How To Get Rid Of Psoriasis This Summer: 5 Tips From Our Doctors
Do you suffer from psoriasis? Are you worried about how to look after your skin this summer? Then this is the guide for you!
For the two million people in the UK who have psoriasis, summer can be a challenging time.
While sunlight and humidity can keep the worst of their symptoms at bay, there are other aspects of summer than can cause psoriasis to flare up. Weve teamed up with our smart network of doctors to help you manage your symptoms effectively.
What Causes Inverse Psoriasis
The same underlying culprits can lead to this type, only its brought on by sweat and friction. Thats why its commonly found in areas where there is skin-to-skin rubbing and moisture. Weight seems to be a factor, too. If youre overweight, youre more likely to have skin folds, prime spots for inverse psoriasis.
How Do You Treat Guttate Psoriasis
Because guttate psoriasis is commonly triggered by infections, once you treat the infection, the psoriasis usually goes away, too. If the skin condition lingers, or you have a severe case, your physician may want to treat your symptoms with topical steroids and/or phototherapy, artificial UVB light that halts the inflammatory process.
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Psoriasis Can Cause Arthritis
For an unknown reason, psoriasis can cause a form of arthritis known as psoriatic arthritis. Symptoms include:
- discomfort, throbbing or swelling in one or many joints
- tenderness in any joint
- pain caused by inflammation in the joints, which stimulates nerve endings.
- The joints most likely to be affected are the last joint in the fingers or toes, the sacrum , wrists, knees or ankles.
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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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.
Natural Or Home Remedies
These DIY treatments might help reduce symptoms on your scalp and your body:
Aloe vera. Gels and creams made with aloe can be super soothing.
Dead Sea salts. Soak the itchiness away with high-quality Dead Sea salts. Pro tip: Slather on the lotion afterwards since salt can dry out your skin a bit.
Capsaicin. This ointment can help reduce itching by numbing nerve endings. But TBH, more research is needed to prove its efficacy.
Apple cider vinegar. Apply some organic apple cider vinegar directly to your scalp to reduce itching. To avoid irritation, dilute it in equal parts water and dont use it on open wounds.
Oregon grape . This product contains herbal oils, emulsifiers, and a coal-tar solution that might ease symptoms, according to a study. But theres limited research to prove its efficacy, and it doesnt have FDA approval.
Turmeric. According to a research review, topical turmeric is known to reduce itch, lesion size, and pain. Some folks also dig it as a supplement. Its generally considered safe by the Office of Dietary Supplements , but you should still check with your doc before adding a supplement to your diet.
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Scalp Psoriasis Vs Seborrheic Dermatitis
Occasionally, seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp can be confused with scalp psoriasis since both can produce excess scale and can itch. Pathological examination of the skin biopsy material occasionally may be helpful in distinguishing the two entities. As a practical matter, this is rarely necessary because most patients with psoriasis have typical psoriatic lesions present in other areas, such as the elbows, knees, or torso. In addition, both conditions generally respond to similar topical medications.
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If youre one of the roughly 2 percent of Americans who have psoriasis, a chronic condition that typically causes raised, red patches of skin topped with silvery scales, theres a good chance that it has impacted your scalp. This also holds true for the more than 40 percent of people with psoriasis who also have psoriatic arthritis , a form of arthritis that can appear in combination with psoriasis.
Psoriasis causes skin cells to divide about 10 times faster than normal. The excess cells pile up on the surface of the skin, causing scaly patches of itchy, dry skin. Known as plaques, these lesions often itch, burn, and sting.
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Whats The Difference Between Scalp Psoriasis And Dandruff
Dr. Bhutani says it can be really tough to tell scalp psoriasis and dandruff aparteven for doctors! Although both conditions can cause those annoying flakes, which may be the only visible symptom at first for some people, they tend to pop up for different reasons. Unlike scalp psoriasis, dandruff isnt an autoimmune issue and can be spurred by various factors, like having very dry or oily skin, which can lead to an overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus that thrives on a moist scalp10.
But you may be able to pick up on subtle differences if you look a bit closer. Dandruff flakes can be white or yellow, which is not common in scalp psoriasis. With scalp psoriasis, plaques have a dry scale with more clearly defined edges, and the scales themselves are often thicker with a silvery sheen.
If your scalp is extremely itchy or you have any other scalp psoriasis symptoms, then you may want to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist, who can thoroughly assess whats going on. If youre only noticing some flaking and have tried an over-the-counter dandruff shampoo but havent noticed improvement, then you may want to see a dermatologist anyway theyll be able to take a closer look and prescribe something a bit stronger if you need it.
What Is Dandruff The Causes And Symptoms
Dandruff is a very common condition of the scalp that results in dry skin flakes, which end up caught in a persons hair or on their clothes. According to the American Academy of Dermatology , it generally doesnt require medical treatment, but it can be itchy and uncomfortable, as well as embarrassing to those having to deal with it. Here are the causes:
A yeast imbalance.Theres a type of yeast in all of our bodies called malassezia, part of our bodys normal microbiome, says Dr. Gohara. Dandruff, or seborrhea, is caused by an overgrowth of that.
An oily scalp. Dandruff can also be associated with increased oil production of the scalp, says Dr. Gohara, evidenced by greasy hair or an oily scalp.
A scalp thats overly dry. Dandruff can also be the result of a too-dry scalp, says Dr. Gohara. Also, flaking can be caused by using too many products in the hair, or not washing products out properly but this isnt the same thing as dandruff.
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What Are The Most Common Scalp Psoriasis Symptoms
Youre probably wondering, What does scalp psoriasis looks like? Generally, you might notice flaking or scaly patches of raised skin on your scalp first, Dr. Bhutani says. These patches can also be inflamed, thick, and swollen6, and sometimes extend to the forehead, the back of the neck, or behind the ears. On light skin tones, psoriasis plaques on the scalp typically appear pink or red with silvery scales. For people with dark skin, these lesions may range in color and appear salmon-y pink, silvery white, violet, or brown, depending on your specific skin tone7.
But the signs of scalp psoriasis go far beyond the physical effects. Scalp psoriasis, honestly, causes some of the largest impact on quality of life, Dr. Bhutani says. Thats because severe symptoms can interrupt sleep, create feelings of anxiety, and hurt a persons self-esteem, especially if the scalp psoriasis plaques are clearly visible.
In addition to plaques, other scalp psoriasis symptoms include6:
- An extremely itchy scalp that can be distracting
- A burning sensation or soreness on your scalp
- Cracked and/or bleeding skin from scratching too much or from having a dry scalp
- Temporary hair loss if you excessively touch your scalp or attempt to pick off your scales, which can forcibly remove hair follicles
Other Health Problems That Affect The Scalp
Other health problems that affect the scalp include the following:
- Lice are small insects that infest the hair and scalp.
- Head trauma can refer to any accident that causes skull fractures or cuts on the scalp.
- Temporal arteritis occurs when arteries that supply the head with blood are inflamed or damaged. It results in a sensitive scalp.
The exact cause of certain scalp conditions is often unknown, or multiple causes are involved, possibly due to genetics.
- hair loss or hair thinning
- weak hair and breakages
For other conditions, your healthcare provider or a specialist may need to order other tests. You may need to have a sample of blood drawn, for instance, to test for hormone levels and to determine if a thyroid or pituitary problem is to blame, or to detect a nutritional deficiency.
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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.
What Causes Scalp Psoriasis
Regardless of where psoriasis forms, the cause is the same. Psoriasis develops when a persons immune system has faulty signals that tell skin cells to grow too quickly. New skin cells form in days rather than weeks. The body does not shed these excess skin cells. The skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin, causing patches of psoriasis to appear.
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How Does Psoriasis Lead To Hair Loss
As well as being visibly noticeable, psoriasis can be unbearably itchy. The itching can get so bad it can interfere with sleep and your everyday interactions. And that’s not all. Too much scratching can cause temporary hair loss over time as the hair follicles become damaged. The aim is to avoid scratching even though it’s really difficult. “When the scale is shed, it tends to pull the hair out with it,” said Bard. “While the inflammation doesn’t specifically affect the hair follicle, inflammation of the scalp can have a detrimental effect on hair growth and can lead to shedding.”
Though psoriasis scales are upsetting to live with, you might also suffer from hair loss if you try to forcibly remove scales. The American Academy of Dermatology Association suggests avoiding scratching and picking at the scales to lessen the chance of aggravating the skin. They also recommended keeping fingernails short and filed down to reduce hair loss and limit the damage caused when scratching is the only option.
It’s important to note that psoriatic alopecia also known as hair loss due to psoriasis can affect the entire scalp, and some data suggests that those living with psoriasis are also potentially at risk of developing alopecia areata over time. This is why, if you’re living with severe psoriasis, you must check in with a dermatologist or health care professional to arrange an educated treatment plan.
A Flaking Scalp And Skin Are Some Of The Most Frustrating Symptoms Of Psoriasis And Psoriatic Arthritis Heres How To Stop Shedding
It can be enough of a challenge to deal with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis flare-ups the physical appearance and itchy discomfort of psoriasis plaques is upsetting and frustrating for patients. But when psoriasis plaques begin to build up and flake off the skin, leaving behind dandruff-like evidence of the condition on your clothes and surroundings, it can make things even worse. Many patients feel like flaking adds to the stigma they already experience, in part because it calls more attention to the disease from others.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes skin cell buildup that appears as red, scaly, itchy patches on your skin and scalp that can burn and sting. These plaques can also become so thick and dry that they start to flake off the skin in large, silver-toned scales. When it happens on your scalp, it can look like severe dandruff. Research shows that about half of psoriasis patients experience scalp psoriasis, though some estimates say that 90 percent of patients will deal with scalp psoriasis at some point. Sometimes psoriasis plaques on your body shed their scales, too. In one study, doctors rated flaking, along with itch, as one of the most physically bothersome symptoms in their psoriasis patients.
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Do Scalp Psoriasis Home Remedies Work
How you take care of your hair and scalp can have a big impact on your scalp psoriasis flare-ups. In addition to the treatment plan your doctor recommends, you may want to try some of the following tips at home12:
Skip styling tools when possible: Since heat can further dry out your scalp and exacerbate symptoms, its best to avoid blow-drying, curling, and straightening tools if you can. When brushing your hair, use gentle pressure to avoid further irritation. If you have natural hair and are used to consistent styling that requires heat, talk to your dermatologist or stylist to figure out a plan that reduces the risk of potential flare-ups while maintaining the health of your hair.
Avoid the tight up-do: If you have longer hair and have hair loss, you may also want to avoid pulling it back tightly in a ponytail, since that can pull on the already-fragile scalp and possibly lead to more hair loss. If you must pull your hair back, keep the hair low and loose to prevent excess tugging.
Choose hair products wisely: Using certain hair products, such as hair dyes, can also be irritating to your scalp. Ask your dermatologist for brand recommendations or if there are ways your stylist can dye your hair that might be more gentle on your scalp.