Psoriasis in the scalp or sebopsoriasis
Psoriasis in the scalp or sebopsoriasis is a common inflammatory condition and is not contagious. It presents as red, raised, scaly patches on the entire scalp and can spread to the forehead and backs of the neck and ears. The cause of this disorder is believed to be an abnormality of the immune system as with other types of psoriasis. It is also hereditary and could be mild or severe. Scalp psoriasis is a source of embarrassment to the affected persons.
- Heredity – Plays an important role in transferring the condition from parents to children.
- Infection – Fungal and bacterial infections occur in the form of dandruff and cause weakening of the immune system.
- Weather – Changes in weather also contribute to this type of psoriasis. Summer is especially responsible for the onset of psoriasis in the scalp.
- Allergies – Some allergens can cause inflammation by suppressing the immune system.
- Injury – As a result of insect bites and other wounds which causes trauma to the skin.
- Personal products – This disorder is seen in persons who use a lot of hair care products such as colors, dyes, gels, sprays, shampoos, conditioners and styling products.
- Other factors – These include stress, poor hygiene, chemicals, heat, smoking, alcohol and tobacco consumption.
- Dry scalp – The condition is characterized by dryness of the scalp.
- Reddish papules – These are covered with scales.
- Silvery scales – These are formed when the papules combine and form a silvery plaque.
- Bumps – which are filled with pus.
- Flaking – The plaques flake and shed which look like dandruff. When the flaking is severe, it looks unsightly.
- Itching – There is severe itching and when scratched could make the condition worse by causing trauma.
- Soreness and burning.
- Hair loss – In severe type of psoriasis, there could be loss of hair due to intense scratching and forced removal of the scales. However, it is temporary and once the disease is controlled there is re-growth of hair on the scalp.
Psoriasis in the scalp or sebopsoriasis Treatment
Treating psoriasis of the scalp includes the use of topical medications and alternative therapy. The first step involved in the treatment is the softening and removing of scales to help the medications to penetrate.
Medications include corticosteroids, Vitamin D3 analogues, dithranol, coal tar, salicylic acid and urea.
- Corticosteroids. Weak steroids in the form of creams, lotions, shampoos and foams are used to avoid side-effects. Examples are clobetasol and fluocinolone acetonide.
- Vitamin D3 analogues. They are prescribed in the form of Calcipotriene or Calcipotriol. Since it does not cause an abnormal rise in the levels of calcium, it is preferred over natural Vitamin D.
- Coal tar. Over-the-counter shampoos and lotions containing coal tar are used in treatment.
- Dithranol. This treatment is usually administered at a clinic and includes application of a cream formulation on the scalp for a short period of time before being washed off.
- Salicylic acid and Urea. Ointments containing salicylic acid and urea are used to reduce scaling.
Home remedies for Psoriasis in the scalp
For treatment of scalp psoriasis it is very important to make sure that the medication reaches the skin. This requires the removal of scales which can be achieved by washing the hair with a shampoo containing tar, selenium or salicylic acid once or twice daily. The scales should be rubbed gently with the fingertips and not nails.
The scalp may be covered with mineral oil occasionally and covered with a shower cap.
Massage warm oil on the scaly patches to soften and remove them.
Pure aloe vera gel can be applied to the scalp.
Fish oil taken in the form of a supplement or applied directly onto the scales is known to help.