Psoriasis of the scalp: causes, symptoms, treatment

Skin disease a large group of pathologies that, in addition to direct negative effects on human health, impact on his psychological state. Apart from dermatological diseases psoriasis follows a chronic illness, successful treatment of which remains challenging for physicians and mandatory full-fledged life for patients.

psoriasis on the head

Features localized on head psoriasis

Often the first area of skin lesions in psoriasis, becomes the hair of the head. In some cases, the disease is confined to the region, but often, especially in the absence of treatment, a new plaque will eventually appear on other parts of the body. The reasons due to which psoriasis affects the scalp, consider a special structure of the epithelium in this area, as well as the inevitable daily skin damage in the process of combing.

According to statistics psoriasis occurs in 1 out of 100 people, but in different regions this indicator differs. Approximately 80% of patients have lesions of the scalp, and a quarter of them the disease is limited to this region, others with time spreads to the skin of the palms, the feet, the outer surface of the joints. D.

From psoriasis no one is immune, however, accumulated clinical experience allows physicians to allocate the risk. So, most pathology occurs in women, the initial stage of the disease is usually recorded in patients in 15-25 years. The risk of psoriasis is increased in people, parents, brothers or sisters who also suffer from this disease.


Psoriasis - a mysterious illness, to explain the appearance which is difficult even for modern scientists. Every year there are new and new theories about what becomes the cause of the inflammatory response and excess synthesis of skin cells on the body of the patients. While the leading hypothesis is genetic: according to her, some people have an innate tendency to accelerated upgrade of keratinocytes, which, in the case of manifestations of the disease, leads to specific reactions of the immune system. The result is a vicious circle: the more produced new cells that form plaque, the more inflamed the skin in this area (the body treats it as something alien), and the more damaged the skin under the influence of immune cells - especially rapidly dividing keratinocytes.

In some cases, the starting point to the development of the disease is pathology of the immune system which in turn is a consequence of extreme stress or infectious disease. So, it is noted that among HIV-infected psoriasis occurs three times more often than the average population.

It's interesting In the middle Ages plaque on the body of the sick was called the "rose of the devil". It was believed that these marks indicate a curse and can be transmitted to healthy people at the touch. The tragedy was that until the nineteenth century doctors did not distinguish psoriasis, leprosy, scabies and other skin diseases, so everyone who has suffered a chronic skin disease were banished from society and forced to wear white dresses that hide the body and face, and bells warning others about the "danger of infection".

How does psoriasis on the head: the signs of defeat

Psoriasis of the scalp is also called seborrheic psoriasis, although this term is also true of the lesions of other skin areas with high density of sebaceous glands — ear regions, nasolabial folds, chest, and interblade region. The disease first manifests itself usually by flaking, similar to dandruff. The appearance of plates is accompanied by itching, and the skin in this area is covered with silvery scales. It is important that psoriasis, even in patients with severe inflammatory process is not observed hair loss that is the hallmark of this disease.

Psoriatic plaques tend to grow and join together to form larger units — they call them "paraffin lakes". The skin underneath is easily traumatized and bleed, so patients have, despite severe itching, resist the desire to scratch the affected area.

In some types of psoriasis plaques with a reddish or even purple color, in other — they look like blisters with clear fluid. For the disease characterized by a chronic progressive course: the periods of exacerbation followed by periods of remission, when symptoms recede, however, completely eliminate all symptoms of the disease is usually not possible. Thus, depending on the individual patient, psoriasis can be a minor cosmetic defect, is not accompanied by unpleasant sensations, and severe debilitating condition which interferes with our personal lives, work and even limits a patient's ability to self-care.

Features of treatment

A prominent British politician Winston Churchill, who himself suffered from psoriasis, once promised to erect a statue of pure gold to the person who will find a cure for this disease. Unfortunately, it is still a reliable way to once and for all deal with this skin lesion was found. But this does not mean that there is no cure, the medicine has various means that help to relieve the symptoms of psoriasis and improve the patient's quality of life, prolonged periods of calm skin without sudden exacerbations and recurrences.

Treatment of psoriasis of the scalp is especially in this form, the external signs of the disease are the most noticeable to others (they cannot be hidden under clothing), so patients experience pronounced psychological discomfort and try by all means to get rid of plaque. In addition, for seborrheic psoriasis is characterized by itching, so patients often require symptomatic therapy aimed at pain relief affected area.

External preparations for treatment of psoriasis of the scalp

Medications intended for direct application to the affected area for psoriasis, are selected individually. The patient should be prepared for the fact that the first medication prescribed by a doctor will be inefficient — it takes time to find the optimum combination of effective drugs.


Medicines on the basis of steroid hormones can quickly reduce inflammation and itching. Unlike steroids systemic effects (applied in the form of tablets or injections in severe forms of psoriasis), these ointments and creams do not have pronounced side effects on the body. However, their regular consumption may be detrimental to the health of the skin in the area of application it often discolours, becomes thin and vulnerable to secondary infections, which significantly complicates the treatment. With prolonged use of topical (local) steroids can cause withdrawal syndrome — if after removing of exacerbation and discontinuation of the drug, the disease returned with renewed vigor and with even more symptoms. That is why there are a number of restrictions on the use of topical steroids. They are not:

  • apply often and long (not longer than 5 days);
  • apply to sensitive skin areas (face, neck, folds) and on large areas of skin lesions (more than 20% of its surface).

It is important that the use of ointments, creams and shampoos on the basis of glucocorticosteroids was made only after consultation with your doctor.

Non-hormonal creams and ointments

To improve the condition of scalp psoriasis without resorting to hormonal preparations. The basis for creams, ointments and shampoos of this group of active substances that have anti-inflammatory, vasoconstrictive, soothing and moisturizing effect: zinc pyrithione, tar, salicylic acid, kertiol and others. Their application is useful regardless of the stage of the disease — they reduce the formation of plaques, scaling, itching and inflammation.

The effectiveness and safety of non-hormonal creams and ointments depends on the main active ingredient. Thus, drugs based on zinc, you can apply with no restrictions on frequency of use, while the tar means dry skin, so it is preferable to use 1-2 times a week in combination with moisturizing emulsions.


Patients, long suffering from psoriasis often turn to cosmetics to improve the appearance of the scalp, but it has no medicinal effect. We are talking about all kinds of shampoos and oils, designed to relieve irritation, soften the skin and make peeling plaques less pronounced. To evaluate the real effectiveness of such tools is not possible — especially if used in conjunction with therapy prescribed by the doctor.

Symptomatic treatment

Some drugs that help for psoriasis of the scalp, is not able to change the course of the disease, however, significantly facilitate the condition of the patient. Because factors that affect the activity of the pathological process, very much, the importance of caring for the health of the patient as a whole, and struggle with the consequences of the disease (e.g. infection of the affected skin or medicinal liver).

Physical therapy

Ultraviolet irradiation reduces symptoms of psoriasis of the scalp many patients, therefore physical therapy based on the use of artificial light is a very popular method of treatment of this pathology.

With phototherapy the ultraviolet spectrum (UVB) light is applied at a wavelength visible to the human eye. Each session lasts a few minutes, and the full course of treatment takes 6-8 weeks.

PUVA therapy involves a combination of phototherapy applied to the skin photosensitizing substances. Get treatment in the form of tablets or creams, and then comes to the sessions of irradiation with ultraviolet light of the spectrum of A. This method is effective even in severe forms of psoriasis, however in the long term can increase the risk of the patient of skin cancer.


The use of environmental factors is another important approach to the treatment of psoriasis. Stay at resorts with special weather conditions (the Dead sea coast, the Caucasian mineral waters, etc.) contributes to lengthening periods of remission and relief of symptoms. Many patients report the effect of using therapeutic mud and baths with herbal decoctions, the use of bee products (apitherapy) and applications of naphthalene oil and other rare chemical compounds that have proven efficacy in complex therapy of skin diseases.

However, definitive guidance does not exist, the success of such methods depends on the individual characteristics of each patient.

Correction lifestyle

A change of diet (avoidance of foods that provoke exacerbation of psoriasis), the rejection of alcohol consumption, regular exercise and psychotherapy aimed at reducing anxiety, help patients with seborrheic psoriasis. Some patients report that a healthy lifestyle helps not only to reduce manifestations of the underlying disease, and General improvement of health due to the elimination of factors that trigger other pathological conditions. It is important to follow the recommendations of the attending physician and healthy is critical to the promotion of full refusal of drug treatment in favor of non-traditional methods.

Patients with psoriasis often become depressed from the realization that this disease appeared once, will stay with them for life. However, a positive attitude and active position in relation to new approaches to therapy contribute to the return of high quality of life and minimize unpleasant symptoms. No need to put up with the psoriasis is just a problem that has a variety of options. Don't let illness spoil your life.

Why is it important to start the treatment of seborrheic psoriasis in the shortest possible time?

Undoubtedly, completely cure psoriasis is impossible, but you can reduce the frequency and duration of exacerbations if competent and, most importantly, time to start the treatment already at the first signs. It is helpful to choose the medications, the efficacy and safety of which is confirmed by clinical studies.