How to Prevent Hair Loss due to Scalp Psoriasis
As if patients who suffer from scalp psoriasis needed one more thing to feel self-conscious about, hair loss can sometimes happen. However, the root cause of hair loss is not the skin condition. Therefore, by understanding what the causes are, you can prevent hair loss from happening. And rest assured, if hair loss does occur, it will probably only be temporary.
If scalp psoriasis isn’t directly responsible for hair loss, what is?
- Forcefully removing scales. In severe cases of scalp psoriasis, very thick scales can develop. Forcefully removing these scales often loosens the hairs along with the scales.
- Frequent scratching. For many patients, the condition is extremely itchy and they often find themselves scratching their scalp. Repetitive pulling can cause hairs to fall out too.
- Harsh treatments. Some times, if a treatment is too harsh, hair loss can occur. Medicines or shampoos that use salicylic acid have been linked to hair loss.
- Stress. Scalp psoriasis causes many patients to feel embarrassed and ashamed. These emotions, combined with constant worry about treatment and potential flare-ups, add huge amounts of stress to a person’s life. Stress is a well-known cause of hair loss.
Tips for controlling scalp psoriasis and preventing hair loss
The best way to prevent hair loss is to effectively manage the scalp psoriasis.
- Remove scales by gently combing and brushing. Loosening and removing scales is necessary for treatment. However, they must be removed gently. Picking the scales will only aggravate the skin, cause flare-ups, and remove hairs.
- Make sure you are treating the scalp. When you apply topical psoriasis medication, make sure the treatment penetrates to the scalp and doesn’t simply sit on the hair.
- Ask about alternate treatment options. The skin on the scalp is thick; therefore, medication needs to be strong in order to be effective. If you feel the medication you are using is too strong, ask your doctor about an alternative. There are lots of treatment options; switching to another may be just as effective but save your precious locks in the meantime.
If you have tried everything possible to hang on to your hair but nothing seems to stop the shedding, see a dermatologist. It may be possible that your hair loss has nothing to do with the psoriasis.
Other hair health tips
Consider these additional ways to show love to your locks.
- Rotate shampoos. Use a medicated shampoo one day and non-medicated shampoo the next. This will reduce the chances of over-drying your scalp and hair. Before you try this though, make sure you get the ok from your doctor.
- Always use conditioner. This will help keep the scalp (and hair) moisturized. Also, it will help reduce the odor of tar shampoo.
- Avoid the hair dryer. For scalp psoriasis patients, the scalp is extremely dry. Using a hair dryer will make it worse. Instead, let you hair air dry.
- Discuss hair styling options with your doctor. Sure, adding color to your hair, trying out a perm, or straightening it can give your already fragile self-esteem a boost. However, these chemicals involved in these processes can irritate scalp psoriasis. Run your hair styling plans past your doctor before visiting the salon.
- Cut your finger nails. Scratching is inevitable. If you have short nails, you won’t do as much damage.
Take care of your entire self, not just your hair
If you haven’t already, consider joining a psoriasis support group. The psychological impact of hair loss (even temporary) can be dramatic. Meet with other psoriasis patients to share common experiences and ease feelings of loneliness.
In the midst of a psoriasis flare-up, it may be difficult to alleviate your anxiety. However, take comfort in the fact that it is rare for anyone to suffer from severe scalp psoriasis for long. And once the flare-up is under control, your hair will resume its natural growth phase.
Guest blogger Dr. Frank Wood is a Tampa, Florida hair transplant doctor. Before specializing in hair transplantation, Dr. Wood helped patients with non-surgical hair restoration. Many of his patients suffered from scalp psoriasis. Luckily, they were able to find ways to reverse hair loss before transplantation was needed.