What You Can Do
Salicylic shampoos and other solutions can help with scales. Doctors can also prescribe high-potency steroids in the form of creams, gels, solutions, and foams. Creams can be greasy, so you may want to try the others on your scalp. It might help to put clobetasol foam, a corticosteroid, directly on damp skin. This is available in a prescription spray, too.
When To See A Doctor
OTC ingredients and medications to remove psoriasis scales may help with cases of mild psoriasis. If these home remedies do not help control symptoms, a person should consult with a doctor.
Doctors can prescribe stronger medications that may be more effective in controlling plaques or eliminating scales in cases of moderate or severe psoriasis
A Flaking Scalp And Skin Are Some Of The Most Frustrating Symptoms Of Psoriasis And Psoriatic Arthritis Heres How To Stop Shedding
It can be enough of a challenge to deal with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis flare-ups the physical appearance and itchy discomfort of psoriasis plaques is upsetting and frustrating for patients. But when psoriasis plaques begin to build up and flake off the skin, leaving behind dandruff-like evidence of the condition on your clothes and surroundings, it can make things even worse. Many patients feel like flaking adds to the stigma they already experience, in part because it calls more attention to the disease from others.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes skin cell buildup that appears as red, scaly, itchy patches on your skin and scalp that can burn and sting. These plaques can also become so thick and dry that they start to flake off the skin in large, silver-toned scales. When it happens on your scalp, it can look like severe dandruff. Research shows that about half of psoriasis patients experience scalp psoriasis, though some estimates say that 90 percent of patients will deal with scalp psoriasis at some point. Sometimes psoriasis plaques on your body shed their scales, too. In one study, doctors rated flaking, along with itch, as one of the most physically bothersome symptoms in their psoriasis patients.
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What Happens When You Develop Psoriasis
- The majority of sufferers will only have small patches of this skin condition.
- In some cases, these patches can be itchy or sore.
- While the condition can start at any age, it is more common in adults under the age of thirty five, affecting men and women equally.
- The severity of psoriasis outbreaks can vary considerably from person to person, affecting quality of life in extreme cases.
- Unfortunately, psoriasis is a long-lasting disease that comes and goes. Sometimes no or mild symptoms followed by periods when symptoms are more severe.
- The secret to success when dealing with psoriasis is to identify your specific triggers so that you can avoid them and prevent flare ups.
How I Remove Psoriasis Scales
Finding the balance with this was easy. Scales removal is essential for me, and my way around it has become pretty simple and works well for me. I am supposed to moisturize every day, but I will admit that I sometimes let this slip. When I do I will quickly notice that my skin feels tight. A quick shower is first in line for me, and a gentle rub down with a towel after. Next is the luxurious part. I chose a cream that works well for me, my current favorite is a castor oil and zinc combination and a Zinc based African potato cream. I give it a good rub down, I moisturize well just before bed. It is essential for me at this point to go sleep. If I dont I will want to start phase two before my skin is ready.
Overnight is when the magic happens, the lotions I chose to use, will assist in making sure the dead skin layers, which are the ones that I want to get rid of, to prevent build-up. Will separate slightly from the new skin underneath. I will admit when I wake up, it looks pretty darn gross. The one cream has a funny brown color and leaves the dead skin cells with an off yellow color.
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What Can I Put On My Scalp For Psoriasis
Coal tar products are available OTC as shampoos, creams, gels, ointments, foams, and soaps. They can help slow skin growth and reduce inflammation, itching, and scaling. To apply a coal tar shampoo, massage it into the scalp and leave on 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing out. You can leave other tar products on overnight.
Consider Laser Treatment If You Have Any Scarring
If you have scars or pigment changes from psoriasis flares that dont improve with time and treatment, ask your dermatologist if youre a candidate for laser treatment. In some cases, we will use fractional or vascular lasers to treat scarring, says Kassouf. The laser sends signals to that area of skin to tell it to keep remodeling, which can encourage those scars to get closer to normal.
Additional research by .
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Triggers That Make Itchiness Worse
When you have an itch, the temptation is to scratch. Yet scratching can increase inflammation and make itching even worse. That creates a vicious pattern known as the itch-scratch cycle.
Scratching can also damage the skin, leading to the formation of even more itchy plaques and even infection.
Stress is another itching trigger. When youre under stress, youre more likely to have a psoriasis flare, which can set off another bout of itching.
Weather conditions can also influence itching. In particular, very dry conditions and warm weather have both been known to trigger or exacerbate itchiness.
Reduced Quality Of Life
The pain and itching that go along with psoriasis flares can keep you up at night and cause you to feel tired the next day. This can affect how well you do at your job or in school. Severe psoriasis symptoms may even make it hard for you to care for yourself or your loved ones. Psoriasis of your hands or feet can interfere with your ability to do your job, play sports, or engage in hobbies. You may even have trouble walking and keeping active. Many people with psoriasis feel unattractive and isolate themselves from others. They may avoid going out in public, wearing clothing that shows their plaques, or participating in activities like swimming that make it difficult to hide their symptoms. Experts find that people who can control their psoriasis report a higher quality of life, miss less work, and are more productive at work.
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Bad Habit: Treating It Like Eczema
Sure, psoriasis and eczema look similar. But the two are very different and should be treated as such. Eczema usually shows up around the neck and in the folds of arms and legs, says Lynn McKinley-Grant, M.D., associate professor of dermatology at Duke University in Durham, NC. Psoriasis, however, presents with discrete, very symmetrical plaques, often on elbows, knees, and the scalp. Eczema is usually treated with topical steroids and gentle skin care. Psoriasis on the other hand also includes treatments such as light therapy, a vitamin-A derivative to slow skin-cell growth, or systemic medication.
Injectable Or Infused Biologic Medications
These target specific parts and pathways of the immune system to control the over-reactivity that triggers psoriasis flares. These are the most powerful options for treating psoriasis and are used in moderate to severe psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. That said, flaking alone is not a sign that you would need to jump to systemic therapy. Most people would not want to go on systemic medications simply for the flaking, as these can have significant side effects and can be extremely costly, says Bressack. If youre doing well , you probably dont need a systemic medication.
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What If Those Psoriasis Treatments Dont Work
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.
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.
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.
Get Some Sun But Not Too Much
The ultraviolet rays in sunlight slow the growth of skin cells, so getting moderate doses of sun is good. But make it brief — about 20 minutes or so at a time. And use sunscreen. Sunburn can trigger psoriasis, and it raises your risk of skin cancer. Some medications can make your skin more sensitive to ultraviolet rays, so talk to your doctor first. Read more on the risks and benefits of sunlight for psoriasis.
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How Is Psoriasis Treated
The current medical options focus on reducing itching and swelling, but they tend to only focus on making the symptoms more bearable, and some of them come at the cost of nasty side effects:
This is a good start, but current medical research is still cautious to claim this is an effective therapy on its own because it doesnt treat the skin, it only treats the itchiness. Furthermore, antihistamines cause drowsiness and leave you sluggish all day.
To address the irritating bacteria, doctors may prescribe antibiotics in serious cases. This is not a long term option, in fact, it can make matters worse. Antibiotics kill our GOOD and BAD bacteria, which weakens our immune system, leaving you nearly defenseless against psoriasis.
Topical steroid use results in diminishing effectiveness, so more and more powerful ones need to be applied to achieve the same results, and once users discontinue topical steroids, psoriasis is devastating. This process is known as:
Continued use can thin the skin and cause permanent pigment changes, even hormonal changes and hair loss.*
If youre currently using topical steroids, we urge you to take a look at this resource to learn more about the health risks
So, the real question is
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.
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Ways To Soothe The Itch
No matter how bad the itching gets, try not to scratch or pick at your plaques. Scratching can make you bleed and worsen your psoriasis.
Many of the therapies your doctor prescribes to treat psoriasis, including phototherapy and steroids, can help with the itch. If it continues to bother you, try one of these remedies:
How Psoriasis Is Diagnosed
A GP can often diagnose psoriasis based on the appearance of your skin.
In rare cases, a small sample of skin called a biopsy will be sent to the laboratory for examination under a microscope.
You may be referred to a specialist in diagnosing and treating skin conditions if your doctor is uncertain about your diagnosis, or if your condition is severe.
If your doctor suspects you have psoriatic arthritis, which is sometimes a complication of psoriasis, you may be referred to a doctor who specialises in arthritis .
You may have blood tests to rule out other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and X-rays of the affected joints may be taken.
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Most Importantly Be Patient With Yourself
Dont worry if you still havent found your flare-up silver bulletpsoriasis symptoms and triggers can vary immensely from person to person, so different treatments will work better for different people.
That said, if you find that your flares are becoming more frequent or increasingly difficult to treat, Dr. Newsom says its probably time to check in with your dermatologist for guidance around how best to treat your condition.
Consider A Medication Change
If youre struggling with an overload of flakes, you may need to evaluate and possibly switch medication. That can be frustrating, but there are many choices of targeted treatments on the market. It can be trial and error, but everyone can be treated, says Dr. Wechsler.
Psoriasis can be mild, moderate, or very severe, and these symptoms can change over time, so treatment that worked for you in the past may not be right for you now. If youre currently being treated for mild psoriasis but are starting to have more severe disease, talk to your doctor about if its time to change your therapy. Heres a brief overview of different types of treatment for psoriasis.
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Avoid Scrapes Cuts Bumps And Infections
It’s extra important for people with psoriasis to avoid bumps and cuts. Trauma to the skin can cause a flare, a condition called “Koebner’s 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 Koebner’s phenomenon and psoriasis.
Myth: Pick Psoriasis Scales To Remove Them
Patients may be inclined to pick psoriasis scales that appear in noticeable areas or on the scalp. However, they should be counseled to avoid this practice, which could cause an infection. Instead, Dr. Steven Feldman suggests putting on an ointment or oil-like medication to soften the scale. Almost any kind of moisturizer will change the reflective properties of the scale so that you dont see the scale, he advised. He also suggested descaling agents such as topical salicylic acid or lactic acid. His patient education video is available on the American Academy of Dermatology website should you wish to direct your patients to it.
Because salicylic acid is a keratolytic , it works by causing the outer layer of skin to shed. When applied topically, it helps to soften and lift psoriasis scales. Coal tar over-the-counter products also can be used for the same purpose. The over-the-counter product guide from the National Psoriasis Foundation is a valuable resource to share with patients.
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How Do You Permanently Treat Psoriasis
Here are 10 ways to manage mild symptoms from the comfort of your home.
- Curél Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer.
- Dermarest Psoriasis Medicated Treatment Gel.
- Eucerin Skin Calming Itch Relief Treatment.
- Gold Bond: Multi-Symptom Psoriasis Relief Cream.
- Lubriderm Intense Skin Repair Lotion.
- MG217 Medicated Salicylic Acid Cream.
Exercise Eat Right And Maintain A Healthy Weight
Although no studies have shown a link between diet and psoriasis, experts recommend that people with the condition eat a well-balanced diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables. Some people say their symptoms improve when they remove dairy or gluten. Exercise may also help. Some studies show excess weight can trigger flares, so stay at a healthy weight.
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