Treatment for Psoriasis on the Scalp

A woman with beautiful hair stands outside while holding her hair has it blows in the wind. (Model)

A chronically dry and flaky scalp can be the source of much physical and social discomfort. Patients seek treatment from dermatologists because it’s quite challenging to manage common scalp psoriasis symptoms such as itching, flaking, and scaly patches on your own. To make matters more frustrating, there’s no definitive, permanent cure for scalp psoriasis. However, with the right guidance and care, relief from scalp psoriasis is well within reach.

Let’s delve into treatment for psoriasis on the scalp by exploring what causes this chronic condition, what to watch out for, and which medical dermatology solutions can help you live more confidently and comfortably in your own skin.

What Is Scalp Psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis is a chronic condition caused by your immune system mistakenly attacking healthy skin cells and causing new skin cells to grow too quickly—in days versus weeks. Unfortunately, your scalp is unable to shed the excess cells, and they accumulate in the form of red, scaly patches that are unsightly and uncomfortable. You can gain a more thorough understanding of psoriatic disease, in general, in this related blog post.

Photos courtesy of DermNet™

What Causes Scalp Psoriasis?

While psoriasis is known to be a chronic inflammatory condition, the exact root cause of scalp psoriasis remains unclear.  Research indicates that your genetics, environment, and immune system may cause you to be more prone to psoriasis. Data compiled by the National Psoriasis Foundation and other sources further suggests that psoriasis may be more likely to occur under the following conditions:

  • After an injury to the skin
  • Following an infection such as strep throat
  • Being under stress, which can trigger or worsen skin conditions
  • Obesity, which causes inflammatory conditions
  • Dietary sensitivities or nutritional deficiencies
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle

Scalp Psoriasis: Symptoms To Watch Out For

If you suffer from psoriasis, you’re already well aware of how its symptoms can negatively affect your scalp and self-esteem. Below are some of the common symptoms that indicate the presence of scalp psoriasis:

  • Red, scaly patches on the scalp
  • Dandruff-like flaking and scaling
  • Excessively dry skin on the scalp (prone to cracking or bleeding)
  • Chronic itching or burning
  • Temporary hair loss caused by inflammation

Scalp Psoriasis vs. Dandruff

Dandruff is a scalp condition that presents itself similarly to scalp psoriasis. It can be flaky, itchy, and uncomfortable like psoriasis, but it usually doesn’t require intervention by a dermatologist. Unlike psoriasis, it’s a temporary vs. chronic condition that is usually managed by switching up your shampoo. Incidentally, it’s a misperception that dandruff is caused by dry skin. The shedding of tiny flakes of skin on your shoulders and clothes is usually triggered by overproductive sebaceous glands. 

Finding Relief From Scalp Psoriasis

While there is currently no single cure-all for scalp psoriasis, we offer various treatment options to help you manage and improve your symptoms. Gaining control over your scalp psoriasis begins by consulting with a board-certified dermatologist who can thoroughly assess your skin, discuss your medical history, and work closely with you to monitor your treatment. Each patient responds differently, so the right treatment approach for you depends on your unique psoriasis triggers and symptoms.

Scalp Psoriasis Shampoo

Medicated shampoos containing active ingredients like salicylic acid or ketoconazole may help reduce scaling and alleviate itching. You should consult your dermatologist before trying new over-the-counter shampoos aimed at relieving psoriasis symptoms.

Topical Medications

Topical therapies such as corticosteroids, emollients, ointments, and creams can be applied to the scalp as directed by your dermatologist to relieve scalp psoriasis symptoms.

Oral and Injectable Medications

Systemic medications, including acitretin, cyclosporine, and methotrexate, can help boost your immune system and reduce the onset of common psoriasis symptoms.

Biologics for Psoriasis

Medicines such as Humira, Enbrel, and Stelara contain a variety of natural sources that can be leveraged to help you find relief from psoriasis. They are typically delivered via IV infusion or injection and work by helping your immune system suppress specific reactions that may trigger your psoriasis symptoms.

Positive Lifestyle Changes

You can take some intentional actions to reduce psoriasis flare-ups and improve your overall health. These include managing stress levels, avoiding psoriasis triggers, maintaining a balanced diet, and practicing good scalp hygiene.

Parting Thoughts on Scalp Psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis can be a frustrating and challenging condition to manage—especially because there is no known cure. But our caring team has the compassion and expertise to help you treat, manage, and alleviate debilitating scalp psoriasis symptoms. Rest assured that with our guidance and support, you can achieve psoriasis relief and enjoy a better quality of life. Set a path toward scalp health by requesting your personalized consultation online or by calling us at (713) 487-8233.

Leave a Reply

Fields marked with * are required.