Mild Scalp Psoriasis Treatments
In cases of mild scalp psoriasis, topical applications containing coal tar or salicylic acid may be recommended. These come in different forms including medicated shampoos and ointments, and are applied directly to the affected area of the scalp.
Medicated shampoos work differently depending on their active ingredient. Coal tar can slow the growth of skin cells, break down excess skin and soothe itching. Salicylic acid helps the outer layer of skin to shed and softens scaling. Other active ingredients such as clobetasol propionate and zinc pyrithione may also be effective in treating scalp psoriasis symptoms. For thick scaly areas, an overnight treatment of salicylic acid or coconut oil may be applied and then washed off with a medicated shampoo.
If the condition is mild and only affects a few areas, steroid injections may be used to treat scalp lesions, however these are used sparingly. There are also a number of herbal and natural remedies which may ease the symptoms of mild scalp psoriasis when applied to the area. Creams containing 0.5% aloe vera for example may help to reduce itching, flaking and redness to some degree.
Moderate to Severe Scalp Psoriasis Treatment
If your symptoms are moderate or severe, you may be prescribed a topical treatment such as Antharalin, Dovonex, Taclonex or Tazorac, which all work to slow the growth of skin cells. Some can also help to flatten lesions and remove scale from the scalp area too.
Systemic medications are a further option, however these are not generally recommended for psoriasis that is isolated to the scalp area. They may be used if the condition is present in other areas of the body, or if other treatments have been ineffective. Systemic medications can range from oral tablets and liquids to injections and intravenous infusions.
Phototherapy, or light therapy, may also be prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis. During this treatment the skin is exposed to ultraviolet light in order to reduce inflammation and slow the production of skin. This treatment can be used on a single affected area, such as the scalp, or across the whole body if needed. Excimer laser treatment is thought to be particularly effective for scalp psoriasis.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of scalp psoriasis and would like more information on the treatment options available to you, speak to a healthcare professional.
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