Psoriasis of the Scalp:
Scalp Psoriasis, Psoriatic
Dandruff and Flaking

World Psoriasis Day 29 October 2024

Inspiring Hope and Empowering Individuals with Psoriasis

Psoriasis of the scalp can be confused with other scalp problems like dandruff or dermatitis affecting the scalp, especially if it is not severe. A doctor can make a definitive diagnosis for this scalp condition.

Symptoms of Psoriasis on the Head

The locations could be scratchy and also if you damage, it could result in sores as well as hemorrhaging and also infection could embed in. Generally a skin professional will certainly have the ability to detect the problem by checking it out , though often he might encourage a biopsy.

In the scalp, light psoriasis appears as great silvery flakes that maintain dropping as the skin maintains flaking as well as expanding. It could reveal up as thick crusted plaques that cover the whole scalp when it is deep-rooted. Just the scalp might be impacted or the problem could infect the temple, neck as well as ears.

Psoriasis on the scalpPsoriasis on the Scalp

Causes of Psoriasis of the Scalp

Nobody can say for sure what the causes of this disease are, but it often occurs due to a combination of factors including

  • Heredity
  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  •  Infection
  • Trauma
  • Obesity
  • Poor immunity

Many people have these factors, but only a small percentage develops psoriasis, which affects several millions people worldwide.

Get information about psoriasis and diet

Treatment of Psoriasis of the Scalp

Usually a combination of two or more treatments work and these may comprise oral drugs as well as topical treatments. The topical treatments are:

  • Coal tar shampoos, gels, creams, ointments and soaps are available over the counter. These can stain the bedding and cause discoloration of hair; some of these products have a strong odor and can also cause skin irritation.
  • Salicylic acid gels, when applied to the scalp, soften the scales and make them easier to remove. Often salicylic and coal tar products are used together.
  • Anthralin is a medicine that has to be applied to the scalp for periods as short as ten minutes before being washed off. It, too, can stain and skin and cause irritation. Psoriatec is a form of Anthralin which reduces the chances of staining and irritation.
  • Dovonex (Calcipotriene) is a liquid containing Vitamin D3 – it is applied and left on overnight and then shampooed off. You have to wear a shower cap so that the liquid does not go anywhere else or it can result in skin irritation.
  • When combined with betamethasone dipropionate, a steroid, Dovonex is available as Taclonex Scalp that can be used for a maximum of two weeks at a time.
  • Tazorac (Tazarotene) is a topical form of Vitamin A that is effective in treating scalp psoriasis. It is available as a gel and a cream.

If scalp psoriasis is very severe or does not respond to these treatments then your doctor may prescribe stronger medicines like

  • Methotrexate
  • Cyclosporine
  • Oral retinoids
  • Biologics

These have to be used with caution as they can cause hair loss, though the hair will grow back once treatment is stopped.

Yet another treatment is phototherapy. Either UV light can be used, preferably on a shaved scalp or the scalp is treated with a 308 nm excimer laser in small patches. The laser generates UV light on targeted areas of the scalp and often great improvement has been reported with this line of treatment.

Psoriasis’ patients also use handheld UV combs. However, UV is linked to skin cancer so it should be used with caution and only when other treatments are not effective. Additionally if the skin gets infected you doctor my recommend anti-microbial treatment. Alternative remedies also have their fans.

Keeping your skin moisturized is important to prevent further psoriasis problems.

Psoriasis of the scalp usually responds to timely treatment, or at least its recurrence and severity can be greatly reduced.



Sitemap in alphabetical order

Psoriasis of the scalp - another type symptom of psoriasis

Back to top

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases