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Scalp Psoriasis - Information about the skin disorder

Written by Megan Kinder, information gathered from WebMD and other credible online sources. [email protected]

What is Scalp Psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis is a common skin disorder that produces raised, reddish, and often scaly patches. It can appear as one or multiple patches on the scalp, affect the entire scalp, and spread beyond the scalp to the forehead, back of the neck, or behind the ears. It is not contagious. Cannot be cured. But symptoms can be relieved but controling flare-ups, and preveting recurrenced.

Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis

Symptoms of mild scalp psoriasis may include only very slight, fine scaling. Symptoms of moderate to severe scalp psoriasis include:

  1. Reddish plaques
  2. Silvery-white scales 
  3. Dandruff-like flaking 
  4. Dry scalp Itching 
  5. Burning sensation or soreness
  6. Hair loss

Causes of Scalp Psoriasis

Emotional stress and trauma to streptococcal infection -- can cause an episode of psoriasis. Injured skin and certain drugs can aggravate psoriasis, including certain types of blood pressure medications (like beta blockers) and the anti-malarial medication hydroxychloroquine. Runs in families but can skip a generation

Scalp Psoriasis Treatment

Treatments found over the counter include: medicated shampoos, creams, gels, oils, ointments, and soaps.  FDA over the counter products are

  • salicylic acid
  • coal tar  

Treaments (Tropical) for Scalp Psoriasis that need a prescription, but are FDA approved 

  • Anathralin, an older prescription medication
  • Antimicrobials, which are used to treat bacterial or  yeast infections associated with scalp psoriasis
  • Calcipotriene, a vitamin D derivative
  • Calcipotriene and betamethasone dipropionate (a potent steroid)
  • Other topical steroids
  • Tazarotene, a vitamin A derivative

To be effective, topical treatments must be applied to the scalp instead of just to the hair. They also must be used exactly as directed until you get adequate control of your lesions, a process that can take up to eight weeks or longer. After your psoriasis has cleared, you may be able to prevent recurrences by shampooing daily or twice-weekly with a shampoo containing coal tar or other medications.

Treatments for Sever Scalp Psoriasis 

Oral Treatment :

  • Corticosteroids
  • Cyclosporine
  • Methotrexate
  • Oral vitamin A derivative
  • Oral vitamin D derivative

Side Effects

Side efffects to these medications include liver damage. 

The newest class of FDA-approved medications for scalp psoriasis are called biologics.

  • alefacept (Amevive)
  • efalizumba (Raptiva)
  • etanercept (Enbrel)
  • infliximab (Remicade) 

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