Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the epidermis. The pathology is not contagious, as it is caused not by infectious causes, but by an autoimmune disease. The disease is characterized by excessive division of skin cells, which leads to the formation of dense plaques. Inflammation affects any part of the body. Scalp psoriasis is a fairly common form of the disease. The peculiarity of the localization of rashes on the head is the complexity of the treatment. This form of psoriasis often becomes the cause of the development of complexes and dissatisfaction with oneself, as it is visible to others. Elements of the rash do not look aesthetically pleasing and require timely treatment.
The reasons for the development of the disease
Scalp psoriasis develops for the same reasons as skin lesions on the body. The factors that act as a stimulus for the appearance of plaques on the skin can be:
- prolonged exposure to the sun;
- allergic reaction;
- damage to the skin;
- decreased immunity.
Stress aggravates many diseases, including psoriasis.
Regardless of the reasons that triggered the development of the first episode of the disease, psoriasis is always accompanied by excessive division of epidermal cells, which explains the appearance of the elements of the rash. This is due to the body's autoimmune response, which causes an immune attack on the skin cells.
The disease is characterized by a wavy course with periods of exacerbation and remission. Doctors often call the pathology a psychosomatic disorder, since exacerbations of psoriasis are directly related to the patient's psychoemotional state.
Stress, lack of sleep, fatigue, lack of vitamins in the body can provoke an extraordinary exacerbation and the appearance of new elements of the rash.
Despite the repellent appearance of the rash, psoriasis is by no means contagious, as it is the result of internal ailments, but not infections or viruses.
Despite the fact that doctors have not yet identified the exact cause of the development of the disease, most are inclined to believe that psoriasis is the result of systemic disorders in the body caused by an imbalance of hormones, nervous system instability and metabolic processes, malnutrition and cold weather.
Symptoms of psoriasis
Psoriasis on the head begins with the appearance of dense nodules that are outwardly invisible. Over time, the nodules merge with each other, forming islands. The skin around the clusters of rash elements swells and becomes inflamed, dry crusts and scaly areas may appear.
Over time, the nodules become dense and flat, peeling begins on their surface with the formation of large scales, similar in shape and structure to dandruff.
Scalp psoriasis is most often localized in the temporal region, behind the ears, on the neck and along the hairline. Peels and plaques often form along the separation.
The disease can occur at any age. Most often, the first episode of psoriasis occurs during puberty and before the age of 20 or over 35.
Scalp psoriasis is classified according to the severity of symptoms. The mild form of the disease is characterized by the formation of isolated foci of inflammation and moderate desquamation. Rashes with this form do not affect and respond well to drug treatment.
For a severe course of psoriasis on the head, a photo of which allows you to assess the severity of symptoms, the entire head, hair growth zone and the back of the neck are characteristic. The elements of the rash are large, the scales are very large and visible to the naked eye.
Scalp psoriasis can affect both the scalp and the surrounding skin.
Timely diagnosis plays an important role in scalp psoriasis. An experienced dermatologist will make a diagnosis already during an external examination of the patient. The difficulty lies in the fact that many patients do not go to the doctor, not knowing what psoriasis on the scalp looks like and mistaking it for dandruff. It is important to remember that early stage psoriasis on the head responds quite well to treatment, however, the lack of timely therapy will inevitably lead to disease progression and damage to more and more areas of the skin.
If you find the first symptoms of scalp damage, you should consult a doctor, because if psoriasis is diagnosed, treatment should be comprehensive and timely.
Stages of the disease
Regardless of the localization of the rash, psoriasis of the scalp and skin of the body always proceeds in several stages. The first stage is an exacerbation of the disease. During this period, new papules are formed on the skin, excessive division of epidermal cells is noted. The papules fuse into large lesions, which are then transformed into plaques and those, in turn, begin to peel off. The duration of an exacerbation depends on a number of factors and can last up to several months. During this time, the elements of the rash cover the scalp, the epidermis around the ears and on the neck and can descend to the back. Scalp psoriasis is often accompanied by focal lesions of the skin on the body.
The second stage of the disease is stationary. During this period, the progression of the disease stops, the number of elements of the rash does not change, the disease stops spreading to healthy areas of the skin. During the stationary phase, literally nothing happens: the plates do not increase in size, but neither do they decrease. The peeling remains the same, the epidermis appears thick and inflamed. This phase can take several months.
The next stage is the culling of the disease. During this period, the inflammatory process subsides, peeling stops, as the division of epidermal cells stops. The plaques gradually become softer, decrease in size, and then completely disappear. With proper skin care, after recovery from the disease, not even a trace remains, however, very often, areas with impaired pigmentation are formed at the site of the plaques.
Then comes remission, during which the skin appears absolutely healthy. The duration of remission depends on the lifestyle and general health of the patient. It does not last forever, as psoriasis does not go away, it only subsides temporarily. The subsequent exacerbation can occur in a few months or years due to stress, climate change, or decreased immunity. With the subsequent exacerbation, psoriasis again proceeds in several stages, starting with the appearance of new papules, ending with a decrease in the size of the plaques and complete restoration of the skin.
In mild forms, psoriasis can easily be confused with dandruff.
Diagnosis of the disease
Psoriatic rashes on the head can appear in both adults and children, since psoriasis in a child is not uncommon. It is important to timely detect the onset of the pathological process and visit a dermatologist.
The scraping method is used to diagnose the disease. The affected epidermis reacts to local damage with a number of specific signs that are characteristic only of psoriasis.
When scraped, the scales fall off with dandruff without causing pain, itching or discomfort. As a result of prolonged exposure and cleaning of the plaque from keratinized particles, a thin film of skin is found under the scales. It is inflamed, tinged with a bright pink color, and glows like a stearin stain. If this film is damaged, tiny droplets of blood appear on the surface of the plaque, indicating damage to capillaries that are too close under the skin.
This epidermal reaction is known as the "psoriatic triad" and is a unique symptom of this disease, which allows for accurate diagnosis without laboratory tests.
Principle of treatment
A dermatologist will consult in detail on how to treat psoriasis on the head. The fact is that everyone's disease manifests itself in his own way, so there is no universal treatment regimen that is suitable for all patients without exception.
The goal of psoriasis therapy is to stop the progression of the disease, improve the appearance of the skin and achieve lasting remission. As the practice of doctors shows, a properly selected treatment regimen allows you to forget about the disease for several years.
An integrated approach to the treatment of psoriasis is practiced, which includes:
- the use of hormonal ointments to relieve inflammation;
- use non-hormonal drugs to relieve symptoms;
- physiotherapy to accelerate skin recovery;
- dietary changes and spa procedures.
The basis of treatment is drugs for external use, which are applied to the foci of inflammation. In some cases, the treatment is supplemented by taking psoriasis pills on the head, preference is given to immunostimulating drugs and vitamin drugs.
It is impossible to cure psoriasis, but getting rid of its manifestations for a long time is quite possible
Traditionally, dermatologists prescribe two types of skin treatments: non-hormonal ointments and glucocorticoid preparations.
Glucocorticoid ointments are used in short courses at the stage of exacerbation of the disease. They help stop inflammation and reduce the rate of disease progression, allowing an exacerbation to stop quickly. However, these drugs are not safe. They penetrate the general bloodstream and have a systemic effect on the body, causing disruptions in the functioning of the liver, kidneys and adrenal glands. Hormonal ointments are selected only by a dermatologist. Today, many doctors are moving away from the use of glucocorticoid drugs in the treatment of psoriasis, noting their short-term effect.
The main lines of the fight against the disease are physiotherapy, non-hormonal ointments and lifestyle changes.
Non-hormonal drugs are divided into several groups:
- prepared with naftalan and solidol;
- ointments with tar;
- preparations with sulfur;
- zinc based creams.
Such ointments have keratolytic properties, that is, they contribute to the exfoliation of keratinized particles of the epidermis. All ointments do not have a systemic effect on the body and have a fat base, thanks to which they quickly soften the plaques.
Birch and coal tar ointments are recommended for patients with oily scalp. Such funds stop the inflammatory process and increase local immunity, preventing further cell division in the affected area.
Ointments with naphthalene and solid oil are used for very dry plaques with a large number of detachable scales. Their main goal is to prevent the spread of the pathological process on healthy skin. They effectively soften the affected areas and improve the overall appearance of the epidermis, while providing an anti-inflammatory effect.
Preparations with zinc exfoliate the skin and protect against secondary infections. They are used for any form of scalp psoriasis, as they act quickly and gently. Sulfur tar ointment, ointment with sulfur and zinc - these drugs are suitable for most patients and quickly have a pronounced therapeutic effect.
The advantage of non-hormonal drugs is their natural composition, the absence of contraindications and side effects. Such drugs can also be used to treat young children, as they do not have a systemic effect on the body.
The advantage of natural ointments is harmlessness
The course of treatment lasts an average of 20 days, the ointment is applied up to three times a day. The disadvantage of treating the scalp with ointments is the untidy appearance of the hair, as all drugs are oily and quickly stain the hair. An alternative is special medicinal shampoos, however, as practice shows, the best therapeutic effect is achieved with the simultaneous use of shampoos and ointments.
When treating psoriasis on the head at home, an important role is played by general strengthening therapy. Dermatologists say that it is not enough to collect psoriasis ointments on the head, it is necessary to take measures to strengthen the whole body as a whole.
Complex therapy includes:
- antidepressants and tranquilizers;
Since the exacerbation of psoriasis is always accompanied by stress and disruption of the nervous system, sedatives and tranquilizers play an important role. The goal of such therapy is to minimize the destructive effects of stress, improve sleep, restore normal functioning of the nervous system and normalize mood. Sedatives include drugs, alcoholic tinctures of valerian, peony, and motherwort. The drugs are available without a prescription and are mild drugs that can help normalize sleep and relieve stress. For depression, neurosis and other mental disorders that appear against the background of psoriasis, you should consult a neurologist about the appointment of powerful drugs such as tranquilizers and antidepressants.
In addition, vitamins (A, C, E, group B) are prescribed. Their goal is to normalize the activity of the nervous system, the antioxidant effect, accelerate skin regeneration and normalize immunity. Preparations with antioxidants in the composition help to remove toxins from the body, restore skin regeneration and protect cells from negative influences.
Vitamins are indispensable for treatment.
Immunostimulants should be used, but only as directed by a doctor. Self-administration of such drugs can adversely affect health and aggravate the course of the disease.
Cytostatics and retinoids block the excessive division of epidermal cells, acting from the inside. Due to the large number of contraindications and side effects, such drugs are prescribed by a dermatologist after a comprehensive examination.
Shampoo for psoriasis
Despite the fact that the first line of treatment consists of ointments for psoriasis on the head, special shampoos are necessarily used. They help both treat psoriasis on the scalp and provide a gentle cleansing of the epidermis without overdrying.
You can use hypoallergenic baby shampoos for a gentle cleansing of the scalp.
Shampoos can be used up to three times a week. The course of treatment is 30-40 days and depends on the form of the disease. Shampoo is applied to wet hair, soaps and rinses immediately - this is necessary to clean the scalp from accumulated skin flakes. Then the product is reapplied, foamed with massaging movements and left for five minutes, after which the medicine must be washed off. Thus, the shampoo cleanses the skin and has a therapeutic effect.
Among the applications of medicated shampoo, there is a need for frequent washing of the hair, which appears untidy due to the use of oily ointments. For daily shampoo for psoriasis, it is recommended to use baby shampoos with medicinal herbs in the composition: chamomile, calendula, sage. Preference should be given to products intended for children from the first days of life, since the composition of such shampoos is the most natural and safe.
Physiotherapy for psoriasis
Physiotherapy helps to increase the effectiveness of drug treatment. With scalp psoriasis, darsonvaluation and PUVA therapy are considered the most effective and safe method.
The first method is based on exposure to currents of low frequencies. The procedure is carried out using a special device with a comb-shaped electrode. Within 10 minutes, simply comb your hair with the included preparation. This effect improves metabolic processes and accelerates skin regeneration. Usually the course of treatment consists of 25 procedures.
One of the most popular treatments for psoriasis is PUVA therapy. It is a type of ultraviolet radiation. The result is an improvement in skin trophism, an increase in local immunity and a stimulation of regeneration. The duration of treatment also includes 20-25 procedures.
Traditional medicine knows how to get rid of psoriasis on the head as soon as possible, but dermatologists warn that such remedies can only be used in addition to medications and physiotherapy.
Folk remedies will complement traditional treatment, but will not replace it.
Traditional remedies for scalp psoriasis are based on the preparation of rinses and masks with natural ingredients. The most effective recipes are listed below.
- Sea buckthorn oil mask with yolk improves metabolic processes and accelerates recovery. Such a remedy can only be used at the plaque healing stage, since sea buckthorn oil significantly accelerates this process. Another unique property of the oil is the prevention of pigmentation disorders in skin lesion areas. To prepare the mask, heat the oil a little to a comfortable temperature, mix with an egg yolk and a spoonful of honey and apply to the scalp for 40 minutes.
- Another effective and safe remedy is a blue or green clay mask. Clay is rich in valuable micro and macro elements, improves metabolic processes, saturates skin cells with useful substances and accelerates recovery. To prepare the mask, pour the clay with warm water, mix and apply to the skin for half an hour under a plastic cap.
- Turn 4 tablespoons of fresh celandine in a meat grinder, squeeze through cheesecloth. Mix the resulting juice with half a glass of red wine and use a cotton swab to apply to the plates for 15 minutes, then rinse with water. Fresh onion juice can be used in the same way.
- Pour 150 ml of medical alcohol into two large spoons of dried celandine flowers, pour into a glass container with a lid and leave for ten days. The medicine is then used to treat plaque. After applying the product, it should be washed off after 10 minutes. If you overexpose the celandine tincture, you can burn your skin.
Such folk remedies for the treatment of psoriasis on the head will help speed up recovery. Simultaneous treatment with drugs, folk remedies and tonics shows a good result.
Lifestyle and prognosis
With psoriasis, you should reconsider your lifestyle and change your diet. It is necessary to minimize the consumption of allergenic foods, give up fast food, smoked and fatty foods. It is important to avoid stress, normalize sleep and work schedule. For psoriasis, spa treatments and climate change are recommended. Mud and mineral salts help improve the condition of the skin.
The prognosis depends on the form of the disease and the methods of treatment. It is impossible to completely get rid of psoriasis, but properly selected therapy allows you to achieve long-term remission.
Preventive measures serve to strengthen the nervous system and immunity, timely combat stress and a healthy lifestyle.