Helping Seniors Live Healthier Lives

Treatment Options For Your Scalp Psoriasis

When you have psoriasis, scaly and itchy lesions pop up anywhere on your body, but the scalp area is one of the more common places for them to develop. This makes treatments tricky since you don't want to use products that affect the appearance of your hair or that make your hair fall out. If your case is mild, you may be able to treat your outbreaks with over-the-counter products. If you have several lesions on your scalp, it's best to work with a doctor and use prescription-strength medications to get your psoriasis under control more quickly. Here are some treatments that may help with scalp psoriasis.

Medicated Shampoos

Shampoos made to treat psoriasis have medications in them that help break apart the crusty lesions on your scalp. They also work to moisturize your skin to keep the lesions at bay and to prevent itching. If you buy a product over the counter, look for one made specifically for psoriasis and that has ingredients such as salicylic acid or coal tar. Coal tar helps with itching, inflammation, and scaling. Salicylic acid softens scales so they are easier to lift with a comb or brush. Shampoos with added menthol can help further reduce itching. Be sure to rinse the shampoo thoroughly and follow with a cream rinse so your scalp stays moist and your hair is protected from damage. You may want to avoid using a hot blow dryer and other styling equipment that irritates your scalp and triggers inflammation and itching.

Prescription Medications

If OTC remedies aren't effective, you may need prescription medications. Psoriasis medications come in the form of topical ointments and creams as well as oral drugs. Your doctor may give you a corticosteriod. Steroids help reduce inflammation and itching. Other medications stop the rapid growth of skin cells that create the lesions on your scalp. If you're given a prescription for psoriasis cream, you may need to apply it to your scalp each night before you go to bed and leave it in all night. Other medications are applied and left on for several minutes before you wash your hair. Just be sure to follow your doctor's instructions for using topical medications on your scalp so you don't damage your hair or cause it to become discolored.

Laser Treatments

If medications don't help your psoriasis, your doctor may recommend you have laser treatments. With these treatments, your doctor zaps individual psoriasis lesions with a laser light. Multiple treatments are usually needed over a period of weeks to get the best results. You may need to combine laser treatments with other medications to clear all your lesions.

Psoriasis is often difficult to get under control and keep in remission. One thing that can help is to identify your triggers so you can avoid them in the future. For instance, irritation can trigger an outbreak, so you may want to wear a hat while in the sun so your scalp doesn't get a sunburn. In addition, you may need to avoid harsh hair styling products such as perms and dyes that irritate your skin.