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Scalp Psoriasis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

If you are experiencing a scaly, red rash on your scalp, you may have scalp psoriasis. This condition can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, but it is fortunately treatable.

In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of scalp psoriasis. We will also provide some tips for how to manage the condition. Keep reading to learn more!

What is scalp psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis is a common autoimmune skin condition that affects your scalp. The scales on your head may be red or white in color and they're typically scaly as well (though sometimes they can just look like spots).

The immune system mistakenly attacks the skin cells on your scalp, causing them to grow too rapidly. This leads to a build-up of dead skin cells on the surface of your scalp, which forms scales.

Scalp psoriasis affects an estimated 2-3% of the world's population, with the highest rates seen in Northern Europe and North America.

There are many different types of scalps psoriasis so there isn't one specific symptom or sign that makes an individual diagnosis 100% certain. Generally speaking, you may have scalp psoriasis if you have a red, scaly rash on your head that's not going away no matter how much you scratch it or bathe it.

Scalp psoriasis can sometimes be confused with another skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis, which also causes redness, flaking, and itching of the scalp. The main difference between these two conditions is that psoriatic lesions are usually thicker than those seen in seborrheic dermatitis.

What causes scalp psoriasis?

There is no one specific cause of scalp psoriasis, but rather a combination of factors that may lead to its development. Some of the most common causes include genetics, stress, infection, and skin injury.

Each of these factors can play a role in either causing or exacerbating scalp psoriasis. Genetics are thought to be a major factor, as around 30% of people who have psoriasis also have scalp psoriasis.

Stress can also trigger or worsen symptoms, and infections or skin injuries can cause plaques to form on the scalp.

The symptoms of scalp psoriasis

The symptoms of scalp psoriasis can vary from person to person. Some people may only have a few patches of dry, red skin on their scalp.

Others may have a more widespread outbreak, with thick, scaling patches that can be quite embarrassing. In severe cases, the scaling can extend down the back of the neck and over the forehead.

The main symptoms of scalp psoriasis are:

  • Dry, red skin
  • Thick, scaling patches
  • Itching or burning sensations
  • Soreness
  • Bleeding (from scratching)

It can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between scalp psoriasis and dry scalp or seborrheic dermatitis. If you’re not sure about which condition is affecting your head, make an appointment with a doctor or dermatologist for diagnosis.

If you have any doubts, it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health.

Can scalp psoriasis cause hair loss?

Some people with scalp psoriasis may experience hair loss. This is usually due to the inflammation and irritation caused by the condition, which can lead to hair follicles becoming damaged and stunted.

However, it's important to note that not everyone who has scalp psoriasis will lose their hair. In fact, most people only have a mild form of the disease that doesn't cause any noticeable hair loss.

If you are experiencing significant hair loss as a result of scalp psoriasis, speak to your doctor about possible treatment options. There are many different treatments available for both scalp psoriasis and hair loss, so there is no need to suffer in silence.

Will scalp psoriasis go away on its own?

There is no one answer to this question, as the course of scalp psoriasis varies from person to person.

For some people, scalp psoriasis may be a temporary condition that goes away on its own after a few months or years.

Others may have a more chronic form of the disease that requires ongoing treatment.

The best way to find out what will happen with your specific case is to speak to a doctor or dermatologist. They can give you an accurate diagnosis and discuss the best possible treatment plan for you.

How to treat scalp psoriasis

There is no one-size-fits-all cure for scalp psoriasis. However, there are a number of treatments that may help to ease the symptoms. These include:

Medicated shampoos and scalp treatments

Shampoos and scalp treatments that contain coal tar, corticosteroids, or salicylic acid can help to slow down the rate of skin cell growth and reduce inflammation.

Oral medications

Medications such as methotrexate, cyclosporine, or acitretin may be prescribed by your doctor if your scalp psoriasis is severe.

Topical medications

These are medications that are applied directly to the skin, such as moisturizers, ointments, and creams.


Also known as light therapy, this involves exposing your skin to ultraviolet (UV) light.

Lifestyle changes

There are a few lifestyle changes you can make to help ease the symptoms of scalp psoriasis. These include avoiding stress, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough exercise.

If you have scalp psoriasis, it is important to find a treatment plan that works for you. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist about the best options for you.

Tips for managing scalp psoriasis

Here are some tips for managing scalp psoriasis:

1. Avoid stress as much as possible. Stress can aggravate scalp psoriasis and make it harder to manage. Find healthy ways to manage stress in your life, such as exercise, meditation, or yoga.

2. Eat a healthy diet. Eating nutritious foods can help your body to heal and fight inflammation. Make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet.

3. Get enough exercise. Exercise is not only good for your overall health, but it can also help to reduce stress.

4. Make sure that you are using products specifically designed for scalp psoriasis, as other products may cause further irritation or dryness of the skin on your head. Use lukewarm water when washing your hair, since hot water can aggravate symptoms.

5. Avoid scratching at inflamed areas of the scalp, as this can spread infection or lead to scarring. If possible, avoid wearing hats or helmets that might irritate affected areas of the skin on your head.


Can scalp psoriasis spread?

Scalp psoriasis is not contagious and cannot be spread to other people. However, it is possible for someone with scalp psoriasis to have lesions on other parts of their body.

Can scalp psoriasis be caused by stress?

Stress can be a trigger for flare-ups of scalp psoriasis. Stress levels are closely linked to the immune system and high stress could have an effect on the development of an autoimmune disease such as psoriasis.

It’s possible that people with psoriasis may develop symptoms due to stress or certain lifestyle factors, but more research needs to be done in this area.

Is there any home remedy for treating scalp psoriasis?

There is no cure for scalp psoriasis, but many natural remedies and lifestyle changes can help relieve symptoms. Some examples include tea tree oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, aloe vera, diet changes, and stress management. Always consult your doctor before trying new or making any major changes to your treatment plan.

How is scalp psoriasis diagnosed?

Your doctor will likely be able to diagnose scalp psoriasis by looking at your symptoms and medical history. In some cases, a biopsy may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Is it bad to pick at scalp psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis can be itchy and very unpleasant, but trying to pick or itch the affected area will only make things worse. Scratching off flaky skin may cause bleeding, which could lead to infection or scarring.

It’s important not to scratch your scalp if you have psoriasis because this can increase inflammation and damage healthy tissue around the lesion site. If necessary, try using a comb instead of your fingers when removing flakes from dry areas on top of the head – use gentle strokes so as not to irritate them further than they already are due to scratching!

How can I stop my scalp from itching?

The most effective way is by using an anti-itch lotion or shampoo designed specifically for psoriasis.

You should also avoid washing your hair too often as this could leave it feeling dry and irritated, which would increase the likelihood of itching occurring in future sessions.

If you do wash regularly then make sure there are no other irritants such as dyes or perfumes that might cause problems when combined with medication being used on top of them - these include but aren’t limited to salicylic acid products like Head & Shoulders® dandruff shampoos containing zinc pyrithione (ZPT) and coal tar derivatives such as Neutrogena T/Gel®.

What are some of the long-term effects of scalp psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis can cause physical and emotional distress, which may lead to a reduced quality of life. Some people with severe cases of scalp psoriasis may also experience hair loss.

It’s important to seek medical care if you feel like your quality of life has been affected by your scalp psoriasis – your doctor can work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan that will help control symptoms and improve overall health.

Can scalp psoriasis affect your eyes?

Yes, people with scalp psoriasis may experience burning or itching in their eyes. People who have severe cases of the condition may also notice redness around the eyelids or eyelashes falling out due to inflammation on these areas

Seeking prompt medical attention can help prevent any complications associated with this symptom so it’s important not to ignore these signs if they occur – untreated eye problems caused by scalp psoriasis could lead to permanent damage!

What is the difference between dandruff and scalp psoriasis?

Dandruff is a common problem among adults, but it’s not actually an illness.

The main symptoms include itching and flaking on the scalp, which usually appear as white or yellowish flakes on top of one’s head in areas where hair has been lost due to stress or hormonal changes (such as during pregnancy).

On the other hand, people with psoriasis often experience redness around these patches in addition to scaling that may be accompanied by pain when scratching occurs.

The takeaway

Scalp psoriasis can be a very frustrating and uncomfortable condition to live with, but there are ways to manage the symptoms.

With the right treatment plan in place, you can keep your scalp healthy and free from flakes and itching.

Remember to consult your doctor if you experience any other unusual symptoms or have difficulty controlling your scalp psoriasis. We hope this article has been helpful and informative!

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