A Practical Guide for Scalp Psoriasis



For those struggling with scalp psoriasis here are a few tips:



  1. A change in texture might be your first clue. If your scalp feels bumpy or bristly be sure to speak to a hair care professional or your doctor to check for psoriasis. These bumps or bristles you feel might turn out to be the scales associated with psoriasis.
  2. Avoid shampoos that will aggravate your symptoms. Shampoos that contain alcohol for example are not appropriate to use when you have scalp psoriasis as it could dry out your skin. Shampoos containing salicylic acid are a better option as it can help with the symptoms of psoriasis1.
  3. You may not have to worry about hair loss. Psoriasis should not lead to alopecia2. Hair should still be able to grow through the scales. However those scales might have a harder time falling off as the grown in hair will help them stay in place. Your doctor may suggest using treatment shampoos or ointments to remove these scales.
  4. Your psoriasis may not stay in just one location3. Ensure to keep an eye on other areas that psoriasis can be found, such as knees, elbows or nails.
  5. Watch out for triggers. Alcohol and smoking can increase the risk of developing psoriasis in women4. Individuals with mothers that smoked during pregnancy and who were exposed to secondhand smoke during childhood are also at a greater risk5.
  6. You do not need to deal with this condition alone. There are societies you can join to help get the resources and support you need.
  7. Get treated to help manage your condition. There are lots of treatment options. [link to treatment blog] If you don’t treat your psoriasis, your quality of life might be impacted. Psoriasis has been linked to difficulties in the workplace and negative emotions like shame, anger and annoyance6. So ensure to speak with your doctor about what treatments are best suited for you.

Article by: Sarah Versteeg MSc, Mediprobe Research Inc. 

  1. van de Kerkhof PC, Franssen ME. Psoriasis of the scalp. Diagnosis and management. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2001;2(3):159–65.
  2. Krueger G, Christophers E. Dermatology in general medicine. Psoriasis. New York: McGrawhill Book Co.; 1987. 461-97 p.
  3. Merola JF, Li T, Li W-Q, Cho E, Qureshi AA. Prevalence of psoriasis phenotypes among men and women in the USA. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2016 Feb 18;
  4. Qureshi AA, Dominguez PL, Choi HK, Han J, Curhan G. Alcohol intake and risk of incident psoriasis in US women: a prospective study. Arch Dermatol. 2010 Dec;146(12):1364–9.
  5. Setty AR, Curhan G, Choi HK. Smoking and the risk of psoriasis in women: Nurses’ Health Study II. Am J Med. 2007 Nov;120(11):953–9.
  6. Sampogna F, Tabolli S, Abeni D, IDI Multipurpose Psoriasis Research on Vital Experiences (IMPROVE) investigators. Living with psoriasis: prevalence of shame, anger, worry, and problems in daily activities and social life. Acta Derm Venereol. 2012 May;92(3):299–303.