Symptoms of mild scalp psoriasis include fine scaling, while moderate to severe scalp psoriasis can cause dry scalp, itching, burning or soreness, hair loss and dandruff-like flaking, according to WebMD. It can appear as a single scaly patch, several patches or affect the entire scalp.
Scalp psoriasis is a common skin disorder, but more severe cases do occur and can spread to the forehead, back of the neck and behind the ears, according to WebMD. Scalp psoriasis is not contagious. Doctors still do not know the cause, but some believe it comes from dysfunction in the immune system. They believe this dysfunction causes skin cells to grow too rapidly and build patches. Scalp psoriasis has also been shown to run in families.
While scalp psoriasis does not directly cause hair loss, the scratching and stress that accompanies it may lead to temporary hair thinning, reports WebMD. These symptoms can affect sleep schedules. Intense scratching can also cause skin infections.
Doctors or dermatologists can determine if a patient has scalp psoriasis. It can be diagnosed by simply looking at the scalp or performing a skin biopsy, claims WebMD.
Scalp psoriasis can be treated by using topical products such as medicated shampoos, creams, gels, oils, ointments and soaps. These products are generally available over-the-counter, but stronger medications may require a prescription. The active ingredients in these products are salicylic acid and coal tar, says WebMD.