Love Yourself + Your Bod
The last thing you might feel like doing when youre experiencing a flare is to love your skin as-is. It sounds cheesy, but some self-love may help you keep your mind off symptoms and feel more confident in your own skin.
Try some positive affirmations and surround yourself with people, experiences, and things you love as much as possible.
How Is It Treated
Most cases of psoriasis are mild, and treatment begins with skin care. This includes keeping your skin moist with creams and lotions. These are often used with other treatments including shampoos, ultraviolet light, and medicines your doctor prescribes.
In some cases, psoriasis can be hard to treat. You may need to try different combinations of treatments to find what works for you. Treatment for psoriasis may continue for a lifetime.
How Do Foods Cause Inflammation
Studies are ongoing about how certain foods trigger an inflammatory response. Research suggests that some foods, especially highly processed ones, put your bodys defense mechanisms into overdrive.
For example, fatty foods can increase inflammation in adipose tissue , which is throughout your body. Ongoing fat tissue inflammation greatly increases your risk of psoriasis. It also increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic health conditions.
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How Can You Measure Inflammation In The Body
While certain foods are known to cause inflammation, not everyone reacts the same way to these foods. Ive had some patients who felt that wheat was making their psoriasis worse. Another patient noticed more flare-ups when she ate nuts, says Wesdock.
Some tests can measure inflammation with biomarkers, which are substances in your blood that spike when your body reacts a certain way to foods such as fats or sugar. For example, a simple test can check for increased levels of C-reactive protein in your blood. The liver makes extra CRP if theres inflammation in your body. Doctors might use this test to determine how likely you are to develop a chronic condition like heart disease.
As you adjust your diet to ease psoriasis symptoms, be sure to work with your psoriasis doctor to monitor symptoms and inflammation levels.
Try Not To Scratch And Pick
There’s no doubt about it: When you itch, you want to scratch. But scratching can tear open your skin, making way for infection-causing germs. It may also make sores appear where there weren’t any before. Keep your nails short, and take an antihistamine if you are itchy.
And picking at your skin can lead to infection. When you have an urge, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and gently rub on moisturizer instead.
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How To Choose A Shampoo For Scalp Psoriasis
Still unsure how to pick the right shampoo for your hair and scalp? Heres what to consider:
- Severity of your symptoms. If youre experiencing a mild to medium case of scalp psoriasis, start with an OTC shampoo. If you have a severe case, or if OTC products dont seem to help, you may need to see your doctor for a prescription shampoo.
- Consider your hair type. Check the ingredients list before you make a purchase, especially if you have dry, curly, color treated, or fine hair. Some shampoos may contain drying ingredients, like sulfates, while others may be too heavy for fine hair.
- Do your research. If you didnt see a shampoo on this list you want to try, no worries! There are many shampoos out there that will work great for you. Just look for key ingredients, like salicylic acid or coal tar, and be sure to check reviews to see what others with scalp psoriasis have to say about it.
Psoralen Plus Ultraviolet A
For this treatment, you’ll first be given a tablet containing compounds called psoralens, or psoralen may be applied directly to the skin. This makes your skin more sensitive to light.
Your skin is then exposed to a wavelength of light called ultraviolet A . This light penetrates your skin more deeply than ultraviolet B light.
This treatment may be used if you have severe psoriasis that has not responded to other treatment.
Side effects include nausea, headaches, burning and itchiness. You may need to wear special glasses for 24 hours after taking the tablet to prevent the development of cataracts.
Long-term use of this treatment is not encouraged, as it can increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
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Use Of Medicated Scalp Psoriasis Products
The first process in caring for psoriasis scalp is to shampoo with a medicated product prescribed by your dermatologist. There are additional creams, gels, and ointments that may be prescribed to ease the condition. Most of these products are also bought over the counter, but consultation with a physician will provide clarity on the extent of the condition and how to best tackle scalp psoriasis.
Stronger steroid topical applications are prescribed in case the psoriasis is more severe, which require prescription. Coal tar and salicylic acid based over the counter products are FDA approved for this condition. Additional medications may have ingredients which have anti-microbial properties, such as anthralin, betramethasone, calcipotriene, and tazarotene among others.
In order to contain the condition effectively, the medication needs to be applied at the exact site on psoriasis scalp locations. Rather than applying on the hair, the medicine should be placed directly on the scalp lesions, and this method will need to be followed in correct dosages for a period of 8 weeks to effectively tackle the condition. Once the initial scaly, patchiness has been dealt with, you can prevent further occurrences in most cases by shampooing with a prescribed medicated product twice weekly or on a daily basis.
Make Hair Care Product Swaps
Villaneuva suggests opting for products that are free of sulfates, phthalates, and parabens. These ingredients will dry out the skin, which causes further irritation to the scalp, she warns. Instead, look for ingredients like coconut oil, tea tree oil, turmeric, avocado oil, castor oil, and charcoal. All of these ingredients help to reduce inflammation and remove impurities to balance out the condition of the scalp.
Villanuevas go-to for immediate relief is a DIY paste made with oats and water. If you need immediate relief, you can make a paste with crushed oats and water and apply it directly to the skin, she says. This will not stop the progression of psoriasis, but it will help to temporarily relieve the scalp as oats are extremely soothing to the skin.
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What Is The Treatment
There are many treatment options that can help scalp psoriasis and often a combination approach using a number of different treatments may be required until the symptoms have settled. It is important to remember to continue to treat the scalp even if hair falls out. Hair usually grows back once the inflammation and scale has cleared.
Treatments can be time-consuming and you may find them easier if you ask someone to help you. It is important to choose one that suits your lifestyle carrying out intensive treatments over the weekend, for example, when you have more free time. Psoriasis is not curable, but the signs and symptoms can be well controlled.
It can take at least eight weeks until you gain adequate control of the plaques, whichever treatment you use. Remember to try to treat psoriasis daily when it is active.
If, however, you have seen no improvement after 4 weeks continuous treatment, you should return to your doctor or nurse for further assessment.
Once you have achieved clearance, it is important to maintain the improvement. This can usually be done with regular use of a tar shampoo and or by moisturising the scalp occasionally with an oil or emollient. Some people find daily treatment of the scalp an advantage in keeping the scales from returning, but this would be a personal reference depending on your circumstances. If you have no success in controlling your scalp psoriasis, ask your GP to refer you to a specialist.
Oats Or Colloidal Oatmeal
Some people also notice that their psoriasis symptoms get worse after eating certain foods or as a result of allergies. Research has not yet conclusively proven that these factors can trigger psoriasis, however.
It is worth noting that environmental triggers alone do not cause psoriasis. People without a genetic predisposition for psoriasis will not develop it, even when they experience these triggers.
In the following sections, we will cover the different types of shampoo and home remedies that people with scalp psoriasis can try.
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What Are The Symptoms
Scalp psoriasis causes redness and scaliness, which may also involve the hairline, the forehead, behind the ears and the back of the neck. It can range from very mild with slight fine scaling to very severe, crusted thick scaling covering the entire scalp. Hair loss during the flare-up can occur in some cases, but the hair will normally grow back. Psoriasis can be itchy, make the scalp feel tight and occasionally cause soreness, especially if there are cracks in the skin.
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What Is Scalp Eczema And How To Treat It
A common form of eczema, atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition that can appear on the scalp and typically begins in childhood.
Although the underlying cause is still unknown, the immune system becomes overactive and triggers an inflammatory reaction, leading to dryness and itchiness. Topical corticosteroids and other lotions, such as pimecrolimus or crisaborole, are common treatments. Oral antihistamines or prescription corticosteroids, such as prednisone, can also be used to control the condition.
Again, many of the symptoms of atopic dermatitis overlap with those of other conditions so its important to get an official diagnosis from a dermatologist before attempting to treat it.
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What Increases Your Risk
Many doctors believe that psoriasis may be passed down from parents to their children . This is because certain genes are found in families who are affected by psoriasis.footnote 2 About one-third of people who have psoriasis have one or more family members with the condition.footnote 3
Other factors that can contribute to the development of psoriasis include:
- Emotional or physical stress. Stress may cause psoriasis to appear suddenly or make symptoms worse .
- Infection. Infections such as strep throat can cause psoriasis to appear suddenly, especially in children.
- Skin injuries. An injury to the skin can cause psoriasis patches to form anywhere on the body, including the site of the injury. This includes injuries to your nails or nearby skin while trimming your nails.
- Smoking. Smoking may make you more likely to get psoriasis and make the symptoms more severe.footnote 4
Is Psoriasis The Same As Eczema
Psoriasis and eczema are two different skin conditions. They differ in where the disease appears on the body, how much it itches and how it looks. Eczema tends to appear more often behind the knees and inside the elbows. Eczema also causes more intense itching than psoriasis. Many people, especially children, can get both eczema and psoriasis.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- How can you tell that I have scalp psoriasis?
- If I dont have scalp psoriasis, what other skin condition might I have?
- How can I prevent flare-ups and control my symptoms?
- What medicines do you recommend?
- Do the medicines have any side effects?
- What at-home treatments do you recommend?
- Do the at-home treatments have any side effects?
- What else can I do to improve my symptoms?
- Is there a shampoo, cream or ointment you can prescribe?
How To Naturally Manage Dry & Inflamed Scalp Psoriasis
Have you ever noticed scaly red patches on your scalp? If so, you may be among the 2 to 3% of Americans with psoriasis, an autoimmune disorder that presents itself on the skin, as well as in the joints. And if youve ever experienced this type of flare-up on the scalp, you know it can be quite the challenge to learn how to live with it, while not allowing it to control your every hair move. We consulted with experts to get the lowdown on scalp psoriasis and the natural remedies you can take to help manage your condition.
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Steroid Creams Or Ointments
Steroid creams or ointments are commonly used to treat mild to moderate psoriasis in most areas of the body. The treatment works by reducing inflammation. This slows the production of skin cells and reduces itching.
Topical corticosteroids range in strength from mild to very strong. Only use them when recommended by your doctor.
Stronger topical corticosteroids can be prescribed by your doctor and should only be used on small areas of skin or on particularly thick patches. Overusing topical corticosteroids can lead to skin thinning.
What Is The Best Shampoo For Psoriasis Of The Scalp
Below, youll find some of the best shampoos for scalp psoriasis:
- 1 T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo Extra Strength. Neutrogena.
- 2 Psoriasis Medicated Shampoo + Conditioner. Dermarest.
- 3 SAL Shampoo. DHS Sal Shampoo.
- 4 5% Coal Tar Psoriasis Shampoo. PsoriaTrax.
- 5 Clinical Strength Seborrheic Dermatitis Treatment. Head & Shoulders.
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How Can I Manage My Psoriasis
- Take care of your skin: Apply emollients, lubricants, or moisturizing creams to your skin regularly. Apply these while your skin is still damp when you bathe. Stop using them if they sting or irritate your skin. Use mild soaps and add bath oils to soothe your skin when you bathe.
- Protect your skin from sun exposure: When you get sun exposure for short periods of time, it can help your psoriasis. Too much sun exposure or a sunburn can make your psoriasis worse. Talk to your dermatologist or healthcare provider about how much sun exposure is right for you.
- Manage stress: Stress can trigger a flare-up. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as deep breathing or meditation.
- Watch for symptoms with new medicines or herbal supplements: Some medicines, including herbal supplements, may trigger a psoriasis flare-up. Ask if any of the medicines you take may be making your psoriasis worse. Always check for skin changes when you take your medicines.
- Do not smoke: Smoking can trigger a flare-up of psoriasis. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information about how to stop.
- Avoid triggers: Injury to the skin, cold weather, and heavy alcohol use are other things that can trigger psoriasis flare-ups.
How Can I Get Started With A Psoriasis Diet
If youre going to change your diet to combat psoriasis, Wesdock recommends starting slowly. Jumping into a highly restrictive diet isnt usually sustainable and may deprive you of important nutrients. Instead, start by cutting out some highly processed foods.
Substitute the pastries and cookies with fresh fruit. Opt for herbal tea or water flavored with fresh fruit, mint or cucumber. If you think theres a specific food or ingredient thats triggering psoriasis flare-ups, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.
Being overweight or obese can also make psoriasis worse, so you may want to start a weight loss plan that includes fewer calories and smaller portion sizes. Any psoriasis treatment diet should be accompanied by healthy lifestyle choices. Get plenty of sleep and regular exercise, and try to reduce stress in your life. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about a plan to quit.
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What Causes Scalp Psoriasis
Scalp psoriasis is an immune system disease. Your immune system overreacts, causing inflammation, which leads to new skin cells growing too fast.
Typically, new skin cells grow every 28 to 30 days. But in people with scalp psoriasis, new skin cells grow and move to the skin surface every three to four days. The buildup of new cells replacing old cells creates thick patches of skin.
Scalp psoriasis can runs in families, but the actual triggers are complex. Parents may pass it down to their children, and environmental exposures can include skin trauma, sunburn, medications, stress and other inflammatory or autoimmune health conditions.
Medications For Severe Scalp Psoriasis
If you have moderate to severe scalp psoriasis, your doctor may prescribe a drug you take by mouth or one thats injected or pumped through a needle into a vein. Oral medications include:
- A strong form of vitamin A called a derivative
- , a small molecule inhibitor taken twice daily
Since these medications can cause serious side effects, including liver damage, they require a doctorâs close eye. Its also important to know that oral vitamin derivatives are different from and more powerful than vitamin supplements bought over the counter. Ordinary vitamin A and D supplements do not help.
The latest class of FDA-approved medications are called biologics. These drugs, which you get by injection or IV, may keep your skin from making too many cells. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 11 biologics may work:
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How To Take Care Of Scalp To Avoid Flaking
Dry scalp treatments can include ingredients that hydrate, nourish, and repair the scalp issue. Besides, hair products including oil from argan, coconut, almond, or jojobacan adequately increase the moisture on your scalp. Oatmeal and Vitamin E are also good options for soothing dry and irritated scalps.
Treatments for dry scalp typically come in the forms of shampoos and conditioners, but scalp treatments, moisturising lotion, and serums are also beneficial. They altogether can nourish your scalp and reduce the number of white flakes. However, when experiencing any pain, redness, or increased irritation, stopping using those products is a must to prevent further issues for your hair and scalp.
One suggested way to improve the flaky scalp condition is using a proper hair washing method to enhance the moisturisation of the scalp. Avoid hot showers as they could further dehydrate your scalp and hair. Instead, keep the water lukewarm during shampooing, and wash off the conditioner with cold water to effectively retain moisture.
Last but not least, a scalp massager can assist in exfoliating and rubbing off dead skin from your scalp. Thanks to soft silicone or synthetic bristles, the massager helps relax the scalp and buffs away dry and flaky skin, followed by a decrease in the number of flakes. Also, it provides a clean canvas to enhance the positive effects of the application of hair serums or other hair products later on.
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