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What is the difference between scalp psoriasis and dandruff?

It is important that you establish if it is dandruff or scalp psoriasis that you are suffering from.
Dandruff and scalp psoriasis can be sometimes difficult to distinguish. Both are common conditions that affect the scalp and they may share similar symptoms (e.g. itch, redness and scaling). It is important that you establish the difference between scalp psoriasis or dandruff so that you can seek the most effective treatment. Dandruff 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.

Psoriasis could 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.

Psoriasis and dandruff can both be somewhat relieved using a shampoo that contains coal tar or salicylic acid or a topical steroid cream (salicylic acid is the preferred active ingredient here), 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. Light therapy can be used to help your skin repair itself after a psoriasis flare-up. However, telling the difference can be difficult. If you’re in doubt about whether your dandruff may indicate scalp psoriasis scaling, talk to your healthcare professional.

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