Scalp psoriasis treatment is used for treating the common psoriasis of the scalp which 80% of psoriasis patients develop. This is a distressing condition as plaques are itchy and if they extend beyond the hairline to the face and around ears, they become visible. Sometimes scalp psoriasis can also lead to hair loss which is why patients look for effective treatment options.
Topical medications are psoriasis scalp treatment that exists in various formulations like creams, lotions, shampoos, foams, gels and ointments.
- While shampoos should be left on the scalp for about 15 minutes and then rinsed out, other preparations should be left on the scalp for at least a few hours, once or twice a day. In case of overnight application, cover your scalp with a plastic shower cap to ensure the medication does not rub off when you sleep. However this should be done only with your doctor’s consent as it can increase the dose of the medicine that reaches your system.
- Corticosteroids come in high and low potency as scalp psoriasis treatment. It is better to use lower powerful steroids that give adequate results as strong steroids have potential of developing side effects like spider veins and thinning of skin.
Its overuse can lead to suppression of the body’s steroid production system which worsens the condition.
- Vitamin D3 analogs like calcipotriene are safe and effective for treating scalp psoriasis as it does not lead to abnormal rise in blood calcium levels. The only common side effect is irritation or burning effect on application. While calcipotriene does not work as quickly as corticosteroids, it gives ultimate effective results.
- Combination of calcipotriene and corticosteroids offer a more effective treatment option as the combination minimizes the side effects of both. Some physicians may prescribe both of them where the patients switch back and forth every day.
- Coal tar is one of the oldest scalp psoriasis treatment options. Many over the counter lotions and shampoos like T-Gel and T/Sal contain coal tar to effectively treat psoriasis and in reducing the itch many patients battle.
Dithranol is a great psoriasis remedy that is administered at a clinic or in-patient setting.
- Its exposed exposure can lead to skin irritation; however patients who haven’t responded well to other topical medications respond well to this medication.
- Salicylic acid and urea helps treat scalp psoriasis as it reduces scaling. This in turn helps other medications reach and treat your skin. Its ointments have to be applied several times for 2-3 days and followed with treatments that help alleviate psoriasis symptoms.
This scalp psoriasis treatment uses natural or artificial UV light where the simplest therapy involves exposing your skin to controlled amounts of natural sunlight. Sunlight kills the activated T cells to slow down cell turnover and reduce scaling and inflammation. While daily exposures to small sunlight amounts improve psoriasis, intense sun exposure worsens symptoms and leads to skin damage. so consult your doctor for the safe use of natural sunlight for treating scalp psoriasis.
- UVB phototherapy called broadband UVB involves use of controlled doses of UVB light from an artificial light source. it treats single patches, widespread psoriasis and psoriasis that do not respond to other topical treatments. Its short term side effects include dry and itching skin and redness.
- Excimer laser is used for treating mild and moderate psoriasis by treating only the affected skin. A specific wavelength of UVB light is directed to the psoriasis plaques to control its scaling and inflammation while the surrounding healthy skin is not harmed. As a more powerful UVB light is used, excimer laser therapy requires fewer sessions than traditional phototherapy. Its side effects include redness and blistering.
- Pulsed dye laser is similar to excimer laser; only a different form of light is used for destroying the blood vessels that lead to psoriasis plaques. Its side effects include slight risk of scarring and bruising for 10 days after the treatment.
Oral medications or injections
Your doctor may prescribe oral or injected drugs to treat severe scalp psoriasis that does not respond to other treatments. However they lead to severe side effects, which is why these medications are used only for short periods and are alternated with other treatment options.
- Retinoids reduce the production of skin cells in severe scalp psoriasis. However the signs and symptoms of the infection return on discontinuation of the therapy. Its side effects include hair loss, itching and dryness of mucous membranes and skin.
- Methotrexate reduces the production of skin cells and suppresses inflammation. Its low doses are generally well tolerated but can trigger stomach upset, fatigue and loss of appetite. Its long term use can lead to various side effects like severe liver damage and reduced production of red and white blood cells and platelets.
Cyclosporine suppresses the body’s immune system and is effective as methotrexate. It however increases your risk of infections and other health problems including cancer.
- Hydroxyurea is not as effective as cyclosporine or methotrexate but can be combined with phototherapy. Its possible side effects are anemia and a reduction of white blood cells and platelets. it is not advised for pregnant or planning to get pregnant women.
- Biologics like alefacept, infliximab and etanercept are used to treat those people who don’t respond to traditional scalp psoriasis therapies. They work by blocking the interactions between some immune system cells and inflammatory pathways. Though derived from natural sources, they have to be used carefully as they have strong and possibly life-threatening effects on the immune system.
Scalp psoriasis home remedies
Scalp psoriasis home remedies don’t actually help cure psoriasis but helps improve the appearance and feel of damaged skin. However they do offer relief from the symptoms of psoriasis.
- Soaking in a bathtub with bath oil, Epsom salts and colloidal oatmeal for 15 minutes removes scales and calms inflamed skin. However avoid hot water and strong soaps as it worsens the symptoms.
- Try to find your psoriasis trigger and take steps to prevent or avoid them. skin injuries, stress, infections, intense sun exposure and smoking can all worsen psoriasis.
- Avoid alcohol as it reduces the effectiveness of some scalp psoriasis treatment.
- A healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, lean cuts and fish and whole grains help improves your condition. However if you think some foods worsen your symptoms, maintain a food diary and note it down to avoid them in the future.
- Aloe Vera extract reduces scaling, itching, redness and inflammation. However it has to be used several times a day for a month or more to see improvements.
- Fish oil supplements reduce scalp psoriasis inflammation.
There are thus many scalp psoriasis treatment options and scalp psoriasis home remedies that prove effective in treating scalp psoriasis. It may take some time, but you can eventually find out which remedy is most effective for you.