So you've been there, done that, and nothing has worked. But before you decide to give up, there are still a few other options to try.
First off, your dermatologist or general doctor can prescribe stronger shampoos and topical creams that might reduce the amount of oil or help counteract the itchy, dry pain of your scalp. These shampoos and topical creams might contain some of the same ingredients as over-the-counter formulas, but in a more potent strength. Prescription treatments might include hydrocortisone creams, steroid creams or coal tar shampoos. [source: Gibson].
Another option is vitamin D3 analogs, which are available as prescription strength topical treatments for conditions that cause dry, patchy skin. Vitamin D3 treatments might take longer to work than treatments containing steroids, but some versions of this treatment can be safely used for up to a year [source: Psoriasis Cure Now]. Your doctor might also prescribe topical creams and gels such as tazarotene, a Vitamin A derivative, or anthralin in order to give you more fighting power than medicated over-the-counter shampoos [source: National Psoriasis Foundation].
Another alternative, especially for scalp psoriasis, is to use phototherapy, or light therapy. With this treatment, ultraviolet light rays are applied to the scalp or skin to help clear up moderate to severe psoriasis [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. Several treatments might be necessary over the course of a few weeks before you see results.
For more information on treating scalp problems, click on the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Psoriasis Treatment." Psoriasis Net. (Accessed Sept. 27, 2009)http://www.skincarephysicians.com/psoriasisnet/treatment.html
- Bruno, Karen. "Women's Hair Care." WebMD. Aug. 13, 2009. (Accessed Sept. 27, 2009)http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/advances-skin-care-9/thinning-hair-shampoo
- Doctors of USC. "Selenium Sulfide." USC Keck School of Medicine. (Accessed Nov. 4, 2009)http://www.doctorsofusc.com/condition/document/209336
- Drugs.com. "Pyrithione Zinc Shampoo." (Accessed Nov. 4, 2009)http://www.drugs.com/cdi/pyrithione-zinc-shampoo.html
- Gibson, Lawrence E. "Scalp psoriasis vs. seborrheic dermatitis." Mayo Clinic. (Accessed Sept. 27, 2009)http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/scalp-psoriasis/AN01177/METHOD=print
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- Mayo Clinic. "Seborrheic dermatitis." June 16, 2009. (Accessed Sept. 27, 2009)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/seborrheic-dermatitis/DS00984
- MedlinePlus. "Dry hair." Oct. 28, 2008. (Accessed Sept. 27, 2009)http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003245.htm
- MedlinePlus. "Oily hair." Oct. 28, 2008. (Accessed Sept. 27, 2009)http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002042.htm
- National Psoriasis Foundation. "Scalp Psoriasis." May 2008. (Accessed Nov. 4, 2009)http://www.psoriasis.org/NetCommunity/Document.Doc?id=155
- Netdoctor. "Coal Tar Solution." (Accessed Nov. 4, 2009)http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/100000547.html
- Ngan, Vanessa. "Selenium Sulfide." New Zealand Dermatological Society. June 15, 2009. (Accessed Nov. 4, 2009)http://dermnetnz.org/treatments/selenium.html
- Paltiel, Michael, MD. "Dermatological Services." (Accessed Oct. 9, 2009).http://www.adultandpediatricdermatology.com/dandruff.php
- Psoriasis Cure Now. "Scalp Psoriasis Treatments." (Accessed Nov. 4, 2009)http://www.psoriasis-cure-now.org/scalp-psoriasis.php
- WebMD. "Hair Care Tips for Teens." Feb. 8, 2009. (Accessed Sept. 27, 2009)http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/hair-care-tips?page=2
- WebMD. "What Your Hair & Scalp Say About Your Health." Dec. 18, 2008. (Accessed Sept. 27, 2009)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/slideshow-hair-and-scalp-conditions