The skin cells on the scalp grow rapidly, making powdery or thick scales called plaques. The area surrounding these plaques can be painful as it turns red and itchy. Dryness, flaking similar to dandruff, burning, bleeding or temporary hair loss are common symptoms of this disorder.
You may witness mild scaling to crusting on the entire scalp area or equally on either side of the scalp if you suffer from this disease. Combining your hair might become difficult, as it might irritate your scalp. The symptoms may sometimes extend onto the forehead, around the nose, inside or behind the ears, or in the beard area.
It affects about 2.2 % of the adult population. If you have mild scaling, it may get cured on its own or, you may need treatment. It may take a while to get severe dandruff under control; once you manage to do so, you can keep it in control with a special shampoo from the UK pharmacy.
When the condition is severe it leads to hair loss, which will regrow if the disease is controlled. But the hair loss is not due to scalp psoriasis, it is due to scratching very hard, harsh treatments, or picking at the scaly spots. Even those who do not have scalp psoriasis, witness hair fall issues.
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It is common among people with chronic plaque psoriasis. It is not infectious; however, some people may genetically inherit scalp psoriasis.
How to treat scalp psoriasis?
1. Mild Scalp Psoriasis
The first line of action for mild cases is topical treatment. You can use medicated shampoos, creams, gels, oils, lotions, soaps, or ointments directly on your scalp. You can get some of these products from the online chemist, but if you are experiencing severe symptoms elsewhere in your body, then you will require prescription meds. Look for topical medications that may include urea, retinoid, coal tar, selenium sulphide, lactic acid, or salicylic acid.
The hair on the scalp hinders the application of topical medications. The idea is to soften and remove the scales using these products so that it becomes easier for medications to do their task. With the help of a brush or a fine-toothed comb, loosen the scales. Using your scalp psoriasis shampoo, remove the scales. When your scalp is still damp, apply the cream, gels, or lotions to retain the moisture. Apply the products so that it directly reaches the scalp. Sparingly use the medication as over usage may cause irritation or temporary hair loss. For the meds to work better, you may cover your scalp with a shower cap.
Coal tar products reduce skin growth and lessen inflammation, itching, and scaling. The shampoo is to be kept on the scalp for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing out. Coal tar creams, gels, or ointments can be left overnight. The biggest drawback of these products is odor and staining. To get rid of the odor, you can use a non-medicated conditioner after using the coal tar shampoo.
You can order OTC products from a pharmacy online. Treatment may involve the use of more than one topical medication. You can limit the use of hot tools for styling your hair and use cold packs on itchy spots to ease itchiness. Follow the directions of use exactly and wait for your symptoms to heal. It can take 8 weeks or more for the symptoms to disappear. You can prevent psoriasis from coming back by using coal tar or other products twice weekly.
2. Moderate Scalp Psoriasis
Strictly follow your doctor's advice while using these topical medications for moderate scalp psoriasis.
Topical medications for scalp psoriasis are as follows:
- Anthralin (Psoriatic) is an older prescription medication. Usually, this cream is to be applied for 10 to 30 minutes once daily.
- Online pharmacy UK provides Calcipotriene (Dovonex) which is a strong derivative of Vitamin D. It must be kept overnight on the scalp. Cover your scalp with a shower cap and ensure that it does not get into the eyes.
- Calcipotriene and betamethasone dipropionate (Taclonex Scalp, Enstilar Foam) is a suspension or ointment, a combination of a type of Vitamin D and a strong steroid. Use it once in a day, keeping your eyes safe.
- Antimicrobial helps treat bacterial and yeast infections that come with scalp psoriasis.
- Tazarotene (Tazorac) is a derivative of Vitamin A available at online chemists UK that comes in the form of a gel, cream, or foam. Put it on clean and dry skin at night and let it dry before you go to sleep.
- Phototherapy using a laser or non-laser light source may be used if you do not respond to topical treatment. In this method, high-intensity light is focussed on the affected areas using the excimer laser. The surrounding areas with healthy skin are avoided. Additionally, using a device called a hand-held comb, UV light can be delivered to the entire scalp area. Another treatment option could be to go out in natural sunlight for short periods. However, this is effective only if you have very thin hair or a shaved head.
3. Medications for severe scalp psoriasis
If your scalp psoriasis does not respond after repeated usage of one medication, your doctor may advise you to replace or combine it with another line of treatment. For severe cases where a topical treatment is not effective, other treatments such as oral medications, phototherapy, and injections may be recommended. Intralesional steroid injections can be injected by the doctor using a small needle into scalp plaques to reduce inflammation.
Oral medications can be purchased from UK pharmacies 24/7.
A few oral medications are:
- Methotrexate (Rheumatrex)
- Cyclosporine (Sandimmune)
- (Soriatane) is a strong derivative of Vitamin A
- Apremilast (Otezla), a small molecule inhibitor taken twice daily
These are not like OTC medications that can be used without your practitioner's advice, as they can cause severe side effects including liver damage. The oral vitamin derivatives are not the same as the vitamin supplements you use daily; the ordinary supplements are ineffective in treating scalp psoriasis.
The latest advancement in the treatment of scalp psoriasis uses medications called biologics. These drugs are administered through injections or IV and prevent the skin from producing too many cells.
It is sad, but there is no cure for scalp psoriasis. You have to learn to live with it. Undergoing treatment can help in preventing the symptoms from flaring up or prevent it from coming back. Life Pharmacy is here to support you fight the stress and agony that comes with this disease. We advise you to follow the treatment plan recommended by your doctor to get rid of the symptoms as soon as possible. Clean your comb every time before using it to prevent infection. If your scalp psoriasis becomes infected, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic treatment that can be purchased from a UK pharmacy.