Scalp Psoriasis

Written by Kimberly Clark
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The appearance of psoriasis lesions on the scalp and along the hairline is a fairly typical symptom that is evident in several forms of psoriasis. The presence of scalp psoriasis can extend from the hairline down the forehead and may even appear behind the ears and on the nape of the neck. The infected areas characteristic of scalp psoriasis appear as inflamed raised patches of skin and have scales with a silvery hue.

In many cases, the only symptom associated with scalp psoriasis is the flaky, scaly skin; in fact, scalp psoriasis is often mistaken for a really bad case of dandruff. In more moderate to severe cases, however, the lesions are accompanied by intense itching, a feeling of tightness around the head, and localized hair loss. There is no evidence of permanent baldness due to scalp psoriasis and the hair seems to grow back when the condition is in remission.

Methods of Treatment

Applying products directly to the scalp is the preferred method of treatment for scalp psoriasis. Because of the hair that covers the majority of the scalp, the most logical treatment for scalp psoriasis involves the use of medicated shampoos. Two ingredients commonly used in the shampoos are salicylic acid, which loosens and removes the scales, and coal tar, which inhibits the growth of new cells. Combing the hair and gently brushing the scalp is also recommended to remove any remain scales or skin patches.

As an alternate or a supplement to the shampoos, a doctor might advocate using a leave-in topical treatment. Topical steroids are examples of products that fall into this category and they are readily available in lotion, cream, foam, or oil forms. Other topical medications included vitamin A derivatives, synthetic vitamin D derivatives, and products containing sulfur. Salicylic acid and coal tar are also available as creams.


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