Scalp Psoriasis: Is It the Cause of Your Thinning Hair?

Scalp Psoriasis: Is It the Cause of Your Thinning Hair?

An itchy buildup of thin, silvery scales on your head could be a sign of scalp psoriasis. This skin disease is known to interfere with the health of hair follicles and for its intense itch. As dead skin cells collect around hair follicles, itching increases. With repeated scratching and picking of the affected area, skin lesions form, and the inflamed hair follicles cause hairs to fall out.

Your success in treating thinning hair rests in finding the cause of the problem. If you suspect scalp psoriasis, then like most cases of dandruff, your hair loss episode is reversible and treatable.

The Link Between Hair Thinning and Scalp Psoriasis

There are many causes of hair thinning in men and women, and scalp psoriasis is one of them. In most cases, abnormal hair shedding is temporary and not genetic, like the hereditary thinning of androgenetic alopecia. More common types of hair thinning seen today develop from medical conditions that directly affect the skin of the scalp.

Telogen effluvium is the term used to describe hair loss that affects your hair-growth cycle. Disruption in this cycle is caused by a variety of health and hormonal changes including autoimmune responses like scalp psoriasis.

Psoriasis affects more than seven million people in America, with cases ranging from mild to severe. The condition causes silvery scales known as plaques to collect around hair follicles. You may scratch your head to relieve the itching caused by a scaly build up. This natural response to the itch could cause your hair to fall out. In mild to moderate cases, scalp psoriasis is often poorly treated or overlooked.

Effective Treatment Options in the Control of Dandruff

Scalp psoriasis is a specific type of dandruff. Out of all cases of hair loss, dandruff is the most easily treated cause of hair thinning.

A specialist will recommend a course of treatment for your psoriasis that may involve topical treatments, systemic medications, laser therapy, and others. A list of topical treatments for scalp psoriasis include:

Steroid creams and foams

Overnight ointments


Medicated shampoos containing ingredients such as ketoconazole, zinc, selenium, or coal tar

Several over-the-counter treatment options also provide effective relief for a red, itchy scalp. The ingredient salicylic acid is a popular topical treatment that breaks down the scales. When choosing a product containing salicylic acid, keep in mind that regular use of the ingredient can cause your hair to break off, adding to the problem of hair thinning.

Scalp psoriasis can directly affect the fullness of your hair and must be managed to prevent severe conditions that can damage hair follicles.