Scalp

You should treat your scalp very gently if plaques are present. It is best to avoid brushing and combing it too much – a recommendation which many patients find difficult to follow for aesthetic reasons.
However, brushing and combing do not help get rid of scale and may in fact slow healing. You should also not dry your hair at too hot temperature when using a hair dryer.
 

Advice on Caring for Psoriasis on the Scalp

 

What areas of the scalp are most at risk?

The areas of the scalp which are most often affected by plaques are:

  • above and behind the ears
  • the earlobes
  • the nape of the neck, the forehead and the hairline 
  • at the parting of the hair

Back to top

 

What are the symptoms of psoriasis of the scalp?

It is normal for the scalp to shed skin, but dandruff sometimes occurs when too many dead cells are shed. This is harmless and can be treated by using medicated shampoos. However, in psoriasis of the scalp, these white flakes are larger and more obvious.

Be careful not to brush your hair too vigorously and frequently in an attempt to get rid of these flakes, as this can worsen inflammation and slow down healing.

Back to top
 

What are the symptoms of psoriasis on the nape of the neck?

Plaques on the back of the head or behind the ears can often be very itchy, causing a great urge to scratch.

Although scratching gives temporary relief and can be an outlet for stress, it actually makes the condition worse and it is better to find a long-term remedy.

Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor about any stress or anxiety.
 

 

What are the symptoms of psoriasis on the earlobes?

The skin on the back of the earlobe tends to be delicate. It is less exposed to air and sunlight, and so has an increased tendency to be moist. This in turn means that it is vulnerable to colonisation by bacteria when it becomes inflamed. Remember to thoroughly wash and dry both sides of the earlobe.

Back to top
 

What are the symptoms of psoriasis on the hairline and at the parting?

Combing or brushing the hair too much can increase inflammation at the hair root. In particular, this over-stimulates the areas along the hairline, at the parting and on the nape of the neck, leading to inflammation of the follicles.

Back to top  

 

How can I look after my hair if I have psoriasis of the scalp?

Some advice…

  • You should always wash and dry your hair gently, and try to avoid scratching or disturbing plaques. 
  • To help the scalp recover its natural balance, you can use an ordinary shampoo from time to time, alternating with a medicated shampoo recommended by your doctor.
  • Remember to thoroughly dry behind the ears and both sides of the earlobes. 
  • Don't use the top heat settings on the hair dryer, and keep it 30 centimetres from your head. 
  • Avoid using rollers and curlers which pull the hair and dry the scalp.
  • Use a hairbrush with natural boar bristles rather than a plastic brush.

Your doctor may also prescribe a tar-based shampoo, and will be able to best advise you on caring for your scalp.

Back to top 
 

I've lost hair because of scratching my scalp too hard. Is this permanent?

Psoriasis does not normally cause any damage to the hair follicle, so hair loss is not usually permanent.

However, scratching lesions very occasionally leads to infection that may damage some follicles irrevocably. You should therefore talk to your doctor who can investigate if you have a bacterial infection and prescribe a suitable treatment if necessary.

Back to top

 

What kind of hairstyle is advisable?

  • It is best to avoid styles which place tension on the hair, such as back-combing or putting it up too tightly. 
  • Hair bands and scarves are not recommended. 
  • The scalp and ears should remain exposed to air and light.
  • If you have severe plaques on your scalp, a short haircut could be more comfortable and practical.
  • If you are suffering from a flare on the scalp, it is better to put off perming or dying your hair until the plaques have healed. 
  • You should advice your hairdresser to treat your scalp gently. 

Back to top
 

What happens to the hair after psoriasis treatment?

Hair tends to become finer after psoriasis treatment, and it can also be difficult to get rid of tangles because of scale on the scalp. 
 

Back to top

 

What can I do if my scalp gets infected?

The scalp may become infected when the skin of the scalp or ears becomes cracked. Visit your doctor who will be able to examine to check if a bacterial infection is present. If an infection is present, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic.

Back to top