Have you recently noticed itchy, reddish, and scaly patches on your scalp? It may be scalp psoriasis. This autoimmune condition causes irritation and crusted sores, leading to intense itching and discomfort. You may feel the urge to scratch your scalp, which may damage the hair follicles and cause hair loss.
While scalp psoriasis cannot be treated, you can easily manage the flare-ups and minimize hair fall. Scroll down to learn the measure you can take to manage psoriasis and hair loss.
Table Of Contents
Does Psoriasis Cause Hair Loss?
No. Psoriasis does not cause hair loss. However, this condition causes intense itching and discomfort, and scratching the red, scaly plaques for relief damages the hair follicles, leading to temporary hair loss.
This autoimmune condition speeds up the rate of skin cell turnover, causing red and scaly patches on your skin. Psoriasis can affect any body part. However, the scalp is the most affected body part. Scalp psoriasis may occur alone or with other forms of the condition (1). In the next section, let’s try to understand the causes of psoriasis.
What Causes Scalp Psoriasis?
The exact causes of psoriasis are unknown. It is believed that genetic and environmental factors increase the likelihood of developing psoriasis. However, that does not mean whoever has that particular gene will develop psoriasis.
This autoimmune condition is mediated by the T-helper cells (a type of T cells that facilitate immune response). The T-cells in your immune system start attacking the healthy cells by mistake. As a result, the skin cells rapidly produce new cells, causing thick and scaly patches (2), (3).
If you have mild psoriasis, you may notice scaling. In case of severe psoriasis, you may notice the symptoms mentioned below.
Symptoms Of Psoriasis
- White or silver scales
- Redness and bumpy patches
- Itching, irritation, and burning sensation
- Dry scalp
- Hair fall
- Cracked skin (may bleed)
If you notice any of the symptoms, consult a doctor immediately and start treatment. Luckily, hair loss due to scalp psoriasis is temporary. Once the symptoms are gone, normal hair growth will resume. Take a look at the treatment options for scalp psoriasis.
Treatments For Scalp Psoriasis
The doctor may suggest topical ointments and oral medicines for managing psoriasis.
1. Topical Methods
The doctor may suggest medicated shampoos, creams, sprays, and oils for managing the symptoms. They may suggest shampoos with salicylic acid and coal tar, dithranol cream (0.1%-3%), and topical corticosteroids (4).
2. Oral Medications
Systemic therapies involving oral medications can improve psoriasis. Several case reports found that medicines like apremilast (for moderate to severe cases), anti-TNF medicines like etanercept, adalimumab, infliximab, and IL-12/23 inhibitors like ustekinumab, ixekizumab, secukinumab could improve psoriasis symptoms (4). However, there haven’t been any formal studies to evaluate the efficacy of these medicines.
Other treatment options like UV and laser therapies are often used for managing psoriasis on other body parts. However, these therapies are not practical for the scalp.
It is crucial to adhere to the doctor’s advice to manage psoriasis. However, you can also take several steps to mitigate the flare-ups.
Prevention Tips To Manage Psoriasis
1. Keep Your Scalp Moisturized
Dry skin can worsen the symptoms. Hence, use doctor-prescribed moisturizers, lotions, ointments, and oils to keep your scalp hydrated.
2. Never Scratch The Scalp
Avoid picking the plaques or scratching them. This may lead to bleeding and infections and worsen your condition. Scratching your scalp may also damage the hair follicles and cause hair loss. To minimize irritation, use medicated shampoos and lotions to soothe the skin.
3. Avoid Extreme Temperatures
Extreme hot, cold, and dry conditions can trigger flare-ups. If you stay in a place with dry climatic conditions, take precautions to keep the scalp moisturized. Use a humidifier in your home or office to maintain optimal humidity levels.
4. Avoid Self-Medication
Do not use OTC medicines or any home remedies without consulting your doctor. Drugs and certain ingredients may worsen the condition and cause side effects.
5. Minimize Stress
Stress has no link with psoriasis flare-ups. However, the condition can be quite distressing. Try to minimize stress and relieve anxiety by indulging in any activity that relaxes your mind.
6. Check Your Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol aggravates inflammation and affects the body’s immunity. It can cause flare-ups and increase your susceptibility to infections (5). Therefore, stay away from alcohol.
7. Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle
Consuming a balanced diet and exercising helps to maintain your overall health. Fresh green veggies, fruits, meat, and seafood help build immunity and keep your skin and hair healthy.
If you have scalp psoriasis, you have to be very careful about your hair care routine. Scroll down to find answers to a few doubts you may have.
How Often Should You Wash Hair?
It depends on the severity of your condition. However, avoid frequent washing. Use a medicated shampoo and wash your hair not more than once or twice a week. Consult a doctor to known the hair washing frequency as per the severity of your condition.
Is Short Hair Better For Scalp Psoriasis?
Cutting the hair short may make it easy for you to apply topical medications and shampoos.
The Final Word
Scalp psoriasis is non-curable. However, it can be easily managed with the right treatment. If you are losing your hair due to psoriasis, do not worry, as this is a temporary phase. Consult a doctor and start treatment. Follow the tips mentioned in the article and take good care of your overall health and hair to manage scalp psoriasis and reduce hair fall.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
What type of diet must I take if I have psoriasis?
There is no special diet for psoriasis. You can follow a balanced diet to maintain overall health.
Does smoking cause psoriasis flare-ups?
Yes, smoking can worsen psoriasis symptoms (6).
Can I stop hair loss from psoriasis?
Yes. Managing the psoriasis symptoms will automatically stop hair loss.
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