Psoriasis appears as raised, red patches or lesions covered with dead skin cells on the skin. Scalp psoriasis can be mild, with fine scaling or thick with crusted plaques, covering the entire scalp. The areas of the skin grow very rapidly and form red, scaling patches. Patients experience severe itchiness, a feeling of tightness and soreness, accompanied by hair loss. Scalp psoriasis is a common form of psoriasis affecting over 50% of patients.
Treatments for scalp psoriasis are generally temporarily effective and continued over a long period. Moderate exposure of the scalp to sunlight and regular washing of the head helps reduce the spread of the condition. Certain shampoo treatments control the spread of psoriasis. Other treatments prescribed by doctors include coal tar, dithranol, salicylic acid, cortico-steroids and Vitamin D derivatives.
The correct method of application of the treatment is important. The hair is parted into sections and the medication is rubbed into the exposed area. It is necessary to comb and brush the hair regularly in order to remove scaling. Shampooing with a coal tar based shampoo followed by a cortisone lotion rubbed into the scalp is recommended. A frequent break in the regimen ensures that the psoriasis does not become resistant to treatment.
Topical medications like corticosteriods are effective against scalp psoriasis. They are available in solutions, gels, creams, lotions and ointments. A two-week cycle of treatment is commonly recommended for strong steroids.
In cases of mild scalp psoriasis, doctors inject the scalp lesions with steroid medications. The medication is absorbed into the system and is therefore sparingly used.
Systemic medications or prescription medications are administered to patients with moderate to severe scalp psoriasis. Biologic drugs that are made from living human or animal proteins block or eliminate various immune system cells involved in scalp psoriasis.
Since psoriasis is known to be a waxing and waning condition, it usually subsides with regular treatment. It is unusual for anyone to suffer extensive scalp psoriasis for a long time, especially if they seek medical help and use treatments as directed. Any medical regimen for psoriasis needs to be closely supervised by a dermatologist.