Psoriasis is an autoimmune, inflammatory skin condition in which the body creates new skin cells at a rapid rate, typically causing these cells to pile up, and manifest as “plaques”. Approximately 80 to 90% of people with psoriasis experience chronic plaques; one of the most common areas for these plaques to appear is on the scalp, elbows, lower back, and knees. Generally, the disease is lifelong and its symptoms can include itching, stinging, burning, painful, and tight sensations.
It is important to note that psoriasis has been linked to other conditions, like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, psoriatic arthritis, depression, and anxiety. In addition, psoriasis has implications for one’s perception of body image and clothing choices. Living with psoriasis can also impact one’s day-to-day routines, like showering. From choosing certain towels, shampoo products, and lotions/oils, many aspects of this routine can be dictated by this skin disease. While there are several different types of psoriasis, scalp psoriasis is one of the most common varieties: 50-80% of patients (both children and adults) with psoriasis experience scalp involvement. Fortunately, there are a myriad of treatments available for this population to manage their symptoms, with varying degrees of efficacy.
A look at scalp psoriasis
Symptoms of psoriasis can appear anywhere on the scalp; one of the most common places for it to develop is the back of the head. Scalp psoriasis is no different from the rest of the body as it too is lifelong and can cause itching, stinging and painful sensations in addition to flaking into the hair. Scalp psoriasis can be considered difficult to treat partially due to application difficulties in hair-bearing areas. Treatment for scalp psoriasis primarily involves topical steroids which can come in a foam, lotion, solution, cream and other formulations. Other topical therapies for scalp psoriasis include tazarotene, coal tar shampoo and athralin to name a few. There are additional over-the-counter and home remedies available.
We are a group of students from Thomas Jefferson University interested in improving outcomes for patients with psoriasis. Our team is focused on creating solutions to enhance topical medication delivery to treat both scalp psoriasis and psoriatic plaques on the body. We are working to develop a kit or series of products to help combat the issues that psoriasis patients experience in their daily lives with regards to their topical medication regimes. We are seeking feedback on our prototypes and persons willing to test products when we have enough prototypes available. We would be grateful for any input you can give us! Please fill out the survey below to help us out!
Ali Rajabi-Estarabadi, Hournaz Hasanzadeh, Arash Taheri, Steven R. Feldman & Alireza Firooz (2017) The efficacy of short-term clobetasol lotion in the treatment of scalp psoriasis, Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 29:2, 111-115,DOI: 10.1080/09546634.2017.1341616