Scalp psoriasis and hair loss

Have you noticed the appearance of yellow or white patches on your head accompanied by severe itching? What if it's psoriasis?

A chronic inflammatory skin disease, psoriasis is thought to affect 2% to 3% of the world's population. This rate is similar in France, where the disease affects 2 to 4% of the population (source: https://www.resopso.fr/le-psoriasis-en-chiffres/). Scalp psoriasis accounts for around half of these cases (source: https://francepsoriasis.org/lassociation/documentation/fiches-conseil/psoriasis-du-cuir-chevelu/). Although not contagious, the most severe forms of this disease can be a real handicap in everyday life. This health problem is not to be taken lightly.

Still poorly understood, with no proven definitive treatment to date, sometimes disabling or traumatic in a social or professional context, this illness, which may be confused with seborrhoeic dermatitisIt can affect the scalp alone or other areas of the body at the same time.

A doctor or dermatologist will be able to tell you exactly whether you are suffering from psoriasis of the hair, psoriasis of the skin or psoriasis of the eyes.eczemapsoriasis, dermatitis or the simple appearance of dandruff on your scalp. While the symptoms are often easy to identify, the exact causes are more difficult to determine. The good news is that, on the one hand, psoriasis does not necessarily lead to hair loss and, on the other hand, treatments exist to soothe and slow down attacks.

THE SYMPTOMS OF PSORIASIS

They manifest themselves as flare-ups of plates white, red or yellow scales on the scalp, which constantly produce yellow-whitish scales that can degenerate if scratched, crusted dew. These scales are not to be confused with those of the seborrheic dermatitis due to mushroom malassezia, nor with ordinary dandruff caused by the fungus pityriasis.

The itching, If left unchecked, they can significantly damage the appearance of the affected areas. In this case, if you scratch, the plaque will spread and treatment will be that much longer and more difficult. As far as possible, refrain from scratching the skin of the skull: the more it is irritated, the more cell renewal will accelerate and the more the lesion will progress.

To the touch, the skin forms a thick patch of scales, often yellow or white in colour. Dandruff is dry. Each patch has well-defined edges. Often localised, these yellow or white patches are concentrated at the edge of the forehead, around the ears, at the very top of the neck, in short, at the limit of hair growth.

THE CAUSES OF PSORIASIS

As with psoriasis of the body, psoriasis of the scalp is caused by abnormally accelerated renewal of epidermal cells (keratinocytes). The origin of this acceleration remains poorly understood. It's a recurring disease from which you can never be sure of being cured, as recurrences are unpredictable, sometimes occurring after several years of recovery. Rest assured, although this pathology can be a source of stress and even trauma for some people, only extreme cases can have a serious impact on health.

There are three main explanations for the uncontrolled proliferation of epidermal cells: autoimmune, genetic and psychosomatic. To date, none of these three hypotheses has been clearly identified, although the familial hypothesis (heredity) seems important, especially in the case of associated co-morbidities. They may not be mutually exclusive, with the combination of the three representing the greatest likelihood of developing the disease.

In addition to these multi-factorial causes, and as with any other skin condition, stress is a definite aggravating factor: it encourages psoriasis flare-ups. In other words, while it has not been proven that psychosomatic factors are at the root of the condition, it is clear that they play an important role in the onset of the disease.

Other aggravating factors, such as certain types of medication (beta-blockers, for example), emotional or traumatic shock, as well as alcohol and smoking, are considered to be additional risk factors.

HOW TO TREAT SCALP PSORIASIS

Psoriasis in the hair is often irritating and can even cause serious lesions, so it's vital to treat it as soon as the first symptoms appear (a small white patch, a yellow crust that peels off). Even if there is no definitive treatment yet, there are effective solutions to combat its most unpleasant effects.

Topical treatment of scalp psoriasis

As there are - for the moment - no lifelong treatments for scalp psoriasis, the priority is often to soothe as quickly as possible the devastating effect of scalp itching generated by a psoriasis attack - an effect often aggravated by scratching, which increases the severity of the skin lesions.

Obviously, if we can reduce our consumption of tobacco and alcohol at the same time, and thus reduce the aggravating factors, so much the better, but it's difficult to combat chronic stress, as for fighting against our genetic heritage ...

The first treatment is to SOOTH the scalp. The ideal treatment is an emollient lotion, gentle enough not to aggravate the phenomenon but effective enough to gently remove the cellular waste that forms the flaky patches. Before shampooing, a vegetable oil - with or without a few drops of an essential oil chosen for its anti-inflammatory properties, for example - can be applied without rubbing to moisturise the skin and help eliminate the flakes.

Often, a shampoo (an antifungal shampoo often prescribed by your doctor or dermatologist) alone is not enough and, at Clauderer, we recommend a complete base treatment which includes :

  • a anti-inflammatory lotion purifying and purifying to rapidly reduce the urge to scratch (see "Purifying and purifying"). the Laits Clauderer with soothing, healing and antiseptic properties thanks to plant complexes specially formulated), acting in synergy with :
  • a shampoo to cleanse the scalp and gently wash the lengths (cf. Clauderer emulsions). Choose your shampoo carefully and check the ingredients, as some treatment shampoos - although effective - can be too abrasive over time on sensitive skin.
  • To optimise the effect of your skin care treatment, perform a massage when applying your milk.

Vitamin D

We also advise our customers suffering from scalp psoriasis to have a blood test prescribed to detect a possible deficiency in vitamin D. Supplementation (at the rate of one ampoule per month) easily makes up for this deficiency and, according to several studies, is said to improve psoriasis attacks.

In line with the above, the sun is so beneficial (in the majority of cases) for psoriasis of the body thanks to the immunomodulatory properties of vitamin D, but it has no proven influence on the symptoms of psoriasis of the scalp, as the hair acts as a screen against ultraviolet rays.

Your questions

Does psoriasis cause hair loss?  

Normally, psoriasis does not provoke hair lossThe condition remains superficial and does not affect the areas where the hair follicles are implanted, except in very serious cases or when people scratch themselves too much and pull out hair in patches. If the hair falls out too much, the cause should be sought elsewhere (cf. in-depth diagnosis).

How to treat scalp psoriasis - Grandma's recipe 

If you are suffering from severe itching, here is an effective supplementary recipe:

  1. Place a warm, damp towel on your head to soften the scalp for about a minute.
  2. Using a cotton pad, lightly rub the psoriasis patches with slightly warmed olive oil.
  3. Dissolve 100 mg of acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) in a tablespoon of water and apply to the patches. A good exfoliant, aspirin helps the scales to detach and relieves itching. Massage gently into the scalp. Use before shampooing.
Jean-François Cabos

Jean-François Cabos is the creator of a unique hair care method based on the research he coordinated, which led to the publication of the book "Cheveux, Racines de Vie" with Hélène Clauderer by Robert Laffont (Collection "Réponses/ Santé").

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