Scalp Psoriasis - General Info
Scalp psoriasis is only one form of the psoriasis and it features with typical reddish plaque and dandruff-like flaking which affect the scalp. Mild form of scalp psoriasis may cause light scaling while severe forms usually feature with crusted, thick scales which may cover the entire scalp. In severe form of the disease there is even a chance of temporary hair loss. The patients commonly complain about itching and soreness of the scalp. They may even feel pain or tightness of the affected area.
This form of the diseases affects approximately 50% of all patients suffering from psoriasis. The patient may suffer only from scalp psoriasis or he/ she may also develop characteristic skin changes on other parts of the body. There are several risk factors for scalp psoriasis and they include weak immune system, hormonal changes and excessive and prolonged exposure to stress.
Treatment for Scalp Psoriasis
There are many treatment options for scalp psoriasis. The goal of the treatment is to alleviate all the symptoms and signs of psoriasis and to control flare-ups. The treatment generally includes specific medications, medicated shampoos and phototherapy.
Topical medications used in scalp psoriasis are corticosteroids, tazarotene, anthralin, calcipotriol and tars. These medications are applied in a form of creams, lotions, gels, foams, ointments or shampoos. Total length of the therapy varies and it may last several weeks or even several months.
Betamethasone, clobetason, fluocinolone acetoide and Hydrocortisone are the most common corticosteroids administered in patients suffering from scalp psoriasis. Unlike oral corticosteroids these topical corticosteroids may be used for long period of time without causing serious side effects. In mild form of scalp psoriasis the patients may be injected steroids in the specific skin lesions.
Apart from corticosteroids scalp psoriasis is also treated with anthralin, calcipotriol (a derivate of vitamin D) and topical tazarotene. Topical tazarotene belongs to a group of retinoids. Furthermore, salicylic acid is a very effective component of many ointments used for scalp psoriasis. This chemical compound helps in loosening of the scales and relieves itching sensation. It is basically administered in mild cases of the disease.
Medicated shampoos can be rather efficient in patients with scalp psoriasis. The symptoms of the disease can be successfully alleviated with coal tar shampoos. These shampoos relieve itching and act against scaling. Antibacterial and antifungal shampoos are administered in patients who are suffering from bacterial or fungal superinfection of the already damaged skin.
Apart from the previously mentioned scalp psoriasis can be also treated with ultraviolet light. The patients are advised to cut their hair short since this way ultraviolet light can be more effective and can easily reach the skin changes on the scalp. Apart from artificial UV light even moderate exposure to natural sunlight can effectively alleviate the symptoms and signs of the disease.