Scalp Psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis ointmnet

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of scalp psoriasis

Skin infections are very common in people living in unhygienic environment. But certain varieties of skin infections affect only those people who have some major immune disorders. In these cases, the infections may or may not have a genetic origin. Psoriasis is a very common skin disorder in this category. Nearly 3% of the world’s population suffers from some form of psoriasis. A very common category of psoriasis that occurs in both adults and children is- scalp psoriasis.

 

What is scalp psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis earsScalp psoriasis is the medical condition in which scaly patches and reddish plaques appear in different regions of the scalp. The patients normally experience irritation, itching, and inflammation of the scalp skin. The disease affects large areas of the scalp and can gradually spread to the adjoining regions as well.

Scalp psoriasis arises from some serious autoimmune disorders. Under such conditions, the immune system of the body mistakes the dead skin cells as harmful foreign substances and attacks the skin itself. This results in the formation of whitish or greyish flakes on the skin along with itching, redness, and tenderness. Psoriasis, in general, is a type of chronic multisystem disease which elicits a serious systemic response. The skin infection in scalp psoriasis is an inflammatory response to certain harmful chemicals released into the bloodstream, namely the cytokines. This disease may lead to hair loss in the long term. The different forms of psoriasis can adversely impact the health of the different joints in the body as well.

 

What are the causes of scalp psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis may arise from multiple etiological factors like dry skin, immune system disorders, genetics and environmental factors. The most common factors of the disease are as follows-

  • Immune system disorders: In some people suffering from autoimmune diseases, the immune system of the body attacks the skin on account of the incorrect identification of certain substances present on the skin. This triggers the release of some toxic chemicals in the body known as cytokines. These chemicals attack the skin cells and lead to the formation of reddish plaques.
  • Scalp psoriasis patientEnvironmental factors: Scalp psoriasis may occur as an allergic response to a number of environmental triggers. Firstly, certain toxic agents present in the environment such as lead, cadmium, arsenic etc can affect the skin health. Secondly, certain viral or bacterial pathogens present in the environment can cause skin infections. All these factors can lead to scalp diseases.
  • Genetic factors: A trend of skin infections is observed in families having a history of skin diseases in the past generations. Six primary genes are responsible for skin infection in psoriatic patients. These are- NAT9,RAPTOR, SLC12A8, HLA-C, SLC9A3R1 and Mutations in these genes cause changes in the skin cells. These changes are passed on from one generation to another and causes scalp psoriasis (along with other skin infections) in the future generations. Psoriasis is also common in people who have an immediate relative suffering from some serious autoimmune disorders like- Inflammatory bowel disease (Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease) or inflammatory eye disease (Uveitis).
  • Medical illnesses: People having existing skin infections like eczema, seborrheic dermatitis or some joint diseases (Eg: Arthritis) are prone to scalp psoriasis.

A few other factors that may precipitate scalp psoriasis or exacerbate existing scalp infections are as follows-

  • Extreme dryness of skin
  • Microbial infection (Eg: bacterial infection caused by Staphylococcus)
  • Clogging of sweat glands due to the aggregation of dead skin cells, dirt and other waste products of the skin
  • Seasonal allergic response to certain agents such as pollen grains
  • Over use of some medications like corticosteroids and diuretics
  • Exposure to severe temperature conditions like excessive heat or extreme cold
  • Hormonal fluctuations during menstruation, pregnancy or after menopause
  • Use of spoiled or expired hair-oils, hair-sprays or some other greasy cosmetics
  • Absence of vitamin D and iron in daily diet
  • Using very hard soaps or extremely hot water for bathing on a regular basis
  • Sharing common items of use such as hair-towels, bed-sheets or pillow covers with a patient of scalp infection

 

 

What are the main symptoms of scalp psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis is easily identifiable through a few common symptoms. The main signs and symptoms are listed below-

  • Formation of whitish or silvery flakes in different regions of the scalp
  • Irregular reddish patches in the infected regions of the scalp
  • Irritation, itching and inflammation of the infected skin
  • Burning sensation in the scalp while combing or hair massage
  • Appearance of tiny reddish bumps or pustules in the late stages
  • Release of watery fluid from the pustules on scratching (rare)

In this context, one should make a note that the patches and plaques extend only till the hairline and do not affect the interior portions of the scalp.

 

 

What are the types of scalp psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis generally has the following subtypes-

  • Flexural psoriasis: In this case, erythematous plaques form on the affected skin. It is also called inverse psoriasis.
  • Pustular psoriasis: Formation of fluid-filled pustules occurs close to the scalp. It is of two types- localised pustular psoriasis (affects a smaller area) and general pustular psoriasis (affects a larger area).
  • Psoriatic erythroderma: This involves a large area of the skin close to the hairline. Formation of continuous reddish plaques occurs on the skin.

Another classification of scalp psoriasis is given below-

  • Acute scalp psoriasis: It usually stays for a short period of time and occurs due to some temporary environmental triggers.
  • Chronic scalp psoriasis: When acute scalp psoriasis persists for a long time, it leads to chronic scalp psoriasis. The symptoms are more severe and do not dissipate even after strong medications.

Treatment & Prevention

Scalp psoriasis ointmnetThere are combinations of treatment with rotations as the condition becomes less responsive to medications with a prolonged use. Systemic treatment for psoriasis may be used in case psoriasis is present elsewhere on the body.

  • Mild scalp psoriasis– Salicylic acid and tar products are recommended for mild scalp psoriasis.  Coal tar and non-coal tar medicated shampoos are available in order to treat the lesions. The medicated shampoos are meant for the scalp, not the hair. In some cases, steroid medications are injected into the scalp lesions. However, the injections are used in moderation as the steroids might get absorbed in the system.
  • Moderate to severe scalp psoriasis– In case of moderate to severe scalp psoriasis, different treatment methods may be recommended one by one to find out the one which works best. Antimicrobial treatment may be prescribed if crusting and scaling of the scalp occur with enlarged neck lymph nodes (which might be suggestive of a yeast infection). Some topical medications are Dovonex, Anthralin, Taclonex, Tazorac etc. Some of the systemic medications are oral retinoids, cyclosporine, biologics, ultraviolet light, methotrexate etc. The ultraviolet (UV) light treatments are blocked by the hair. Better results may be obtained by parting hair in many rows or shaving the head. Devices such as UV combs are hand-held devices which deliver a higher intensity of UV light. Natural sunlight may also prove helpful in case of thin hair or if the head is shaved.
  • Itchy scalp– For an itchy scalp, OTC tar shampoos or shampoos with menthol can help.  In some cases, oral antihistamines or topical steroids are prescribed to relieve the itch.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. The flare-ups can be prevented in certain ways such as reducing stress, preventing skin infections and injuries, avoiding certain medications (such as lithium, anti-malarial drugs etc.) and eating a healthy diet.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Take daily baths. Add Epsom salt, Dead Sea salt, colloidal oatmeal, or bath oil to the water. This will help in removing the scales and soothe the inflamed skin.
  • Use a heavy, ointment-based moisturizer after taking bath. Frequent applications may be required in winters.
  • Sunlight exposure in moderation. Consult your doctor to learn how long you can expose your skin to the sunlight.
Don'ts
  • Use of harsh soaps and hot water. Use only mild soaps with lukewarm water.
  • Expose yourself to triggers. Certain factors (such as smoking, infections, injuries, excessive sunlight exposure etc.) can trigger psoriasis and worsen the symptoms.
  • Have alcohol consumption. Alcohol might interfere with or neutralize the effect of certain medications given for psoriasis.

 

 

 

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Sputum test Sputum test is a commonly used diagnostic tool that is used to examine the presence of pathogens in…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
Quinine: How gin and tonic came to be known as a potent health elixir The discovery of quinine-containing tree bark is sometimes considered the most serendipitous medical discovery of the 17th century.
ASTtest-liver
AST- Aspartate Aminotransferase Test AST test is a blood test that is used to measure the level of a particular liver enzyme…
lipoprotein A
Lipoprotein (A) Test Lipoprotein (A) test is used to measure and monitor the levels of LDL(Low-Density Lipoprotein) in the bloodstream in…
Pescatarian Diet 101: What are the inherent health advantages of this diet? People opt to become a pescatarian in order to enrich their bodies with the essential health benefits that…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
PREGNANCY
Pregnancy During pregnancy, the body undergoes a number of biological and physical changes to accommodate and provide for the…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
Vitamin b12
Vitamin B12 Test Vitamin b12 is an essential nutrient required for healthy functioning of the nervous system and also development of…
Gua sha: Scraping away layers of pain with this ancient healing tool Gua sha is an ancient oriental healing method which focuses on scraping the body with specific tools to…
Helicobacter pylori IGA
Helicobacter Pylori – IgA Test The H.pylori IgA test is a blood test used to identify the level of IgA antigen in the…
Top reasons why you need to pay attention to your vitamin B6 intake Vitamin B6- An essential water-soluble vitamin. Its deficiency leads to physical changes such as sores & glossy tongue…
Threatened abortion
A few facts about threatened abortion A threatened miscarriage indicates an early pregnancy loss. Look out for symptoms like bleeding, vaginal discharge, and pain.
blood ketone test
Blood Ketone (D3HB) Test The Blood Ketone Test measures and monitors the levels of ketone in the blood which is usually performed…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
Hepatitis A virus infected liver
Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Total Blood test to look for IgM antibodies to know if you are infected with Hepatitis A virus (HAV),…
amylase test
Amylase Test Amylase test is done by checking the level of this protein in the blood sample and also in…
tonometry
Tonometry Tonometry uses a device called tonometer to measure the pressure inside the eye. This pressure is depends upon…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
6 arguments in favour of glucosamine and where can you find it Studies have shown that glucosamine works by preventing the breakdown of cartilage of the joints. This is usually…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
piles
Best treatment for piles in Bangalore All you need to know about piles and piles treatment in Bangalore - the types of treatment available,…
Is bronchitis contagious? And how to prevent this infection? It is acute bronchitis that is contagious which means you can contract it from another person or you…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
creatinine
Creatinine Test The level of creatinine in the blood is a significant indicator of the health of your kidneys. This…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…
General adaptation syndrome: Understanding stress, one step at a time The struggle of the body to produce hormones during a stressful situation is the main theme of general…
immunoglobulin M
Immunoglobulin M Test Immunoglobulin M is the largest and the first produced antibody which helps in the prevention or fighting of…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
Exercises or diet? Find out the healthiest way to gain weight Tired of being called skinny all the time? Looking for healthy ways to beef up? Why not try…
labiaplasty
Labiaplasty Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure to modify the labia minora and the labia majora. Learn about who can…
kidney stones
Kidney stones Kidney stones are solid substances made up of crystals. They can be of various sizes. Treatment depend on…
castor oil hair
Castor oil : A vitamin-rich oil for shiny locks and healthy bowels Castor oil bestows unlimited benefits, whether you use it for your hair or skin. But did you know…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
lp-pla2
LP-PLA2 Test The LP-PLA2 test is a test which is carried out to assess the levels of Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
Appendix pain: Recent findings on this not-so vestigial organ The exact function of the appendix is still not clear. Some consider it as an organ that once…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
Muscle relaxers: Think twice before popping prescription drugs for muscle pain The market is brimming with OTC muscle relaxers. But these come with a host side-effects. Find out the…
colposcopy
Colposcopy Colposcopy is a simple, quick and non- invasive diagnostic tool to look closely inside the vulva, vagina, and…
free testosterone test
Free testosterone Free Testosterone Test measures and monitors the level of the free testosterone in the blood. Less than 4%…
toxo gondii igm test
Toxo Gondii-IgM Test The toxo gondii IgM test is a blood test that tells the presence or absence of toxoplasmosis IgM…
avocado benefits
Avocado: 15 reasons why this fruit should be a staple in your diet Did you know that the word avocado literally means "testicles". Don't get grossed out as this power-packed fruit…
Crossfit with rope
CrossFit: Now get the perfectly sculpted body with this explosive gym routine CrossFit is a fitness regimen that makes use of high-intensity exercises in a shorter period to achieve muscle…
Is it possible to achieve full body detox with Master Cleanse? Master cleanse is a diet consisting of a lemonade based beverage, a salt water drink and a herbal…
Bloodtestalbumin
Albumin Test Albumin test or blood serum test is a liver function test that measures the amount of the protein…
Hymenoplasty
Hymenoplasty Read on to find out all about hymenoplasty, the procedure, post-surgery care, the risks, and the benefits.
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…

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