Do I Need to See a Dermatologist About Scalp Psoriasis?
With so much on your plate each day, it can be difficult to find the time or energy to see a dermatologist, even if your skin is acting up. That said, some skin conditions are so debilitating that avoiding professional help can make it impossible to get anything done.
Like many skin problems, scalp psoriasis can range from mild to severe, so your motivation to seek medical attention may depend on just how bad it is. As a general rule of thumb, though, it’s always a good idea to visit your dermatologist when suffering from a skin ailment, including mild forms of scalp psoriasis.
Here we will go over what scalp psoriasis is, how to take care of it on your own, and how a dermatologist can provide you with the best treatment for your condition.
What Is Scalp Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that causes rapid skin cell growth. The excess of cells creates scaly, flaky, itchy patches on the skin. While psoriasis can affect any part of the skin, scalp psoriasis (as its name suggests) refers to psoriasis that expresses itself on one’s scalp, as well as other areas of the head such as the forehead, neck, and ears. Like other forms of psoriasis, scalp psoriasis may flare up and calm down sporadically.
What Causes or Triggers Scalp Psoriasis?
Dermatologists still don’t fully understand what lies at the root of scalp psoriasis. However, evidence suggests that immune system malfunction has something to do with it. Essentially, a glitch in one’s immune system can cause white blood cells (the body’s main defenders against foreign substances) to begin attacking healthy skin cells, which triggers the creation of new, healthy skin cells beyond what’s necessary. As more cells are created than the skin can naturally shed, they build up on the surface and lead to those scaly, itchy patches.
The reasons for this white blood cell activity lack a concrete explanation, though genetics seem to play a role. But while scalp psoriasis causes remain a mystery, a number of psoriasis triggers are well-documented. These triggers refer to environmental factors that lead to or worsen psoriasis symptoms, including but not limited to:
- Skin injury
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Intake of certain drugs
Unfortunately, there is no cure for scalp psoriasis (or any kind of psoriasis) as of yet. That said, this condition can be treated in a number of ways to reduce symptoms, minimize flares, and provide relief.
Ways to Take Care of Your Scalp Psoriasis at Home
If you’re trying to treat your scalp psoriasis on your own, your results may vary. For starters, the steps you take to mitigate your scalp psoriasis should depend on the severity of your symptoms. For instance, scalp psoriasis home remedies can be helpful when fighting milder forms of scalp psoriasis, but might not do the trick against severe cases. Here are some treatments and lifestyle adjustments you can try to take care of your scalp psoriasis prior to seeing a dermatologist:
- Spend some time in the sun: The sun’s rays naturally slow down the rate of skin cell production. By exposing your scalp psoriasis to sunlight for brief moments each day can help reduce symptoms. Just don’t overdo it, as excessive sunlight can damage your skin and aggravate your symptoms.
- Moisturize daily: Keeping your skin well-hydrated is always a good idea, and it can help keep psoriasis symptoms at bay, too. This is especially the case when the air is cold and dry.
- Apply aloe vera: The extracts of this natural plant can be used to promote general skin health and may soothe scalp psoriasis symptoms such as itching and swelling.
- Try omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil): While there is no consensus on the effectiveness of fish oil for treating psoriasis, these fatty acids may reduce skin inflammation.
- Avoid hot showers and other triggers: Actions and factors that irritate your skin are no good for your scalp psoriasis. So, figure out what leads to flare-ups and keep them at arm’s length. By taking shorter, cooler showers and staying away from other things that negatively affect your skin, you can at least keep your problems from getting worse.
Why See a Dermatologist About Your Scalp Psoriasis?
As mentioned in the beginning, it’s always best to seek professional medical advice when your skin is acting up. Sure, you can treat your mild to moderate scalp psoriasis at home, but you probably won’t have access to the best treatment for psoriasis until you receive a thorough examination from your dermatologist. Plus, severe scalp psoriasis requires a stronger treatment approach than simply changing your behavior and moisturizing your skin. And finally, your dermatologist can check for and treat other problems related to scalp psoriasis, such as bacterial infections, immune disorders, and more.
So, if you’re looking for the right scalp psoriasis treatment for your needs, talk to your dermatologist. They might suggest/prescribe options such as:
- Light therapy
- …and more
Let the professionals at Premier Dermatology Partners help you take proper care of your scalp psoriasis and any other skin conditions you may have. To learn more about our team and all the services we provide, contact us.