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Scalp Psoriasis


Overview

Scalp psoriasis is one of the most common types of psoriasis—it occurs in just over half of all people who suffer from psoriasis. Scalp psoriasis can range from mild, with slight fine scaling, to severe, with thick red plaques affecting the entire scalp. As with other forms of psoriasis, scalp psoriasis is caused by rapid skin growth which causes red lesions and scaling. In severe cases, scalp psoriasis causes hair loss. Scalp psoriasis can also occur around the ears, the back of the neck and on the forehead. For some people the scalp is the only affected area, but for most psoriatics, other parts of their body are affected as well as their scalp.

Scalp PsoriasisPsoriasis on the scalp appears as red, itchy areas with silvery-white scales. Patients with this type of psoriasis may notice flakes of dead skin in their hair or on their shoulders, especially after scratching the scalp. As there is no cure for psoriasis, topical treatments containing salicylic acid (see below for more options) may be applied to the affected area to alleviate the symptoms of the scalp psoriasis.

For individuals that have not been diagnosed with psoriasis on other parts of their body, it can be difficult to diagnose scalp psoriasis. Scalp psoriasis is often times confused for seborrheic dermatitis (red, scaly skin). The scaling associated with psoriasis tends to be thicker and drier in appearance than are the scales of seborrheic dermatitis. Scalp psoriasis also tends to be more resistant to treatment than does seborrheic dermatitis. The treatment for both conditions is similar.

Topicals containing salicylic acid may be applied to the affected area to alleviate the symptoms of the scalp psoriasis. Skin-Plaque Solution™ Advanced Salicylic Acid Therapy Shampoo is an aggressive and effective treatment for the itching and flaking associated with scalp psoriasis—yet it is gentle enough for daily use.

Disorder
Symptoms
Treatment
Scalp
psoriasis

Soreness, itching or burning

Dry, cracked skin

Red patches of skin covered by silvery scales

Changes to diet (psoriasis meal plan) and lifestyle.

Topical over-the-counter medicated shampoos and conditioners containing pyrithione zinc, salicylic acid, ketoconazole, tar or selenium sulfide.

Topical over-the-counter creams or ointments containing pyrithione zinc or salicylic acid.

Topical creams or ointments containing tar, corticosteroids or vitamin D analogues.

Light therapy.

Seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp

Itching and/or soreness

Severe dandruff or skin flaking

Thick and crusty scalp or patchy scaling scalp

White or yellowish scales that are often attach to the hair shaft

Reddish-brown small bumps

Greasy red skin covered with flaky yellow or white scales

Topical over-the-counter medicated shampoos or conditioners containing pyrithione zinc, salicylic acid, ketoconazole, tar or selenium sulfide.

Topical over-the-counter medicated creams or ointments containing pyrithione zinc or salicylic acid.

Topical creams with hydrocortisone.

Changes to diet and lifestyle.



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Visit DermaHarmony to learn more about our alternative, science-based approach to psoriasis, rosacea, acne, dermatitis, and other common skin conditions. At DermaHarmony our goals are to educate chronic skin care sufferers about the latest alternative research in dermatology, encourage a holistic approach to healthy skin and wellness, and to support our readers in every way we can.


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Principal Authors: DermaHarmony Editorial Staff
Date of Publication: 03/13/2004
Updated: 06/07/2011
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