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Scalp psoriasis: Tips for managing


How to apply scalp medications

There are many safe and effective treatments for scalp conditions, such as alopecia areata, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis. However, applying these medications can be tricky if you don’t have the proper technique. To apply solutions and foams, follow these tips from board-certified dermatologists.

To help their patients get maximum benefit from treatment for scalp psoriasis, dermatologists often share the following tips with their patients:

  1. Try not to scratch your scalp. Dermatologists realize that scalp psoriasis can be extremely itchy. Scratching, however, can make the psoriasis worse. Scratching can cause the scalp to bleed. It also can cause hair loss, which can become noticeable.

  2. Relieve the itch by treating the psoriasis. When the psoriasis clears, the itch will stop. If that’s too long to wait, tell your dermatologist that the itch is unbearable.

  3. Shampoo gently. Rubbing a shampoo into the scalp may seem best, but it’s not. Rubbing, scrubbing, and scratching your scalp tend to make scalp psoriasis worse.

  4. Remove scale with care. To treat scalp psoriasis, you need to loosen and remove the scale on your scalp. You must do this gently. Picking can cause psoriasis to flare. Picking also can cause hair loss.

  5. Dermatologists recommend using a scale softener. A scale softener that contains salicylic acid can soften the thick, stubborn patches of psoriasis. Softening these patches also allows medicine that you apply to the psoriasis to work better. When applying medicine to your scalp, be sure to lift your hair out of the way. This helps ensure that you apply the medicine to your scalp and not your hair.

  6. Try not to stress out. A psoriasis flare-up can be stressful. Feeling stressed, however, can make matters worse. Stress can worsen psoriasis. Stress can cause the hair on your head to fall out. Finding ways to unwind can do wonders.


All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology.

Supported in part by Novartis.

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