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Scalp Psoriasis: What Dermatologists Wish You Knew

Scalp psoriasis brings a lot of discomfort to those who have it.

At least 50 percent of all people with psoriasis will develop some scaling on their scalp, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF). Scalp psoriasis runs the gamut from mild to severe, and psoriasis scalp can extend beyond the hairline onto the forehead, the back of the neck, and around your ears. There are some foods that can worsen it.

It may be something else

There are at least 21 reasons that your scalp may itch, and just one of them is scalp psoriasis. See your dermatologist to make sure you are treating the right scalp condition. He or she can easily tell if it is scalp psoriasis or something else.

Scalp psoriasis itches… a lot

Itching is one of the most common–and vexing–symptoms of scalp psoriasis, says Harold Farber, MD of Philadelphia. And itching begets inflammation and can cause your scalp psoriasis to spread to previously unaffected areas via the Koebner phenomenon. Scalp psoriasis tends to itch more than other body parts, and not scratching is easier said than done, Dr. Farber says. Making matters even more difficult, stress tends to travel with psoriasis and many of us cope with stress by … scratching. Scalp psoriasis treatments including OTC topical creams, gels, lotions, ointments, pads, shampoos, and sprays to help curb the itch. But “be careful applying these products to inflamed scales as they can burn or sting,” he says. Other anti-itch treatment options can include topical steroids and oral antihistamines.

Scalp psoriasis can cause temporary hair loss

Fortunately, this isn’t all that common, but it does occur, says Jerry Bagel, MD, director of the Psoriasis Treatment Center of Central New Jersey. “Some people may lose clumps of hair, but this hair does grow back in about a month with adequate scalp psoriasis treatment,” he says. “The hair loss may be from scratching and the inflammation of the disease.” This is one of the reasons why so many people with psoriasis are desperate for psoriasis remedies that can ease symptoms.

Hair care matters

Anything that stresses your scalp can aggravate your psoriasis, Dr. Bagel says. “If you blow-dry your hair, make sure you don’t use the hottest setting.” Skipping the heat-shield step before applying a hot tool to your hair is among the worst hair care mistakes anyone can make. “Gently comb your hair, and not your scalp,” Dr. Bagel suggests. “Don’t pull at your hair which tugs at skin and can be source of trauma, causing psoriasis to worsen or spread.” Always tell your hair stylist that you have scalp psoriasis and let him or her know if you are sensitive to high heats, pulling, or rough scalp massages, the NPF suggests.

Read more: Scalp Psoriasis: What Dermatologists Wish You Knew | Reader’s Digest

Read on: Scalp Psoriasis: What Dermatologists Wish You Knew | Reader’s Digest

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