Understanding The Link Between Scalp Psoriasis and Thinning Hair

It’s no secret that scalp psoriasis can be a source of discomfort and distress. But did you know there might also be an alarming link to thinning hair? Understand the mystery as we explore the intricate relationship between scalp psoriasis and hair loss. Discover scientific insights, unpack potential causes, and learn about effective strategies to manage and mitigate this concern. Finding the intersection between skin health and hair vitality could be the game-changer for self-confidence and overall well-being.

Yes, scalp psoriasis can cause hair thinning. When the immune system triggers inflammation in the scalp, it can disrupt the hair growth cycle and result in temporary shedding or thinning of hair. Seeking early treatment for scalp psoriasis and managing the condition with appropriate medications and care can help reduce the risk of hair loss and promote regrowth once psoriasis symptoms are under control.

Scalp Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes raised, scaly patches on the scalp. It occurs when skin cells build up rapidly and form thick silvery scales, which can become itchy or tender with time. These symptoms make it difficult for people to maintain a normal daily routine. This might lead to excessive hair shedding from the scalp, leading to hair thinning and balding in some cases. However, it’s important to note that not all types of hair thinning are due to psoriasis, and accurate diagnosis by a dermatologist is crucial.

For instance, someone might misinterpret dandruff as the early stages of scalp psoriasis. Left untreated, it can lead to serious consequences like damaging hair follicles and losing hair volume.

Symptoms and Types

Scalp psoriasis symptoms include tightness, itching, or burning sensations on the scalp, flaking or crusting around the hairline, red patches across the scalp, and visible silvery-grey flakes on clothing or bedding.

Think of these flakes as a trail left behind by psoriasis, much like breadcrumbs dropped by Hansel and Gretel to mark their way back home.

Some types of psoriasis are more commonly seen on the scalp than others. 

  1. Pustular psoriasis tends to affect small areas on the head and looks like blisters with pus.
  2. Inverse psoriasis might cause bright red smooth patches in areas with skin folds, such as behind the ears and under the nape of the neck.

An accurate diagnosis via biopsy under the microscope rules out other conditions, such as eczema or seborrheic dermatitis. Once diagnosed correctly, effective treatments can control symptoms and prevent further damage to your hair.

Symptoms And Types
Tightness, itching, or burning sensations on the scalp
Flaking or crusting around the hairline
Red patches across the scalp
Visible silvery-grey flakes on clothing or bedding
Pustular psoriasis: small blisters with pus
Inverse psoriasis: bright red smooth patches in skin folds

Link Between Scalp Psoriasis and Hair Thinning

Scalp psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that affects more than eight million people in the United States. It is a chronic condition that results in raised, scaly patches on the scalp and can lead to hair loss. Many people with this condition experience hair thinning and bald patches on their scalp.

Impact of Scalp Psoriasis on Hair Health

  • When psoriasis develops on the scalp, it can cause intense itching and irritation. People sometimes scratch their scalp so often and intensely that they damage the hair follicles, leading to temporary or permanent hair loss. This loss can be thinning hair, bald patches, or complete baldness.
  • While scalp psoriasis-related hair loss may be temporary, it can have a severe emotional impact on individuals as it causes them to feel self-conscious about their appearance. Scratching and rubbing the affected area exacerbates inflammation and further weakens hair follicles, leading to more significant hair fall.
  • Moreover, certain medications commonly used by those with scalp psoriasis might also contribute to hair loss. Steroid medication applied to psoriasis-affected areas over an extended period or transferred through contact with other areas of skin not affected by psoriasis could weaken hair roots over time, causing more substantial hair fall.
  • Despite a potential sense of misery brought upon by this condition, there are effective treatments available that can help manage symptoms while helping reduce any chance of permanent damage or long-term fallout from the condition.

Effective Treatments for Scalp Psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis can be a challenging condition to manage. While no cure is guaranteed, proper care and management can help alleviate symptoms and prevent further hair loss. One of the most important steps in managing scalp psoriasis is understanding the treatment options available.

Topical Medications and Home Remedies

Topical medications are often the first line of defense when managing scalp psoriasis. These products contain ingredients that can help reduce inflammation, soothe itchiness, and improve overall skin health. Some common topical medications used to manage scalp psoriasis include corticosteroids, salicylic acid, coal tar, and anthralin.

  1. Over-the-counter medicated shampoos containing some of these ingredients can also be used alongside prescription medication to control symptoms. Home remedies like tea tree oil can sometimes be used as an alternative to medicated shampoos.
  2. More intensive treatments like phototherapy or systemic medications may sometimes be required. Phototherapy involves exposing the scalp to UV light under medical supervision. Systemic medications work from within by suppressing or modulating the immune system’s response that causes inflammation.

It’s essential to consult a dermatologist for accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plans to help manage this condition effectively.

Maintaining good hair care practices while managing scalp psoriasis is also important. Gentle handling of the hair and scalp and avoiding harsh chemicals or styling techniques that may cause further irritation can help keep our scalps healthier.

CorticosteroidsEffective in reducing inflammation and itchinessOveruse can cause side effects like skin thinning
Salicylic AcidSoftens and removes scaling, reduces itchinessMay cause irritation and discomfort
Coal TarReduces itching, slows cell growth, softens scalesCan be messy and have a strong smell
AnthralinNormalizes DNA activity to help scalp function properlyCan stain clothing and surfaces

While medicated shampoos containing active ingredients can help manage scalp psoriasis, a holistic approach that includes an iron-rich diet, hair-strengthening vitamins (like B Complex), stress management techniques, and rest is also recommended by expert dermatologists.

Preventing Hair Loss from Scalp Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin and sometimes can cause hair loss. While scalp psoriasis can be challenging to manage, early diagnosis and treatment can minimize symptoms such as flaking and scaling of the scalp, itchiness, and hair shedding. So, what are some practical ways to prevent hair loss resulting from scalp psoriasis?

  • One way to tackle scalp psoriasis-related hair loss is by adopting a more relaxed grooming routine. Avoid aggressive brushing or combing your hair while it’s dry or during flare-ups. For protective hairstyles like buns or braids, ensure they’re gentle enough not to cause tension on the scalp.
  • Regular shampooing is crucial in managing symptoms of scalp psoriasis. You should use a medicated shampoo containing salicylic acid and coal tar. These active ingredients will soften the plaques on your scalp while relieving itchiness, scaling, and redness.
  • Another way to care for your hair requires examining your diet: Increase your intake of vitamins A and D and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamins in leafy greens like kale and spinach and oily fish like mackerel & salmon offer these essential nutrients.

Lifestyle Changes and Long-Term Strategies

Managing Scalp Psoriasis can involve lifestyle changes geared towards self-management. With over 8 million people affected in the US alone, adopting measures sustainable over a long period can aid in mitigating both physical and emotional stressors that can trigger or exacerbate symptoms. What are some suitable lifestyle changes when battling Scalp Psoriasis?

  1. Avoiding exposure to cold or dry air, which can lead to flares, is also essential. Keeping your scalp warm with hats during colder seasons can indeed prevent flare-ups and, thus, hair loss.
  2. Regular exercise can help alleviate stress and anxiety levels that often accompany scalp psoriasis, which could exacerbate symptoms. Why not plan hikes or walks in the park?
  3. Organizing daily routines to reduce stress is also crucial to self-management. It’s essential to destress from everyday activities with music therapy, meditation, or yoga, coupled with sufficient sleep, allowing the body to recoup naturally.

Implementing these tips will complement medication in managing symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis and set a sustainable pace for long-term relief.


  • Michael Reed

    Michael Reed is a medical writer at Sumlab, focusing on dermatological studies and treatments. His articles help demystify complex clinical results for a broad audience.

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