Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease of the skin that is estimated to affect about 2.2% of the adult population. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to psoriasis. The genes affected seem to be involved with control of the immune system
Scalp psoriasis is a common skin disorder that makes raised, reddish, often scaly patches. It can pop up as a single patch or several, and can even affect your entire scalp. It can also spread to your forehead, the back of your neck, or behind your ears.
It is generally accepted that scalp psoriasis, like all psoriasis, is related to genetic defects that affect certain parts of the immune system. There are undoubtedly environmental factors that trigger its initial development in genetically predisposed individuals. The belief that “emotional stress” plays a causal role or at least exacerbates psoriasis has been difficult to prove.
Scalp psoriasis itself doesn’t cause hair loss, but scratching a lot or very hard, picking at the scaly spots, harsh treatments, and the stress that goes along with the condition can lead to temporary hair loss. Fortunately, your hair usually grows back after your skin clears.
At least half of people with psoriasis have it on their scalp. The skin cells on your scalp grow too quickly and make powdery scales called plaques. The areas around them can be red and itchy.
If you have mild scaling, it may get better on its own. Sometimes, though, you’ll need treatment. It can take a couple of months or longer to get more severe dandruff under control. Once you do, you may be able to keep it from flaring with special shampoos or moisturizers.
Treatments are often combined and rotated because a person’s psoriasis may become less responsive to medications after repeated use. Systemic treatments are not commonly used just for scalp psoriasis but may be used if psoriasis is present elsewhere on the body and/or the psoriasis is moderate to severe.