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About Scalp Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that directs the skin cells to grow more quickly. There are several different types of psoriasis, but the most common form that affects the scalp is plaque psoriasis.4,5

Signs and Symptoms

Psoriasis often begins with dry, itchy skin and red patches, which become raised.4,5

In scalp psoriasis, the raised patches can be found at the nape of the neck and often reaches beyond the hairline to the face, and the back of the ears. (See Image)4,5

Sometimes the raised patches are also covered with silvery "scales." Because the raised patches tend to be dry and itchy, most people tend to scratch the area, which can lead to bleeding, pain, infection, and scarring.4,5

The Emotional Impact

Psoriasis can be humiliating. Many hide their skin in an effort to avoid being stared at or questioned about their condition. Because most people don't realize that psoriasis is not contagious, they may avoid touching or being near people with psoriasis.4,6

Those with scalp psoriasis change their hairstyle to cover up the plaque or wear hats and scarves, which may cause the flare-ups to worsen.6

Others may give up social interaction and favorite activities. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for people with psoriasis to develop depression.4,6

When flare-ups occur, it seems as if remission will never happen, triggering anxiety or the downward spiral to depression. Research has also shown that people with psoriasis have difficulty following a treatment regimen, because they are often expensive, inconvenient, and time intensive.4,5,6

Treating Scalp Psoriasis

Research and medical technologies have improved the outlook for psoriasis. Doctors and healthcare providers have also refined their approach to treatment.4 People with scalp psoriasis also can take a proactive approach to their own care by understanding what causes psoriasis to worsen and flare-ups to occur.

The National Psoriasis Foundation lists some of the most common triggers4: