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Scalp Psoriasis Vs Seborrheic Dermatitis

Scalp Psoriasis and Seborrheic Dermatitis

Causes And Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis

Causes And Symptoms of Dermatitis

Difference Between Scalp Psoriasis vs. Seborrheic Dermatitis 

How To Treat Them 


When it comes to skin conditions that affect the scalp, two prevalent yet often misunderstood conditions are Scalp Psoriasis and Seborrheic Dermatitis. Even though both these conditions come with similar symptoms, these two conditions have distinct causes, mechanisms, and treatments. In this article, we explore the differences between scalp psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis while also addressing the causes and symptoms of both and effective ways to treat them. 

Causes And Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disorder characterized by an overactive immune response. 

Causes of Scalp Psoriasis

Even while the precise cause is still being investigated, it is commonly accepted that a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental stimuli is to blame. The following are some important risk factors for the onset of scalp psoriasis:

  • Genetics 
  • The onset of scalp psoriasis is significantly influenced by family history.

  • Immune System Dysfunction 
  • A significant component of scalp psoriasis is an aberrant immune response. In this disorder, healthy skin cells are wrongly targeted by the immune system, which causes them to grow rapidly and cause the development of thick, scaly patches.

  • Autoimmune Factors 
  • Since rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease are frequently linked to scalp psoriasis, this suggests a common underlying mechanism.

  • Environmental Triggers
  • Numerous environmental factors might aggravate or precipitate flare-ups of scalp psoriasis. Common factors include stress, infections, scalp traumas, and particular drugs. Additionally, the problem may get worse in cold and dry conditions.

    Symptoms of Scalp Psoriasis 

    Various symptoms of scalp psoriasis might appear and can differ in intensity from person to person. Typical symptoms of scalp psoriasis include the following:

  • Reddish Patches
  • Those who are affected commonly get elevated, crimson spots on their scalp that are covered in silvery-white scales. These patches may irritate and make you feel uncomfortable.

  • Flaking and Scaling 
  • Scalp scales sometimes resemble dandruff as the problem worsens and grows thicker and more noticeable. These scales could be apparent on hair, clothing, or bedding if they flake off.

  • Itching and Discomfort 
  • People who have scalp psoriasis frequently experience severe itching and a burning feeling, which makes it a significant source of suffering.

  • Hair Loss 
  • Due to extensive skin cell shedding and inflamed hair follicles, severe cases of scalp psoriasis can cause temporary hair loss in the afflicted areas.

  • Bleeding and Cracking 
  • The skin can crack and occasionally bleed as it becomes more thick and drier, which can be uncomfortable.

    Causes And Symptoms of Dermatitis

    Seborrheic Dermatitis is a common skin condition that primarily affects areas rich in sebaceous (oil) glands, such as the scalp, face, chest, and back. 

    Causes of Seborrheic Dermatitis 

  • Malassezia Yeast
  • An excess of the naturally occurring yeast Malassezia is one of the main causes of seborrheic dermatitis. Even while everyone has this yeast on their skin, those who are predisposed to the ailment can have it multiply and thrive, which can cause irritation and skin problems.

  • Sebaceous Glands
  • Sebum is an oily material that is produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin and aids in keeping the skin moisturized. These glands may overproduce sebum in individuals with seborrheic dermatitis. This extra sebum is consumed by the Malassezia yeast, aggravating the issue.

  • Genetics 
  • Seborrheic dermatitis susceptibility is influenced by genetics. You might be more prone to developing the ailment if it runs in your family.

    Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis

  • Flaking and Dandruff
  • The presence of flaky, oily, and frequently yellowish or white scales on the scalp and other affected areas is one of the defining characteristics of seborrheic dermatitis. This flaking is frequently confused for typical dandruff, but it is typically more prominent and persistent.

  • Redness
  • Skin areas that are affected may look itchy and inflamed. Usually, the borders of the afflicted areas have more noticeable redness.

  • Itching
  • The extreme itching that can accompany seborrheic dermatitis can cause scratching, further inflammation, and pain.

  • Burning Sensation
  • On the affected skin, some people with seborrheic dermatitis may feel a slight burning or tingling sensation.

  • Oily or Greasy Skin
  • Seborrheic dermatitis causes patches of the skin to look oily or greasy. This results from excessive sebum production and overactive sebaceous glands.

    Difference Between Scalp Psoriasis vs. Seborrheic Dermatitis 

    Seborrheic Dermatitis and Scalp Psoriasis are two separate but frequently mixed-up skin disorders that affect the scalp. They differ significantly, despite the fact that they exhibit some of the same symptoms, such as redness, itching, and flaking. An overactive immune system that causes an increase in skin cell synthesis is the cause of the autoimmune disease scalp psoriasis. This causes an accumulation of thick, silvery scales and gives affected areas a distinctive silver luster. 

    On the other hand, sebum production and an overgrowth of the yeast Malassezia are the main causes of seborrheic dermatitis, which results in oily, yellow, or white scales that look more inflamed. Seborrheic Dermatitis, sometimes known as "cradle cap," is more common in infants but can afflict people of all ages, unlike Scalp Psoriasis, which can happen at any age. Since they each require a different strategy for symptom management and relief, differentiating between these disorders is essential for a proper diagnosis and successful therapy.

    How To Treat Them 

    The treatment approaches for Scalp Psoriasis and Seborrheic Dermatitis differ due to their distinct causes. 

    Topical corticosteroids are frequently used in the treatment of scalp psoriasis because they assist in lessening inflammation and slow down the rapid skin cell turnover. Other therapies could involve applying topical calcineurin inhibitors, salicylic acid preparations, or coal tar shampoos. In more extreme circumstances, light therapy, commonly known as phototherapy, may be a viable option.

    The cornerstone of treatment for seborrheic dermatitis often is using medicated shampoos with active substances such as selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione, or coal tar. These shampoos support the reduction of excessive sebum production and the management of Malassezia yeast proliferation. These shampoos can dramatically reduce symptoms when used frequently. Over-the-counter remedies may be adequate in milder situations, but more severe or persistent cases may call for prescription-strength medication. Effective management of seborrheic dermatitis depends on maintaining proper scalp cleanliness and taking these therapies as prescribed by a healthcare professional. 

    As individual responses to therapies can differ, it is crucial to seek the advice of a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and individualized treatment plan for both disorders.


    How Do I Know If It Is Dandruff or Psoriasis?

    Distinguishing between dandruff and psoriasis can be challenging, as both conditions can lead to flaky scalp skin. Dandruff typically causes small, white, or yellowish flakes, while psoriasis results in thicker, silvery scales with redness and itching.

    What Clears Up Psoriasis On Scalp?

    Medicated shampoos with ingredients like coal tar, salicylic acid, or ketoconazole can help control symptoms of Psoriasis on the scalp. Topical steroids and calcineurin inhibitors are often prescribed by dermatologists to reduce inflammation and scaling. In more severe cases, phototherapy or systemic medications may be recommended.

    What Deficiency Causes Scalp Psoriases?

    No single nutrient deficiency is known to directly cause scalp psoriasis. However, some research suggests that deficiencies in certain vitamins, such as vitamin D, may exacerbate psoriasis symptoms. 

    Take Away

    In the world of scalp conditions, understanding the differences between Scalp Psoriasis and Seborrheic Dermatitis is vital. While they might share some similar symptoms, their causes and treatment approaches are distinct. Accurate diagnosis is the first step toward relief, so consulting a dermatologist is crucial. Armed with this knowledge, you can take proactive steps to manage these conditions effectively and regain comfort and confidence in your scalp health.

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