Scalp psoriasis is one of the most common types of psoriasis. 80% of patients with psoriasis are affected by it.1 Psoriasis on the scalp may look like dandruff on the surface. In reality, scalp psoriasis is red, thickened plaques covered by silver-white scales. It can cross the hairline and extend beyond the scalp. Sometimes, these patches can be visible on the forehead, behind the ears, to the back of the neck.2
A usual sign of scalp psoriasis is itching. Itching can be mild or severe; it can be bearable or unbearable (to a point it interrupts your daily routine and causes sleepless nights). Scratching of the scalp is a strong no-no, let alone intense scratching — this could cause hair loss.3 However, getting your hair back is possible once scalp psoriasis clears.
Scalp psoriasis impacts both men and women equally. It can cause great physical and social distress.
There are various ways to manage flare-ups and the appearance of it. So you can ease up when you go on a date, go to a wedding, or attend any special occasion. Ideally, you should start treatment as early as possible, as soon as you notice a rash on your scalp. Discover six tips to manage flare-ups on special occasions when you don’t have months to spare.
6 Tips That You Need To Manage Scalp Psoriasis On Special Occasions
Tip 1: Camouflage Flare-ups Through Different Hairstyles
Style your hair with mousse, gel or hairspray, but don’t let it touch your scalp. Avoid using products that contain alcohol, preservatives, fragrance and irritants that could irritate your scalp. Don’t apply products with alcohol on the wound. That can hurt and sting.
Tip 2: Mask Symptoms With Stylish Headwear
Hats or caps are great for an effortless style. They flatter your features, and they are totally fashionable. In addition, refrain from activities that can cause you to sweat. A sweaty forehead could aggravate your scalp psoriasis. Remove your headwear. Wipe off the sweat before it traps, gathers, and dries out under your headwear. Otherwise, you will end up with an itchy scalp.
Tip 3: Moisturisers Infused With Salicylic Acid
Psoriasis leaves your skin dry and scaly. Use moisturising shampoos, moisturisers, or lotions that are infused with salicylic acid to remove scales. Make sure that they’re preservative-free, fragrance-free and alcohol-free. Products that contain alcohol are ill-advised; they dry out your skin and worsen your psoriasis.
Tip 4: Makeup To Cover Up Psoriasis
Makeup helps you look and feel your best. Before you apply makeup, cleanse your face and apply moisturiser. Only use makeup products that are gentle on the skin: non-preservative, non-fragrance, and non-alcohol ones. Removing them immediately after you come home is imperative.
Tip 5: Go Gentle On Personal Care
Grooming. If you’re after a clean shave or neat eyebrows, you’re allowed to shave or tweeze yourself gently. As long as you don’t injure the top layer of your skin. If your skin experiences any minor trauma, it will set off the Koebner phenomenon (a situation that can trigger new areas of psoriasis). Scratching your scalp, getting shave cuts, or eyebrow-threading cuts can provoke a flare-up.
Tip 6: Treatments That Minimise And Treat Lesions
Lesions are essentially inflamed skin areas. There are many options for inflammation relief depending on your severity. For mild psoriasis, topical creams that contain steroid and Vitamin D may help. Scalp psoriasis can be stubborn. For moderate to severe psoriasis, talk to your dermatologist before starting on phototherapy, biologic medicines, or injections.4
Small Steps Make Big Differences
Living with psoriasis presents unique challenges, but every challenge is an opportunity in disguise. Follow these six tips to manage scalp psoriasis on special occasions. Now you’ll have a look that will take you through the day, into the night, or even on a date.
What has been your most effective way of managing your psoriasis flare-ups? Do you have any advice for others who are similarly affected? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook!
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Dr Ch’ng obtained his specialty training from the Royal College of Physicians in London. Subsequently, he obtained his Advanced Masters in Dermatology from the National University of Malaysia. He was previously the Head of Dermatology of the State of Pahang and Hospital Sungai Buloh.
His call to dermatology started way before he even contemplated doing medicine. His father suffered from severe psoriasis, and was in and out of hospital a lot in the late 1970s. His father’s condition made him see that skin disease is not just an aesthetic problem, as it can cause the patient and the entire family so much grief. His practice today reaffirms his belief, with many patients expressing deep relief and gratitude after their treatment.
Place of Practice
Dr. Ch'ng is a NSR registered consultant dermatologist. She graduated as a gold medalist from Univeristy Malaya in 2006. She obtained Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physician of the United Kingdom in 2010 and joined dermatology team in University Malaya in the same year. She completed Advanced Master in Dermatology (UKM) in 2014 and a visiting fellowship in Cutaneous Laser Surgery in Mahidol University (Thailand) in 2017. Her special interest include acne, psoriasis, urticaria, contact dermatitis/eczema and procedural dermatology.
Dr. Ch'ng started her instagram account @cccskindoc providing free skin care tips and education to public. She believes everyone deserves up-to-date and accurate information on skin care to embrace the skin that he or she is in.
Place of Practice
Dr Khor graduated from National University of Malaysia (UKM), Kuala Lumpur in 2002. He obtained his Internal Medicine specialty training from the Royal College of Physicians of London in 2007 and further subspecialized in Dermatology by obtaining his Advanced Master in Dermatology from UKM in 2013. Dr Khor served as the Head of Dermatology service for Perlis from 2013 to 2015 before transferring back to Penang. Currently, he is the Deputy Head of Department of Dermatology in Hospital Pulau Pinang. He is also a visiting consultant dermatologist at KPJ Penang Specialist Hospital and Northern Skin Specialist Clinic.
Dr Khor is active in academic activities, performing as an honorary lecturer for Allianze University College of Medical Sciences and Penang Medical College. He is active in research as well with the publication of original papers in dermatological journals and serves as a reviewer for Malaysian Journal of Dermatology. His dedication to the profession earned him Excellent Service Award from the Ministry of Health in 2009 and 2017.
Place of Practice