The 29th of October marked World Psoriasis Day. This day aims to raise awareness about psoriasis around the globe. Despite the condition affecting approximately 2% of the UK’s population, facts about psoriasis and scalp psoriasis are far from common knowledge. World Psoriasis Day aims to change that.
Psoriasis can appear in skin creases, on the scalp, arms or lower back. Sometimes, it can even affect skin across the whole body. Usually, it will appear as “red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales”, but rarer forms of the condition can present as pustules.
What is psoriasis?
Although psoriasis is visible on the skin, it’s actually an autoimmune condition. It triggers a faster than usual build‐up of skin cells, and this can result in scaly patches. The condition is defined as chronic, which means that it can reoccur throughout your life.
Psoriasis can appear on the hands, feet, neck, scalp, and face. Less common types of psoriasis affect the nails and mouth. These patches can get inflamed around the edges, and even crack and bleed.
What causes psoriasis?
In the average person, skin cells renew in a 3‐4 weekly cycle. If you have psoriasis, however, your skin cell production speeds up rapidly, with the whole cycle taking just a week or under. This, in turn, causes a build‐up of cells on the surface of your skin, appearing as patches that turn flaky, silvery and sometimes sore.
No one knows exactly why this happens, but it is thought to be linked to the immune system. When a person suffers from psoriasis, their body “attacks” the skin to protect it from disease or infection. Both environmental and genetic factors may play a part in psoriasis, although the reasons behind triggers like this aren’t fully understood.
No one really knows for sure what causes scalp psoriasis. Like psoriasis on other parts of the body, scalp psoriasis can also be linked to the immune system and potential hereditary or environmental factors such as stress or smoking.
There are ways to manage the condition, however, and the best method for you will depend on where the patches appear across the scalp, and their severity.
The emotional impact of scalp psoriasis
For many, the hardest part of scalp psoriasis is dealing with the side effects of hair loss. It’s absolutely natural for this to have a negative impact on your self‐confidence. But although it’s a common side effect, the good news is that your hair growth often returns to normal once the scalp psoriasis is treated and clears up.
Your experience of the condition will certainly be unique to you. Whether it’s just a small inconvenience or something that has a larger impact on your quality of life, it’s still important to read up on the condition and speak to your GP or dermatologist about the right approach for living with it.
How to treat scalp psoriasis
There is no cure for scalp psoriasis, but there are lots of scalp psoriasis treatment options available to help relieve the symptoms of the condition. By relieving the symptoms, you could also minimise the side effects that come along with the condition, like hair loss and inflammation. Your GP may recommend medical treatments to manage the effects of the condition. You may also decide to try a medicated shampoo.
Neutrogena® T/GEL® Therapeutic Shampoo can be an effective treatment for scalp psoriasis. Used two to three times a week, it can treat an itchy, flaky scalp. This medicated shampoo leaves your hair shiny and manageable with regular use, as well as relieving an itchy scalp.
Remember that psoriasis is a medical condition. So, you should always seek the advice of a doctor or pharmacist who can advise on the most suitable treatments for you.