Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin and, sometimes, the scalp. Raised patches of
scaly, dry skin may occur. Psoriasis might look like dandruff, but it also has a silvery shine and dry scales
on the scalp. Symptoms can affect the entire scalp or only a small portion of it. Ears, hairline, and neck
are all places where they can appear.
If your scalp itches and flakes, your doctor can detect if it’s just dandruff or something more serious like
psoriasis, a skin disease marked by red, scaly spots. The most common form of psoriasis causes red and
dry patches on the skin. The patches may appear more purple or violet instead of red on darker skin
tones. You can treat the condition and relieve the symptoms after having the correct diagnosis. The
condition usually occurs in adults, but it can also develop in kids.
Causes, Risk factors, and Triggers
Psoriasis, which includes scalp psoriasis, is a common skin disease that appears to develop when the
immune system gives the body the wrong signals. Skin cells multiply too quickly when the immune
system sends them these messages.
New cell growth on the scalp can take weeks in most cases. However, psoriasis cells form in a few days
hampering your body’s ability to eliminate extra cells. Scaly patches develop as skin cells accumulate on
the scalp’s surface.
Although the exact cause of scalp psoriasis is uncertain, research reveals a genetic association.
People with the following conditions are more vulnerable to psoriasis:
- Obesity is associated with inflammatory factors.
- Dietary issues like gluten sensitivity.
- Skin damage from a burn, a cut, or a bruise
- An infection, particularly strep throat stress, that aggravates the symptoms or causes them to
appear for the first time.
- Using certain drugs, such as arthritis treatment Indomethacin and heart medications such as
Small, scaly patches of skin may be the only indication of mild scalp psoriasis. However, severe scalp
psoriasis can cause the following symptoms:
- Red bumps and rough, flaking skin
- A burning feeling
- Temporary hair loss in the affected areas
- The condition may spread from the scalp to the ears, neck, and forehead.
What Is the Difference Between Scalp Psoriasis and Dandruff?
- Psoriasis can spread from your scalp to your forehead, back of your neck, and the area
surrounding your ears, but dandruff normally only affects your scalp.
- Psoriasis can also affect other body parts, such as your palms, feet, elbows, and legs.
- Dandruff is often a moderate disease characterized by dry or greasy scalp flaking that comes and
- Scalp psoriasis is a chronic condition that’s more scaly than flaky. In contrast to dandruff, scalp
psoriasis can cause the growth of silver or crimson plaques (in severe cases).
- If your scalp is greasy or oily, you can just use a regular, moderate shampoo to treat minor
dandruff. Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to recommend the best shampoo for you.
Shampoos or scalp treatments containing coal tar or salicylic acid may also help with minor scalp
- Topical creams, ointments, and foams will help reduce psoriasis skin buildup and relieve red,
scaly spots on your scalp. Vitamins or steroids may be used to reduce inflammation too.
- If your psoriasis is milder or only in a few locations, your doctor may inject steroids (powerful
anti-inflammatory medications) into the patches on your scalp. If your psoriasis is severe, you
may require stronger medications. These include methotrexate, cyclosporine, biologics, and oral
retinoids, which are high dosages of vitamin A.
- To control your psoriasis patches, you can also consider ultraviolet or UV light treatments.
Wondering whether you have scalp psoriasis or dandruff? Schedule an appointment with MANE Centre
For Advanced Hair Restoration today! Our experts can develop a recovery plan to help you overcome
your scalp psoriasis.
Dr. Douglas Burka is a Board Certified General Surgeon who completed his fellowship at the National Institutes of Health and his medical degree from George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington DC. As the founder of the Mane Center for Advanced Hair Restoration, Maryland, Dr. Burka’s goal is to assist patients suffering from hair loss to regain their confidence. Since hair restoration is a major decision for most patients, his clinic follows a strict “no sales pressure” policy. Reputed as a highly-skilled and knowledgeable surgeon, he and his team of expert medical professionals provide superior and personalized hair loss treatment to patients.