|All about psoriasis types of psoriasis causes of psoriasis diagnosis of psoriasis psoriasis triggers symptoms of psoriasis psoriasis risk factors treatment for psoriasis topical treatment for psoriasis phototherapy treatment for psoriasis systemic treatment for psoriasis plaque psoriasis guttate psoriasis flexural psoriasis pustular psoriasis erythrodermic psoriasis scalp psoriasis
What is scalp psoriasis?
Scalp psoriasis occurs in at least half of all people with psoriasis. It can range from very mild with fine scaling to very severe with thick, crusted plaques. Scalp psoriasis may occur in isolation or with any other form of psoriasis. The back of the head is a common site but multiple discrete areas of the scalp or the whole scalp may be affected. Scalp psoriasis is characterised by thick silvery white scale on patches of very red skin. It may extend slightly beyond the hairline. Scalp
psoriasis, even though often adequately camouflaged by the hair, is often a source of social embarrassment due to flaking of the scale and severe 'dandruff'. Scalp psoriasis may not cause any symptoms at all or may be extremely itchy. It tends to be a chronic problem, lasting many years.
Scalp psoriasis may appear as lesions that extend from the hairline onto the forehead and the nape of the neck. It is common for the psoriasis to appear behind the ears. Scalp psoriasis usually accompanies plaques in other areas of the body. Scalp psoriasis scales appear powdery with a silvery sheen. Sebo-psoriasis is an overlap between psoriasis and another common skin condition, seborrhoeic dermatitis. There tends to be less silvery scale than psoriasis and more yellowish, greasy scale. It also tends to localise to the scalp, face and anterior chest in a similar pattern to that seen in seborrhoeic dermatitis. Sebo-psoriasis has a deeper red colour, more defined margins and a thicker scale than typically seen in seborrhoeic dermatitis alone.
Pityriasis amiantacea is a condition of the scalp characterised by thick, yellow-white scales densely coating the scalp skin and adhering to the scalp hairs as they exit the scalp. They are arranged in an overlapping manner like tiles on a roof or flakes of asbestos, hence the name. The underlying scalp skin may appear normal, aside from the scale, or may be reddened or scaly. Pityriasis amiantacea is often present without any obvious underlying cause, but may be associated with psoriasis, lichen simplex, tinea capitis or seborrhoeic dermatitis.
Pityriasis amiantacea usually affects only part of the scalp but may occasionally involve the whole scalp. Young girls may have localised pityriasis amiantacea extending into the scalp from areas of chronic fissures in the skin behind the ears. It may extend from an area of lichen simplex of the scalp.
Some hair loss is common is areas of pityriasis amiantacea but hair regrows normally if the condition is effectively treated. This hair loss is sometimes aggravated by the difficulty in combing the hair due to the very adherent, thick scale at the base of the hair shafts. If additional complications such as infection occur then hair loss may be associated with scarring and be permanent.
Topical medications in the form of shampoos, lotions, creams, foams, and oils are the standard of treatment for psoriasis on the scalp. Scalp psoriasis requires slightly different regimes from psoriasis affecting the skin elsewhere. This is due to hair, which makes application of many topical products difficult and protects the scalp from the effects of ultraviolet light. Unfortunately, many scalp treatments for scalp psoriasis are messy and smelly. Most treatments will need to be used regularly for several weeks before a benefit is seen.
More information on psoriasis
What is psoriasis? - Psoriasis is a disease whose main symptom is gray or silvery flaky patches on the skin which are red and inflamed underneath when scratched.
What types of psoriasis are there? - Types of psoriasis include plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, flexural psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and nail psoriasis.
What causes psoriasis? - Psoriasis is driven by the immune system. Psoriasis is the growth of too many skin cells. The first outbreak of psoriasis is often triggered by emotional or mental stress or physical skin injury.
How is psoriasis diagnosed? - Physicians diagnose psoriasis by examining the affected skin. In people with psoriatic arthritis, the arthritis usually follows the appearance of psoriasis.
What triggers psoriasis? - Psoriasis triggers include streptococcal infection, sun exposure, drug reactions, hormonal factors, psychological factors, and skin trauma.
What are the psoriasis symptoms? - Symptoms depend on the type of psoriasis the individual has and may include bright red areas of raised patches (plaques) on the skin, tiny areas of bleeding, and itching.
What are the psoriasis risk factors? - The risks associated with developing psoriasis are similar to the triggers of the disease. The most significant risk factor for psoriasis is a family history of the condition.
What is the treatment for psoriasis? - The treatment is chosen on the basis of the pattern of psoriasis and its severity. Treatments for psoriasis can often control the disease for long periods.
What is the topical treatment for psoriasis? - Some patients with psoriasis respond well to ointment or cream forms of corticosteroids, vitamin D3, retinoids, coal tar, or anthralin. The medication that is best may depend on the type and location of the psoriasis.
What is the phototherapy treatment for psoriasis? - Phototherapy treatment for psoriasis uses ultraviolet (UV) light to kill T cells in skin, reducing redness and slowing the overproduction of skin cells that causes scaling.
What is the systemic treatment for psoriasis? - Systemic treatment for psoriasis involves taking medicines internally by pill or injection. Systemic psoriasis treatment drugs include methotrexate, retinoids, cyclosporine.
What is plaque psoriasis? - Plaque psoriasis can is a disease with very clearly defined area of skin which has a raised, red and inflamed section of skin covered in silvery scales.
What is guttate psoriasis? - Guttate psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that looks like small, salmon-pink drops on the skin. Guttate psoriasis is characterised by multiple tiny areas of psoriasis.
What is flexural psoriasis? - Flexural psoriasis is a form of psoriasis found in the armpits, groin, under the breasts and in other flexion creases (skin folds) such as those around the genitals and buttocks.
What is pustular psoriasis? - Pustular psoriasis is an uncommon form of psoriasis. People with pustular psoriasis have clearly defined, raised bumps on the skin that are filled with pus (pustules).
What is erythrodermic psoriasis? - Erythrodermic psoriasis is a particularly inflammatory form of psoriasis that often affects most of the body surface. Erythroderma is a generalised redness of the skin.
What is scalp psoriasis? - Scalp psoriasis range from very mild with fine scaling to very severe with thick, crusted plaques. Scalp psoriasis scales appear powdery with a silvery sheen.