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All About Scalp Psoriasis: Symptoms, Plaque, Causes & Treatment

Scalp psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes minor scaling to crusting on the entire scalp, giving the scalp a reddish appearance with scaly spots. It creates popped-up single, discoloured skin patches on the scalp or plaques on the scalp skin that may even extend to other areas around the scalp like the hairline, forehead, around the nose, the back of the neck, and behind or inside the ears. An affected person cannot transfer scalp psoriasis to a healthy person through skin-to-skin contact, shares a dermatologist in Ludhiana, Dr. Shikha Aggarwal, practising at Bliss Aesthetics.

It is not a serious medical concern. Patients need specialised scalp skin treatment to keep the scalp psoriasis from spreading further. If you have scalp psoriasis, consult a general dermatologist to receive specific treatment for scalp psoriasis. Before your consultation, you can learn more about scalp psoriasis by reading this article. You can also watch this by our psoriasis treatment doctor in Ludhiana Dr. Shikha Aggarwal-

What are the Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis?

Many people confuse mild scalp psoriasis with dandruff because of the appearance of small, thin scales or flaking skin. However, in scalp psoriasis, the skin is involved, and if affected individuals comb their heads, their scalp skin may come out.

Symptoms of mild to severe scalp psoriasis are:

  • Scaly, rough patches
  • Raised, discoloured (red, grey, brown, or purple) plaques
  • Silver-white scales of dead skin cells
  • Dandruff-like flaking
  • Dry scalp
  • Itching
  • Cracks/fissures on the skin
  • Bleeding
  • Burning sensation or soreness
  • Hair loss or infection (due to extensive scratching of the affected skin)
  • Disrupted sleep and poor quality of life due to itchy skin.

What Causes Scalp Psoriasis?

As per psoriasis treatment doctors, scalp psoriasis develops when the immune system overreacts, leading to the rapid reproduction of skin cells and their accumulation to create thick patches of the skin. Typically, new skin cells grow every 28-30 days, but in scalp psoriasis, the skin cells multiply and come to the skin surface every 3-4 days.

Scalp psoriasis can affect anyone. However, it is more likely to develop among people whose close family members have experienced it. Other people who are at high risk of scalp psoriasis include those who drink alcohol, are obese, are smokers or use tobacco products, have stress or depression, take medications infrequently, or have other inflammatory/autoimmune conditions.

What is the Treatment for Scalp Psoriasis?

There are many treatments for scalp psoriasis in Ludhiana at Bliss Aesthetics. Mild scalp psoriasis is usually treatable with medicated shampoo or other over-the-counter topical treatments. If scalp psoriasis persists after this type of treatment, a dermatologist can help. However, severe scalp psoriasis is rarely difficult to control with the help of a dermatologist.

Dermatologists can treat scalp psoriasis symptoms such as itching, scaling, hair loss, and bleeding.

When a patient consults dermatologist Dr. Shikha Aggarwal, they will receive a treatment plan personalised to their specific needs. Often, a treatment strategy incorporates many treatments. For example, one may need to treat their scalp differently in the mornings and evenings. This can increase therapy effectiveness and lessen side effects.

The following may be included in the treatment strategy for scalp psoriasis:

  • Medications: This is the most commonly prescribed treatment approach that may involve one or more of the following:
  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids are the most commonly prescribed treatment for scalp psoriasis in children and adults. They immediately reduce redness, swelling, irritation, and scaling on the scalp. When used as suggested, this medication is safe. However, long-term corticosteroid application could result in side effects. Therefore, a dermatologist may recommend a different treatment in combination with it. This reduces the risk of side effects.
    Sometimes, a dermatologist may inject a corticosteroid directly into the scalp to treat psoriasis. While this can be beneficial, it is only used a few times.
  • Medicated shampoos: These can frequently be part of a treatment strategy. A dermatologist may recommend tar-containing shampoos if an individual has persistent scalp psoriasis. Patients can safely use medicated shampoo regularly for up to four weeks. Applying it once or twice a week is also fine to maintain the results.
  • Scale softeners: Salicylic acid-based topical lotions can help soften thick, resistant patches on the scalp. Additional ingredients may also be helpful.
  • Vitamin D derivative: Most people apply synthetic vitamin D to their scalp before bed. After applying the medication, a dermatologist may recommend that patients cover their scalps with a shower cap. This allows the drug to penetrate the thick patches of psoriasis.
    If an individual requires a stronger medication, a dermatologist may prescribe a combination of Vitamin D and a potent corticosteroid. The combination might also help relieve scalp inflammation. Most people use the medication once a day for two weeks. It has the potential to be used over an extended period.
  • Vitamin A Derivative: It helps slow skin cell overgrowth and reduce skin inflammation. Most people apply a thin layer of Vitamin A derivative as a skin doctor prescribes to their scalp before bedtime. When they wake up, they rinse it off.
  • Excimer laser and other light-based treatments: Excimer laser and IPL are both effective for treating psoriasis in difficult-to-treat areas such as the scalp. They work to selectively damage the psoriasis-affected skin with thermal energy. When treating the scalp, a dermatologist can use a light-emitting device that resembles a blow dryer. One advantage of using intense light to treat scalp psoriasis is that it addresses the affected areas.

What are Some Self-care Tips for Scalp Psoriasis?

Topical medications that treat scalp psoriasis should be applied immediately to the hairy area. The application must be done as advised by the dermatologist and continued until the skin heals. This treatment can take three weeks or longer.

Once the symptoms of psoriasis have subsided, patients can prevent relapses by applying the dermatologically prescribed shampoo daily or twice a week, as needed.

To maintain a long-term remission of the psoriasis and prevent the growth of new plaques on the scalp, doctors encourage the patients to follow a few basic gestures throughout their treatment course:

  • When applying shampoo to the scalp, do not scrub it too vigorously. Excessive friction or scratching may aggravate the scalp skin condition
  • Be patient during the treatment. It may take many weeks before positive results appear.
  • Do not abruptly discontinue treatment even if you have achieved the intended result. To prevent relapse, use dermatologically prescribed shampoo on a less intense frequency.
  • Avoid using a hair dryer since heated air might aggravate the dry scalp. Allow the hair to dry in the open. If necessary, use the hair dryer with the cold air setting.
  • Avoid items that include mint. This common component in many shampoos damages the scalp and can exacerbate psoriasis.
  • It’s possible to colour hair using non-chemical products. However, avoid colouring your hair during flare-ups to avoid aggravating the symptoms.

If you have an excessively flaky scalp, it can be dandruff or even scalp psoriasis. It can be discomforting and affect one’s overall health. If you have the same condition, get in touch with a dermatologist in Ludhiana, Dr Shikha Aggarwal, at Bliss Aesthetics to manage it effectively and achieve a healthy scalp.

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