Scalp psoriasis is an uncomfortable condition, and it may make you feel self conscious. Fortunately, there are treatments available to help you find relief. By seeing a dermatologist and sticking to a scalp care regimen, you can control your psoriasis symptoms.
Scalp psoriasis is characterized by raised, crusted and scaly patches, which are often red or silvery in color. The condition can be mild to severe, potentially spreading to the neck, ears, and forehead as well. In addition to the patches, symptoms can include itching, burning, hair loss, flaking and dryness.
While the specific cause of scalp psoriasis is unclear, experts believe that it occurs when skin cells grow too quickly as a result of an immune system issue. The condition can be genetic. Individuals with scalp psoriasis are likely to have patches on other parts of their bodies as well, but this isn’t always true.
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of scalp psoriasis, it’s important to see a dermatologist for diagnosis. Your doctor will inspect the scalp, but they may also send a skin sample to a lab for more thorough testing. Keep in mind that psoriasis on the scalp may have similar symptoms to other conditions. A dermatologist will rule out other causes and prescribe treatment.
The specific treatment that the dermatologist prescribes will depend on the severity of your condition. Some common treatments include medicated shampoo, scale softeners and topical creams. In-office procedures like injections and light treatments might be effective for some patients.
Scalp psoriasis can be difficult to treat, so it’s essential to follow your dermatologist’s recommendations. You may also need to try several treatments before finding a method that works. Your doctor will carefully monitor your scalp health and adjust the approach if necessary.
Some medicated shampoos are available over the counter to alleviate scalp psoriasis symptoms. However, you should always consult your dermatologist before purchasing one of these products. Your doctor can tell you the best brands to buy and which ingredients you should look for, as well as some you should avoid.
Coal tar is a common ingredient in scalp psoriasis shampoos. It slows down skin cell growth and controls itching on the scalp. This ingredient may increase your scalp’s sensitivity to sunlight, so be sure to talk to your dermatologist about ways to prevent sun damage. Salicylic acid is another common ingredient in OTC scalp psoriasis products. It works by causing the psoriasis scales to soften and lift. Since the strong ingredients in these shampoos can have side effects, be sure to talk to your dermatologist if you have any concerns.
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of scalp psoriasis and are interested in discussing treatments, our team at Pacific Dermatology Specialists is available to help. Our experts can diagnose scalp psoriasis, recommending prescription and OTC treatments to relieve the condition. With locations in Carson, Long Beach, Seal Beach and Torrance, CA, you can find a conveniently-located office near you. Contact us today to get started.