Manhattan Dermatology Specialists
  • MIDTOWN 56 W 45TH ST, STE 819 New York, NY 10036
  • UPPER EAST SIDE 983 PARK AVE, STE 1D1 New York, NY 10028
  • UNION SQUARE 55 W. 17TH ST STE 103 New York, NY 10011

Scalp Psoriasis

Scalp PsoriasisScalp psoriasis can be uncomfortable, painful, and embarrassing. A specialized form of psoriasis, scalp psoriasis is also one of the more misunderstood skin disorders today. It’s not due to bad hygiene or using the wrong shampoo; it happens when your skin rapidly multiplies and creates irritated areas on your scalp. The cells can multiply up to 10 times faster than normal.

Scalp psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that may plague you for only a few years or could continue for your entire life. It can be a consistent problem, or it can come and go in aggressive flare-ups. While it’s not contagious, it can be unsightly and lead to self-esteem issues.

It’s frequently uncomfortable and often painful. Because it’s misdiagnosed as dry skin, eczema, or dandruff, it can get worse without proper treatment. Make an appointment with your Manhattan dermatologist to create a treatment plan to both keep symptoms to a minimum and reduce the number of flare-ups.

Psoriasis should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by a physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan as it may be a symptom or sign of a serious illness or condition.

Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis is characterized by red areas of skin growth that have white or silvery scales on top. It can be embarrassing, as skin flakes off and becomes caught in your hair. This condition is itchy and can become painful if not treated.

If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your dermatologist in New York City. It’s very difficult to get rid of without medical intervention. Additionally, your dermatologist can give you recommendations to reduce painful flare-ups.

Scalp Psoriasis Causes

Scalp psoriasis is a skin disease that’s completely different for each person. Little is understood about what causes the symptoms, severity, and frequency of this disease. Some possible causes of scalp psoriasis include:

  • Genetics: About eight percent of people with psoriasis report family members with the same condition.
  • Environmental factors: These factors include lifestyle, stress, medications, injuries, and infections. Remember that how you live affects your entire health.


Scalp psoriasis is an aggravating and often painful disease that can be difficult to diagnose. It can look similar to other diseases such as rashes, eczema, or fungal infections. Only a dermatology specialist can accurately diagnose the condition.

Make an appointment with your New York City dermatologist as soon as you experience symptoms. As with most skin conditions, the earlier you treat the issue, the easier it is to reduce side effects and prevent future complications.

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Scalp Psoriasis

You can make a number of changes in your diet and lifestyle that help reduce the frequency and severity of scalp psoriasis outbreaks. Your dermatologist in midtown Manhattan can direct you to the most helpful for you, depending on your personal condition and body. For example, some alternatives may include:

  • Dietary supplements: Omega 3 oils, vitamin D, aloe, primrose oil, and milk thistle are thought to help with scalp psoriasis.
  • Eat healthful foods: Diet is extremely important in managing scalp psoriasis. Some foods can actually be a trigger and make your psoriasis worse. Others can help and reduce symptoms. Reduce or eliminate bad fats and processed food.
  • Reduce alcohol intake: Alcohol can be a trigger for all types of psoriasis.
  • Reduce stress: Stress is one of the most common triggers for psoriasis. Try reducing stressful things in your life and incorporating meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga.
  • Incorporate turmeric into your diet: Turmeric has been shown to minimize symptoms and flare-ups for all forms of psoriasis. Add a little to your meals or take supplements.
  • Don’t smoke: Smoking increases your likelihood of developing psoriasis and making symptoms more severe.

Treating Scalp Psoriasis

There are a number of treatments for psoriasis that can help with flare-ups and symptoms. For mild scalp psoriasis, try:

  • Coal tar shampoos: Used as directed, they reduce itching and inflammation.
  • Salicylic acid topicals: These topicals soften scales and make them easier to remove.
  • Topical steroid solutions: These reduce inflammation in the scalp.
  • Intralesional steroid injections: Done at your dermatologist’s office, these shots reduce inflammation.

For moderate or severe scalp psoriasis, try these suggestions:

  • Anthralin cream: This natural product was derived from goa powder.
  • Calcipotriene cream: This topical ointment has lots of vitamin D.
  • Tazarotene gel: This topical contains a lot of vitamin A.
  • Oral medications: Your dermatologist may use these in conjunction with topical treatments.
  • Biologics: Injectable medications that block a component of the immune system involved in the development of psoriasis.

No single treatment is better than the others. Scalp psoriasis is a condition that differs from person to person in such a way that you need a personalized treatment plan to get and keep your psoriasis under control. Your doctor determine the best treatment based on your condition. Find more detailed information about all these scalp psoriasis treatments.

Psoriasis should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by a physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan as it may be a symptom or sign of a serious illness or condition.

Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not definitive medical advice. Please consult dermatologist NYC about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified dermatology doctor or pediatric dermatologist could determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Updated on Mar 7, 2023 by Dr. Susan Bard (Dermatologist), Manhattan Dermatology Specialists Locations: Manhattan Dermatology (Upper East Side) 983 Park Ave, Ste 1D1, NY 10028
(212) 427-8750
Manhattan Dermatology (Midtown) 56 W 45th St, Ste 819, NY 10036
(212) 889-2402
Manhattan Dermatology (Union Square) 55 W 17th St, Ste 103, NY 10011
(212) 378-9984
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY The information on this website is to provide general information. The information on this website does NOT reflect definitive medical advice and self diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a physician for a consultation and examination regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs you may be having. An accurate diagnosis and treatment plan should only be made by your physician in order to exclude a serious condition.
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