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What is Psoriasis of the Scalp?

Psoriasis of the scalp is a skin condition that appears as thick patches with silvery scales and redness. Various areas of the scalp can be involved ranging from a single spot to covering the entire scalp. In some individuals the disorder can be localized to the scalp only or it can be associated with psoriasis lesions on other parts of the body.  Most individuals with psoriasis of the scalp do not develop hair loss

What is the cause of Psoriasis of the Scalp?

There is no known cause.

What are the symptoms and findings?

Skin cells proliferate too quickly so that they build up excessively which results in thick mounds of scaling on the scalp. If an attempt is made to scratch out the flaky areas, pinpoint bleeding can occur. While most individuals with psoriasis of the scalp do not have itching, some do and it ranges from mild to severe.

How is it diagnosed?

A dermatologist can usually diagnose psoriasis of the scalp visually.

What tests are needed?

No tests are usually needed.

What is the expected duration?

There is no cure for psoriasis, so it can be lifelong. However, it can be controlled with medical treatment and go into periods of inactivity. Flare ups can happen because of weather changes, stressful life events or irritation of the scalp.

How can it be prevented?

There is no way to prevent psoriasis of the scalp. Avoiding cold weather, using a humidifier, and using medications on the scalp can help to minimize flare ups.


Treatment for the scalp can include topical and/or injectable steroids, topical vitamin D, ultraviolet B light therapy, as well as biologic drugs when more extensive areas of the body are involved as well.

When to contact a professional

A dermatologist should be consulted when there are persistent thick, scaly areas with redness or extreme itching on the scalp.


Successful treatment can take a few weeks up to a year. Flare ups are common so the need for repeat treatment is commonly required.

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