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  5. Scalp Psoriasis: Symptoms, Causes & Ayurvedic Treatments

Have you noticed silvery-red scaly patches on your scalp? Do they cause itchiness and bleed at times? Then you probably have scalp psoriasis.

Scalp psoriasis is a common inflammatory condition [1] that is often mistaken as dandruff. However, it may have severe effects, if left untreated. Besides medical treatments, you can resort to natural remedies to prevent its symptoms.

Let’s take a closer look at what causes scalp psoriasis and how you can treat it effectively.

What Is Scalp Psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis is a skin condition that involves an excessive build-up of dead skin cells on your scalp. These build-ups form scaly patches that crack, itch, and bleed.

“The forehead, neckline, and back of the ears are the most common regions affected by scalp psoriasis,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.

What Does Psoriasis Look Like On Your Scalp?

Scalp psoriasis can appear as a single patch or multiple patches in silver or red color all over your scalp. Often, it is a plaque type of psoriasis.

psoriasis on human scalp

What Triggers Scalp Psoriasis?

Scientists claim that scalp psoriasis is caused due to malfunctioning of your immune system. It is an autoimmune disorder in which your body produces an excessive number of T cells that begin to attack healthy skin cells on your scalp. This leads to the build-up of dead skin cells as plaques on your inflamed scalp tissue.

Some of the common factors that may trigger or increase the risk of developing scalp psoriasis are:

  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Stress
  • Alcohol addiction
  • Smoking
  • Skin injuries
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Certain medications that contain beta-blockers, lithium, iodides, antimalarial drugs, etc. [3]

Researchers estimate that about 2-3 percent of the world population is affected by psoriasis [2].

What Are The Symptoms Of Scalp Psoriasis?

Mild scalp psoriasis has signs of fine scaling on your scalp. Whereas moderate to severe scalp psoriasis may have the following symptoms:

  • Dry scalp with dandruff-like flaking
  • Itchy scalp
  • Silvery-white scales
  • Red and bumpy patches
  • Burning sensation
  • Hair loss, etc.

Is Scalp Psoriasis Curable?

Though there is no definitive cure for scalp psoriasis, Ayurvedic treatments, and OTC medications can help you control the inflammation and other symptoms, besides preventing the spread of psoriasis to other regions.

How To Cure Scalp Psoriasis?

1. Ayurvedic Treatment For Scalp Psoriasis

In Ayurveda, scalp psoriasis can be correlated to the condition of 'Ekakushta', which is the result of vitiation in all the three doshas, mainly Kapha and Vata doshas in your body.

Ayurvedic treatments for scalp psoriasis includes:

Ghritapana: It involves oral administration of medicated herbal ghee.

Ghee formulations used:

A. Panchatikta ghrita

B. Mahatiktaka ghrita

C. Guggulu tiktaka ghrita, etc.

Vamana:

It involves emesis procedures to flush out toxins (ama) from your body. However, virechana or purgation can also be carried out by your Ayurvedic doctor if needed.

Shamana Aushadha: It involves both internal and topical herbal medications.

A. Herbs For Topical Hair Care Regimen

Based on your elevated doshas, pick hair oils and shampoos which contain any of the following herbs to control your scalp psoriasis:

  • Nimba: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
  • Sariva: It balances all the three doshas.
  • Chandana: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
  • Patola: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
  • Vasaka: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
  • Madanaphala: It balances Kapha and Vata.
  • Haridra: It balances all the three doshas.
  • Kutaja: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
  • Daruharidra: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
  • Amalaki: It balances all three doshas.
  • Yashtimadhu: It balances Vata and Pitta doshas.
  • Guduchi: It balances all three doshas.
  • Raktachandana: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
  • Manjistha: It balances Kapha and Pitta.
  • Khadira: It balances Kapha and Pitta.

B. Internal Medications

  • Maha tiktaka kashayam
  • Guggulu tiktaka kashayam
  • Patolakaturohinyadi kashayam
  • Arogyavardhini
  • Vasaguduchyadi kashaya
  • Kaishore guggulu
  • Amritadi guggulu
  • Patolamooladi kashayam
  • Padavaladi gana kashayam
  • Gandhaka rasayana
  • Vasaguluchyadi kashayam, etc.

Your Ayurvedic doctor may prescribe you internal medicine based on your doshas and severity of scalp psoriasis.

Vedix Tip: Exposing your scalp to natural sunlight during the morning for some time may help you reduce scalp psoriasis.

2. Home Remedies

A. Aloe Vera

Apply aloe vera gel on the affected area and wash it off after 15 minutes. It helps in reducing the inflammation, itchiness, redness, and flaking caused by scalp psoriasis.

B. Baking Soda

Add a spoon of baking soda to a glass of water and apply the solution to the affected areas. Wait for half an hour and then wash your scalp. It relieves you from severe itching and inflammation.

C. Apple Cider Vinegar

Mix water and apple cider vinegar in a 1:1 ratio and rinse your scalp with the solution. Leave it for half an hour and then have a final rinse with normal water. It relieves you from scalp irritation. However, you should not use apple cider vinegar if your scalp has bleeding cracks.

D. Tea Tree Oil

Add a few drops of tea tree oil[4] to your hair oil and shampoo. This helps in controlling inflammation in your scalp tissues.

E. Epsom Salt

Dissolve a spoon of Epsom salt into a mug of water and let your scalp soak it for 10 minutes. Later, have a head bath using a neem-based shampoo.

3. Foods To Eat/Avoid

Foods to include in your diet to reduce scalp psoriasis as per Ayurveda:

  • Red rice (raktashali)
  • Warm water (sukhodaka)
  • Green gram (mugda)
  • Bitter and astringent food (tikta-kashaya rasa): Bitter gourds, green beans, turnips, legumes, turmeric, basil, pomegranate, carrots, sprouts, spinach, etc.

Foods to avoid in your diet when you have scalp psoriasis:

  • Incompatible foods (viruddhahara)
  • Spicy food (vidari ahara)
  • Black gram (masha)
  • Dairy
  • Sour foods (amla ahara)
  • Alcohol
  • Garlic
  • Fish

4. Other Treatments

A. OTC Medications

  • Medicated shampoos
  • Medicated oils
  • Ointments

B. Oral Medications

  • Corticosteroids[5]
  • Methotrexate
  • Cyclosporine
  • Apremilast
  • Vitamin A derivatives such as Soriatane

Your doctor may even consider injecting certain steroids into the affected areas to treat scalp psoriasis. However, these medications have serious side effects such as liver and kidney issues.

C. Homeopathy Medications

  • Sulfur
  • Nickel

Can Scalp Psoriasis Cause Hair Loss?

“Scalp psoriasis may not directly cause hair loss. However, scratching, picking the scales, and increased stress levels about psoriasis can result in temporary hair loss. Your hair grows back after treating your scalp psoriasis,” says Dr. Zeel.

Frequently Asked Questions About Scalp Psoriasis

A. Is Scalp Psoriasis Contagious?

No. Scalp psoriasis does not spread from person to person. Often, its rash-like appearance makes people think of it as a contagious scalp condition.

B. How Long Does Scalp Psoriasis Last?

The recovery period of scalp psoriasis can be different for different people and it is highly unpredictable. In general, scalp psoriasis can last for 1 month to 1 year.

C. Does Picking Scalp Psoriasis Make It Worse?

Yes. Picking the scalp psoriasis plaques or scratching causes irritation on your scalp. This may even trigger new flares on other regions of the scalp.

D. Should You Wash Your Hair Everyday If You Have Scalp Psoriasis?

No. Washing your scalp every day may result in more dryness on your scalp, which can trigger a flare-up of the condition.

“A medicated or herbal hair wash twice or thrice a week is good enough to keep your scalp psoriasis in control,” says Dr. Zeel.

Important Note:

Please do not administer any herbal or medical treatments mentioned in this article without consulting your doctor or Ayurvedic practitioner.

The Last Word

Scalp psoriasis is mostly influenced by your genetics, stress and lifestyle. Hence, it’s important to practice healthy lifestyle routines. Besides, a dosha-balancing hair care regimen, stress free lifestyle and a well-balanced diet are essential to keep your immune system healthy, that in turn reduces the risk of scalp psoriasis condition.

At Vedix, we analyze your doshas based on a simple questionnaire and customize an Ayurvedic hair care routine that addresses your unique hair problems.

Know Your Dosha Now

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