Tirsa Quartullo was not interviewed for this article. Quotes and information come from Psound Bytes™ podcast episode 154.
Scalp psoriasis affects about half of those living with psoriasis. It can appear as fine scaling that looks like dandruff, or thick, crusted plaques that cover the entire scalp. In Episode 154 of the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) podcast, Psound Bytes™, Tirsa Quartullo, a doctoral prepared, board-certified family nurse practitioner talks with NPF about top tips for scalp and hair care, including her recommendations for over-the-counter (OTC) products, many of which have received the NPF Seal of Recognition.
Scalp psoriasis can frequently have an effect beyond the physical symptoms. Visible plaques on the scalp can make people feel ashamed of their appearance or experience stigma from others. In some cases, scalp psoriasis can cause hair loss, though Quartullo is quick to note that this is only temporary. Because of the added emotional impact, Quartullo recommends talking openly with your dermatologist: “Are you experiencing depression? Are you experiencing anxiety? Is psoriasis affecting you at work? Is it affecting your relationships with your loved ones? If it’s affecting your life that way, then your dermatologist should know.” Informing your dermatologist of the full impact of your scalp psoriasis can help them tailor their treatment for you and your experience.
Although it may be tempting, “never, ever force or aggressively remove the flakes or the plaques," Quartullo warns. Due to the Koebner phenomenon, in which psoriasis flares can be triggered by damage or trauma to the skin, scratching the scalp or aggressively washing your hair can cause additional plaques to form.
To get the three most important takeaways and more from this episode, listen to “Over-the-Counter Products and Tips for Managing Scalp Psoriasis” wherever you get your favorite podcasts.