How to Treat Scalp Psoriasis at Home
Itchy, flaky and embarrassing are the three most common words used to describe scalp psoriasis. While dandruff, psoriasis’ “sister,” is a brief but common experience for many, psoriasis stays around for much longer and has a few different, but similar symptoms. A main difference between dandruff and psoriasis is that psoriasis is often a lifelong condition. Having a good dermatologist like one from Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute is important for finding a beneficial scalp psoriasis treatment. Let’s learn more about psoriasis, scalp psoriasis and how to treat it.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin disease that can affect both the skin and the scalp. Sometimes both skin and scalp are affected and sometimes it’s one or the other. Areas affected by psoriasis become noticeably inflamed, itchy and red. In addition to the scalp, psoriasis can be apparent on the elbows, knees, face, arms and legs. Scalp psoriasis specifically will reflect raised and red scales in the form of one patch to many patches on the scalp, forehead and even on the neck. Psoriasis causes are unknown but may be related to white blood cells triggering skin inflammation.
A Deep Dive into Scalp Psoriasis
Scalp psoriasis symptoms include scaly, red patches, silvery-white scales, flaking, dryness and itching. Hair loss can even be an issue if you itch too much and the hair begins to fall out. If you begin experiencing any of these symptoms, consult with a dermatologist to find a psoriasis treatment. The quicker treatment begins the quicker you will have relief from your symptoms. Another reason to involve a dermatologist is that some treatments may need to be prescribed while others are available over-the-counter. Over-the-counter treatments will include medications that incorporate salicylic acid or coal tar. Prescriptions provided by a dermatologist will include high concentrations of salicylic acid or coal tar. These include anthralin, antimicrobials, calcipotriene and other topical steroids. Once prescribed, the treatment is applied directly to the scalp. It can take up to eight weeks for the psoriasis to heal once the treatment is applied.
If the topical treatments do not work, other options include phototherapy with a laser or non-laser light source, an oral treatment or injected treatment. In phototherapy treatment, a UV light can be used to treat the entire scalp. Oral treatments can include corticosteroids, sandimmune, rheumatrex and a strong form of Vitamin A. These powerful medications are monitored by doctors because of the damage they could potentially cause. Injectables are referred to as biologics and help stop the skin from making too many cells, which is believed to be the cause of psoriasis.
While there is not a cure for scalp psoriasis, there are many treatment options to help alleviate pain and any associated symptoms. If you are in or around the Bloomington, Illinois area and think you are experiencing psoriasis or scalp psoriasis, complete this form. A dermatologist from Dermatology and Mohs Surgery Institute is happy to diagnose and help treat your psoriasis.