Psoriasis is a common skin condition that makes it feel itchy. It can be easily identified as it forms a flaky, red coloured patches that takes the form of a crust. That crust then gets covered with light silvery scales.
They can appear anywhere on your body, but they are most common on the lower back, the elbows, the knees and the scalp. In this article I want to concentrate on psoriasis of the scalp and what can be done to prevent and treat it.
Psoriasis of the Scalp
Of all the people who suffer from this skin condition, around 50% of them have it on their scalp. The intensity of it varies quite a lot between individuals, from very mild to severe. If you have a mild condition the silver scales are the tell tale sign to look out for. When it is more severe , the psoriasis shows up as quite a thick crust.
In the worst cases of this, it can spread to the forehead, the neck and around the ears. It can get very itchy and it does not look good. I have included a video below so as you get a better sense of what this looks like.
The Main Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis
No-one really understands why people get this, but the best medical opinion, suggests that it id down to some weakness in the immune system. You can not catch it from anyone else. Aside from being really itchy, the problems really arise when people start to scratch it. That can cause to other skin infections and also to temporary hair loss.
(Please note hair usually grows back once the psoriasis has been treated)
This is what to look out for:
- Dandruff like flaking on the scalp
- Unusually dry scalp
- A burning sensation or soreness which makes you itch
- Red bumpy patches that may develop light silver scaling
How Do You Treat Scalp Psoriasis?
There are different treatments available and for most people it is a matter of figuring out which one works best for each individual. Quite often different treatments have to be rotated as and when the psoriasis becomes less responsive to one particular treatment.
Many of them can be bought at the chemist, but some of the stronger ones will require a prescription from your GP.
These work by moisturising the scalp and also controlling the risk of flare ups.
According to the medical experts these topical style treatments contain one of two medications which are, tar products and salicylic acid and appear to work the best. You can buy these in special medicated shampoo format. The acid is good for removing the scales.
The coal tar will slow the growth of skin cells and improve the look of the skin, but it does have a rather horrible smell. Normally these will clear it up in around 6-8 weeks. Something like the one I have shown above works well. This is the Alphosyl 2-in-1 Medicated Shampoo and costs around £6.
Steroids & Non -Steroids Treatments
Now in some cases, and only under medical advice by doctors, or by referral to a dermatologist could lead to a steroid treatment. This is where they will inject steroids into the affected areas. This is normally only done in extreme circumstances. They would also only consider doing this if all different types of topical treatments have not worked.
There are also “phototherapy” treatments available where the use of UV light may be used. These are of course specialist treatments and should only ever be considered under medical supervision and advice.
In addition to all of those treatments, medicine is as you know advancing all the time. There are now both oral and injected methods available, but your dermatologist will advise you of what is available and in more detail.