What Is Scalp Psoriasis And What Causes It
Psoriasis can appear on any part of the skin, even the scalp. With scalp psoriasis, scalp plaques produce excess scales and can cause your scalp to itch.
Symptoms of scalp psoriasis appear as the following:
- A small bump, called a papule, with a scale on top.
- The plaque typically is covered by thick layers of horny scale. When the scale sheds, it can look like dandruff.
- Sometimes these plaques can itch.
- Scratching these plaques can worsen the condition and lead to what’s called the Koebner phenomenon, or isomorphic response, which can cause psoriasis to develop in areas where there’s inflammation and trauma.
The causes of scalp psoriasis, like all psoriasis, is related to genetic defects that affect the immune system. It is not known if stress causes or makes psoriasis worse.
In some severe cases, scalp psoriasis can cause alopecia, or a loss of hair, which is rare and may be controlled with treatment. Scalp psoriasis can be treated with topical medications, which can sometimes be difficult to apply when the scalp is covered with enough hair that can create a barrier.
How Does Psoriasis Affect The Face
Around half of people with psoriasis will eventually experience symptoms on the face3. Most people with facial psoriasis symptoms also have symptoms on their scalps, which can spread onto the face. Symptoms on the face can be especially difficult to deal with because they are so visible to others, and not easy to hide. Treatment can also be tricky because the facial skin is so sensitive that many treatments are too harsh and cause irritation. However, there is a range of treatment strategies that people can try out in order to find the best way to relieve their symptoms.
Read more information on symptoms and treatments for psoriasis on the face.
I Feel At A Loss Sometimes Depressed Is This Normal
Yes, this is a very normal process, a form of mourning and coming to terms with the fact that you have arthritis, and some things may have to change in your lifestyle to compensate, making things easier for you. Dont panic, try to work through your feelings, talking with a partner or someone close to you, If the feelings don’t pass, see your doctor who may be able to refer you to some form of short-term counselling.
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Risk Factors For Psoriasis That Spreads
Psoriasis is more likely to spread and become severe when it is left untreated. So treatment from a doctor who specializes in psoriasis can significantly reduce the risk that psoriasis will spread, or that the next flare-up will be worse than the last.
A family history of psoriasis, having another immune system disorder, smoking, trauma to the skin, and exposure to many psoriasis triggers are additional risk factors that might cause psoriasis to spread.
It is essential to moisturize the skin because it can speed the healing process and prevent itching. A range of moisturizing lotions that are suitable for psoriasis are available without a prescription.
Tar shampoo and soap may also help. Ingredients that encourage old skin cells to fall off, such as salicylic acid, can reduce the appearance of flaky plaques. However, some of these products can be harsh on the skin, so getting advice from a professional can help determine the most suitable lotion.
Steroid creams, such as hydrocortisone, are also safe and effective for most people. They help with itching and can speed healing. Using steroid creams for a very long time may cause side effects, however, so talk to a doctor about the safe use of steroids.
What Type Of Psoriasis Treatment Will I Need
Several treatment options can relieve psoriasis. Creams or ointments may be enough to improve the rash in small areas of skin. If the rash affects larger areas, or you also have joint pain, you may need other treatments. Joint pain may be a sign that you have arthritis.
Your provider will decide on a treatment plan based on:
- Severity of the rash.
- Vitamin A or retinoid creams.
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How Long Does It Take For Plaque Psoriasis To Heal
Although research is promising, doctors cannot yet cure psoriasis. Once a person has had a psoriasis flare, they are likely to have another one.
Patches of psoriasis may clear up after a few months, or they may stay the same, get bigger, or spread across the body. In some people, psoriasis will disappear and not return for years.
Treatment can help reduce the frequency of flares and the severity of symptoms.
People who find that environmental factors trigger their flares can often reduce flare frequency by controlling these triggers, which may include stress or allergies.
Psoriasis has a characteristic appearance that most doctors quickly recognize.
If a doctor suspects psoriasis but is unsure, they may perform a skin biopsy to rule out other causes. The biopsy will involve taking a sample of affected skin and examining it under a microscope.
Treatment depends on the severity of psoriasis. Some people can control their symptoms by avoiding triggers and using over-the-counter corticosteroid creams.
People with moderate or severe psoriasis may need medication to control their symptoms. A wide range of medications is available, including:
Other treatment strategies include:
other types of psoriasis include:
Diagnosing Plaque Psoriasis By Looking At The Skin
Most doctors and nurses can tell if a scaly or rough patch of skin is psoriasis. Sometimes a biopsy or a visit with a dermatologist is needed. During your visit, make sure to point out all of your abnormal patches of skin.
Tell your doctor about your symptoms and what seems to aggravate your skin. Possible triggers of psoriasis include:
- skin trauma
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When Do I Need To Get Help
Hopefully, youre already working with a skilled dermatologist to control your psoriasis. If you notice any of the warning signs of these health conditions often linked to psoriasis, you should talk to your dermatologist and/or a general physician right away. If you arent working with a dermatologist to develop a plan to treat and control the symptoms of psoriasis, finding one should be your first step. At U.S. Dermatology Partners, we unite a team of skilled dermatologists across the country to provide exceptional care. If youre interested in working with one of our dermatology professionals, complete our convenient appointment request form online. One of our friendly team members will be in touch soon to answer questions and schedule your appointment.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Psoriasis
Psoriasis plaques can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major eruptions that cover large areas. The diseases symptoms and appearance vary according to the type and severity of psoriasis.
Some common signs and symptoms include:
- Discolored patches or raised plaques of skin that are covered with scales
- Burning, itching, or soreness near the affected areas
- Pitted or thickened fingernails or toenails
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What Are The Clinical Features Of Psoriasis
Psoriasis usually presents with symmetrically distributed, red, scaly plaques with well-defined edges. The scale is typically silvery white, except in skin folds where the plaques often appear shiny with a moist peeling surface. The most common sites are scalp, elbows, and knees, but any part of the skin can be involved. The plaques are usually very persistent without treatment.
Itch is mostly mild but may be severe in some patients, leading to scratching and lichenification characterised by thickened leathery skin and increased skin markings. Painful skin cracks or fissures may occur.
When psoriatic plaques clear up, they may leave brown or pale marks that can be expected to fade over several months.
Is Erectile Dysfunction A Symptom Of Psoriasis
Erectile dysfunction occurs more often in people with psoriasis than in the general population. This is due to several factorssome are physical, and others are emotional. If you experience erectile dysfunction, its important to let your doctor know, as it can be a sign of cardiovascular problems.
Females can experience sexual dysfunction as well. While there is no conclusive study indicating the cause of dysfunction in females, it has been noted that psoriasis causes changes to a womans desire, arousal, orgasm, and satisfaction.
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Main Symptoms Of Psoriasis
Psoriasis typically causes patches of skin that are dry, red and covered in silver scales. Some people find their psoriasis causes itching or soreness.
There are several different types of psoriasis. Many people have only 1 form at a time, although 2 different types can occur together. One form may change into another or become more severe.
Most cases of psoriasis go through cycles, causing problems for a few weeks or months before easing or stopping.
You should see a GP if you think you may have psoriasis.
What Parts Of The Body Does Psoriasis Impact The Most
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that develops on the skin, anywhere on the body, from the limbs to the eyelids.
To find out more about how the condition is affecting our psoriasis community, we reached out on the . There, we asked, Where do you experience psoriasis outbreaks the most?
Nearly 50 community members responded. Here is what was shared.
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How Is Psoriasis Diagnosed And Treated
Psoriasis often has a typical appearance that a primary care doctor can recognize, but it can be confused with other skin diseases , so a dermatologist is often the best doctor to diagnose it. The treatment of psoriasis usually depends on how much skin is affected, how bad the disease is , or the location . Treatments range from creams and ointments applied to the affected areas to ultraviolet light therapy to drugs . Many people who have psoriasis also have serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and depression. Some people with psoriasis also have an inflammatory condition which affects their joints, called psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis has many of the same symptoms as other types of arthritis, so a rheumatologist is often the best doctor to diagnose it. The treatment of psoriatic arthritis usually involves the use of drugs .
Psoriatic disease may be treated with drugs or a combination of drugs and creams or ointments.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Psoriasis
Dry, thick, and raised patches on the skin are the most common sign of psoriasis. These patches are often covered with a silvery-white coating called scale, and they tend to itch.
While patches of thickened, dry skin are common, psoriasis can cause many signs and symptoms. What you see and feel tends to vary with the:
Type of psoriasis you have
Places psoriasis appears on your body
Amount of psoriasis you have
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The Funny Bone: Elbows
The elbows are another spot that plagues a lot of people with plaque psoriasis. The elbows, along with the knees, tend to be where skin cells grow rapidly and scales develop. Different solutions help different people, but moisturizing and medical creams can help. For some people, baths are useful.
What Are The 7 Types Of Psoriasis
Occasionally psoriasis of one clinical type may evolve into another such as pustular psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, or guttate psoriasis. Clinical types of psoriasis include the following:
1. Plaque psoriasis
- In plaque psoriasis, there are raised, inflamed, and scaly patches of skin that may also be itchy and painful
- Can occur anywhere on the body and skin may be red with silvery-white scales or may appear purple-ish, depending on a personâs skin type
- Plaques most often appear on the scalp, knees, elbows, and in or around the belly button and lower back, but can develop on any area of the body
- Itâs the most common type of psoriasis, affecting up to 80% of patients
2. Pustular psoriasis
- In pustular psoriasis, there are white, pus-filled, painful bumps that may be surrounded by inflamed or reddened skin
- May develop only on certain areas of the body, such as the hands and feet as in palmoplantar psoriasis, or it may affect most of the body
- Affects about 3% of people with psoriasis
3. Erythrodermic psoriasis
4. Guttate psoriasis
- In guttate psoriasis, there are many isolated small, red, round scaling bumps.
- It frequently develops on the arms, legs and torso but can affect any part of the body
- Affects about 8% of psoriasis patients
5. Inverse psoriasis
6. Psoriatic arthritis
- Nail tenderness
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What Causes Psoriasis Outbreaks
Psoriasis outbreaks differ from person to person. No one knows exactly what causes flare-ups. Common psoriasis triggers may include:
- Skin injury .
- Streptococcal or other infection that affects the immune system.
- Certain prescription medications .
- Cold weather, when people have less exposure to sunlight and humidity and more to hot, dry indoor air.
Past Research And Achievements In This Area
In 2015, research led by our centre for genetics and genomics at the University of Manchester identified genetic variants associated with psoriatic arthritis, but not with psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis. This helped to establish psoriatic arthritis as a condition in its own right. The findings could lead to the development of drugs specifically for psoriatic arthritis.
Later in the same year, our TICOPA trial looked at the benefits of early aggressive drug treatment for people with psoriatic arthritis followed by an increase in drug dosage if initial treatment isnt working. The trial found that patients treated this way, required fewer hospital- and community-based services than patients receiving the standard care.
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What Triggers The Symptoms
Everyones psoriasis triggers are different, but the most common triggers are:
- Injury to the skin, like a scratch, sunburn, or bug bite
Some people may also experience flares of symptoms due to allergies, certain foods, alcohol, or other environmental factors.
To help determine your own triggers, you may want to record when your symptoms get worse and note whether any of these other triggers were present at the time. This can help you track your triggers over time.
Living with psoriasis also puts you at higher risk of other diseases that are known to affect sexual function. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and increased body mass index. Maintaining a regular schedule with your doctor and completing yearly checkups can help you stay on top of these other risk factors.
What Psoriasis Medications Can I Take
Biologics for Psoriasis
The following drugs are categorized under the term biologic because they are all proteins produced in the laboratory by industrial cell culture techniques and must be given either subcutaneously or intravenously. The frequency of treatment depends on the specific drug. All of these medications are very precise in that they block only one or two parts of the inflammatory reaction and are moderately immunosuppresive.
Biologics are expensive and do not cure psoriasis but as a group are quite effective and reasonably safe. If it is decided to start a patient on a biologic drug, the choice will depend on the particular physician’s expertise, as well as insurance coverage and payment issues.
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Home Treatment For Psoriasis
There are some home remedies that may help minimize outbreaks or reduce symptoms of psoriasis:
- Exposure to sunlight.
- Apply moisturizers after bathing to keep skin soft.
- Avoid irritating cosmetics or soaps.
- Do not scratch to the point you cause bleeding or excessive irritation.
- Over-the-counter cortisone creams can reduce itching of mild psoriasis.
A dermatologist may prescribe an ultraviolet B unit and instruct the patient on home use.
What Tests Will I Be Required To Take During My Diagnosis And Treatments
A full case history will be taken, urine and blood tests requested, x-rays, sometimes specialist x-rays, images and scans may also be requested, plus a full examination of your affected parts i.e. back, hands, feet etc.
In summary points to remember when seeing your doctor:
Ask about your medicines:
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Plaques On The Hands And Feet
For many people with plaque psoriasis, it shows up as palmoplantar psoriasis. This primarily affects the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. This condition is believed to be caused by a mix of genetic and environmental factors. It is worth taking the time to see if detergents or other chemicals might be aggravating your psoriasis.
Hands and feet.
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.
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What Parts Of The Body Are Affected By Psoriatic Arthritis
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Psoriatic arthritis is more than a joint disease. PsA is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune means it occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.
The faulty immune response causes inflammation that triggers joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. The inflammation can affect the entire body and may lead to permanent joint and tissue damage if it is not treated early and aggressively.1