Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects up to 7.5 million Americans. Psoriasis is a chronic disease that most commonly presents as red scaly patches on the ski and psoriasis flare ups come and go. Unfortunately, there is no cure, but there are ways to manage the flareups when they occur and decrease their likely hood of experiencing them through lifestyle changes. While psoriasis can occur on all parts of the body, psoriasis of the scalp is one of the most common, with a 2016 paper estimating that 80% of those with psoriasis will have a flareup on the scalp[i].
For those experiencing scalp psoriasis, hair loss is a common complaint. However, is psoriasis causing the hair loss? Psoriasis itself does not cause hair loss and the good news is that hair loss associated with psoriasis is typically completely reversible. Psoriasis patches are often itchy and when you are scratching your scalp you can damage the hair and hair follicles, which causes the hair to fall out. Stress can also cause hair loss, and when people breakout in psoriasis patches, especially in visible areas, it can be stressful. As we mentioned, the hair loss is almost always reversible once the psoriasis has cleared up and you are no longer scratching your scalp or feeling excess stress, although there are treatments that we would recommend to improve the health of your hair and speed up the growth.
While psoriasis is not curable, there are ways to manage the flareups. If we have patients with psoriasis, we take a multi-treatment approach including Nizoral 2% shampoo, Clobetasol Propionate 0.05% topical solution, and olive oil or coconut oil scalp treatments. If a patient is scheduled for Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy and scalp psoriasis is present, we would have the patient complete a psoriasis treatment protocol and reevaluate in two weeks to see if the psoriasis has resolved. We will not complete Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy treatments until the scalp psoriasis has completely resolved.
If you are experiencing a psoriasis flareup it is important to seek treatment and if you think you are experiencing hair loss from psoriasis it is important to speak with a hair loss specialist as well.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
[i] Blakely, Kim and Melinda Gooderham. “Management of scalp psoriasis: current perspectives” Psoriasis (Auckland, N.Z.) vol. 6 33-40. 29 Mar. 2016, doi:10.2147/PTT.S85330