Though a common condition in which scaly, plaque-like patches appear on the head, scalp psoriasis ranges in severity from mild to severe, causing itching, flaking and even a burning sensation. Despite its strong prevalence among the U.S. population, however, scalp psoriasis is not fully understood.
The American Academy of Dermatology reports that psoriasis of the scalp tends to develop when a person’s immune system sends faulty signals to the body. In effect, skin cells on the scalp replicate too quickly. Thus, while a normal skin cell cycle takes a few weeks, skin cells in a person with scalp psoriasis develop within a few days. This affects the body’s ability to shed excess cells, and leads to the skin cells “piling up” on the scalp and forming scaly patches.
Very few factors have been linked to the onset of scalp psoriasis, although researchers have identified a genetic component. Interestingly, there appears to be specific triggers that make the condition worse such as a strep throat infection, stress or superficial injuries to the skin. These include cuts, burns or bruises.
Because there is no cure for scalp psoriasis, treating it involves reducing the extent of its symptoms and avoiding associated triggers, if possible. In turn, effective topical remedies include medicated shampoos and ointments that have salicylic acid. These help the body to shed the outer layer of the skin more efficiently, so that skin cells do not build up on the scalp. As another option, products containing coal tar fight inflammation and inhibit the rapid growth of skin cells.
While scalp psoriasis poses no long-term health risks, it can prove to be a frustrating and embarrassing condition, as it manifests differently from individual to individual.
If you or a loved one is experiencing scalp psoriasis, Kayal Dermatologists & Skin Cancer Specialists provide a comprehensive approach to treatment that includes advanced diagnostics and a full spectrum of treatments that include topical and/or systemic medications. Whatever the extent of your psoriasis, Dr. John Kayal is an esteemed dermatologist that will consider all aspects of your health in determining the most effective treatment for you. To schedule an appointment, contact Kayal Dermatologists & Skin Cancer Specialists in Marietta today.