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Psoriasis of the scalp can be a major challenge as response to topical medication are often unsatisfactory. About 50-80% of  patients  with psoriasis  might develope scalp psoriasis.  Sometimes it may lead patients to avoid social gatherings and be embarrassed, isolated and depressed.

There are many emerging therapies which might help controlling the symptoms and signs of scalp psoriasis but despite a range of therapy options, scalp psoriasis still remains difficult to treat. So the  treatment is aimed at relieving the symptoms and signs  and controlling flare-ups. The therapy  includes the use of medicated shampoos,topical medications and phototherapy.

For mild cases medicated shampoos are the most common choice of treatment. These includes coal tar shampoos,Salicylic acid shampoos and some Corticosteroid shampoos. Tar products and salicylic acid with or without steroids lotion or shampoos are generally sufficient for treating  mild cases of scalp psoriasis.

For severe cases more potent therapy and alternative therapy might required. If your scaling is thick, it is necessary to first remove the scales and then apply topical medication. For better response apply any keratolytic gel to a hydrated scalp and then cover it with an occlusive plastic shower cap for several hours or overnight. This help loosen the scales. After that a steriod lotion or solution can be applied under a shower cap for the rest of the night or without occlusion during the day.

Alternately, chronic thick plaques may be treated as the following:

  • Apply anthralin ( Psoriatec,Dritho-Scalp ) or phenol/saline lotion or 5% salicylic acid in hydrophilic  ointment on the scalp and leave it overnight.
  • Use Tar shampoos in the morning.

Reapply the preparation as for overnight during the day until scaling is decrease. when scaling is decrease, substitute a steriods lotion or solution with other mild therapy.

How do I use tar shampoos on the scalp?

  • Massage tar shampoo into the scalp and leave it on for about five minutes before rinsing it off to allow for maximum absorption of the tar.
  • Tar creams, gels and solution can be massage into scalp an left overnight.
  • Remember, tar shampoos or other medicated shampoos are specially designed for the scalp, and not the hair. So take special precaution on using it as it may sometime damage your hair. For longer use you can use normal cosmetic shampoo or conditioner after your scalp treatment  to reduce the side effects and smell of the medicated shampoo .

1 Comment

  1. Jamie
    April 8, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    I have had trouble with psoriasis and scalp psoriasis for many years. I find myself itching it all the time. I have tried many different shampoos never with any huge success. I use aloe vera shampoos to try and calm flare ups and try not to get stresses about
    things because that seems to be a primary cause. If anyone wants to talk about this condition please don’t hesitate to contact me.


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