At least half the people who have psoriasis have scalp psoriasis. However, one can have scalp psoriasis without having psoriasis on any other part of the body.
It can be mild; it can be severe. Red lesions and scale appear, as skin cells multiply too fast. Mild means slight fine scaling over small areas; severe means thick crusts develop over the whole scalp, along with hair loss.
Scalp Psoriasis Picture
Scalp Psoriasis Condition Symptoms
A sign that you have scalp psoriasis is the appearance of dead skin flakes appearing on your clothes. When you scratch, flakes tumble to your shoulders.
Scalp psoriasis is often difficult to differentiate from seborrheic dermatitis, though the scales of psoriasis appear drier and thicker and people with psoriasis usually have it on other parts of their body. A skin biopsy will make it easier to differentiate between the two disorders.
Scalp Psoriasis Treatments
Like all forms of psoriasis, there is yet no cure. It can be controlled through various forms of treatment. Washing your hair daily is recommended, as well as exposure to direct sunlight. However, avoid sunburn.
Shampoos that contain tar are effective; but they can discolor light colored hair. Medicated shampoos also may help.
There are various topical agents your doctor may prescribe to rub into the scalp. Ointments and creams are heavy and hard to apply. They can be "greasy" and difficult to wash out, so lotions, solutions and gels are more generally used.
Topical corticosteroid gels work quickly, often within a week or two, however, with long-term use, the scalp can become resistant or impervious to steroids and other agents. If so, warm olive oil may help. Rub it onto the scalp; wrap your head in a towel for about 30 minutes. Then once again, wash the hair and rub in the lotion or gel.
Ultra Balm has also been used successfully in the relief of scalp psoriasis. It can easily be rubbed into the scalp, with no grease residue and is easy to wash out. You can read some of the many successes psoriasis sufferers have had with Ultra Balm, at the bottom of this page.
Luckily, scalp psoriasis is not contagious.
It’s all in your head. Psoriasis fosters many emotional issues, such as low self esteem and lack of confidence. People with psoriasis can feel isolated or even choose to be isolated, for they are embarrassed about their condition. They tend to feel there is something wrong with them, rather than just something wrong with the body. The very unpredictable nature of the disease can put one on an emotional roller coaster. Or is it that an emotional roller coaster or other stress can exasperate the condition– a "Catch 22 situation?"
The International Psoriasis Foundation tries to address these issues. Their site mentions online support groups and forums where people help one another.
While it is true that scalp psoriasis is literally and by location, "all in the head," it certainly is not an illusion. Scalp psoriasis and any psoriasis is something to confront and find the best means possible to alleviate it.
It is not contagious, but it lasts a lifetime. The most common form, plaque psoriasis, creates raised red lesions or patches surrounded by silvery white dead skin scales, commonly referred to as scale.