Psoriasis on the scalp is similar to anywhere else on the body. Research indicates that half of all psoriasis sufferers experience symptoms on their scalp, which can range from scaly, red, bumpy patches, to flaky, silvery, skin. Burning, itching and hair loss can also occur. The condition is similar to seborrheic dermatitis and a skin biopsy may be necessary to determine the condition.
Symptoms can vary over time, and are often unnoticeable. They can be quite severe, causing flaky skin, soreness and intense itching, which can lead to hair loss. The hair usually grows back well after the psoriasis has cleared, but it can be a distressing condition during particularly difficult phases.
Psoriasis is thought to be caused when the body’s immune system reacts unusually to an allergen, which results in an acceleration in skin cell growth. The over-production of skin cells leads to a build up on the skin, often known as "plaques".
It is a non-contagious condition, but it does tend to be hereditary.
Pharmacists and GPs will often advise the use of medicated shampoos, including coal tar and shampoos containing salicylic acid. There are also stronger options available on prescription, however these can be harsh on already sensitive skin. Natural alternatives may be a suitable solution.