Scalp Psoriasis Photos
Identifying Scalp Psoriasis with Photos
When psoriasis appears on the scalp, it is called scalp psoriasis. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, at least 50 percent of those with plaque psoriasis will experience an outbreak on the scalp (AAD, 2012). In order to be diagnosed with scalp psoriasis, a dermatologist must take a sample of the skin and have it analyzed.
Scalp psoriasis often requires treatment that’s not used to treat psoriasis on other body parts. This is because scalp skin is thicker than skin on other parts of the body.
Most people achieve remission with simple scalp treatments.
Scalp Psoriasis as Part of Life
Scalp psoriasis is common among people who have psoriasis on other parts of the body. It has the same cause, too—an autoimmune problem that sends signals to the skin to produce new cells too quickly. The condition is painful, itchy, and unsightly.
Thankfully, scalp psoriasis is not usually a permanent feature for individuals with psoriasis. It can usually be treated effectively, and careful management of the condition can prevent hair loss, infection, and some discomfort from the condition.
Scalp Psoriasis Spillover
Some people have the condition over their entire scalp, while others may have only a few isolated patches. In some cases, scalp psoriasis may extend onto the neck, forehead, ears, and face. Depending on the type of psoriasis (guttate versus plaque, for instance), the spillover psoriasis patches may have a different appearance.
Sometimes the extended psoriasis will form as a widespread, thick patch of plaque psoriasis (as shown), while other times it may appear as small red splotches (as with guttate psoriasis). The type of psoriasis you have will also determine how much of your scalp is covered with psoriasis spots.
Scalp Psoriasis Spreading to Face
This image shows how scalp psoriasis may spill over onto the forehead and even to the face. Your dermatologist may recommend your standard psoriasis cream for scalp psoriasis that extends onto the face. However, You may need a different treatment for psoriasis on your face because of the varying skin thicknesses.
Scalp Psoriasis and the Ears
Just as psoriasis of the scalp can extend to the face and neck, the ears can also be affected. In some cases, this can cause temporary hearing loss or eardrum damage, so psoriasis in the ear should be treated quickly (NPF, 2012).
Just as with other flare-ups of psoriasis, psoriasis on the ears can be brought on by triggers. Learn how to effectively manage stress, protect your ears from cold and dry air, and follow your dermatologist’s treatment plan.
Embarrassment and Visibility of Scalp Psoriasis
Having psoriasis can make many people self-conscious, and scalp psoriasis can be an even more embarrassing condition. However, Scalp psoriasis is not a constant companion of most people with psoriasis.
Ask your doctor about techniques to reduce the visibility of your scalp psoriasis if social embarrassment is a concern for you. Hats, scarves, and proper scalp psoriasis management techniques may help hide it.
Scalp Psoriasis and Dandruff
Although not the most painful symptom of scalp psoriasis, significant dandruff may be the most embarrassing. Scalp psoriasis dandruff caused by the shedding of excess skin cells is more serious than common dandruff. The scalp may shed large and silvery scales of skin.
The scales from scalp dandruff must be carefully removed. Avoid scratching or picking them. Too much rubbing or scratching can make scalp psoriasis worse, causing bleeding, pain, and infection.
Bleeding and Infection from Scalp Psoriasis
Scalp psoriasis can be terribly itchy and painful. The inflammation and discomfort of scalp psoriasis may tempt you to quickly remove scales or attempt scalp massage treatments. This can cause bleeding, and the open lesions can lead to an infection that must be treated separately.
Try to minimize scratching and shampoo gently without too much direct contact with the scalp. Tell your doctor if the itching or pain is too much to handle.
Hair Loss from Scalp Psoriasis
The disruption of hair follicles, heavy scaling, and excessive scratching can cause noticeable hair loss. Entire clumps of hair may be lost when the scalp is damaged. To complicate the matter, certain scalp psoriasis treatments and even the stress of having scalp psoriasis may make hair loss worse (AAD, 2007).
Talk with your doctor about ways to avoid hair loss if you have scalp psoriasis. You may need to avoid hair treatments (like dyes and perms) or change your scalp psoriasis treatment.
Combing and Scalp Psoriasis
Combing too hard or carelessly can be a bad move when you have scalp psoriasis. People with this condition may wish to shave their hair off to make treatment easier. If this is not an option, comb carefully to gently remove the scalp psoriasis scales.
Clean the comb before each use to prevent depositing dirt or germs into broken skin on the scalp.
Hair Hygiene and Scalp Psoriasis
Medicated shampoos and medicine applied directly to the scalp are common treatments used to treat scalp psoriasis. Many topical scalp treatments include corticosteroids. According to the American Academy of Psoriasis, shampoos with this ingredient may be very effective (AAD, 2010).
If your doctor prescribes a different topical treatment for your scalp psoriasis, ask about the best times and ways to clean your hair and scalp in between treatments. This can prevent you from washing off the medication before it can help.
Treating Scalp Psoriasis
Other treatments for scalp psoriasis may include oral medications, corticosteroid injections into the scalp, light treatments, and scale softeners. Scale softeners can help other topical medicines, such as corticosteroid creams, penetrate the psoriasis scales and control the flare-up.
Many effective treatments for scalp psoriasis exist. Consult your psoriasis doctor for advice and a treatment recommendation if you suspect you have scalp psoriasis. The sooner you begin to treat your scalp psoriasis, the better your prognosis may be.