Psoriasis on the head: treatment features

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the epidermis. The pathology is not contagious, since it is provoked not by infectious causes, but by an autoimmune disorder. The disease is characterized by excessive division of skin cells, which leads to the formation of dense plaques. The inflammation affects any part of the body. Scalp psoriasis is a fairly common form of the disease. The peculiarity of the localization of rashes on the head is the complexity of the treatment. This form of psoriasis often becomes the cause of the development of complexes and dissatisfaction with oneself, as it is visible to others. The elements of the rash do not look aesthetically pleasing and require timely treatment.

The reasons for the development of the disease

Scalp psoriasis develops for the same reasons as body skin lesions. Factors acting as an impetus for the appearance of plaques on the skin may be:

  • stress;
  • seborrhea;
  • prolonged exposure to the sun;
  • allergic reaction;
  • damage to the skin;
  • decreased immunity.
stressful condition as the cause of psoriasis on the head

Stress aggravates many diseases, including psoriasis.

Regardless of the reasons that triggered the development of the first episode of the disease, psoriasis is always accompanied by excessive division of epidermal cells, which explains the appearance of the elements of the rash. This is due to the body's autoimmune response, which provokes an immune attack on skin cells.

The disease is characterized by an undulating course with periods of exacerbation and remission. Doctors often call pathology a psychosomatic disorder, since exacerbations of psoriasis are directly related to the psychoemotional state of the patient.

Stress, lack of sleep, fatigue, lack of vitamins in the body can provoke an extraordinary exacerbation and the appearance of new elements of the rash.

Despite the repulsive appearance of the rash, psoriasis is not at all contagious, as it is the result of internal disorders, but not infections or viruses.

Despite the fact that doctors have not yet identified the exact cause of the development of the disease, most are inclined to believe that psoriasis is the result of systemic disorders in the body caused by an imbalance of hormones, instability of the nervous system and metabolic processes, malnutrition and a cold climate.

Symptoms of psoriasis

Psoriasis on the head begins with the appearance of dense nodules that are outwardly invisible. Over time, the nodules merge with each other, forming islands. The skin around the clusters of rash elements swells and becomes inflamed, dry crusts and scaly areas may appear.

Over time, the nodules become dense and flat, peeling begins on their surface with the formation of large scales, in shape and structure resembling dandruff.

Scalp psoriasis is most often localized in the temporal region, behind the ears, on the neck and along the hairline. Often, peeling and plaques form along the parting.

The disease can manifest itself at any age. Most often, the first episode of psoriasis occurs either during puberty and before the age of 20, or over the age of 35.

Scalp psoriasis is classified according to the severity of the symptoms. The mild form of the disease is characterized by the formation of isolated foci of inflammation and moderate desquamation. Rashes with this form are not striking and respond well to drug treatment.

For a severe course of psoriasis on the head, a photo of which allows you to assess the severity of symptoms, the entire head, the hair growth zone and the back of the neck are characteristic. The elements of the rash are large, the scales are very large and visible to the naked eye.

photo of psoriasis on the head

Scalp psoriasis can affect both the scalp and the skin around it.

Timely diagnosis plays an important role in scalp psoriasis. An experienced dermatologist will make a diagnosis already during an external examination of the patient. The difficulty lies in the fact that many patients do not go to the doctor, not knowing what psoriasis looks like on the scalp, and mistaking it for dandruff. It is important to remember that psoriasis of the initial stage on the head responds well enough to treatment, however, the lack of timely therapy will inevitably lead to the progression of the disease and damage to more and more areas of the skin.

If you find the first symptoms of damage to the scalp, you should consult a doctor, because if psoriasis is diagnosed, treatment should be comprehensive and timely.

Stages of the disease

Regardless of the localization of the rash, psoriasis of the scalp and body skin always proceeds in several stages. The first stage is an exacerbation of the disease. During this period, new papules form on the skin, excessive division of epidermal cells is noted. Papules merge into large lesions, which are then transformed into plaques, and those, in turn, begin to peel off. The duration of an exacerbation depends on a number of factors and can last up to several months. During this period, elements of the rash cover the scalp, epidermis around the ears and on the neck, and can descend onto the back. Scalp psoriasis is often accompanied by focal lesions of the body skin.

The second stage of the disease is stationary. During this period, the progression of the disease stops, the number of elements of the rash does not change, the disease stops spreading to healthy areas of the skin. During the stationary stage, literally nothing happens - the plaques do not increase in size, but they do not decrease either. Peeling remains the same, the epidermis looks dense and inflamed. This stage can also take many months.

The next stage is the abatement of the disease. During this period, the inflammatory process subsides, peeling stops, since the division of epidermal cells stops. The plaques gradually become softer, decrease in size, and then completely disappear. With proper skin care, after recovery from the disease, not even a trace remains, however, most often, areas with impaired pigmentation are formed at the site of the plaques.

Then comes remission, during which the skin looks absolutely healthy. The duration of remission depends on the lifestyle and general health of the patient. It does not last forever, since psoriasis does not go away, but only temporarily subsides. The next exacerbation can occur after a few months or years due to stress, climate change or decreased immunity. With the next exacerbation, psoriasis again proceeds in several stages, starting with the appearance of new papules, ending with a decrease in the size of plaques and complete restoration of the skin.

psoriasis symptoms on the head

Mild psoriasis can be easily confused with dandruff.

Diagnosis of the disease

Psoriatic rashes on the head can appear in both adults and children, since psoriasis in a child is not uncommon. It is important to timely detect the onset of the pathological process and visit a dermatologist.

The scraping method is used to diagnose the disease. The affected epidermis reacts to local damage with a number of specific signs that are characteristic only of psoriasis.

When scraped, the scales fall off with dandruff without causing pain, itching, or discomfort. As a result of prolonged exposure and cleansing of the plaque from keratinized particles, a thin film of skin is found under the scales. It is inflamed, tinged with a bright pink color and shines like a stain of stearin. If this film is damaged, tiny droplets of blood appear on the surface of the plaque, which indicates damage to the capillaries that are too close under the skin.

This reaction of the epidermis is known as the "psoriatic triad" and is a symptom unique to this disease, which allows an accurate diagnosis without laboratory tests.

Treatment principle

A dermatologist will consult in detail on how to treat psoriasis on the head. The fact is that everyone's disease manifests itself in its own way, so there is no universal treatment regimen that would suit all patients without exception.

The goal of psoriasis therapy is to stop the progression of the disease, improve the appearance of the skin and achieve a lasting remission. As the practice of doctors shows, a properly selected treatment regimen allows you to forget about the disease for up to several years.

An integrated approach to the treatment of psoriasis is practiced, which includes:

  • the use of hormonal ointments to relieve inflammation;
  • using non-hormonal drugs to relieve symptoms;
  • physiotherapy to accelerate skin recovery;
  • dietary changes and spa procedures.

The basis of treatment is made up of drugs for external use, which are applied to the foci of inflammation. In some cases, treatment is supplemented by taking pills for psoriasis on the head, preference is given to immunostimulating drugs and vitamin drugs.

medicines for psoriasis

It is impossible to cure psoriasis, but getting rid of its manifestations for a long time is quite possible

Conservative therapy

Traditionally, dermatologists prescribe two types of skin treatments - non-hormonal ointments and glucocorticoid preparations.

Glucocorticoid ointments are used in short courses in the stage of exacerbation of the disease. They help to stop inflammation and reduce the rate of progression of the disease, allowing you to quickly stop an exacerbation. However, these drugs are not safe. They penetrate into the general bloodstream and have a systemic effect on the body, causing disruptions in the functioning of the liver, kidneys and adrenal glands. Hormonal ointments are selected only by a dermatologist. Today, many doctors are moving away from the use of glucocorticoid drugs in the treatment of psoriasis, noting their short-term effect.

The main line of struggle against the disease is physiotherapy, non-hormonal ointments and lifestyle changes.

Non-hormonal drugs are divided into several groups:

  • preparations with naftalan and solidol;
  • ointments with tar;
  • preparations with sulfur;
  • zinc-based creams.

Such ointments have keratolytic properties, that is, they contribute to the exfoliation of keratinized particles of the epidermis. All ointments do not have a systemic effect on the body and have a fatty base, due to which they quickly soften plaques.

Ointments based on birch and coal tar are recommended for patients with oily scalp. Such funds stop the inflammatory process and increase local immunity, preventing further cell division in the affected area.

Ointments with naphthalene and solid oil are used for very dry plaques with a large number of detachable scales. Their main goal is to prevent the spread of the pathological process to healthy skin. They effectively soften the affected areas and improve the overall appearance of the epidermis, while at the same time having an anti-inflammatory effect.

Preparations with zinc exfoliate the skin and protect against secondary infections. They are used for any form of scalp psoriasis, as they act quickly and delicately. Sulfur tar ointment, ointment with sulfur and zinc - these drugs are suitable for most patients and quickly have a pronounced therapeutic effect.

The advantage of non-hormonal drugs is their natural composition, the absence of contraindications and side effects. Such drugs can even be used to treat small children, since they do not have a systemic effect on the body.

natural ointment for psoriasis treatment

The advantage of natural ointments is harmlessness

The course of treatment is on average 20 days, the ointment is applied up to three times a day. The disadvantage of treating the scalp with ointments is the untidy appearance of the hair, since all drugs are oily and quickly stain the hair. An alternative are special medicinal shampoos, however, as practice shows, the best therapeutic effect is achieved with the simultaneous use of shampoos and ointments.

General therapy

When treating psoriasis on the head at home, an important role is played by general strengthening therapy. Dermatologists say that it is not enough to pick up ointments for psoriasis on the head, it is necessary to take measures to strengthen the whole body as a whole.

Complex therapy includes:

  • sedatives;
  • antidepressants and tranquilizers;
  • immunostimulants;
  • vitamins;
  • tonics;
  • cytostatics;
  • retinoids;
  • antihistamines.

Since the exacerbation of psoriasis is always accompanied by stress and disruption of the nervous system, sedatives and tranquilizers play an important role. The goal of such therapy is to minimize the destructive effects of stress, improve sleep, restore normal functioning of the nervous system and normalize mood. Sedatives include drugs, alcoholic tinctures of valerian, peony and motherwort. Medicines are available without a prescription and are mild medications that can help normalize sleep and relieve stress. For depression, neurosis and other mental disorders that appear against the background of psoriasis, you should consult with a neurologist about the prescription of potent drugs such as tranquilizers and antidepressants.

Additionally, vitamins are prescribed (A, C, E, group B). Their goal is to normalize the activity of the nervous system, have an antioxidant effect, accelerate skin regeneration and normalize immunity. Preparations with antioxidants in the composition help to remove toxins from the body, restore skin regeneration and protect cells from negative influences.

vitamins in the treatment of psoriasis on the head

Vitamins are indispensable for treatment.

Immunostimulants must be used, but only as directed by a doctor. Self-administration of such drugs can negatively affect well-being and aggravate the course of the disease.

Cytostatics and retinoids stop excessive division of epidermal cells, acting from the inside. Due to the large number of contraindications and side effects, such drugs are prescribed by a dermatologist after a comprehensive examination.

Shampoos for psoriasis

Despite the fact that the first line of treatment consists of ointments for psoriasis on the head, special shampoos are necessarily used. They help both cure psoriasis on the scalp and provide delicate cleansing of the epidermis without overdrying.

You can use hypoallergenic baby shampoos for delicate scalp cleansing.

Shampoos can be used up to three times a week. The course of treatment is 30-40 days and depends on the form of the disease. Shampoo is applied to wet hair, lather and rinse off immediately - this is necessary to cleanse the scalp from accumulated skin flakes. Then the product is reapplied, foamed with massaging movements and left for five minutes, after which the medicine must be washed off. Thus, the shampoo both cleanses the skin and has a therapeutic effect.

Between uses of the medicated shampoo, there is a need for frequent washing of hair that looks untidy due to the use of oily ointments. For daily shampooing for psoriasis, it is recommended to use baby shampoos with medicinal herbs in the composition - chamomile, calendula, sage. Preference should be given to products intended for children from the first days of life, since the composition of such shampoos is the most natural and safe.

Physiotherapy for psoriasis

Physiotherapy helps to increase the effectiveness of drug treatment. With psoriasis of the scalp, darsonvalization and PUVA therapy is considered the most effective and safe method.

The first method is based on exposure to currents of low frequencies. The procedure is performed using a special device with a comb-shaped electrode. Within 10 minutes, simply comb your hair with the included preparation. This effect improves metabolic processes and accelerates skin regeneration. Usually the course of treatment consists of 25 procedures.

One of the most popular treatments for psoriasis is PUVA therapy. It is a type of ultraviolet radiation. The result is an improvement in skin trophism, an increase in local immunity and stimulation of regeneration. The duration of treatment also consists of 20-25 procedures.

Folk remedies

Traditional medicine knows how to get rid of psoriasis on the head as soon as possible, but dermatologists warn that such remedies can only be used in addition to medication and physiotherapy.

folk remedies for psoriasis on the head

Folk remedies will complement traditional treatment, but will not replace it.

Therapeutic folk remedies for scalp psoriasis are based on the preparation of rinses and masks from natural ingredients. Below are the most effective recipes.

  1. Sea buckthorn oil mask with yolk improves metabolic processes and accelerates recovery. Such a remedy can be used only at the stage of plaque healing, since sea buckthorn oil significantly speeds up this process. Another unique property of the oil is the prevention of pigmentation disorders in the areas of skin lesions. To prepare the mask, heat the oil a little to a comfortable temperature, mix with one yolk and a spoonful of honey and apply on the scalp for 40 minutes.
  2. Another effective and safe remedy is a blue or green clay mask. Clay is rich in valuable micro- and macroelements, improves metabolic processes, saturates skin cells with useful substances and accelerates recovery. To prepare the mask, pour the clay with warm water, mix and apply on the skin for half an hour under a plastic cap.
  3. Turn 4 tablespoons of fresh celandine in a meat grinder, squeeze through cheesecloth. Mix the resulting juice with half a glass of red wine and use a cotton swab to apply on the plaques for 15 minutes, and then rinse with water. You can use fresh onion juice in the same way.
  4. Pour 150 ml of medical alcohol in two large spoons of dried celandine flowers, pour into a glass container with a lid and leave for ten days. The medicine is then used to treat the plaque. After applying the product, it should be washed off after 10 minutes. If you overexpose celandine tincture, you can burn your skin.

Such folk remedies for treating psoriasis on the head will help speed up recovery. Simultaneous treatment with medications, folk and tonic remedies shows a good result.

Lifestyle and prognosis

With psoriasis, you should reconsider your lifestyle and change your diet. It is necessary to minimize the consumption of allergenic foods, give up fast food, smoked and fatty foods. It is important to avoid stress, normalize sleep and work schedule. For psoriasis, spa treatment and climate change are recommended. Mud baths and mineral salts help to improve the condition of the skin.

The prognosis depends on the form of the disease and the methods of treatment. It is impossible to completely get rid of psoriasis, but properly selected therapy allows you to achieve long-term remission.

Preventive measures are to strengthen the nervous system and immunity, timely combat stress and a healthy lifestyle.