It may be hard to tell the difference between scalp psoriasis and dandruff since both have similar symptoms of an itchy scalp that produces white flakes. However, it is important that you the difference between the two conditions so that you can seek the most effective treatment.
Psoriasis could actually be the underlying cause of your dandruff. Psoriasis can be a hereditary condition that is caused by your immune system. Both men and women of all ages can suffer from psoriasis. Furthermore, psoriasis is not limited to the scalp, but can affect elbows, knees, lower back, groin and other body folds with itchy, scaly patches. Cuts, scratches, sunburn or dry skin conditions can trigger your flare up if you have scalp psoriasis.
Dandruff, on the other hand, is primarily caused by naturally occurring fungus, yeast that feeds on your natural skin oils. This causes the skin to shed more quickly and to itch. Other possible causes of dandruff include not brushing hair regularly, not enough shampooing, dry skin, diet and stress. Unlike psoriasis, mild dandruff is often seen in adults between 20-30 years old and affects men more than women.
While psoriasis and dandruff can both be somewhat relieved using a shampoo that contains coal tar or salicylic acid or a topical steroid cream, you might not find the most effective treatment for your condition until you determine which one you have. Since a fungus causes dandruff, you may need an anti-fungal shampoo to successfully eliminate an itchy, flaky scalp caused by dandruff. However, if you have psoriasis that is not responding to topical cream or shampoos, than you may benefit from ultraviolet light therapy from a board certified dermatologist for best results. Light therapy can be used to help your skin repair itself after a psoriasis flare-up.
It will be worth your time to let a dermatologist properly diagnose your itchy and flaky scalp. Olanksy Dermatology Associates provides effective and long-term treatment for your dandruff and all types of psoraisis.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Jodi E. Ganz, Olansky Dermatology Associates