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Scalp Psoriasis: Does It Cause Hair Loss?

By Manjari Bansal
Worried about scalp psoriasis hair loss? Here’s what medical professionals have to say about it.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, 45% to 56% of people with psoriasis have scalp psoriasis. It may occur in patches or cover the entire scalp. You may experience scalp psoriasis hair loss but it is usually temporary and hair regrows once psoriasis clears.

Can Psoriasis Cause Hair Loss?

Scalp psoriasis may extend beyond the scalp and appear on the forehead, back of the neck, or behind the ears. The scalp becomes dry, itchy and there is the formation of silvery-white scales and dandruff-like flaking. If you scratch your scalp a lot or forcefully pick the scales, it may cause hair loss. “While the disease does not specifically target hair follicles, hair loss is a bystander effect. The intense inflammation associated with psoriatic skin lesion can loosen follicle, while frequent scratching and manipulation may cause hair loss,” Adam Mamelak, MD, dermatologist and founder of Sanova Dermatology in Austin, Texas, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, here are some precautions you may take, to prevent hair loss:

  • Gently comb your hair to remove the scales
  • Avoid itching and picking scales from the scalp
  • Clip your nails and file them
  • Use shampoo and conditioner as advised by your doctor
  • Shampoo your hair gently without scrubbing or scratching
  • Avoid using a hairdryer

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, if you have mild psoriasis, over-the-counter (OTC) products may give you relief. The two main chemicals of OTC products are Salicylic acid and Tar. If OTC products are not helping you, your doctor may prescribe topical treatments like medicated shampoos and topical steroids. 

“Intralesional steroid injections may also be used to treat stubborn lesions. Finally, systemic agents such as immune-suppressing oral medications and biologic therapies may be used to treat scalp and widespread skin and joint disease,” Mamelak says.  

The key to preventing hair loss due to scalp psoriasis is to treat psoriasis. Once the symptoms are under control, hair usually grows back. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, it is tricky to find the right treatment for scalp psoriasis because everyone responds differently to treatments. 

“You and your doctor can come up with the best course of action to calm psoriasis flares and maintain hair,” Scott Paviol, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Paviol Dermatology in Charlotte, North Carolina, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

The Earlier You Treat Hair Loss, The Better.

The earlier you address the symptoms of hair loss, the more likely you are to avoid irreversible damage. Get the answers you need to start treatment today.