scalp, it must be done very carefully and gently by first applying oil or ointment to soften the scale, then loosening it to remove it. Picking at the scale can make the plaque worse and also cause hair loss.
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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.
Psoriasis And Hair Loss: Is It Connected
In our latest blog, Psoriasis Treatments: What Can Cause it and Can you Prevent It, we talked about the multiple forms of psoriasis including plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular and erythrodermic atopic dermatitis and how they can affect the elbows, knees, scalp and genitals.
We are frequently asked about the connection between psoriasis and hair loss, especially by patients suffering from scalp psoriasis.
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Can Psoriasis Cause Hair Loss
Scalp psoriasis may extend beyond the scalp and appear on the forehead, back of the neck, or behind the ears. The scalp becomes dry, itchy and there is the formation of silvery-white scales and dandruff-like flaking. If you scratch your scalp a lot or forcefully pick the scales, it may cause hair loss. âWhile the disease does not specifically target hair follicles, hair loss is a bystander effect. The intense inflammation associated with psoriatic skin lesion can loosen follicle, while frequent scratching and manipulation may cause hair loss,â Adam Mamelak, MD, dermatologist and founder of Sanova Dermatology in Austin, Texas, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, here are some precautions you may take, to prevent hair loss:
- Gently comb your hair to remove the scales
- Avoid itching and picking scales from the scalp
- Clip your nails and file them
- Use shampoo and conditioner as advised by your doctor
- Shampoo your hair gently without scrubbing or scratching
- Avoid using a hairdryer
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, if you have mild psoriasis, over-the-counter products may give you relief. The two main chemicals of OTC products are Salicylic acid and Tar. If OTC products are not helping you, your doctor may prescribe topical treatments like medicated shampoos and topical steroids.
What Causes Scalp Psoriasis Anyways
One study showed that researchers dont know the exact cause of scalp psoriasis. But, it appears to develop when your immune system sends particular signals to your skin cells. This makes your cells multiply too fast, leading to those scaly patches.
According to a research review, other factors that lead to psoriasis include:
- body weight
Some folks also claim that allergies are to blame, but theres not enough proof to back this up.
Scalp psoriasis symptoms can range from mild to severe. Common side effects include:
Psoriasis can indirectly cause hair loss. Giving in to scratch attacks on the reg or harsh treatments can make you lose some of your luscious locks. Thankfully, your hair should grow back after your skin clears up.
The AADA suggests trying these techniques to prevent hair loss:
- Avoid blow dryers or other hot tools.
- Use hair products that have menthol.
- Dont use products that contain irritants.
- Keep your scalp moisturized with a top-notch conditioner.
- Press an ice pack or cool towel on the inflamed parts of your scalp.
While theres currently no cure for psoriasis, there are a ton of over-the-counter treatments, medications, or home remedies that can help. The exact type of treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms.
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Scalp Inflammation And Hair Loss
Not all scalp inflammation causes hair loss. However, some medical conditions that can cause your scalp to become inflamed may also damage your hair follicles and cause hair loss.
For example, scalp ringworm can potentially affect your hair follicles and cause patches of hair loss in certain parts of your scalp.
When the inflammation caused by scalp ringworm is severe, it can lead to permanent hair loss that may affect your scalp, eyelashes and eyebrows. Weve provided more information about this in our detailed guide to scalp fungus.
Other conditions that cause inflammation, particularly those that can cause itching, may cause hair loss indirectly through damage that occurs when you scratch your skin.
For example, although psoriasis doesnt cause hair loss directly, scratching your skin or pulling at affected areas of scaly, painful skin can damage your hair follicles and cause temporary hair loss.
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Scalp Psoriasis With Increased Hair Density
Dr. Shah is from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. Ms. Lee is from the John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu. Drs. Reddy and Wu are from the Department of Dermatology, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, California.
Drs. Shah and Reddy and Ms. Lee report no conflict of interest. Dr. Wu is an investigator for AbbVie Inc Amgen Inc Eli Lilly and Company Janssen Biotech, Inc Novartis and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Correspondence: Jashin J. Wu, MD, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, Department of Dermatology, 1515 N Vermont Ave, 5th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90027 .
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disease that commonly affects the scalp. Psoriatic lesions on the scalp typically result in alopecia, possibly due to a higher proportion of hairs in the catagen and telogen stages. Involvement of the scalp in psoriasis can be problematic for the patients quality of life as well as the clinician treating the condition. Here, we present an unusual case of scalp psoriasis presenting with increased hair density in the involved area that was resistant to topical steroids.
- Scalp psoriasis may present with hair loss or increased hair density.
- Psoriasis with increased hair density may make topical medications more difficult to apply.
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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.
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.
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How To Treat Psoriasis Hair Loss
There are two separate aspects to treating hair loss from scalp psoriasis. The first is treating the psoriasis itself, usually with medication.
The second is preventing hair loss from occurring when you experience a psoriasis flare-up by practicing the right care habits.
If youre worried that you may have scalp psoriasis, its best to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.
Your dermatologist will check your scalp for signs of psoriasis. In some cases, they may remove a small amount of your skin for testing to check whether your symptoms are caused by psoriasis or a different skin condition with similar symptoms.
Although theres no cure for scalp psoriasis, several treatments can make dealing with flare-ups easier. Your dermatologist may prescribe:
Medicated shampoos, bath solutions or other personal care products
Topical medications, such as topical steroids or retinoids
Systemic medications, such as oral medications or biologic drugs
Your healthcare provider may also recommend applying an over-the-counter moisturizer to your skin to help control redness and itching.
While these medications and products wont cure psoriasis, they can make your symptoms less severe and help you to make it through flare-ups without itching your scalp and causing damage to your hair.
Make sure to closely follow the treatment plan provided by your healthcare provider and use all of your medications as prescribed.