Scalp Psoriasis: An Overview of the Disease and Available Therapies

August 2010 | Volume 9 | Issue 8 | Original Article | 912 | Copyright © August 2010

Jeffrey Crowley, MD

The scalp is one of the regions of the body most commonly affected by psoriatic lesions. While the head represents only 10 percent of the body’s surface area, the consequences of scalp psoriasis are disproportionate to the area, as it can be seriously debilitating and presents social and emotional distress to the affected individual. Scalp lesions are often well-demarcated and may have thick gray or white scale; patients with scalp psoriasis frequently complain of pruritus and shedding of scale. Current treatment modalities— including phototherapy, topical corticosteroids, topical vitamin D analogues and conventional systemic therapies—have produced unsatisfactory results for patients with moderate-to-severe scalp psoriasis due to difficulties in administration to the disease site, poor compliance, toxicity and inadequate long-term efficacy. The emergence of biologic therapies as an effective modality for the treatment of plaque psoriasis may provide another option for patients suffering from plaque psoriasis of the scalp.