Psoriasis is a common chronic, non-contagious and autoimmune skin disease. It is characterised by red, scaly, swollen patches on the skin (plaques), often seen on the scalp.
Scalp psoriasis can appear alone or in conjunction with other types of psoriasis. The back of the head is a prominent area for psoriasis, however, it can affect multiple parts of the scalp or the entire scalp. If a person has a scaly, itchy, and irritated red scalp, then they may have scalp psoriasis.
A thick crust along with a red thickened skin plaque indicates scalp psoriasis. The psoriasis can be asymptomatic or extremely painful. It is often a long-lasting skin problem, though its severity and scope frequently change. Although scalp psoriasis might cause temporary mild localised hair loss, it does not cause permanent baldness. Scalp psoriasis can be related to psoriatic arthritis.
Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis
The following are the scalp psoriasis signs and symptoms:
Patches on the scalp:
Patches on the scalp are often raised, inflamed, crusted, thick, and reddish and mostly covers the entire scalp.
Flaking and silvery-white scale:
There is scaling of the skin and it appears like dandruff-like flaking or silvery-white scale similar to dandruff.
The scalp gets very dry and cracks easily.
Itchy skin patches are common. Itching might be moderate in some people and severe in others.
Scratching the scalp may result in bleeding. It can also aggravate the psoriasis patches.
Scalp psoriasis is frequently associated with burning sensation and feeling of discomfort. The patches may become painful in rare circumstances.
Temporary hair loss:
While psoriasis itself does not cause hair loss, scratching the scalp repeatedly might cause some hairs to fall off. However, hair usually comes back once the condition is resolved.
When to see a doctor?
Anyone who develops a new red rash should seek medical attention. A dermatologist will examine the affected area and ask about psoriasis symptoms, medical issues, and family history.
A dermatologist may be able to identify scalp psoriasis just by looking at the rash, or a skin biopsy test may be necessary to rule out other conditions. Scalp psoriasis may flare up from time to time, but with proper treatment, the symptoms can be controlled.
Psoriasis has an unknown specific cause. But medical experts believe the cause of scalp psoriasis to be an immune system disorder. Overactive immune system cells stimulate the skin cells to grow at a faster rate than the body can shed them, consequently the cells pile up as plaques on the skin resulting in inflammation and redness of skin.
On average, skin cells regenerate every 28 to 30 days. New skin cells grow and travel to the skin surface every three to four days in scalp psoriasis patients. The replacement of old cells with new cells results in thick and crusty areas on skin.
Scalp psoriasis can run in families, it is observed that certain genes have been associated with psoriasis. An individual with psoriasis also has a family member with the same skin condition.
Environmental risk factors might include skin damage, sunburn, medicines, stress, and other inflammatory or autoimmune health issues, which parents may pass down to their children.
Risk Factors of Scalp Psoriasis
People who have psoriasis are more likely to develop scalp psoriasis. A family history of psoriasis increases the chances of developing scalp psoriasis. Scalp psoriasis can occur at any age, although women appear to be more susceptible to this skin disorder.
Although it is still unknown what causes scalp psoriasis, smoking and stress are regarded to be two of the most common risk factors. Scalp psoriasis is most likely caused by a hereditary predisposition.
Complications of Scalp Psoriasis
Scalp psoriasis complications include:
- Hair loss:It can be caused due to damage to hair follicles, severe scaling, and frequent scratching. Huge clumps of hair may fall off when the scalp is injured. Certain scalp psoriasis treatments, as well as stress can worsen hair loss.
- Bleeding: Itching, pain and discomfort are common symptoms of scalp psoriasis. Scratching or removing scales can cause bleeding and pain.
Prevention of Scalp Psoriasis
It is possible to keep away scalp psoriasis by following the below-given preventive measures:
This is a crucial step in preventing psoriasis issues like hair loss and damaged skin. A doctor may recommend one or two topical medications in addition to an oral, injectable, or infused treatment.
Treat the scalp gently:
Avoid excessive washing and combing of the hair. Because this might cause hair to break and hair loss, especially if the hair is delicate.
Scratching of scalp should be avoided because it can lead to bleeding and infection.
It is necessary to identify and avoid triggers that increase psoriasis symptoms.
Following the treatment plan:
Because symptoms may take longer to improve, therefore it is important to apply topical drugs on a constant and daily basis.