Scalp Psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis ointmnet

Last Updated May 15th, 2019

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.

Facts

  • As per the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) (2014), approximately 6.7 million adult individuals in the United States have psoriasis.

Facts

  • Males and females are at equal risk of getting psoriasis.
  • Psoriasis is not contagious. It cannot spread by touching the skin patches.

Facts

  • Nearly 10 to 20% of individuals with psoriasis have psoriatic arthritis.
  • The most common variant of psoriasis is known as plaque psoriasis.

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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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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…
Tissue Transglutaminase Antibody (tTG) Test Transglutaminase is an enzyme present in our body and is involved in protein metabolism. A tTg test is…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
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…
immunoglobulin M
Immunoglobulin M Test Immunoglobulin M is the largest and the first produced antibody which helps in the prevention or fighting of…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
The complete “what to eat” guide for gluten intolerance Does eating breads and pastas often makes you nauseous? Gluten intolerance is a common reason why you might…
The right way to prepare Alfalfa sprouts at home Alfalfa or lusan ghas is not just a nutritious animal fodder. This flavonoid-rich herb has some amazing health…
Find all the instant ways to get rid of blackheads Blackheads - Not only are they aesthetically unappealing but if left untreated these can cause bacterial overgrowth on…
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…
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…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
SIBO Diet: The important dos and don’ts of this gut-healing diet A SIBO diet is a diet that works by eliminating certain sugars from your diet and adding fibers…
11 unbelievable health benefits of thyme you didn’t know! Thyme is a herb that has been used in alternative medicine.It is a well known seasoning in the…
Coffee Enema: Turn your favorite morning beverage into a powerful colon cleanser The wonders of coffee are not just limited to waking you up every morning. You can now use…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
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?…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
Bubble Tea: Bubbling with nutrition or a hidden sugar mine? The tapioca pearls present in the tea looks like bubbles and hence the name bubble tea became popular.…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
complement c4 test
Anemia Profile Anemia Profile test (Basic) is a blood screening test that measures the levels of important components of the…
shoudler exercises
Keep your shoulders pain-free with these shoulder exercises Shoulder exercises are important in order to prevent chronic back and neck pain. Learn more about how you…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…