Tag Archives: causes itchy scalp

Tips on How to Treat Scalp Psoriasis

These tips on how to treat scalp psoriasis deals with the causes of itchy scaly scalp caused by psoriasis and the most effective remedies to control it.

Scalp is commonly involved in psoriasis. Many a times psoriasis starts on the scalp and remains localized to the scalp for many years. The lesions usually spread to other parts of body following application of superpotent class of topical corticosteroids like clobetasole propionate.

Treatment with systemic steroids followed by sudden stoppage of the medication can also cause the flares in other parts of the body.

Psoriasis scalp may be associated with scattered, isolated psoriasis plaques else where on the body or generalized psoriasis.

The area behind the ears is the most common site affected in scalp psoriasis. Occiput ( back of head) is another common site of involvement.

The lesions on the scalp may be either red, raised, scaly plaques scattered at different areas of the scalp or diffusely scaly to involve the whole scalp. Itchy and scaly scalp is the usual presenting symptom of scalp psoriasis. Surprisingly, even with generalized scalp involvement, psoriasis of scalp does not usually cause hair loss.

Psoriasis of the scalp has to be differentiated from severe dandruff or seborrhoeic dermatitis. A singular feature is that psoriasis is most often localized to a few areas on the scalp while the seborrhoeic dermatitis is present throughout the scalp. The scaling in severe dandruff is also not very thick as in psoriasis and the bleeding points on scrapping (Auspitz sign) are absent in dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.

Itchy Scalp Psoriasis: Auspitz Sign
Auspitz Sign in Psoriasis: Bleeding points on scrapping off the scales.

Harsh scrapping or vigorous rubbing can cause psoriasis plaque to appear in uninvolved areas of the scalp. This is the well known koebner phenomenon in psoriasis. Hence this should be avoided.

What are the Other Causes of Itchy and Scaly Scalp?

Psoriasis of the scalp has to be differentiated from severe dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is generalised on the scalp while psoriasis is localised to certain areas.

The other causes of itchy scaly scalp are tinea amiantacea, tinea capitis (ring worm of scalp), contact allergy to hair lotions, creams or shampoos, dry scalp, lichen planus of the scalp, folliculitis etc.

Read more about other causes of itchy scalp conditions and their management.

How to Treat Scalp Psoriasis
Itchy scalp: Treatment of Scalp Psoriasis involves removal of scales with medications and shampoo.
Psoriasis Scalp can be controlled with proper treatment

Remedies for the itchy, scaly scalp depend upon the severity of the scalp psoriasis and extend of involvement.

Treatment of the Mild Scalp Psoriasis.

In mild type of scalp psoriasis, these is only superficial scaling, the thick scaly plaques are absent. The first line of treatment is tar or ketaconazole shampoos followed by betamethasone valerate scalp solution. In the absence of inflammation, calcipotriene solution can replace or alternate with the steroid topical application.

Treatment of Severe Scalp Psoriasis.

In severe psoriasis of the scalp, there are thick adherent scaly plaques on the scalp. Unless the scales are removed, the antipsoriatic medication will not be able to act on the skin. Hence the first step is to remove the scales.

Removal of Thick Scales of Scalp Psoriasis. The following steps will help remove the scales: Wet the scalp thoroughly, cover the involved area of the scalp with either a 10% salicylic acid in mineral oil or a coconut oil based tar and salicylic acid pomade. This is covered with a plastic wrap overnight. 20% urea cream is an alternative. A tar and salicylic acid containing shampoo is used in the morning to remove the scales.

Tar Shampoo is good in getting rid of Itchy Scalp Psoriasis
Tar Containing Shampoo helps control Scalp Psoriasis

Topical Applications in Scalp Psoriasis. Once the scales are removed, a combination of calcipotriene and betamethasone dipropionate gives best results in controlling the scalp psoriasis. Other alternatives are tar solutions, steroid-salicylic acid combinations, anthraline, and steroid lotions like clobetasole propionate. This is combined with moisturizing lotions like the liquid paraffin when the thickness is reduced.

Along with the above measures, life style management is also important for effective control of psoriasis. We will discuss this in a subsequent article later.

Read more about Psoriasis and other causes of Itchy Scalp:
Disclaimer

The information given in this article is for educational purpose only so that patients are aware of the options available for diagnosis and treatment of common skin, hair and nail diseases. No diagnosis should be made or treatment undertaken without first consulting your dermatologist. If you do so, the author will not be responsible for any consequences. The images provided are for illustration purpose only and should not be reproduced without the consent of the author.

About the Author of Skin Care Tips from Dermatologist: Dr Hanish Babu, MD
Dr Hanish Babu, MD, Dermatologist, Sharjah and Ajman, UAE
Dr Hanish Babu, MD

Dr Hanish Babu, MD is a dermatologist with more than 3 decades of experience in treating skin and sexually transmitted diseases in UAE and India. He has been practicing in UAE since last 22 years. He is a respected speaker during the Continuing Medical education Programmes for doctors, medical students and paramedical staff and is also a Stress Management Trainer. He organises group therapy sessions for patients with psoriasis, eczema and vitiligo.

He is available for consultation at Cosmolaser Medical Centre in Samnan, Sharjah (06 5678 200) from 9 am – 1 pm and at City Medical Centre, Al Bustan, Ajman (06-7 441 882) from 4.30 pm – 9.30 pm.

Visit his personal website  dr-hanishbabu.com for more details and for educational articles on Skin, hair, nail and sexually transmitted diseases. Click here to Book an Appointment with dermatologist Dr Hanish Babu, MD

Itchy Scalp Remedies

Itchy Scalp Remedies

Itchy Scalp Remedies
Proper Itchy Scalp Remedies Depend upon Finding the Exact Cause of the Scalp Itching

How to Get Rid of Scalp Itching

Itchy scalp remedies depend upon the diagnosis and management of specific causes of the scalp itching.

Causes of itchy scalp include dry scalp, dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, scalp psoriasis, contact dermatitis, head lice infestation, ring worm of the scalp, tinea amiantacea, lichen planus, hair follicle inflammation, neurogenic excoriation and pyogenic infection of scalp. It is evident that no single shot remedy can effectively get rid of the scalp itching.

Itchy scalp remedies include diagnosis of the specific underlying disease and general and specific measures of treatment according to the causes of itchy scalp.

Diagnosis of Itchy Scalp

Diagnosing the causes of itchy scalp involves both clinical and laboratory diagnosis.

Clinical Diagnosis of Itchy Scalp

Most diseases causing itchy scalp like psoriasis and lichen planus have characteristic appearance. Dry scalp is a diagnosis reached after excluding other causes of itchy scalp. Only when confusion arises as to the cause of the itchy scalp, is there any need for the laboratory investigations.

Laboratory Diagnosis of Itchy Scalp

If there is any doubt about the cause of the scalp itching, your doctor will take a scrapping from the scales and examine it under microscope to confirm or rule out fungal infections.

A skin biopsy will differentiate lichen planus and discoid lupus erythematosus, both of which cause scarring, hair loss and itching on the scalp. In treatment resistant folliculitis of scalp, the doctor may call for a gram’s stain of the pus or even a culture study.

Itchy Scalp Remedies

General Measures to Get Rid of Scalp Itching

  • Keep the scalp scale free with regular shampooing.
  • Too much harsh shampooing should be avoided.
  • Avoid drying hair lotions, tinctures etc
  • Take a well balanced diet, have sufficient sleep and do regular exercise.
  • For moderate to severe itchy scalp, an antihistamine will help reduce the itching

Specific Measures to Get Rid of Scalp Itching

Dry Scalp Remedies

Treatment of dry scalp involves avoidance of drying shampoos and application of moisturizing lotions and creams. 5-10% urea lotion will help keep the scalp moist.

How to Get Rid of Dandruff

Regular cleansing with anti-dandruff shampoos and application of anti-yeast medications will help clear dandruff.

Read more on How to Get Rid of Dandruff

Seborrheic Dermatitis Remedies

Mild steroid-antifungal combinations and tar shampoos will keep the seborrheic dermatitis in check, along with life style changes.

More about How to Get Rid of Seborrheic Dermatitis

How to Treat Scalp Psoriasis

Removal of the thick scales followed by application of a combination of calcipotriene with potent topical steroids gives best results for scalp psoriasis. Regular use of tar containing shampoos will help prevent recurrences.

Tips on How to Treat Scalp Psoriasis Most Effectively

Contact Dermatitis Remedies

Avoidance of the culprit for the contact allergy, application of steroid creams, and antihistamine medications will control mild to moderate contact dermatitis of the scalp. Severe reactions may require oral steroids.

Head Lice Infestation (Pediculosis Capitis) Remedies

Pediculosis capitis or head lice infestation responds well to anti-louse medications and shampoos used weekly ones.

Ring Worm of the Scalp (Tinea Capitis) Remedies

Antifungal medications, both oral and topical, is required to treat tinea capitis. Shampoos containing selenium sulphide, ketoconazole or zinc pyrithione can be used on alternate days.  Treatment may have to be continued for a period of up to 3 months to avoid recurrence.

Pityriasis Amiantacea (Tinea Amiantacea) Remedies

Treatment of the underlying cause like psoriasis, lichen simplex or seborrheic dermatitis will cure P.amiantacea.

Scalp Lichen Planus Remedy

Scalp lichen planus requires treatment with intralesional steroids or topical super potent steroids. Itching will disappear early, but treatment cannot prevent scarring most of the time, unless treated early.

Hair Follicle Inflammation Treatment

Folliculitis of the scalp is usually either a pityrosporum folliculitis due to yeast or a staph infection. Treatment depends upon the outcome of the gram’s stain or culture studies.

Neurogenic Excoriation Treatment

This is a neurodermatitis. Treatment involves stress management, anxiolytics, and super potent steroids or intralesional steroids.

Pyogenic Infection of Scalp Remedies

Topical and systemic antibiotics will clear the infection most of the time. Regular cleansing with povidone iodine cleanser will help in avoiding recurrences.

Also read Causes of Itchy Scalp

Disclaimer

The information given in this article is for educational purpose only so that patients are aware of the options available for diagnosis and treatment of common skin, hair and nail diseases. No diagnosis should be made or treatment undertaken without first consulting your dermatologist. If you do so, the author will not be responsible for any consequences. The images provided are for illustration purpose only and should not be reproduced without the consent of the author.

About the Author of Skin Care Tips from Dermatologist: Dr Hanish Babu, MD
Dr Hanish Babu, MD, Dermatologist, Sharjah and Ajman, UAE
Dr Hanish Babu, MD

Dr Hanish Babu, MD is a dermatologist with more than 3 decades of experience in treating skin and sexually transmitted diseases in UAE and India. He has been practicing in UAE since last 22 years. He is a respected speaker during the Continuing Medical education Programmes for doctors, medical students and paramedical staff and is also a Stress Management Trainer. He organises group therapy sessions for patients with psoriasis, eczema and vitiligo.

He is available for consultation at Cosmolaser Medical Centre in Samnan, Sharjah (06 5678 200) from 9 am – 1 pm and at City Medical Centre, Al Bustan, Ajman (06-7 441 882) from 4.30 pm – 9.30 pm.

Visit his personal website  dr-hanishbabu.com for more details and for educational articles on Skin, hair, nail and sexually transmitted diseases. Click here to Book an Appointment with dermatologist Dr Hanish Babu, MD