Psoriasis is a common skin disorder that causes raised, reddish, often scaly patches – and whilst not ‘curable’, it can certainly be well managed and significantly improved with the right treatment plan and specialist products. The patches can appear on any part of the skin – including the scalp, which can have a huge impact on the health and ‘look’ of the hair, sometimes spreading to the forehead, the back of your neck, or behind your ears. It’s currently thought that psoriasis affects between 2% - 3% of the UK population – that’s up to 1.8 million people.
Here, Consultant Trichologist, Eva Proudman MIT IAT, talks through some of the causes, treatment options as well as how to stay ahead of scalp psoriasis to help prevent periods of recurrence. Across a clinical career spanning more than two decades, Eva has successfully treated numerous men and women suffering with scalp psoriasis, and even featured two incredible case studies on the recent series, “The Hair Loss Clinic”, which can currently be found on the Discovery Channel’s ‘Really’ (the re-run began on 15 February 2023, streaming weekly every Wednesday at 10pm and Sundays at 9pm)
“Scalp Psoriasis is caused by the body producing skin cells at 5 times the normal rate, causing a psoriatic lesion, which is an accumulation of thick skin cells (interestingly, rate of hair growth is not increased with this condition). The clinical cause of psoriasis is unknown, however there is a link to a familial trait.
Scalp Psoriasis can be triggered by stress, skin damage, illness and bacterial infection, particularly throat infections. The use of certain medications such as antidepressants, blood pressure tablets, beta blockers and antimalarial drugs
If you decide to seek specialist health and a support, a Trichologist will usually start by performing a full and thorough consultation including medical history and lifestyle, before carrying out an examination of the scalp in order to confirm the condition.
From the initial examination the Trichologist will then be able to commence treatment, (usually as part of the first consultation) and this will usually comprise an application of a specially formulated ointment to the lesions only - not the unaffected surrounding scalp – followed by a steaming treatment of 10 minutes. As Trichologists we don’t use steroids on the scalp to thin off the excess skin – instead, our special ointment will soften and gently lift the skin, removing the build-up of skin cells and calming the scalp, leaving it much clearer.
We will then wash the hair and scalp with two specialist shampoos, which will further remove the built-up skin cells and calm the scalp, helping to combat itching.
It is important that you understand that when the treatment starts the condition may appear to become worse before it gets better! This is due to the removal of the build-up of dead skin cells and the slowing down of skin cell production which can take 2 - 4 weeks, depending upon the severity of the condition. A Trichologist will also be able the assess the extent of the psoriasis and determine how many additional scalp treatments are required. These will be on a regular basis to remove the build-up of skin cells.
In terms of ongoing treatment to support successful management of the condition, the Trichologist will advise on the specialist products to be used at home and the frequency to suit your individual condition and hair type. It is important that the recommended regime is followed at home to achieve the best control of this condition.
We understand that not everyone can attend clinic for ongoing treatment which is why we have developed our home treatment pack that contains everything you need to manage your scalp psoriasis at home it has the specialist ointment, home shampoo and conditioner and a brilliant reconditioner to help to bring your hair back to full health too, full instructions are included so that you can easily replicate the clinical treatment in your own home.
And finally, once under control, will it come back?
Unfortunately, Psoriasis can flare up from time to time, especially when the seasons change, or after ‘triggers’ such as illness, stress, childbirth or menopause. When this occurs, you will ideally need to visit the Trichologist again for a further, follow-up consultation to ensure the condition has not changed and they can treat the scalp to calm the flare up until you can resume with your home care regime.”
Check out The Hair Loss Clinic on Discovery’s ‘Really’ channel and Eva’s range of specialist hair and scalp treatments and supplements at: https://tricoextra.com/ and during March 2023 we are offering a £10 discount on the in home scalp treatment pack just use code TVHLCLINIC .