Can Psoriasis Cause Hair Loss?

What psoriasis looks likePsoriasis is an unsightly, uncomfortable, frequently painful medical condition that affects about 7.5 million Americans each year. It’s still not fully understood but psoriasis causes skin cells to over-produce creating red, irritated patches of skin and scales that cause severe itching. It is believed to be an immune system disease involving T cells and white blood cells but this has not been conclusively proven. Psoriasis is unsightly but not contagious.

Psoriasis has dormant periods as well as “flares” when symptoms are active.

Common Psoriasis Triggers & Causes

  • Stress

  • Unfortunately, a psoriasis flare is stressful itself so that can prolong an outbreak as well.

  • Cold and/or Dry Weather

  • Both types of weather can lead to dry skin, which exacerbates and triggers psoriasis. Sufferers tend to find that hot and sunny weather often helps to control their symptoms.

  • Medication

  • Some prescription drugs such as beta-blockers for high blood pressure and heart disease, lithium for bipolar disorder, anti-malaria medications, etc. can trigger psoriasis symptoms.

  • Smoking

  • Differing studies argue whether smoking triggers psoriasis or just makes it worse and last longer but it’s definitely a factor.

  • Infections

  • A variety of medical conditions like tonsillitis, strep throat, HIV, etc. may trigger psoriasis flares.

  • Skin Trauma

  • For some people, something as simple as a bruise can trigger a psoriasis outbreak known as a Koebner phenomenon. Other flare-causing skin issues can be cuts, burns, bumps, vaccinations, tattoos, scrapes, severe sunburns, etc.

  • Alcohol

  • Heavy drinking can trigger a psoriasis flare.

  • Vitamin D Deficiency

  • A 2011 study indicates that Vitamin D can help immune system regulation concerning psoriasis so it’s believed that a deficiency can also trigger a flare-up.

Does Psoriasis Cause Hair Loss?

Psoriasis doesn’t directly cause hair loss like chemotherapy or certain medical conditions can. However, issues surrounding psoriasis can affect hair density and loss.

For example, psoriasis can cause severe itching. Scratching to relieve the itching can lead to further irritation that damages the scalp leading to hair loss – the person can accidentally pull out hair while scratching. Excessive removing of the scales, also known as psoriasis plaques, can also damage hair follicles, leading to hair loss.

Scalp Psoriasis Treatment and Complications

Scalp psoriasis is often treated by topical medication and shampoos, which can frequently be drying. If the person with psoriasis then also blow dries, colors, perms or otherwise chemically treats their hair, it can lead to brittleness that leads to hair breakage and hair loss. Certain treatments for psoriasis, such as those that include salicylic acid can also damage hair. Stress from psoriasis can also lead to a longer shedding phase and shorter growth cycle for hair.

Fortunately, hair loss from psoriasis is usually temporary. Talk to the dermatologist treating your psoriasis if you think it’s contributing to hair loss. Sometimes a change in medication or treatment can help. Other medical conditions that could be contributing to the hair loss could also be ruled out.

If complications from psoriasis, such as damage to hair follicles from scratching and excessive scale picking, lead to hair loss that isn’t temporary, contact RHRLI for a consultation to determine treatment options.

Let RHRLI Help by Contacting Us Today!

At RHRLI, we are experts in treating hair loss. Our hair restoration surgeon, Dr. Baiju Gohil, is committed to providing outstanding care at our state-of-the-art facilities in Jericho, Long Island and Manhattan, NY. Dr. Baiju Gohil has over 400 successful hair restoration procedures under his belt and is one of the most experienced in the nation using the ARTAS® robotic hair transplant system. To schedule a free consultation with the surgeon you can trust, contact us today.

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