It’s World Psoriasis Day 2021! The scalp is one of the most common sites to be affected by psoriasis, and sometimes is the only area of involvement.
Below you can read what we think you need to know about scalp psoriasis or download our handy infographic.
It is common!
Almost 80% of people with psoriasis will have scalp involvement at some point in their lives and it is not unusual for the scalp to be the first or only site to display psoriasis.
Symptoms vary from person to person
Presentation of scalp psoriasis can vary from person to person, ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms may include; flaking, red scaly patches and intense itching.
It can be difficult to manage
Scalp psoriasis can prove difficult to manage for obvious reasons like the presence of thick or long hair making it difficult to reach and treat.
Treatments for scalp psoriasis
Unfortunately, there is no cure for scalp psoriasis yet, but there are a number of topical over-the-counter and prescribed preparations that can help to relieve symptoms. If you are not responding to treatment, talk to your GP, nurse or dermatologist.
Soften the scale
Soften the scale, with coconut oil, olive oil, or almond oil to gently remove it. You can warm the oil slightly before applying and then wrap your hair in a towel or shower cap. For best results, leave oil on the scalp overnight. Or your doctor or nurse may recommend a medicated ointment, such as a topical tar preparation.
Gently remove scale
Either have someone help you to remove the scale or try to locate it with the tips of your fingers. Separate the hair & place a plastic fine-toothed comb, flat against the scalp & slowly move the comb in an upward motion, so that the teeth of the comb gently loosen the scale.
To remove the coconut/olive/almond oil, apply shampoo before wetting your hair and massage in. Use warm water to wash your hair. Tar based shampoos are useful for treating the scale. To be effective, the lather should be left on the scalp for 5 minutes to allow the active ingredients to work, and then rinsed off.
Apply prescribed treatment
Topical steroids are often prescribed to settle psoriasis flares. These are more effective when the thick scale is removed. Scalp preparations come as lotions, mousse, and gels. Apply as directed by your doctor/nurse. Part the hair into sections and gently massage treatment into affected areas. Wash hands after application of treatment.
For more on scalp psoriasis download our information booklet, Managing Scalp Psoriasis.
For more information about psoriasis, visit our Psoriasis Section to download our booklet, Managing Scalp Psoriasis from our Booklets and Resources page or contact the ISF Ask-a-Nurse Helpline for one-to-one information and support.