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Treating Scalp Psoriasis

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Systemic Treatments and UV Light

If you have moderate to severe psoriasis elsewhere on your body, one of these medications may help:

  • Methotrexate slows an enzyme involved in the rapid growth of skin cells.
  • Oral retinoids help control the growth of cells.
  • Cyclosporine lowers the immune system function, and therefore helps to reduce the inflammation of psoriasis.
  • Biologics target specific parts of the immune system that are overactive in psoriasis.

Talk with your doctor about the potential side effects of these treatments.

Ultraviolet (UV) light is another treatment option. Hair can block the light from reaching your scalp, so if you have thick hair, it may help to part it in rows. Hand-held devices (UV combs) can directly deliver a higher dose of light to your scalp.

What to Do for Infection

If your scalp psoriasis becomes infected, you may have crusting, tenderness, and sometimes swelling of your lymph nodes. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic treatment for this problem.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on September 20, 2014

Sources

SOURCES:

National Psoriasis Foundation: "Specific locations: scalp," "Scalp Psoriasis," and "Over-the-Counter (OTC) Topicals," "Traditional systemic medications," "Moderate to severe psoriasis: Biologic drugs."

Handa, S. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, 2010.

Skin Therapy Letter: "Treatments for Scalp Psoriasis with Emphasis on Calcipotriol Plus Betamethasone Dipropionate Gel (Xamiol)."

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