Can Scalp Psoriasis Cause Hair Loss?
Wondering if scalp psoriasis is the reason your hair keeps falling out? If you know for sure psoriasis is to blame for the itchy, silver plaque on your scalp, then odds are good you can blame it for your hair loss, too.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that any loss of hair caused by scalp psoriasis is temporary. When this flare clears up, your hair will grow back, and you can focus on finding better prevention methods for the future.
So what can you do to keep your hair where it belongs? The first step is to understand the link between psoriasis and hair loss. When you know why your hair keeps falling out, you and your doctor have a better chance at devising an effective prevention strategy.
So read on. We’re about to explain why you may be losing your hair, how your lifestyle could be making things worse, and how to fix the problem.
What is Scalp Psoriasis?
First, make sure scalp psoriasis is definitely the problem. There are several other skin conditions that might cause your hair to fall out. These include lupus, folliculitis, cellulitis, and ringworm.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder in which your body generates skin cells at an accelerated rate. This build-up of cells takes the form of plaque—a raised patch of dry, scaly, and inflamed skin. Plaque is often itchy and silver in color.
Scalp psoriasis appears specifically on the forehead, back of the neck, behind the ears, and—you guessed it—on the scalp. This condition may include symptoms such as:
- Inflamed lesions
- Red, scaly patches
- Cracking and bleeding
- Burning or pain
- Hair loss
These symptoms range from mild and barely noticeable to extreme and miserable.
It’s also worth noting that it’s common to initially mistake scalp psoriasis for dandruff. When the condition is new or mild, the silvery scales that flake off your scalp may only be distinguishable from dandruff by their sheen.
Even with all this insight, it’s important to consult with a doctor about your scalp condition. Have a medical professional confirm that you do have psoriasis before you pursue treatment.
Now that we’ve clarified what scalp psoriasis is, let’s clarify why it’s wreaking havoc on your mane.
Why Scalp Psoriasis Could Cause Temporary Hair Loss
If your hair is falling out because of your psoriasis, rest assured that it’s only temporary. It’s also a symptom that is likely caused by one of two things:
- A recent flare-up
- Your current psoriasis treatment plan
In other words, scalp psoriasis does not directly cause hair loss the way it causes plaque. Merely having this skin condition does not doom you to eventual baldness.
Rather, hair loss often occurs due to frequent scratching or the forceful removal of scales. There are also certain treatments that could make your hair more vulnerable to breakage. Medicated shampoos are common culprits, as they can damage or dry out your hair.
How to Prevent Hair Loss?
So, how do you get around these issues?
The first step is to do what you can to ease the symptoms of your scalp psoriasis. When you treat dryness and itch, you’re less likely to scratch and pick at your scalp. This can do wonders toward protecting and preserving your hair.
Take a close look at your day-to-day lifestyle. Look for any bad habits that make it harder for you to manage your psoriasis. Try making adjustments such as:
- Alternate medicated and regular shampoos from wash to wash.
- Always use a conditioner to lock in moisture.
- Air dry your hair instead of using a blow dryer. Blow drying can dry out your skin and promote flares.
- Avoid scalp psoriasis triggers to keep flare-ups at bay.
- Talk to your dermatologist about effective methods for moisturizing your scalp.
- Use a gentle combing or brushing technique to loosen and remove scale. Picking and pulling at plaque removes hair as well as scale.
- Keep your fingernails short to prevent damage from absent-minded scratching.
If these preventative measures don’t help with your hair loss problem, it might be time to take a closer look at your treatment methods.
Is Your Treatment Part of the Problem?
It will probably take some trial and error to strike the perfect balance between treating scalp psoriasis and nurturing your hair.
Medicated shampoos tend to be hard on your hair. Psoriasis can be a challenging skin condition, and the products designed to combat it often contain harsh ingredients. This is especially true for medicated shampoos. The skin on your scalp is thick, which means it requires aggressive treatment.
Another culprit might be an over-the-counter product containing salicylic acid. This is an acid that breaks down scales but also causes breakage in your hair.
If you think your scalp psoriasis treatment might be to blame for your hair loss, talk to your doctor about alternative options.
But whatever option you try next, be assured that psoriasis treatment is a journey. Finding the right formula for your skin takes time and patience, but it doesn’t mean you’re hopeless. And if there’s anything we at Delfina Skin can do to help you explore the possibilities, please let us know.