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Scalp Psoriasis: What Is It and How To Treat It?

Are you struggling with an itchy, flaky scalp? Here are my top tips for treating scalp psoriasis.

What is scalp psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis is a common immune-mediated, chronic inflammatory condition that causes raised, reddish, and scaly patches. It could also spread to the back of your neck, the forehead, or the area behind your ears. About ​​45 to 56 percent of people living with psoriasis are affected by scalp psoriasis. Anyone can develop scalp psoriasis as the condition’s onset is unrelated to our hair’s textures or types.

What are the symptoms of scalp psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis is often confused with seborrheic dermatitis. However, while seborrheic dermatitis appears yellowish and oily, scalp psoriasis looks powdery with a silvery sheen. Symptoms of scalp psoriasis may include:

  • Red bumpy patches
  • Silvery-white scales
  • Dandruff-like flakes
  • Extreme itchiness
  • A burning sensation or other types of pain
  • Temporary hair loss in the affected areas
  • Soreness

How to treat scalp psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis could be tricky to treat as everyone reacts to treatments differently – finding the right treatment is the key. Many treatments on the market can help you treat scalp psoriasis. Here are my top recommendations:

  • Topical treatments

There are a lot of topical products in the market that can help you manage the symptoms of psoriasis. You can choose from a wide range of medicated psoriasis shampoos, creams, gels, lotions, foams, oils, ointments, and soaps. However, when buying over-the-counter solutions, look for these ingredients for the best results:

  • Salicylic acid: It helps soften, lift, and clear away flakes of skin on psoriasis plaques. It can also reduce swelling.
  • Coal tar: According to the American Academy of Dermatology, coal tar is an effective remedy for scalp psoriasis. Your skin cells quickly multiply when you have psoriasis, resulting in red, itchy, scaly patches. The rapid growth of these cells is slowed down by coal tar, thus restoring the smooth appearance of your skin. It can also aid in reducing psoriasis-related swelling and irritation. I recommend searching for over-the-counter products that contain two to 10 percent coal tar.
  • Aloe vera: Aloe vera is beneficial for people with mild to moderate scalp psoriasis, due to its soothing properties. It can aid in easing scalp itching, inflammation, peeling, and redness caused by psoriasis.
  • Apple cider vinegar: I recommend trying an Apple cider vinegar rinse if you are struggling with scalp psoriasis. It alleviates the itching brought on by scalp psoriasis. Apply it to the scalp after diluting it with water, then thoroughly rinse the area to avoid skin irritation.
  • In-office treatments

If topical treatments are not giving you the desired results, you can try in-office treatments to treat scalp psoriasis.

  • Phototherapy: UV light is used in phototherapy to limit the growth of skin cells. To help UV rays reach the scalp, handheld phototherapy devices with built-in combs are used to manage scalp psoriasis. However, while Phototherapy is an effective method to tackle the symptoms of scalp psoriasis, it does not completely treat it.
  • Intralesional steroid injections: In this treatment, a corticosteroid, such as triamcinolone acetonide, is injected directly into a lesion on or just below the skin to reduce cell growth.

Try these effective solutions to manage your scalp psoriasis and prevent flare-ups. Another important tip is to avoid scratching the scalp as much as you can because it can aggravate psoriasis, cause bleeding, and even result in hair loss. You must also refrain from manually removing the plaques. Doing so could lead to more flaking and scaling.

Want to learn more about how to manage the symptoms of scalp psoriasis? Schedule a consultation with me here.