Is an itchy scalp driving you crazy?
You may have Psoriasis of the scalp.
Conditions affecting the scalp are often given the prefix of seborrheic to classify their location. Hence Psoriasis of the scalp is often referred to as seborrheic psoriasis. This term refers to the location of the psoriasis rather than the type of psoriasis.
90% of psoriasis sufferers will have Plaque Psoriasis and it will usually affect the scalp. Unlike eczema psoriasis is rare in young children and usually strikes in the teen or early adult years.
Plaque psoriasis appears as a well defined rash with very thick white scales that are often very firmly attached to the hair. The borders of each patch are well defined and small points of bleeding will occur if the scales are picked off. Each individual patch may come and go but it is more common for them to be present for years.
Rarely affects the face
The psoriasis may cover a small area at the back of the head or upper neck or it may involve the whole scalp. This type of psoriasis may spread onto the forehead and into the ears however the face is rarely affected.
Although hair loss is not generally caused by seborrheic psoriasis the hair is usually thinner in the affected areas.
The typical appearance of plaque psoriasis is the basis for diagnosis however seborrheic psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) are often confused and even with biopsy may be difficult to tell apart. Doctors may refer to the rash as “seborrhiasis” if they are unable to separate the two conditions.
What to do
Although not the cause of psoriasis, hair care treatments will often exacerbate the condition. It is therefore important to use shampoos and conditioners that are designed for sensitive skin and are free from Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Propolene Glycol – the two main ingredients that people are sensitive to and may trigger a flare up.
It is reasonable also to expect that the use of any harsh chemicals on the scalp will worsen the psoriasis. Perms and dyes are therefore best avoided.
One of the most natural treatments for psoriasis is vitamin D. Exposure to sunlight will also help to control psoriasis of the scalp – remembering of course to protect from the dangers of sunlight that we know so well.