How Can You Manage Scalp Psoriasis?August 7, 2020
Psoriasis is of different types, and each type has a unique look. It can occur anywhere on your body, and if it affects your scalp, it is termed as scalp psoriasis. It is a chronic inflammatory condition, but not contagious.
Scalp psoriasis nearly affects 30% to 40% of people with psoriasis. This skin disorder results in raised, reddish, scaly, and itchy patches. This forms a pile of visible patches or red spots on the skin, and often these scales are painful. It can occur as a single patch or several patches or even affects your entire scalp. In some severe cases, it spreads to your forehead, to the backside of your neck, or behind & inside your ears.
What Causes Scalp Psoriasis?
You may not get scalp psoriasis from others who are infected with this disorder. Similar to other types of psoriasis, the exact cause of scalp psoriasis is yet to find. Experts say that it is caused due to changes in your immune system. It influences the skin cells to grow faster than usual, and the excess growth builds up into patches. It may also cause as a result of hereditary, i.e., if scalp psoriasis, it runs in your family.
Scalp psoriasis ranges from a mild condition, which is almost unnoticeable until it takes a severe form that lasts a long time. Severe itching can affect your everyday life and disturb your sleep. Scratching a lot might result in skin infections. Severe and under-treated scalp psoriasis can result in hair loss called Psoriatic Alopecia.
Symptoms Of Scalp Psoriasis
Symptoms of scalp psoriasis vary from person to person according to the severity of the condition. In mild scalp psoriatic cases, symptoms include only slight, fine scaling. But with moderate to severe scalp psoriasis, the symptoms include:
- Scaly, red, irregular patches
- Visible silvery-white scales
- Flaking that looks like dandruff
- Dry scalp
- Intense itching of the scalp
- Burning or soreness
- Hair loss
- Painful hair roots
Scalp psoriasis alone doesn’t lead to hair loss, but scratching hardly, picking the scaly spots, different treatments, and stress contributes to temporary hair fall. Fortunately, in most people, the lost hair due to scalp psoriasis grows back after your skin clears. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, consulting a dermatologist is an ideal choice.
Treatment For Scalp Psoriasis
Treatments for scalp psoriasis depend on various factors, including the severity and other health conditions of an individual. However, treating scalp psoriasis is quite tricky because scalp skin is sensitive and the presence of hair. The main objective of treatment is to remove plaques and soothe itching.
The first line of treatment for scalp psoriasis is medicated shampoos, gels, lotions, oils, creams, and soaps. You can get these products over the counter, but more powerful ones require doctor prescriptions.
Over-the-counter products usually contain the drugs approved by the FDA to treat psoriasis such as salicylic acid, coal tar.
If the shampoos and other mild treatments options are not sufficient, then the doctor might prescribe a more potent topical treatment and the products include:
- Anthralin which can slow down the skin cell production
- Antimicrobials, which treat bacterial or yeast infections
- Calcipotriene – reduces growth in the skin cell
- Calcipotriene and betamethasone dipropionate – helps in reduction of skin cell production, scales, and regulates itching
- Tazarotene is another topical retinoid that controls the speed of skin cell growth
A skin doctor considers various systemic therapies. These medications treat the damaged systems in the body and target your immune activity to root out psoriasis. However, the skin specialist recommends these medications in case of severe scalp psoriasis that does not respond to other treatments.
Treatment For Severe Scalp Psoriasis
In moderate to severe scalp psoriasis, a skin specialist might prescribe oral drugs or scalp injections. Oral medications include:
- Potent derivatives of vitamin A (Soriatane)
- Apremilast (Otezla)
While taking these medications, you should regularly consider meeting your skin specialist for observation to cause serious side effects.
The “American Academy of Dermatology” consider some biologics that may work, which include:
- Adalimumab (Humira)
- Certolizumab peg (Cimzia)
- Guselkumab (Tremfya)
- Infliximab (Remicade)
- Secukinumab (Cosentyx)
- Ustekinumab (Stelara)
Drugs might be less effective if you use the same medicine for a longer time. So the doctor might change the treatment regimen in chronic cases — a combination of treatments gives the best and long-term results.
“Scalp psoriasis affects the quality of life of a person, including their appearance with visible plaques,” says Dr Swapna Priya, a renowned dermatologist in Hyderabad, at Cosmosure Clinic. Patients might lose self-confidence or distressed about their aesthetic beauty, visibility of scales to others, and the hair loss. She says any type of psoriasis is treatable. For more information, make a consultation and get a solution for your psoriasis problem.