Psoriasis on scalp

What is scalp psoriasis?

Psoriasis on scalp is a bothersome affliction characterized by red, inflamed and scaly patches. Scalp psoriasis is a chronic, recurring skin disease caused by the malfunction of the immune system or stress or hormonal imbalance. It is not a contagious disease but can cause embarrassment and emotional distress. Over half the people who are affected by psoriasis have it on their scalp. The dry, scaly and itchy patches affect the entire scalp and may spread to the forehead, back of the neck and behind the ears. Though it is a commonly occurring disease it should not be taken lightly because it can cause severe damage if left untreated.

Causes of scalp psoriasis

There is no sufficient and significant scientific evidence to pinpoint the exact cause for scalp psoriasis or what causes the abnormality of the immune system. Some researchers claim that genes are believed to play a vital role. Environmental factors can also trigger an outbreak or worsen one that already exists. Triggers include medications, stress, workload, alcohol consumption, heat, humidity or skin injury. Generally new skin cells grow and mature in a month. Here the skin cells form in just a few days and do not shed at all. They pile up and cause patches of psoriasis appear on the scalp.

Symptoms of scalp psoriasis

Mild scalp psoriasis may result in light and fine scaling. However moderate to severe psoriasis on scalp can result in reddish skin with silvery patches. It can also cause dry scalping, dandruff-like flaking and intense itching which can even result in sleepless nights. Other symptoms also include tightness and soreness around the entire head. Itching sensation induces scratching which causes scalp bleeding too. This eventually leads to burning sensation or soreness of the scalp. Intense and aggressive scratching and forceful removal of scales can result in temporary hair loss.

Psoriasis remedies and treatment

Scalp psoriasis can be remedied by a variety of treatments including application of topical ointments, usage of special shampoos, oral medications, injections or light therapy.

  1. Medicated shampoos that are available over-the-counter contains effective compounds like salicylic acid and coal tar. These chemicals not only cure scalp psoriasis but also help prevent flare ups and relieve symptoms.
  2. Topical ointments and creams that contain tar and corticosteroids help reduce swelling, suppress the immune system and reduce cell turnover.
  3. Photo-therapy or light therapy is resorted when topical medications fail to provide substantial relief. Here treatment is given by exposing the affected areas to a prescribed wavelength of light.
  4. Systemic therapy is also used to treat scalp psoriasis. Here oral medications or injections are administered to suppress the immune system.
  5. Sometimes a combination of the topical, light and systemic therapy can be initiated to ensure better results.

Though it is apparent that psoriasis on scalp cannot be cured a variety of effective treatments are available to help relieve symptoms, control flare-ups and avoid recurrence. Remember that stress can worsen scalp psoriasis. Keeping stress at bay and eating a healthy diet can go a long way in keeping your scalp healthy and free from psoriasis.

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