Psoriasis Home > Scalp Psoriasis

Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis

Most cases of scalp psoriasis causes patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales. These patches can itch or feel sore. Scalp psoriasis can extend beyond the hairline, to the back of the ears, or around the neck.
In some cases of severe scalp psoriasis, temporary hair loss may occur. Scalp psoriasis does not, however, result in balding.
Besides the scalp, psoriasis is often found on the elbows, knees, other parts of the legs, lower back, face, palms, and soles of the feet. However, psoriasis can also show up on other places such as fingernails, toenails, genitals, and inside the mouth.
(Click Symptoms of Psoriasis for more information about scalp psoriasis symptoms.)

Making a Diagnosis

A scalp psoriasis diagnosis is usually made by examining the area of skin that is affected. Scalp psoriasis can be difficult to diagnose because it can look like other skin diseases (seborrheic dermatitis). The doctor might need to look at a small skin sample under a microscope.
(Click Psoriasis Diagnosis for more information about diagnosing psoriasis.)

Treatment Options for Scalp Psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis treatment will depend on:
  • How serious the scalp psoriasis is
  • The size of the scalp psoriasis patches
  • Whether the psoriasis is located on other parts of the body
  • How the patient reacts to certain treatments.
Scalp psoriasis treatment is sometimes called the "1-2-3" approach.
  • Step 1 uses psoriasis medication applied to the skin (topical psoriasis treatment)
  • Step 2 uses light treatments (see Light Therapy for Psoriasis)
  • Step 3 involves taking psoriasis medication (by mouth or injection) that treats the whole immune system (this is called systemic therapy).
Not all treatments work the same for everyone. Doctors may switch scalp psoriasis treatments if one doesn't work, if there is a bad reaction, or if the treatment stops working.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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