scalp psoriasis

Dealing with the Effects of Scalp Psoriasis

scalp psoriasisHave you noticed itchy scaly skin invading your scalp? Has the itch become so severe that you are even experiencing upsetting hair loss? This issue can be due to a skin disease called scalp psoriasis. As most of the symptoms of scalp psoriasis are temporary, hair loss and itchy scalp can still be an embarrassing issue that is hard for some people to cope with. Lack of confidence can hinder performance in our daily activities and therefore it’s beneficial to utilize this article for tips to cope with hair loss caused by scalp psoriasis.

What Is Scalp Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a common inflammatory disease that causes scaly skin. This type of skin disease appears as red scaling, slightly raised bumps that are frequently seen on the elbows and knees but also commonly occurs on the scalp. This scaly rash on the scalp is also extremely itchy, which can lead to hair loss. Scalp psoriasis can also extend beyond the scalp and reach down to the forehead. Sometimes, it extends to the back of the neck or appears behind the ears. This skin disease can be really uncomfortable and make people feel very self conscious about their appearance. Psoriasis affects everyone differently but is a disease that typically lasts a lifetime. However, for some, psoriasis completely clears up for months or even years at a time.

What Causes Scalp Psoriasis?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers estimate that at least 50% of the people who have plaque psoriasis will have at least one flare-up on the scalp. Regardless of where psoriasis forms, the cause will be the same. The skin disease develops when a person’s immune system has faulty signals that tell skin cells to grow quicker than usual with new skin cells forming in days rather than weeks. The body does not shed these excess skin cells and these skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin, causing patches of psoriasis to appear (Source).

Related: How Does Trichotillomania Affect Your Hair and Scalp?

What Are the Symptoms?

Scalp psoriasis affects everyone differently and can appear in large or small patches anywhere on the scalp and beyond the scalp. Larger patches are challenging and uncomfortable while smaller patches are easier to hide with different hairstyles. The following are some symptoms that can occur from scalp psoriasis:

  • Dry Scalp: The scalp becomes extremely dry, which can lead to cracks and even bleeding.
  • Itchiness: Scalp psoriasis is itchy and in most cases is mild but in more severe cases can cause intense and continuous scratching.
  • Reddish Rash: some patches can be extremely inflamed, and some may only be slightly noticeable up close.
  • Flaky Scalp: the scalp can become flaky and look very similar to dandruff.
  • Temporary Hair Loss: The patches of dry skin, flakiness and intense itching can all lead to patches of temporary hair loss.

How To Cope with Scalp Psoriasis Hair Loss

The first tip to coping with scalp psoriasis hair loss is to not stress out and do what you can to avoid itching, which further irritates the skin. Be gentle when washing your hair and remember this skin disease isn’t due to something you are doing wrong so don’t beat yourself up over it. Next, if you feel embarrassed or self-conscious, find a solution that makes you feel more confident so you can regularly function throughout the day without constantly feeling insecure. Some people choose to wear hats or custom wigs to cover any patches of hair loss or thinning. This is a viable solution but be sure if you do so, the items are not further irritating the skin and making the issue worse. Ultimately, the best solution is to talk to a dermatologist or hair restoration professional who can provide a confidential hair loss evaluation. They will provide you with complete information regarding causes of hair loss and specific treatment for hair replacement and prevention options tailored to your individual situation and lifestyle.