Scalp Psoriasis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, & More - Healthroid

Scalp Psoriasis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, & More

Mayank Pandey
Written by Mayank Pandey on July 19, 2023

Scalp psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects the scalp, causing red, itchy, and scaly patches to develop. It is considered an autoimmune disease, wherein the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells. This results in an overproduction of new skin cells on the scalp, leading to the characteristic symptoms of psoriasis.

The exact cause of scalp psoriasis is still unknown, but it is believed to be influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Certain triggers like stress, infections, or injury to the scalp can exacerbate the condition. Scalp psoriasis can significantly impact one’s quality of life as it may cause discomfort and embarrassment due to visible flakes on clothing or hair loss in severe cases.

To manage scalp psoriasis effectively, various treatment options are available depending on its severity. Topical treatments such as medicated shampoos containing salicylic acid or coal tar can help reduce inflammation and control scaling. In more severe cases, systemic medications like methotrexate or biologics may be prescribed by a dermatologist. Additionally, lifestyle modifications like avoiding harsh hair products and maintaining good scalp hygiene can also contribute to managing this condition successfully.


Scalp psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that affects the scalp, causing red, itchy patches covered with silver scales. While the exact cause of scalp psoriasis is still unknown, several factors have been identified as potential contributors to its development and flare-ups. One major factor is genetics – individuals with a family history of psoriasis are more likely to develop this condition. Environmental triggers, such as stress, injury to the scalp (such as from scratching or hair treatments), and infections can also play a role in triggering or exacerbating scalp psoriasis.

Another significant factor that contributes to scalp psoriasis is an overactive immune system. In people with this condition, their immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells on the scalp, causing the rapid turnover of skin cells and leading to the characteristic symptoms of scalp psoriasis. Certain lifestyle choices may also contribute to flare-ups; smoking and excessive alcohol consumption have been linked to increased severity and frequency of outbreaks in some individuals.

In conclusion, while there isn’t a single known cause for scalp psoriasis, several factors contribute to its development and aggravation. Genetic predisposition, environmental triggers like stress and infections, an overactive immune system response, and certain lifestyle choices all play roles in this complex condition. Understanding these contributing factors can help individuals with scalp psoriasis manage their symptoms effectively through targeted treatment plans and lifestyle modifications.


Scalp psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects the scalp, causing red patches covered with thick, silvery-white scales. One of the most common symptoms is itching, which can range from mild to severe. The constant urge to scratch can lead to further irritation and even hair loss. In addition to itching, individuals with scalp psoriasis may also experience burning or soreness on their scalp.

Another symptom commonly associated with scalp psoriasis is flaking. As the skin cells on the scalp regenerate at an accelerated rate, they tend to build up and form scales. These scales can be easily dislodged and shed as visible flakes onto clothing or bedding. The severity of flaking varies among individuals, but it often leads to embarrassment and self-consciousness.

Furthermore, scalp psoriasis can cause redness and inflammation in the affected areas of the scalp. This redness may sometimes extend beyond the hairline onto the forehead or back of the neck. Additionally, individuals may notice minor bleeding points when removing scales or scratching vigorously due to damaged blood vessels near the surface of the inflamed skin. Overall, these symptoms can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life by causing discomfort and affecting their self-esteem.


Diagnosis of scalp psoriasis typically involves a thorough examination of the affected areas, as well as a detailed medical history review. The dermatologist may carefully inspect the scalp for characteristic symptoms such as redness, scaling, and plaques. In some cases, a small sample of skin may be taken for further analysis to rule out other possible conditions or infections that could be causing similar symptoms.

Furthermore, a diagnosis may involve asking specific questions about any previous skin conditions or family history of psoriasis. It is important for the dermatologist to have a clear understanding of the patient’s overall health and any existing medical conditions that could potentially contribute to the development or severity of scalp psoriasis.

In addition to visual examination and medical history review, certain diagnostic tools can aid in confirming scalp psoriasis. These may include a Wood’s lamp examination, which uses ultraviolet light to highlight affected areas on the scalp; dermoscopy, which allows for magnified visualization of the skin surface; and sometimes even blood tests to check for elevated levels of certain antibodies associated with autoimmune disorders like psoriasis. A comprehensive evaluation by an experienced dermatologist is crucial in accurately diagnosing scalp psoriasis and determining an appropriate treatment plan tailored to each individual patient’s needs.


Treatment for scalp psoriasis focuses on reducing the symptoms of the condition and managing flare-ups. One common treatment option is topical medications, such as corticosteroids or vitamin D analogs, which are applied directly to the affected areas of the scalp. These medications help to reduce inflammation and slow down skin cell growth. Another treatment approach is phototherapy, where the scalp is exposed to ultraviolet light in controlled doses. This can help to ease inflammation and improve symptoms.

In more severe cases of scalp psoriasis, systemic medications may be prescribed. These are taken orally or by injection and work throughout the body to suppress the immune system response that triggers psoriasis flare-ups. Additionally, there are alternative treatments available for scalp psoriasis, such as coal tar shampoos or salicylic acid preparations, which can help remove scales and alleviate itching. It’s important for individuals with scalp psoriasis to work closely with their healthcare provider to find a treatment plan that suits their needs and helps manage their symptoms effectively.

Home Remedies

Scalp psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects the scalp, causing redness, itching, and flaking. While medical treatment is often necessary to manage the symptoms of this condition, there are also several natural remedies that can provide relief.

One popular home remedy for managing scalp psoriasis is apple cider vinegar. This acidic solution can help reduce inflammation and relieve itching when applied directly to the scalp. Another effective natural remedy is coconut oil. Its moisturizing properties can help soothe dryness and reduce scaling.

In addition to these remedies, tea tree oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties that can be beneficial for those with scalp psoriasis. By diluting tea tree oil with carrier oil and massaging it into the scalp, individuals may experience relief from itchiness and redness.

Finally, aloe vera gel is another excellent home remedy for managing scalp psoriasis. Known for its soothing properties, aloe vera gel can provide relief from itching and reduce inflammation in the affected area.

Overall, while these natural remedies may not completely cure scalp psoriasis, they can provide temporary relief from its symptoms and complement medical treatments prescribed by healthcare professionals.

Lifestyle Tips

1. Keep your scalp moisturized: Dryness can worsen psoriasis symptoms, so it’s crucial to keep your scalp well-hydrated. Opt for gentle, fragrance-free moisturizers that are specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Apply the moisturizer after showering or bathing while your scalp is still damp to lock in moisture and prevent flaking.

2. Use a medicated shampoo: Look for shampoos that contain active ingredients like salicylic acid, coal tar, or ketoconazole, as these can help reduce inflammation and control symptoms of scalp psoriasis. Gently massage the shampoo into your scalp and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly. It’s important to follow the instructions provided by your dermatologist or healthcare provider to achieve the best results.

3. Protect your scalp from exposure: Extreme weather conditions like sun exposure or freezing temperatures can trigger flare-ups in people with psoriasis. To protect your scalp, wear a hat or use sunscreen with a high SPF when spending time outdoors in sunny weather. In colder months, cover your head with a warm hat to shield it from chilly winds that may cause dryness and irritation.

By following these lifestyle tips, you can effectively manage and alleviate the discomfort associated with living with scalp psoriasis while promoting overall hair and scalp health.


In conclusion, taking control of your scalp psoriasis is crucial for managing and improving the condition. By following a consistent skincare routine and using appropriate products, you can effectively reduce the symptoms and prevent flare-ups. It is important to keep your scalp clean and moisturized, using mild shampoos and conditioners that are specifically designed for sensitive skin. Regularly washing your hair with medicated shampoos containing ingredients like coal tar or salicylic acid can also help to remove scales and calm inflammation.

Additionally, paying attention to lifestyle factors can greatly contribute to controlling scalp psoriasis. Stress management techniques such as meditation or yoga can help reduce stress levels, which are known triggers for flare-ups. A healthy diet rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins can also support overall skin health and minimize inflammation. Lastly, reaching out for professional help from dermatologists or support groups can provide valuable information, guidance, and emotional support on how to take control of your scalp psoriasis effectively. Remember that everyone’s journey with scalp psoriasis is unique; therefore it may take time to find what works best for you. Stay consistent in your efforts and be patient as you navigate this path towards healthier skin.

Published on July 19, 2023 and Last Updated on July 19, 2023 by: Mayank Pandey

Mayank Pandey
Written by Mayank Pandey on July 19, 2023

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