What Does Scalp Psoriasis Look Like?

It can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between conditions like dandruff, dry skin, and scalp psoriasis. If you do have scalp psoriasis, it is important to see a dermatologist to talk over treatment options. However, many people understandably do not want to spend time and money in a doctor’s office unnecessarily.

If you are wondering whether your dry, itchy scalp is caused by psoriasis, there are some specific symptoms you can look for to help you make an educated guess. Psoriasis can be similar to many other common skin conditions, but there are a few notable characteristics that set psoriasis apart from ailments like dandruff.

If you are trying to diagnose scalp psoriasis, we will go over some symptoms to look for below. Remember, this is not a substitute for medical advice and you should seek guidance from a doctor if you are experiencing intense pain, burning, or bleeding of the scalp.

Scalp Psoriasis Vs. Dandruff

Both dandruff and psoriasis can cause itchiness, skin flakes, and general irritation. However, dandruff in general tends to be milder than scalp psoriasis and certain symptoms of psoriasis are not associated with dandruff.

Skin flaking is one of the most common signs of dandruff. You may notice white flakes on your clothing if you experience dandruff, often accompanied by mild itching. While psoriasis can cause skin flaking as well, it is much more common in cases of dandruff.

Scalp Psoriasis

Psoriasis generally causes more intense itching, although mild scalp psoriasis may feel similar to dandruff. The itchiness will generally persist longer, however, while dandruff may go away within a few days. Severe scalp psoriasis can cause burning and pain, neither of which are associated with dandruff.

You can also differentiate between psoriasis and dandruff by examining your scalp. Red or white scales are a telltale sign of psoriasis. Dandruff usually does not cause rashes. Although, if you have been scratching your scalp, you may notice some mild skin irritation.

Common Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis

If you can rule out dandruff as the likely culprit, look out for the following symptoms of scalp psoriasis:

  • Red, bumpy patches on the scalp
  • Burning, irritation, and intense itching
  • Soreness
  • Bleeding on the scalp.

Again, if you have been scratching excessively, this can cause symptoms like redness and bleeding. However, red and scaly patches are rarely caused by itching alone.

Scalp Psoriasis

Another symptom associated with scalp psoriasis is hair loss. If you notice your hair is getting thinner or start to find strands of hair around your house, you may be suffering from scalp psoriasis.

However, hair loss can be caused by more serious medical conditions. If you are experiencing significant hair loss, make an appointment with a doctor.

Treatment Options

There are many effective means to treat scalp psoriasis. In fact, mild cases can usually be treated with over-the-counter products.

Medicated shampoos, hair gels, and lotions can often be used to treat scalp psoriasis. They can be purchased without a prescription at most pharmacies. These products contain medications like salicylic acid and coal tar that help reduce psoriasis symptoms for some patients.

Severe cases may require prescription medications. These are often topical steroids that you apply directly to your scalp. Some oral medications can also be used on psoriasis.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your dermatologist may recommend in-office treatments like phototherapy. During phototherapy, a clinician applies laser or non-laser light to the scalp. Some evidence indicates light exposure can reduce symptoms of psoriasis.

While the above treatments can be helpful for many, all of them carry the potential for side effects. Even over-the-counter topical treatments can cause redness, bleeding, irritation, and hair loss. In fact, some treatments make psoriasis worse.


For this reason, many prefer more natural options. Delfina Dry Skin Oil is one of the most effective treatment for scalp psoriasis and has to know side effects. 

Delfina works by penetrating the skin’s layers to stimulate hydration.

Delfina is a simple spray-on oil you apply twice a day for at least 14 days and then continue applying weekly. Patients with scalp psoriasis have reported dramatic improvement in symptoms when using Delfina. Learn more about how Delfina works here and see patient success stories here

Scalp Psoriasis: The Bottom Line

While mild cases of scalp psoriasis can be very similar to conditions like dandruff, several distinguishing symptoms can help you tell the two apart. The presence of scaly red patches is one distinct symptom of psoriasis.

While psoriasis can be a painful and at times frustrating condition, there are many treatment options to help you relieve symptoms, Delfina Dry Skin Oil being the most effective choice.

If you suspect you have scalp psoriasis, see a dermatologist for an official diagnosis. As always, we are here if you have any questions about scalp psoriasis or any other skincare issues.