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Guide to Scalp Psoriasis
 

Guide to Scalp Psoriasis

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Five familiar psoriasis conditions and how to start getting rid of psoriasis this weekend. Which do you want to overcome?

Five familiar psoriasis conditions and how to start getting rid of psoriasis this weekend. Which do you want to overcome?

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    Guide to Scalp Psoriasis Guide to Scalp Psoriasis Document Transcript

    • ==== ====Five familiar psoriasis conditions and how to start getting rid of psoriasis this weekend. Which doyou want to overcome?http://www.whatcausespsoriasis.org/==== ====What is Scalp psoriasis?As the term suggests, scalp psoriasis is psoriasis involving the scalp. It is common andapproximately half of all people with psoriasis have it on their scalp. The reason it deservesspecial mention is that it can be particularly difficult to treat and usually requires specificallyformulated medicines.Psoriasis in the scalp forms in the same way as in other parts of the body but the affect of the hairis to trap the scale and stop it being rubbed away as it is, for instance, with psoriasis on the elbow.The result is that the scale can quickly build up causing a thicker plaque which becomes moredifficult to treat. This difficulty is compounded by the hair which also acts as a physical barrierobstructing the application of creams and ointments to the affected skin.The net result can be stubborn thick scaly plaques which require specifically formulated scalptreatments.What are the symptoms?Scalp psoriasis causes redness and scaliness which may also involve the hairline, the forehead,behind the ears and the back of the neck. It can range from very mild with slight fine scaling tovery severe crusted thick scaling covering the entire scalp which can in some cases cause hairloss during the flare, but will normally grow back.A correct diagnosis of scalp psoriasis is essential in treating the condition as there are other skindisorders which may look similar such as seborrhoeic dermatitis. The difference being that scalppsoriasis scales appear fine with a silvery colour, whilst seborrhoeic dermatitis scales often areyellowish and greasy. One of the most frustrating symptoms is the constant shower of scale on toyour collar and shoulders.What is the treatment?It should be mentioned that children can get scalp psoriasis too. Treatments will be much thesame as used for adults.There are many treatment options that can help scalp psoriasis and they all need to be usedregularly. Treatments can be time consuming and it is important to select one that fits in with yourlifestyle. On rare occasions scalp psoriasis has been known to have spontaneous remissions butcan also remain on the scalp for lengthy periods of time
    • Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis AllianceA principal source of information on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.Here is a list of topical treatments that you may find useful for scalp psoriasis:Tar ProductsTar shampoos, gels, ointments and creams are commonly used to treat scalp psoriasis. They maybe combined with other medications such as salicylic acid, to help remove scale, or coconut oil, tomoisturise the skin. Tar is effective but it can stain clothing and jewellery and has a strong smell.As a result, some people dislike using it. The precise instructions for use will depend on theformulation of the product but tar products are usually massaged into the scalp, left in contact for aperiod of time, and then rinsed off. Clothes and bedding can be protected from staining by wearinga shower cap during the contact period.Topical SteroidsThese scalp products are usually formulated as liquids, gels, oils, foams, sprays or shampoo.They range from mild to very strong potency. They should not be used for long periods of time.Ideally, they should be used regularly for a few weeks to bring the psoriasis under control, andthen gradually phased out, giving way to maintenance with a coal tar shampoo. Abrupt stopping ofsteroids can result in a rebound or worsening of psoriasis. It is not advisable to use steroidpreparations on your face, other areas of sensitive skin such as under the breast and genitals andaround the eyes, unless directed by your doctor. Most topical steroid medications are designedspecifically for treating scalp psoriasis. These formulations are usually water and alcohol basedwhich make them easier to wash out after treatment.You can become resistant to some topical steroids used in the treatment of scalp psoriasis. If thishappens consult your doctor for alternative medications. It should also be noted that it can takeseveral months before such topical steroid medications will work again for skin that has becomeresistant.Vitamin D AnaloguesVitamin D analogues are available in water and oil - based scalp formulations. They are usuallyapplied once or twice a day and left in contact with the scalp. They do not smell or stain clothing,and are relatively easy to use. They can be used to bring the scalp psoriasis under control andmaintain that control. Such medications should be confined to the scalp region only as it canirritate unaffected skin particularly the face. It may be advisable if you think you are prone tosensitivities to test a small patch before applying it to the entire scalp. Avoid contact with the eyes.Vitamin A Derivative (topical retinoids)These can be applied as creams or gels for the treatment of psoriasis and can be used in thetreatment of scalp psoriasis too. These medications may be less irritating for the people with dry orsensitive skin. To avoid the drying out of skin too much and to reduce irritation, applying a
    • moisturiser 30 minutes before these are used may help. These medications can be used on theface but should never be applied around the eye region and treated skin should not be covered.Antimicrobial TreatmentIf bacterial or yeast infections are present scalp psoriasis can become worse. A crusting scalptogether with scaling and/or lymph nodes in the neck are swollen, this may indicate to your doctorthat antimicrobial treatment will be necessary as there is infection present.Mild scalp psoriasis can respond well to treatment with anti fungal shampoos that will help toreduce the yeast infection. Anti fungal shampoos may have to be used once or twice a weekthereafter to maintain results.Other things affecting the scalpThese can include scalp acne, infestations, fungal infections and alopecia. Make sure you get acorrect diagnosis before starting any treatments. your doctor or healthcare provider will provideappropriate advice.Ultra violet lightSuccessful outcome for using UV light treatments can be variable on the scalp because the hairblocks UV light from penetrating the scalp. It works best on shaved heads. Natural sunlight mayalso help again if your head is shaved or very thin. It is therefore not surprising that this is not afirst line treatment.DithranolDithranol creams are effective in scalp psoriasis but like coal tar can be difficult to use. Dithranol isusually applied to the scaly plaques and left in contact for up to 30 minutes before being rinsedout. It needs to be applied with great care as it can irritate and cause purple staining of blonde orred hair. Dithranol can burn non affected skin. Lipid stabilised Dithranol (Micanol), if used correctly,can reduce staining. It should also be noted that dithranol will stain clothing and baths, showersand wash basins. Extra attention is needed.Medicated ShampoosThere are many coal tar and non coal tar medicated shampoos for treating scalp psoriasis at yourlocal chemist. For further advice ask your pharmacist who may be able to give you furtherguidance. You should also bear in mind that medicated shampoos are designed for the scalp notthe hair so the use of a regular shampoo and conditioner after your scalp treatments will reducethe smell of any unpleasant medicated shampoo and leave your hair shiny and manageable.Scalp psoriasis can get worse if it becomes infected with bacteria or yeasts and sometimesmedicated shampoos with antifungal medicines can be useful in reducing the plaques.The choice of which of these treatments is best for you is a personal one. It is a good idea to shoparound and try different treatment options. In this way you can discover which one suits you best.
    • Some Useful TipsScalp psoriasis may progress down onto the forehead, neck and around the ears. These areascan be treated with the same products you use for your scalp only if indicated to use on suchareas. Be careful about your face. Strong steroids should not be used on the face and dithranolcan stain and burn facial skin. Avoid getting medication in the eyes.A lot of product treatments will contain salicylic acid, known as a keratolytic. This ingredient aimsto loosen psoriasis scales so they can be washed away more easily. This ingredient will becontained in both OTC and prescription products mostly found in shampoos and soaps. It shouldbe noted that treatment with high concentrations of this ingredient can cause irritation and usedover large areas of skin the body may absorb it leading to the weakening of hair shafts, causingthem to break and leading to temporary hair loss. Hair should return to normal after stopping thetreatment. Such products may be easier to apply at night and the head covered with a shower capto avoid messiness and more convenient as they can be time consuming at the beginning of theday before going to work.Softening and loosening thick scale makes it easier for topical medications to penetrate plaquesand clear them. Soaking the scalp in warm water can help loosen scales which can then beremoved using a comb. But be gentle - do not break the skin.Round or fine tooth combs or brushes are generally used to remove psoriasis scales. Comb thescalp gently with a light circular motion holding the comb flat against the scalp. Loosen the scalegently then you can shampoo to flush the scale from the scalp and out of the hair. A hairdryer canbe used to blow additional scales away from the scalp and the hair. Do not remove scales toofiercely as this can break the skin leading to infection. The Koebner response can occur todamaged psoriasis skin, this can also occur if you scratch or scrape your scalp roughly. If anytreatments you use aggravate your psoriasis and scalp always consult your doctor. Care shouldbe taken when removing the scales and applying topical medications so as to avoid the Koebnerresponse.Never use a shower cap or other occlusion method when using prescription scalp medicationsunless specified by your doctor.Scalp Itch - As mentioned refraining from scratching and picking of psoriatic scales will reduceinfection and the Koebner response. Over the counter medicated shampoos can help in alleviatingitching. Please speak to your pharmacist about this.Combination Medications - The treatment of psoriasis should be tailor made to each person. Adoctor may try various combinations of medications before finding what works for you. Goodcommunication between you and your doctor and good compliance will ensure optimum results foryou. Always be aware that when medications are combined they may activate adverse reactions.By being aware of this and consulting your doctor if you are unsure will reduce the likelihood offurther discomforts.Another alternative is to soften and loosen the scales is to use oils, lotions, creams or ointmentsapplied to a damp scalp providing they do not cause you irritation. To add to their effectiveness a
    • hot towel placed around the head to act as an occlusion will also help loosen and soften thescales. The heating of olive oil and application to the scalp and wrapping your head in a towel for along period of time may also help or to speed the process up applying the olive oil and then sittingunder a hairdryer. Be careful not to burn the scalp with too much intensive heat.If you are prone or suffer from dry hair conditioners and cream rinses may help to minimise andmoisturise the hair and scalp. There is no evidence to suggest the use of hair dyes, hair sprays orperms will affect your scalp, however please advise your hairdresser before embarking on anytreatments so that they can apply patch tests to see if any of their products will irritate your scalpor psoriasis lesions. They may be able to use gentler products. If you have the need to use headlice shampoo preparations it is unlikely you will have a reaction but they can be irritating and greatcare should be taken not to get the solution into open cuts or lesions or extensively scratched skin.Hair MattersIt can be highly embarrassing for you finding or going to a new hairdresser or barber. If they arereputable and understanding they should have a knowledge of conditions such as scalp psoriasisand therefore will be able to best advise you on styles, colourings and hair products. It is alwaysworth making general enquiries of friends and relatives about local hairdressers or contacting theHairdressers Council for further advice that may be useful. Some hairdressers are also happy tovisit your home if you would prefer not to go to a salon.When applying scalp products part the hair and hold it in place while you drip the oil or lotiondirectly onto your scalp. Repeat this process until the whole of the affected area has been treated.Conditioners and cream rinses to help combat dry hair can be used after you have completedusing your medication. Hair dyes and sprays do not usually irritate the scalp in scalp psoriasis.However, it may be sensible to test a cosmetic product on a small area of your scalp beforecommitting to it.This information has been prepared by the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance and should notbe used as a replacement for advice from your healthcare professionals. Always consult a doctortoo. Bear in mind however, that the treatments used should never be worse than the psoriasisitself. If this is the case consult your doctor for further advice or alternative treatment options.It is also important to realise that good patient compliance and experimentation to find an effectivetreatment plan which may include treatments such as topical medications and ultra violet UV lightcan often be combined and rotated depending on psoriasis resistance to repeated medicinal use.With all treatments it can take at least eight weeks until you get adequate control of the plaques.Once you have achieved this it is important to maintain any improvement, and this can usually bedone with regular use of a tar shampoo.You are strongly advised to speak to your doctor or health care provider if you think you areaffected by any conditions or items mentioned in this article.This article was written by Helen E Mitchell on behalf of PAPAA, Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis
    • Alliance.Article Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Helen_E_Mitchell==== ====Five familiar psoriasis conditions and how to start getting rid of psoriasis this weekend. Which doyou want to overcome?http://www.whatcausespsoriasis.org/==== ====