Top Scalp Psoriasis Treatments
Psoriasis is an uncomfortable condition in which the skin cells grow faster than normal and because of this, they build up and create a series of powdery scales on the affected area. These scales can lead to uncomfortable itching as well as redness. As the name implies, scalp psoriasis occurs on the scalp and because of its symptoms, it can sometimes be mistaken for dandruff.
Treating the Symptoms
One important thing to realize is that because of the nature of the condition, treatment options rely on treating the symptoms and not stopping the problem from occurring. For most people this means that working to control their scalp psoriasis is an ongoing battle.
Understanding Variations in Treatment
Scalp psoriasis affects a large number of people and because of this a number of different treatment options have developed. The treatment that works best for an individual will depend on multiple factors including severity, whether the psoriasis responds to treatment, whether the psoriasis occurs only on the scalp or other areas of the body as well, and how much hair the person has. In some cases, it will not even require treatment and will simply go away on its own over time.
A common theme in all scalp psoriasis treatments regardless of the severity of the problem is beginning by softening the scales so that they are easier to remove. There are many scale softeners available over-the-counter or by prescription and the most effective ones will contain salicylic acid. Other common active ingredients include phenol, lactic acid and urea. After applying the scale softener, you can gently loosen the scales using a brush and then use a salicylic acid shampoo to remove them.
Treatments for Mild Conditions
In many cases, mild scalp psoriasis can be treated using over the counter products such as coal tar products including soaps, gels, shampoos and creams. Although these products stain, they are usually effective at reducing inflammation, scaling and itching. In addition to salicylic acid and coal tar products, medicated shampoos are another possibility for mild cases. In some conditions, doctors will also prescribe injections of steroids into isolated lesions.
Other Topical Treatments
In the case of more severe presentations, doctors may prescribe topical treatments generally in the form of topical steroids. They can be sprays, lotions or solutions and in most cases will be applied directly but then rinsed out. Some of these treatments include Anthralin (Psoriatec), Calcipotriene (Dovonex) and Tazarotene (Tazorac). When using one of these topical steroidal treatments it is important to avoid using them for more than two weeks in a row and carefully follow the doctor’s instructions.
Other Treatment Options
In cases where the psoriasis extends to other areas of the body in addition to the scalp, the doctor may prescribe a system treatment designed to prevent the skin cells from becoming overactive in the first place. Specific medications that can reduce the growth of skin cells include methotrexate, oral retinoids, cyclosporine and biologics. Sometimes ultraviolet light is another treatment option for scalp psoriasis and your doctor can provide more information.
Learn more about scalp psoriasis and dermatitis here