Scalp Psoriasis

What is Scalp Psoriasis?


Psoriasis

This is a chronic autoimmune skin disease characterized with dry red scaly patches with white scales. It occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals which speeds up the growth cycle of the skin cells. When scratched the skin becomes red, irritated and inflamed, nevertheless, it is non-contagious.

The scaling of psoriasis occurs when cells in the epidermis (the skin's outer layer) reproduce faster than it normally would and therefore accumulate on the skin's surface, hence an autoimmune system disorder. The affected areas like the elbows, knees, lower back and scalp may become very dry with cracks and bleed. Other areas include the palms, sole, legs, face, fingernails and toenails.

Scalp Psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis can be mild with slight and fine scaling or it can be severe with thick, crust-like plaques covering the entire scalp.

A Dermatologist explains Psoriasis.



Different Types of Psoriasis

  • Erythrodermic Psoriasis

This is the generalised red, scaly, inflamed rash that affects the entire body. This severe condition may affect 1 to 2 % of patients with psoriasis. It can be very itchy and painful.

  • Inverse Psoriasis

This is sometimes called Flexural Psoriasis. It affects folds of the skin such as the groin area, armpits, under the breasts and generally where the skin is thinner and more sensitive. The condition only affects about 2 to 6 % of patients with psoriasis making it relatively uncommon. Sweat, friction and excess body weight may aggravate the condition. Patients with this uncomfortable and painful condition may experience patches of red, shiny, smooth skin that is inflamed, tender and itchy.

  • Pustular Psoriasis

This type of psoriasis is rare and only affects less than 5 % of patients with psoriasis. Patients of this condition may experience small pus-filled, raised spot like bumps on the skin. It may often occur in waves and typically after the skin becomes itchy, irritated and red, then scaly. It may heal within days and reappear again. This condition can either be localized to the soles of the feet or the palms of the hand or it can be more widespread affecting the body. This may be referred to as generalised pustular psoriasis or Von Zumbusch Pustular Psoriasis.

  • Guttate Psoriasis

This is the second most common form of psoriasis. Patients experience red, small skin spots that can be widespread. It typically affects children and young adults. The spots tend to occur after a viral or bacterial infection. It may appear suddenly and can be seen on the limbs and trunk. Severe cases of guttate psoriasis may require oral medication and injections for it to be treated while milder cases may heal naturally and not recur again.

  • Plaque Psoriasis (psoriasis vulgaris)

This is the most common type of psoriasis that typically affects about 80 % of patients with psoriasis. The patients may experience small to large scaly, red and/or white silvery and coated patches that can be raised, hard and red. It typically starts as small red bumps and grows into plaques. The areas commonly affected may include the elbows, lower back and knees.

  • Scalp Psoriasis

People with chronic plaque psoriasis may also have Scalp Psoriasis, at least 50 % of patients with psoriasis. The condition may appear as a severe form of dandruff with the whole scalp being affected or it may just be few patches. If severe, it may lead to hair loss in some people.

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