Scalp psoriasis – symptoms, causes, and treatment options

A fairly common skin condition, scalp psoriasis is when you get scaly, red patches on your scalp. These patches are raised and occur singularly or in a cluster of patches, which affect the entire scalp. From there, they can spread to other parts, such as the ears, forehead, and the area behind the neck. Here is all you need to know about this skin disorder.

If you are suffering from mild psoriasis, then you will only have fine scaling. However, patients suffering from mild to severe psoriasis show the following signs and symptoms:

  • Dryness and flakes

The area affected by psoriasis feels dry, and you may notice flakes similar to dandruff.

  • Itchy scalp

Your scalp feels uncomfortable and itchy, and there may be a burning sensation in the affected areas.

  • Scales and reddish patches

You might notice raised, reddish patches and scales that are silvery. They are usually accompanied by inflammation.

  • Bleeding or hair loss

Due to continuous scratching or scraping, the area can start bleeding, and you might even lose hair.


Scientists believe that scalp psoriasis is a result of the immune system behaving incorrectly. Psoriasis patients show an increase in the production of T cells that are responsible for fighting bacteria and viruses throughout the body. With this increase, they end up harming the healthy cells and producing a range of harmful proteins in excess.

A family history of psoriasis can also increase your chances of getting scalp psoriasis. The creases and folds of skin on an obese person’s body also tend to be ideal spots for psoriasis to develop. Stress negatively affects your immune system, and is indirectly linked to psoriasis. Patients suffering from scalp psoriasis are told to quit smoking, since it can worsen the symptoms.

Methods of treatment
Taking prescribed medications is one of the primary ways to treat scalp psoriasis. If there are no improvements or the growth worsens, then you may have to opt for other forms of treatment. Let’s look at a few treatment options closely:

  • Topical treatments

There are medications to be used on the skin directly, such as creams, lotions, oils, ointments, medicated soaps, and so on. Many of these can be bought over the counter, but the stronger ones require a doctor’s prescription.

  • Office treatments

Often, topical treatments do not work on your body. In these cases, phototherapy might help. It can be done either with or without a laser. An excimer light and UV comb are two examples of devices that are used for phototherapy.

Natural remedies

There are several natural remedies other than medications to take care of scalp psoriasis, especially in its beginning stages. Some of these include:

  • Petroleum jelly or moisturizer

These lock the moisture in, thereby easing inflammation and helping your skin quicker.

  • Apple cider vinegar

Mix apple cider vinegar with water and use it on your scalp a few times a week to relieve an itchy scalp. Wait for it to dry and then wash it off. Ensure that you do not have any cuts on your head before using it.

  • Bath salts

Add Dead Sea or Epsom salts to a tub of warm water. Then take a bath by soaking yourself in it for 15 minutes. Do not forget to use a moisturizer immediately after bath.

Many patients suffering from scalp psoriasis have found that what they consume affects their condition. Hence, doctors suggest including foods with anti-inflammatory properties in the diet, as they are healthy and can have a positive effect on the body. These include cherries and green leafy vegetables, antioxidant-rich herbs like sage, cumin, and thyme, and healthy sources of fat, such as olive seeds. Reduce the intake of fatty or processed food items, dairy, and refined sugars, as these can aggravate scalp psoriasis.