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Know About Psoriasis Of The Scalp

Psoriasis Scalp is characterized by flaking of the scalp and patches of psoriasis on the scalp. It is triggered by mental stress and can be associated with hair loss.

 

Psoriasis is a common, genetically determined disorder of the skin and scalp. It consists of well-defined red plaques covered with a typical silvery scaling. The course of psoriasis is erratic, changeable and chronic, with alternating relapses (worsening) and remissions (decline).

Most often, people confuse it with seborrheic dermatitis because of similar signs and symptoms, such as red, scaly skin.

The scales of psoriasis are thicker and somewhat drier in appearance than are the scales of seborrheic dermatitis. In addition, psoriasis usually affects more than one area of the body. If you have scalp psoriasis, you may also have mild psoriasis on your elbows, knees, hands or feet or may notice subtle nail changes, such as pitting.

Fact File

  • According to clinical research studies conducted in UK and Germany, 81-97 per cent psoriatic patients treated with homeopathy showed distinct improvement, with no side-effects.
  • A study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, a conventional medical journal, reports that psoriasis patients experienced significant improvement in their quality of life (QOL) and reduction in their psoriasis symptoms with homeopathic treatment.

Tell-tale Signs

  • Psoriatic patches on the back of the head (sometimes the whole scalp, or other parts of the scalp)
  • Red patches of skin, covered with thick silvery-white scales (they may look like dandruff, at times)
  • Severe itching (sometimes, it may not be itchy)
  • Hair loss in severe cases
  • White flakes on your clothes (similar to dandruff).

Causes

Psoriasis is caused by your body ‘overproducing’ new skin cells. The condition affects both sexes, at any age, although it is somewhat uncommon in the first 2-3 years of life.

Certain circumstances, situations, events or states are known to ignite the initial attack and consequent recurrences - e.g., acute or chronic bacterial infections, stress and chronic alcoholism.

The precise cause of psoriasis is not known, although there are a host of factors that may possibly contribute to its development or progress.

While genetic factors may play a key role, studies suggests that about one-third of individuals who develop psoriasis may have one or more relatives with the disorder.

Some researchers blame psoriasis on a ‘flawed’ immune system, primarily because an increased number of white blood cells (WBC), ‘soldiers of health,’ are in attendance between abnormal layers of skin.

Other probable causes of psoriasis are:

  • Temperature changes - cold, dry weather makes psoriatic symptoms worse
  • Infections such as ‘strep-throat’
  • Stress, depression and anxiety
  • Some conventional medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; for example, nimesulide); diazepam (valium), a drug used for the short-term relief of symptoms related to anxiety disorders; and, anti-hypertensives (beta-blockers).

Diagnosis

Scalp involvement may lead to hair loss and also reduction in hair density, or thickness. There is often extensive hair loss when psoriasis affects the entire scalp.

There are three types of hair loss (alopecia) in psoriasis:

  • Hair loss confined to the lesions
  • Acute ‘telogen’ hair loss - massive hair loss from all over the scalp in a short period of time
  • Destruction of hair follicles giving rise to scarring hair loss.

The diagnosis of psoriasis is based primarily on its presentation, or appearance - the thick, red flaky patches, which are distinctive of the disorder. This isn’t, however, as simple as the ‘scales’ sound, because even experienced doctors and clinicians find it difficult, at times, to diagnose psoriasis with certainty, because it can ‘mimic’ other skin disorders.

To confirm diagnosis, a skin biopsy or culture of skin patches is sent to the laboratory.

Treatment

There are many treatment options that can help scalp psoriasis and often a combination approach using a number of different treatments may be required until the Scalp Psoriasis symptoms have settled. It is important to continue the scalp psoriasis treatment even if hair stops falling out. Because, any illness which is affecting our body should be treated from its root so that it don’t reappear.

The conventional treatment for scalp psoriasis consists of anti-dandruff shampoos, immune-suppressant shampoos and skin softeners. However, the results are temporary in most cases. Such treatments can also cause damage to the scalp, with high chances of recurrence.

Homeopathy gives long-lasting results. It reduces scaling and recurrence. Homeopathic medicines help to effectively cope with stress, enhance social relations and attain emotional stability.

Self-Help

  • Hair products containing shale oil are suitable for most individuals with scalp psoriasis
  • Coconut oil is of particular importance in psoriasis of the scalp. A light scalp massage at night with some warm coconut oil helps to loosen the scales of psoriasis. The next morning gently wash off the oil with a mild, natural shampoo. The scales will come off, leaving you feeling a whole lot lighter! This will also help reduce itching of the scalp
  • Cutting hair short helps control scalp psoriasis. The advantage is it make treatment easy to apply, although it may not be ‘pleasant’ for everyone
  • Phototherapy is effective, although difficult to deliver to the scalp. Special targeted devices and UVB combs have been devised for the purpose. They appear to be helpful. In certain cases, prolonged clearance has resulted from such a course of scalp and hair care
  • Include flaxseeds in your daily diet - take 2 tbsp of roasted, powdered flaxseeds with water in the morning before breakfast and in the evening before dinner. This helps to control inflammation
  • Avoid red meat. The inflammatory substance (arachidonic acid) in red meat is suggested to worsen psoriatic patches and inflammation.
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