September 24, 2022

Scalp Psoriasis

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scalp psoriasis

What is Scalp Psoriasis?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, psoriasis can appear anywhere on the skin, including the scalp (UCLA Health). Scalp psoriasis can also appear on a person’s forehead, extend to the back of the neck, or behind the ears. 

Scalp Psoriasis is a skin condition that occurs in the scalp. It is a noncontagious chronic condition that causes itching, redness, and flaking (UCLA Health).

What Causes it?

Scalp Psoriasis occurs when the immune system sends wrong signals or malfunctions and falsely indicates the body to produce more skin cells too quickly. The rate of skin cells is produced in an amount of days instead of weeks. The redness and flaking on the scalp is led by the process of skin piling up “on the surface of the skin, causing patches of psoriasis to appear (UCLA).”

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of scalp psoriasis include:

  • Mild to intense itching
  • Temporary hair loss
  • Bleeding
  • Dry Scalp
  • Dandruff-like flaking and silver-white scale
  • Reddish patches on the scalp
  • Burning sensation or soreness 


There are many ways to treat scalp psoriasis such as:

  • Medicated shampoos or medications – Medicated shampoos or products that can reduce redness, itching, swelling, and scaling include corticosteroids, calcipotriene, tazarotene, or coal tar. 
  • Injections – A dermatologist can inject corticosteroid to a patient’s scalp to prevent scalp psoriasis from occurring.
  • Scale softeners – Products that contain salicylic acid can soften stubborn and thick patches. 
  • Injected or oral medications to boost the immune system – Some medications that a dermatologist may provide are apremilast, cyclosporine, methotrexate or retinoid.
  • Light treatments – Excimer laser is a blow dryer looking device that uses lasers for difficult to treat areas of a person’s body that have psoriasis. This treatment is provided by a dermatologist or a clinic that provides psoriasis care. The treatment occurs two or three times per week and takes up to ten minutes. This laser treatment is often painless, however, it may cause sunburn like pain or redness.


There are a few ways to prevent scalp psoriasis or at least reduce its intensity:

  • Tight hairstyles
  • Rollers and curling irons
  • Color, perming, or relaxing hair
  • Aggressive brushing or combing 

It’s Fetch is a community that provides a safe space for members to discuss health and wellness topics. The content on this website should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

-Written by Karen Manalac


Hair styling tips that can reduce flares of scalp psoriasis. (n.d.). Retrieved September 18, 2022, from psoriasis | ucla dermatology | ucla health. (n.d.). Retrieved September 18, 2022, from

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