Scalp Psoriasis Treatment and Prevention of hair loss

Psoriasis can sometimes affect your scalp, giving rise to dandruff from the flaking skin. Scalp psoriasis is sometimes itchy, and in severe cases hair loss can occur, particularly if the area is scratched a lot, or harsh treatments are used. However, in the majority of cases hair will regrow in the affected areas.

Scalp psoriasis treatment

Treatments for scalp psoriasis
Emollients (moisturizers): These can help combat mild cases of scalp psoriasis. There are many commercial moisturizing hair conditioners. Some people prefer to use coconut oil, which can be left on the hair for hours, then washed out. It’s an effective moisturizer, but can be rather messy.

Coal tar shampoos and ointments: These are often used to treat scalp psoriasis. A number of commercial formulations are available, such as Neutragena T/Gel therapeutic shampoo and Capasal shampoo.

Calcipotriol scalp solution: Calcipotriol is an analogue of vitamin D, often used for treatment of psoriasis. A scalp solution is available for the treatment of mild or moderate scalp psoriasis.

Steroid scalp treatment: Various steroid treatments can be used to treat scalp psoriasis. An example is Betnovate scalp application, which contains the steroid betamethasone). Dovobet gel is also used on the scalp, and contains a mixture of calcipotriol and the steroid betamethasone. Long term treatment with steroids can cause side-effects, such as skin thinning.

Antimicrobiols: Although psoriasis is not caused by bacteria or other infective organisms, the broken skin caused by scalp psoriasis can be infected by bacteria or yeast, in which case antimicrobial treatments may be needed.

Dithranol: This pharmaceutical compound can be used to treat scalp psoriasis. Psorin scalp gel contains dithranol together with salicylic acid. It’s applied to the scalp, then washed off after a period of time (say 20 minutes, although you should follow your doctor’s recommendation). Dithranol is usually effective against psoriasis, although some people find it gives a burning sensation. Dithranol stains clothing, towels and bedding, so is not always popular with users. It’s best used by those with dark hair, as it can also stain blonde or pale brown hair.

Oral and injected treatments: If the various shampoos and ointments don’t work, scalp psoriasis may be treated by one of a number of oral treatments. Methotrexate (trade name Maxtrex) tablets may be used, or one of the newer injectable biological treatments.

Light Treatments: Affected areas of the scalp can be treated with UV B light. The hair has to be manually parted or cut back to expose the scalp. Long term exposure to UV light can increase the risk of skin cancer, so is best avoided.

Short hair cuts are probably best for scalp psoriasis, even if they expose more of the redness. They do allow more sunlight onto affected areas, which helps to combat the psoriasis.

Prevention and cure of hair loss
Hair loss can be a worry if you have scalp psoriasis. It is important to avoid scratching the affected areas, however much they itch. To limit itching, use a moisturizing conditioner after shampooing. Avoid heating the hair with hair driers, but let it dry naturally. An ice pack can be used as a short-term measure to relieve itching.

If you do begin to lose hair, don’t panic. It will almost certainly grow back. Concentrate on treating the underlying psoriasis. Ask your doctor for an alternative treatment option if your current one isn’t working.

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