Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder, which is characterized by red patches with silvery scales. These patches, which are known as psoriatic plaques, are commonly found on the skin of elbows and knees; but can also develop on other locations, including the scalp. It has been observed that, more than 50% of psoriasis patients develop scalp psoriasis. The condition may appear as a single spot or multiple patches on the scalp; and in some cases, the entire scalp may get affected. In some people, the condition may spread to the neck, forehead and behind the ears.
Symptoms and Treatment
The most common symptoms of scalp psoriasis are the reddish patches on the scalp. In mild cases, the patches may not be easily noticeable. However, those with severe form of scalp psoriasis develop thick and inflamed patches, which can be unsightly. In some people, silver or white scales that resemble dandruff, are also seen on the scalp. Such scales cause flaking. In case of scalp psoriasis, the body makes new skin cells too quickly. These cells pile up as scales and shed continuously.
Some of the affected people develop dry scalp, which may crack and bleed occasionally. Itching is another common symptom. While some experience mild itching, others suffer from intense itching, which can affect their daily activities. These red patches may cause soreness and burning sensation too. While hair loss is not usually associated with scalp psoriasis, constant scratching of the scalp (due to itching) may cause temporary hair loss, which is a reversible condition.
As there is no cure for scalp psoriasis, most of the current treatment options are aimed at minimizing the symptoms, and controlling the constant flare-ups. Topical skin treatments are prescribed for this condition. These skin treatments involve use of psoriasis shampoos, coal tar, steroid creams, salicylic acid, ointments, and dithranol. Another treatment option is photo therapy, which uses laser or non-laser light sources to treat the sores caused by psoriasis. In severe cases, systemic medication is also used. These medicines travel throughout the body, and are found to be effective for controlling scalp psoriasis.
- Choose a product that contains dead sea salt, for rinsing your hair. Use this product daily or once in two days. If you fail to obtain such products, mix your regular shampoo with dead sea salt.
- A mixture of aloe vera and jojoba oil is good for conditioning the hair. You have to apply this mixture on the scalp and keep it overnight. You may also use lukewarm olive oil for this purpose.
- Chamomile oil, lavender oil or eucalyptus oil are also among the popular scalp psoriasis home remedies. Use any of these essential oils for massaging the scalp, as they provide a soothing effect, and relieve burning sensation and soreness.
- Occasional application of neem oil on the scalp is beneficial for relief from itching.
- A good hair mask may also prove beneficial for scalp psoriasis patients. You may prepare one by mixing an overripe avocado, one tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of honey. Make a smooth paste and apply it on the scalp. Cover your head with a shower cap and rinse after an hour.
- Some changes in the diet may also prove useful for psoriasis patients. Avoid charcoal grilled or fried foods, and consume foods rich in antioxidants. Cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, carrots, peaches, citrus fruits, nuts, avocados, flaxseed, and wheat germ are good for people affected with scalp psoriasis.
These remedies may prove effective for relief from the symptoms and for controlling flare-ups. It has also been observed that, in most cases, the symptoms subside after some time. Some people may not experience any further flare-ups.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.