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Psoriasis Health Center

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Scalp Psoriasis

Office Treatments

If you have mild scalp psoriasis on a few areas, your doctor or dermatologist may consider injecting steroids directly into those areas.

If your symptoms don’t respond to topical treatments, phototherapy with a laser or non-laser light source may help. For example, the excimer laser focuses high-intensity light on affected areas and avoids the surrounding healthy skin. Ultraviolet (UV) light -- sometimes delivered with a hand-held device called a UV comb -- can be used to treat the entire scalp. If you have very thin hair, or a shaved head, your doctor may recommend that you go out in natural sunlight for brief periods.

Medications for Severe Scalp Psoriasis

If you have moderate to severe scalp psoriasis, your doctor may prescribe a drug you take by mouth or one that's injected or pumped through a needle into a vein. Oral medications include:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Cyclosporine
  • Methotrexate
  • A strong form of vitamin A, called a derivative
  • Vitamin D derivative

Since these medications can cause serious side effects, including liver damage, they require a doctor’s close eye. It's also important to know that oral vitamin derivatives are different from -- and more powerful than -- vitamin supplements bought over the counter. Ordinary vitamin A and D supplements do not help.

The latest class of FDA-approved medications are called biologics. These drugs, which you get by injection or IV, may keep your skin from making too many cells. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, five biologics may work:

Living With Scalp Psoriasis

There is no cure, but many treatments can help symptoms, control flare-ups, and prevent it from coming back. People who follow their treatment plan rarely have to endure severe scalp psoriasis for long.

Psoriasis support groups can also offer valuable tips to help medical treatments work better and ease the stress and sadness that this common condition can cause.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on August 26, 2014

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