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Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes round, circular, red patches to appear on the skin. Once these red flat patches appear a layer of silvery white scales then build up over these reddened areas. The scales of psoriasis often become very thick and are pretty difficult to remove without some form of treatment.

With psoriasis, once a layer of the silvery scales come away from the skin, another layer re-appears really quickly; hence the continuous build up of dead skin in singular plaques that is so typical of psoriasis.

Psoriasis runs in families, psoriasis is thought to be linked to the auto-immune system - the white blood cells of the body may attack normal skin cells and cause an over-division or over-growth of skin cells.

Psoriasis most often appears on elbows, knees and over the scalp, joint areas are the most common site of the body where psoriasis can be found. Quite frequently, although not solely, psoriasis appears alongside arthritis; what with psoriasis and arthritis both being auto-immune linked.

Can Psoriasis Cause Hair Loss?

When psoriasis appears on the scalp, hair loss can occur if the psoriasis isnít treated or managed correctly. Sometimes this hair loss can be permanent if the hair follicles become damaged. However, with most cases, once the condition of psoriasis has been treated and is maintained hair growth will improve immediately.

At The Hair Clinic and during the initial consultation an assessment of the extent of psoriasis will be carried out under high magnification, a prognosis of hair re-growth will also be made at this time by determining the extent of hair follicle damage, if any.

The trichologist will ensure that there are no secondary infections involved with scalp psoriasis. Sometimes, secondary bacterial problems are present with scalp psoriasis, especially if the psoriasis hasnít been handled with care or hasnít been treated successfully. It is particularly easy for these problems to occur if the scales of the psoriasis are picked at with finger nails for instance.

Once any secondary problems are spotted, a treatment regime will be recommended to clear any minor infections and then the removal of the heavy build-up of scaling will begin. The next stage of psoriasis treatment is to then control the cell division rates of the skin as much as possible; this is usually possible through regular use of scalp care shampoos and creams.

What Can The Hair Clinic Do For Scalp Psoriasis?

Our trichologist recommends a non-steroid treatment; this avoids any long term side effects that may occur with regular use of skin applied steroids that may otherwise be recommended by a GP or dermatologist. This approach is gentler on the skin and hair and can be of great help in the prevention of the re-occurrence of scalp psoriasis.

Individual hair care advice will be given based on the exact needs of the individual case of scalp psoriasis. Several pointers will be suggested by the trichologist in the prevention of triggering a bout of scalp psoriasis.

Itís amazing how many simple hair care products that we all use without thinking about can also be irritating to scalp psoriasis. Instruction on selection and application of these hair care products will be advised by the trichologist.

Dietary advice is given for scalp psoriasis conditions as well. Certain types of foods found in an average diet may contribute to an outbreak of psoriasis. During an initial consultation, diet patterns will be discussed with the trichologist and suggestions will be made, it could turn out that some food types that can disturb psoriasis are present to a high degree at most mealtimes.

ďStressĒ is often a contributing factor with psoriasis; it may assist an outbreak of psoriasis if the stress issue is a long running problem. Learning simple relaxation techniques may help with chronic scalp psoriasis sufferers. These techniques can be as simple as obtaining more exercise in your daily routine, regulating your sleep patterns or regularly using breathing exercises.

The trichologist will approach scalp psoriasis as a holistic issue; stress levels, dietary factors and the improvement of current hair care routines will all be addressed and should make a positive impact on the management of scalp psoriasis.

The Importance of Correct Diagnosis

It is always important to make sure any existing scalp problem is psoriasis and not one of the many other skin problems that can appear on the scalp. Registered trichologists are trained specifically in recognising psoriasis, just as they are any other scalp problem or scalp disorder.

Apart from close examination of the psoriasis on the scalp, a trichologist will question you on other parts of your body to ensure an accurate diagnosis of psoriasis. This isnít as strange as it sounds! You will be asked about any eruptions on your knees, elbows, inside your ears and your fingernails will be checked over. Psoriasis typically effects fingernails, the cell growth at the nail bed is usually also disturbed just like the skin and psoriasis will show on nails as little pits or indentations in the nail.

Can Psoriasis Be Cured?

There is no cure for psoriasis as yet, although trichologically there are methods used to clear the heavy psoriasis plaques off the scalp and with regular use of scalp psoriasis treatment products, the cell re-growth can be retarded. This should leave the scalp feeling clear and clean and with noticeably far fewer scales dropping out onto the shoulders.

Trichological treatments for scalp psoriasis can branch through from the use of ultra-violet light rays, infra-red light therapy and, more recently, low powered laser therapy. Not forgetting of course, individually prepared psoriasis shampoos, scalp creams and solutions. These are formulated to treat the psoriasis and to be extremely kind on the scalp and the hair, usually they are also designed to stimulate hair growth and hair health at the same time.

Ultra-violet light rays are anti-bacterial and are used to help boost the immune system at scalp level, often giving a severe case of scalp psoriasis a boost in the early days of treatment. Infra-red assists scalp blood circulation and therefore the removal of waste products from the scalp area. Clinical low powered laser therapy is clinically applied via the scalp acupuncture points; low powered laser therapy can be programmed to either reduce or stimulate cell division rates, in the case of psoriasis, it is programmed to reduce cell division rates. In the case of psoriasis this can be beneficial and it also boosts blood circulation and therefore the removal of waste products from the local blood supply within the scalp area.

Most of the time trichological treatment can, in effect, get rid of scalp psoriasis its just that you would need to maintain the use of specific shampoos and treatment creams to keep the psoriasis at bay. Most scalp psoriasis sufferers agree that this result is far better than experiencing a continual build-up of skin that commonly leads to a sore tight scalp and perhaps even hair loss that could be permanent.

Always consult a registered consultant trichologist who will give a correct diagnosis on any scalp condition and who will organise the best psoriasis treatment and psoriasis maintenance program for you.

By Vanessa Bailey Copyright 2009

All wording by Vanessa Bailey MIT FRSPH author of The Good Hair Guide: All Your Questions Answered.

All consultations and check-ups at The Hair Clinic are FREE.

Call today on 020 7224 4640 to book an appointment for a Trichological consultation or click here to complete an enquiry form.

Further Information

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