Scalp Psoriasis Vs Dandruff: The Takeaway
Some conditions are unstoppablethey arrive unannounced and can completely change the way we live in our skin. Both dandruff and scalp psoriasis can be quite unpleasant, but reducing stress to lower your overall tension level can help maintain the integrity of your hair.
Dandruff isn’t curable, but healthy habits and a hair wellness routine that takes whole-body health into account can help reduce symptoms. Similar to dandruff, you can’t cure scalp psoriasis, but treatment is widely available and can accommodate a range of severity levels.
Using products that will be kind to your hair can help relieve symptoms of both dandruff and scalp psoriasis, leaving your hair looking and feeling good so you can live your life flake-free. Remember that your relationship with your hair is for life, so treat it rightand stay tuned to the VEGAMOUR blog for the latest tips and knowledge on how to give your hair the care it deserves.
Main Symptoms Of Psoriasis
Psoriasis typically causes patches of skin that are dry, red and covered in silver scales. Some people find their psoriasis causes itching or soreness.
There are several different types of psoriasis. Many people have only 1 form at a time, although 2 different types can occur together. One form may change into another or become more severe.
Most cases of psoriasis go through cycles, causing problems for a few weeks or months before easing or stopping.
You should see a GP if you think you may have psoriasis.
How Is Psoriasis Treated
Psoriasis is usually treated by a dermatologist . A rheumatologist may also help with treatment. Treatments can include:
- ultraviolet light from the sun or from home or office treatments. But in some children, sunlight can make psoriasis worse.
- creams, lotions, ointments, and shampoos such as moisturizers, corticosteroids, vitamin D creams, and shampoos made with salicylic acid or coal tar
- medicines taken by mouth or injected medicines
A doctor might try one therapy and then switch to another, or recommend combining treatments. It’s not always easy to find a therapy that works, and sometimes what works for a time stops helping after a while.
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How Do Health Care Professionals Diagnose Scalp Psoriasis
The fact that the scalp is a hair-bearing area in most people produces challenges in diagnosis as well as treatment. If scaling plaques are present on portions of the body in a distribution characteristic of psoriasis, then the diagnosis of the scalp disease is much easier to make.
The most important consideration in treating scalp psoriasis is getting an effective medication into the skin. Both the hair and any scale covering the disease act as an impediment to treatment. Removal of the scale in a nontraumatic fashion is very important. This can be accomplished by shampooing frequently. Using tar, selenium, or salicylic acid-containing shampoos can be helpful. This may have to be done at least twice a day initially if the scale is sufficiently thick. Gently rubbing off the scale with the fingertips and not the nails is important.
Common Types Of Psoriasis
This is the most common form, accounting for about 80 to 90% of cases.
Its symptoms are dry red skin lesions, known as plaques, covered in silver scales.
They normally appear on your elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, but can appear anywhere on your body.
The plaques can be itchy or sore, or both. In severe cases, the skin around your joints may crack and bleed.
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Are There Any Home Remedies For Scalp Psoriasis
While home remedies are safe for most people, its a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before trying some of the following options. You may be at risk of developing an allergic reaction.
- Aloe vera. Aloe vera is a wound care gel. It can keep your skin hydrated while treating itchiness and irritation. Gently apply aloe vera to your plaques two to three times per day.
- Baking soda. Mix 2 teaspoons of baking soda with a small amount of warm water to make a paste. Gently apply the paste to your plaques and leave it on for up to 10 minutes to treat itchiness and irritation. Baking sodas gritty texture also helps remove dead skin cells . Gently rub it on your affected areas to soften your plaques.
- Coconut oil. Coconut oil moisturizes your skin. It also contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help reduce inflammation.
- Olive oil. Olive oil helps moisturize your dry skin and minimize irritation and itching.
How Is Psoriasis Diagnosed
Doctors usually diagnose psoriasis by examining the skin, scalp, and nails. They’ll also ask whether someone else in the family has psoriasis and if the child recently had an illness or started taking a new medicine.
Rarely, doctors might take a skin sample to check more closely. A biopsy can tell the doctor whether it’s psoriasis or another condition with similar symptoms.
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Rule Out Dandruff First
Scalp psoriasis can be a serious issue for those who have it. If you suspect youâre one of those people, itâs important to rule out dandruff first. Dandruff can be caused by a number of factors, but most commonly itâs the result of oily, itchy, or irritated skin. As a result of this irritation, dry skin flakes off and often lands on your hair or clothing. One key symptom to look out for here is dry skin flakes. Itchiness can also be a symptom of dandruff, but it shouldnât be accompanied by any redness or scaly skin. If you think you see either of those things, itâs probably time to get checked out for psoriasis. In addition, dandruff often comes and goes. Keep track of how long youâre experiencing symptoms â if theyâre ongoing for more than a week or so, you could be looking at scalp psoriasis.
What Is Scalp Psoriasis When Can Scalp Psoriasis Begin
Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease of the skin that is estimated to affect about 2.2% of the adult population. In children, the onset of psoriasis can be before the age of one year but peaks around 5-8 years. Psoriasis produces scaly, itchingbumps on the skin. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to psoriasis. The genes affected seem to be involved with control of the immune system. Psoriasis appears as red scaling, slightly raised bumps that merge to form plaques. Psoriasis classically appears on the elbows and knees, but it can affect any part of the skin. The scalp is also characteristically affected in many people. Like psoriasis anywhere on the body, scalp plaques produce excess scale and can itch. Severe disease can cause a loss of scalp hair, which usually will return if the disease can be controlled. Scalp psoriasis somewhat difficult to treat when the scalp is covered with hair sufficient to act a barrier to the application of topical medications.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Psoriasis
Symptoms of psoriasis can be different for each person, but some common ones are:
- Patches of thick, red skin with silvery-white scales that itch or burn.
- Dry, cracked skin that itches or bleeds.
- Thick, ridged, pitted nails.
The symptoms of psoriasis tend to come and go. You may find that there are times when your symptoms get worse, called flares, followed by times when you feel better .
Some patients have a related condition called psoriatic arthritis, in which you have stiff, swollen, painful joints. If you have symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, be sure to tell your doctor as soon as you can.
Treatment: Where To Start
The most common treatments for mild cases are medications that you put directly on your scalp. If you have a more severe case or have psoriasis elsewhere on your body, you may need a medication that treats your whole body. You can take these medications by mouth or injection.
If your psoriasis doesn’t respond well after repeated use of one medication, your doctor may replace or combine it with another type of treatment.
One of the first steps is to soften and remove scales. This makes it easier for medications to do their job.
- Apply over-the-counter products to your scalp to help soften scales and make them easier to peel off. Look for products with the active ingredients salicylic acid, lactic acid, urea, zinc pyrithione, or selenium sulfide.
- Gently loosen the scales with a brush or fine-toothed comb.
- Shampoo your scalp to remove the scales, using a salicylic acid shampoo or soap.
- Apply thick creams to your scalp while it’s still damp to hold in the moisture.
To apply medication:
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Shampoo For A Dry And Flaky Scalp
Several kinds, both over the counter and prescription, can help. Try selenium sulfide , zinc pyrithione, ketoconazole , or tar-basedones for thin plaques.
For thicker scales, salicylic acid shampoos can work well. Not all of these work for every person. You may have to try one for a few weeks and switch to another if it doesnât work.
Use the medicated shampoo first when youâd normally lather up. Itâs OK to use your regular shampoo and conditioner afterward. Know that tar-based options can be a bit smelly.
How Is Scalp Psoriasis Treated
Unfortunately, scalp psoriasis can’t be cured, and because it is a chronic condition, those who suffer from it are likely to experience flare-ups. Scalp psoriasis isn’t as easy to treat as dandruff, but there are things you can do to help. Mitigation and treatments include:
- Understanding and avoiding scalp psoriasis triggers to help prevent flare-ups and slow skin cell growth, including extreme hot or cold weather, harsh hair and scalp treatments, extreme stress, tobacco and alcohol
- Avoiding scratchingespecially when scalp psoriasis flares upto prevent exacerbating the condition and causing additional discomfort or infection
- Corticosteroid topical creams or ointments
- Light therapy to suppress an overactive immune system
- Salicylic acid to remove scaling and prepare the skin to absorb moisture
- Natural supplements and herbals including aloe and fish oil to moisturize the skin and prevent irritation
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What Are Office Treatments For Scalp Psoriasis
Rarely, it may be of benefit to inject triamcinolone acetonide directly into psoriatic plaques. Aside from the pain involved, the benefit only lasts about six weeks at best. Ultraviolet light in wavelengths near 313 nm is effective in psoriasis. The hair, however, can pose a barrier to effective administration unless it is removed or sparse. The excimer laser produces out laser light in these UV wavelengths also and can be of benefit if the amount of scalp involvement is limited.
Can Psoriasis Affect The Brain
Psoriasis affects your brain chemicals. These make skin cells grow out of control and form scaly plaques. They also change levels of chemicals in your brain that affect your mood. A cytokine called TNF-alpha may affect brain chemicals like serotonin in a way that could lead to depression.How Are Psoriasis and Depression Linked? WebMD
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Is It Scalp Psoriasis
Some other skin conditions can cause similar symptoms.
Seborrheic dermatitis, or cradle cap, often affects babies. It causes a patchy, red rash that looks greasy or moist to form on the scalp.
Ringworm, a fungal infection, can cause a crusty, red rash to form on the scalp, usually in the shape of a ring. With scalp psoriasis, the affected patches of skin are scaly and dry and do not usually form a ring.
Psoriasis, including scalp psoriasis, is a common condition that appears to develop when the immune system sends the wrong signals to the body.
When the immune system sends these messages to the skin cells, the cells multiply too quickly.
Normally, new cell formation on the scalp may take weeks. With psoriasis, cells form within days. This makes it difficult for the body to shed the excess cells. As the skin cells build up on the surface of the scalp, they form scaly patches.
The of scalp psoriasis is unknown, but research suggests there is a genetic link.
People who have a family member with the condition have a higher risk of developing scalp psoriasis.
In 2016, published by nutritionists noted that psoriasis may be more likely in people who have:
- inflammatory factors that occur with obesity
- dietary factors, such as gluten sensitivity
The National Psoriasis Foundation note that a number of other factors may trigger a flare-up of symptoms in people who are prone to scalp psoriasis.
When To Seek Professional Help
The secret to healthy hair is a healthy scalp, so it’s important to treat psoriasis and dandruff proactively to prevent triggering or exacerbating hair loss. If your scalp continues to itch from dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis even after trying a medicated prescription shampoo, it’s time to consult with a medical professional.
If you’re living with scalp psoriasis, you should be in contact with a trusted doctor. In mild cases, a medicated prescription shampoo might help enough to reduce inflammation, but you should see a doctor for further guidance. In moderate cases, a medical professional will need to be involved, since treatment can be a bit more complicated and will likely be ongoing.
If you’re dealing with severe psoriasis, medication will be an important part of your treatment protocol to help slow cell growth and limit the number of skin plaques. If you’re experiencing severe symptoms, you might want to discuss certain suppressive medications with a health professional to reduce the upsetting effects.
If your symptoms are accompanied by loss of hair, or if the skin on your scalp is very swollen, talk to your doctor to discuss your options.
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How To Treat Scalp Psoriasis
While scalp psoriasis is a chronic condition, you can help ease uncomfortable symptoms with the right plan. Its important to see a dermatologist as soon as you suspect you may have the condition, though, as scalp psoriasis treatment is highly individualized and requires some persistence.
It depends on things like hair type, what treatments people have tried in the past, whether people have open sores, their stress level, even how long their hair is, Dr. Bhutani says. Please see your dermatologist. Even if what youre dealing with turns out to be just really bad dandruff, you shouldnt have to live with it.
The most common scalp psoriasis treatments include11:
I usually recommend treating scalp psoriasis from the outside first, Dr. Bhutani says, explaining that she often prescribes topical corticosteroids first. Although topical treatments are very effective for short-term management of scalp psoriasis flare-ups, if the symptoms are severe or if the plaques spread to other areas of the body, additional treatment may be needed.
What Is The Best Conditioner For Scalp Psoriasis
Psoriasis Shampoos Your Scalp Will LoveMG217 Medicated Conditioning Coal Tar Formula Shampoo. Active ingredient: 3% coal tar.Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo-Stubborn Itch. Active ingredient: 0.5% coal tar.Dermarest Psoriasis Medicated Shampoo Plus Conditioner. Active ingredient: 3% salicylic acid.3 things to remember.
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What Will Dermatologist Do For Scalp Psoriasis
Injections of corticosteroids: Your dermatologist can inject a corticosteroid directly into the scalp psoriasis. While this can be effective, its use is limited to a few times. Excimer laser and other light treatments: This laser can treat psoriasis in difficult-to-treat areas like the scalp, feet, and hands.
Scalp Psoriasis: Symptoms And Treatment
Dealing with an itchy, flaky scalp? It could be dandruff or it could be a sign that youre dealing with a common condition known as scalp psoriasis. Scalp psoriasis isnt just the result of a dry scalp, its an autoimmune disorder. Of course, its important to be able to pinpoint the warning signs of scalp psoriasis so that you can turn to a qualified dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment.
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Can Hair Grow Back After Psoriasis
A persons hair typically grows back after their psoriasis symptoms disappear. There are a variety of treatment options available for psoriasis, including topical creams, oral medications, and biologic injections. A person with psoriasis should consult a doctor or dermatologist to decide the best course of treatment.
Is Sunshine Good For Psoriasis
Healing potential of sunlight Sunlight can resolve many cases of psoriasis, at least temporarily. Some people find their symptoms come close to disappearing during the summer months in warm, sunny climates. The reason why sunlight is powerful is due to its UVB rays.Psoriasis and the Sun: What You Need to Know Dermatology of Boca
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How Is Dandruff Treated
Because it is common and well-studied, there are numerous highly accessible interventions that can help treat dandruff. Mitigation techniques and treatments include:
- Using a gentle anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner to cleanse the scalp and avoid further irritation
- Applying topical treatments to soothe and moisturize the scalp
- Changing your hair-washing frequency or routine
- Managing stress
- Avoiding harsh products or treatments that could irritate the scalp, creating overly oily skin or dry skin
- Adjusting your diet to incorporate more beta-hydroxy acids , such as broccoli, cauliflower, and apples, according to Dr. Ali
When you want to treat dandruff, it’s important to understand the severity of your condition.
How Common Is Scalp Psoriasis
It is common and approximately half of all people with psoriasis also have it on their scalp. The reason it deserves special mention is that it can be more difficult to treat and usually requires specifically formulated treatments.
Psoriasis on the scalp forms in the same way as on other parts of the body but the hair traps the scale and so it does not rub away as it would, for instance, on the elbow. The result is that the scale can quickly build up, causing a thicker plaque which becomes more difficult to treat . This difficulty is compounded by the hair, which acts as a physical barrier obstructing the easy application of creams and ointments to the affected skin. Children can get scalp psoriasis too. Treatments will be much the same as those used for adults. On rare occasions, scalp psoriasis has been known to disappear spontaneously, but it can remain on the scalp for lengthy periods of time too.
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