Scalp Psoriasis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention
The exact cause of scalp psoriasis is unknown, but it is thought to be an autoimmune disease. This means that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells. Psoriasis can be triggered by a number of factors, including:
- Genetics: Psoriasis tends to run in families, so if you have a family history of the condition, you are more likely to develop it.
- Stress: Stress can trigger psoriasis flare-ups.
- Injuries to the skin: Cuts, scrapes, and burns can trigger psoriasis flare-ups.
- Infections: Strep infections and other infections can trigger psoriasis flare-ups.
- Certain medications: Some medications, such as lithium and beta-blockers, can trigger psoriasis flare-ups.
- Cold weather: Cold weather can worsen psoriasis symptoms.
The most common symptoms of scalp psoriasis are:
- Red, itchy patches on the scalp
- Thick, silvery scales on the scalp
- Hair loss
- Dryness and cracking of the scalp
- Burning or soreness of the scalp
There is no cure for scalp psoriasis, but there are a number of treatments that can help to manage the symptoms. Treatment options include:
- Topical medications: Topical medications, such as corticosteroids, coal tar, and calcipotriene, can be applied directly to the scalp to reduce inflammation and scaling.
- Over-the-counter shampoos: Over-the-counter shampoos containing salicylic acid, coal tar, or selenium sulfide can help to remove scales and reduce itching.
- Prescription shampoos: Prescription shampoos containing corticosteroids or antifungals can be used to treat more severe cases of scalp psoriasis.
- Phototherapy: Phototherapy involves exposing the scalp to ultraviolet light. This can help to reduce inflammation and scaling.
- Systemic medications: Systemic medications, such as methotrexate and cyclosporine, can be used to treat severe cases of scalp psoriasis.
There is no way to completely prevent scalp psoriasis, but there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of flare-ups:
- Manage stress: Stress can trigger psoriasis flare-ups, so it is important to find ways to manage your stress levels.
- Avoid scratching: Scratching can irritate the scalp and make psoriasis worse.
- Keep your scalp hydrated: Use a moisturizer on your scalp regularly to keep it hydrated.
- Avoid cold weather: Cold weather can worsen psoriasis symptoms. If you must be in cold weather, wear a hat to protect your scalp.
- Talk to your doctor: Your doctor can help you to develop a treatment plan that is right for you and can also provide you with tips on how to manage your symptoms.
If you have scalp psoriasis, it is important to see a doctor or dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment. With proper treatment, most people with scalp psoriasis can manage their symptoms and live active, full lives.