Your doctor says you have psoriasis – a disease characterized by red itchy patches on the skin. But the more you scratch, the worse it gets. What on Earth should you do?
To make the most out of your condition, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Whatever you do, avoid scratching the affected areas since this could cause the patches to thicken and lead to infection.
“New psoriasis can form at the site of an injury for some people. This process called Koebnerization also occurs on the scalp. Digging the scalp with a sharp-toothed comb or even incessant scratching can break the skin. The result: injury and new psoriasis,” according to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) in Portland, Oregon.
“There is another reason to be careful in removing scales. If scales are not softened and are simply scraped away without much preparation, hair can come with it,” the NPF added.
To control itching and flaking of scalp psoriasis, here are some suggestions:
The gentle use of a comb is the most effective tool in removing scales. Applying a lubricant like baby oil on the scalp for a few hours or overnight can loosen the scales prior to combing.
After combing, a shampoo will help remove additional scales and the product that helped to loosen them. A tar shampoo is probably not the best one to use at this period since it is designed for medication and not for cleansing or cosmetic purposes. Any inexpensive shampoo may be used.
A tar shampoo can follow the cleansing shampoo with lather left on the hair as indicated by the product directions. Thorough rinsing is important – the tar has done its work and does not need to remain on the hair or scalp.
Conditioners and other rinses may be used and rinsed out of the hair before prescribed topical medications are applied to the scalp.
Remember that shampoos that treat will also dry the hair and scalp. Thorough rinsing, lubrication and moisturizing can help combat itching. Antihistamines by mouth may also give some relief.
Hair dyes and sprays should be avoided if they irritate the scalp.
Short hair is preferable if one has scalp psoriasis.
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