Many people haven’t heard of psoriasis, though it’s actually a common skin condition, affecting more than 125 million people worldwide. Some people experience hair loss in bald patches. But is there a correlation between psoriasis and hair loss? The short answer is, no. Here, we go into more detail.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that most often affects the skin and the scalp. It manifests in scaly red patches known as plaques that cause discomfort and itching. The most common areas to see it are on the elbows, knees, feet, hands, nail beds, neck, ears, and scalp. Psoriasis is not contagious and it varies in level of severity.
The causes are not yet known but research is on-going. What we do know is that the white blood cells of an individual with psoriasis attack normal skin cells, instead of fighting foreign bodies that enter the bloodstream. When healthy skin cells are attacked, there’s an overproduction of skin cells to replace the damaged ones. These excess skin cells are pushed to the surface of the skin, forming visible, scaly patches.
How Do I Identify Psoriasis On The Scalp?
Psoriasis plaques are typically silvery, scale-like, red patches. Hair loss sometimes occurs within these patches, but it’s only temporary. Some people may experience bald patches, while others only experience scaly skin. Having it on the scalp does not mean that you will experience hair loss.
What Causes Hair Loss In Psoriasis?
Temporary hair loss occurs as a result of scratching the scalp, because it loosens the plaques that cause the hair to fall out. When plaques flake-off, the hair can sometimes come out in tandem. Again, psoriasis does not cause hair loss, hair loss typically comes from aggressive brushing or scratching the scalp.
Special shampoos containing chemicals like salicylic acid are used to treat it and can also cause the hair to fall out. After treatment, when the skin clears, the hair grows back.
Psoriasis can affect a person’s quality of life in many ways. Most people experience dry, itchy skin that can bleed when scratched, along with swelling and stiffness in their joints. Many people who have it are often embarrassed by its appearance and engaging in social situations can be uncomfortable. Luckily, there are a variety of different treatments that can help alleviate the side effects and prevent hair loss and discomfort.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to heat, especially on inflamed scalp. Hairdryers and styling tools can irritate it more easily.
- Use conditioner to keep your hair and scalp moisturized. Products that contain menthol work well for cooling the scalp.
- Place an ice pack onto the irritated part(s) of the skin.
- It may also be beneficial to consider a few lifestyle changes like the removal of some “triggers,” like alcohol intake, diet, stress level, and even weather.
Psoriasis is frustrating. If you are suffering with psoriasis or simply have questions about it, contact Siperstein Dermatology to book an appointment and discuss your treatment options with one of our board-certified dermatologists, today.