Dandruff or Psoriasis

scalp psoriasis favorite plusHaving dry, flaky skin on your scalp can be annoying. Two different conditions can cause these flakes — dandruff and psoriasis.

It is quite easy to treat dandruff (seborrhea), and it’s not a severe medical condition. Psoriasis, however, is a different issue. It is a chronic skin problem without a permanent cure and one that can cause a great deal of discomfort.

How it develops: Dandruff vs. Psoriasis

Dandruff is a disorder that causes flakes of dry skin to appear on the scalp. The flakes can generally cascade from your hair and come to rest on your shoulders.

Dandruff commonly begins from a dry scalp. Frequent shampooing or using many chemicals on your hair can sometimes irritate your scalp and lead to flakes.

A common condition called seborrheic dermatitis is the cause of many dandruff cases. It causes patches of red and oily skin that leave yellowish flakes on the scalp. These flakes are often more prominent than the dandruff flakes that arise from dry skin.

Seborrheic dermatitis can also cause flaky, irritated patches elsewhere on the body.

Psoriasis is a problem rooted in your immune system. It is an autoimmune disease, where unique proteins, called autoantibodies, attack healthy tissue. This attack causes skin cell production to speed up. It then creates an unhealthy and abnormal growth of new skin that collects in dry, flaky patches on your body, including the scalp.

The normal process of skin regeneration is you shed dead skin in small, thin fragments from the outermost layer of skin. No one, not even yourself, can see that you are losing dead skin. New, healthy skin cells are developing beneath the surface of your skin and, in a few weeks, push up to the surface to take the place of the dead skin.

If you have psoriasis, that action speeds up in various spots on your body, and there is no time for the dead skin to go through its normal shedding. That causes dead skin cells to build upon the surface. It usually occurs on the scalp, elbows, knees, and back.

Psoriasis can take different forms. Sometimes, your skin may look cracked and dry. Other times, it may look red and dotted with small silvery patches.

Prevention: Dandruff vs. Psoriasis

You can easily stop dandruff. Dandruff shampoo is usually adequate to prevent dandruff from producing. Generally, keeping your hair clean is a must.

Oil and dirt can accumulate on your scalp and make it dry. Brushing your hair away from the scalp also helps keep grease from building up on your scalp.

On the contrary, there is no way to prevent psoriasis. It can develop in anyone at any age but is less frequent in kids. It frequently appears between the ages of 15 and 35, but it can develop at any age.

Treatment: Dandruff vs. Psoriasis

You can treat dandruff with medicated shampoo. You may have to switch shampoos, too, as one may become less effective over time.

You may treat psoriasis with topical lotions and medications. Many of these contain steroids, which only serve to make the symptoms somewhat milder. There’s no actual cure.

Light therapy can also help treat the symptoms of psoriasis.

When to See a Doctor: Dandruff vs. Psoriasis

If your dandruff doesn’t go away or doesn’t get better after two weeks of anti-dandruff shampoo, you may need to see a dermatologist. There are prescription dandruff shampoos that may have the strength you need to overcome the problem. You may also require a medicated ointment.

On the other hand, if your symptoms indicate psoriasis, you should see a dermatologist right away. If you also have stiff or swollen joints, you may have psoriatic arthritis. See a rheumatologist.


Is There a Scientific Backing to Green Light Therapy?

light therapy dermahealerAround 7% of Americans have experienced depression, one in ten live with chronic pain, 38 million experience migraines, and 85 million are diagnosed with a skin disease. What do all these conditions have in common? It is thought that they can be treated using green light therapy. The simple act of placing green light near the skin may seem like alternative medicine nonsense, since it causes no pain and has no side effects like traditional treatment. However, an increasing number of scientific studies are backing claims made that green light therapy really works.

Benefits for the Skin

This is one area where the science is indisputable. Lasers have been used by dermatologists to treat skin conditions for years, with incredible rates of success. One trial conducted by the International Center for Cosmetic Medicine found that, after 12 weeks, 91% of patients receiving light therapy treatment reported improved skin tone and 82% experienced increased smoothness. It is now being recommended that green lights are used in homes and offices to maintain permanently healthy looking skin.

Potential Treatment for Migraines and Other Pain

Migraines are notoriously difficult to treat, with patients reporting that they struggle to identify their triggers or to find any way to reduce the pain once an attack begins. They simply have to wait until it ends hours later, with even the strongest pain killers failing to have an effect. A study from the University of Arizona found that the use of green LED lighting could reduce pain by 40-50%. This has been replicated in other studies looking to treat chronic pain, with rats bathed in green light less sensitive to painful stimuli than those who weren’t. The same studies show no side effects, including no reduction in motor or visual performance.

Mental Health Treatments

Green light therapy may also be useful beyond the realm of physical pain and cosmetic improvements. There is a growing body of peer reviewed research suggesting that it may help with mental health conditions including depression, seasonal affective disorder and sleep disorders. One of the major causes of sleep deprivation in the modern world is the blue light emitted from electronics screens, such as those on smartphones and laptops. This light stimulates the brain and inhibits the production of melatonin. A research team at the University of Oxford found that rats exposed to green light fell asleep in 1-3 minutes, while those exposed to blue light took 16-19 minutes.

Depression and seasonal affective disorders are more complicated and require a holistic approach, from antidepressant prescriptions to improved relationships, diet and exercise. However, by exposing patients to green light for two hours a day for a week, researchers from Jefferson Medical College were able to reduce their symptoms of depression significantly.

Green light therapy research is quite recent, but the results are promising. Tests on both rats and humans have shown significant reduction in skin conditions, chronic pain, while reducing depression and improving sleep. Green light therapy may not offer an instant or dramatic improvement, but the lack of negative side effects means that it’s definitely worth a try.



Guest Post by Writing Jackie

Alternative Remedies for Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common skin problem that influences the life cycle of skin cells. This skin disease compels the cells to develop very quickly on the surface of the skin, making thick, silvery scales and dry, red patches to appear, which can also be itchy and painful.

Psoriasis patches may arise as minor spots with scaling, but may also come out as major flare-ups on large areas of the skin. Mild cases of psoriasis can be annoying, and more severe cases can be disabling and disfiguring.

The real cause of psoriasis is unknown, but it is thought to be associated with genetic susceptibility and the immune system.

Systemic medications and topical treatments are frequently used to treat psoriasis, but there are several alternative remedies that may be employed to cure this skin condition.

Light Therapy (Phototherapy)

This alternative treatment for psoriasis uses natural or artificial ultraviolet light. The easiest and simplest mode of light therapy is exposing the skin to restrained amounts of natural sunlight. When exposed to UV rays, the activated T cells in the skin are eradicated. This delays skin cell turnover and lessens inflammation and scaling. Short, everyday exposure to tiny amounts of sunlight may help treat psoriasis.

Other methods of phototherapy involve ultraviolet B (UVB) light. Controlled quantities of UVB light from an artificial light source may promote healing of mild to moderate psoriasis. UVB phototherapy (broadband UVB) can be manipulated to medicate psoriasis that does not respond to topical treatments.

A more recent type of light therapy makes use of narrowband UVB, which is said to be more effective than broadband UVB. Examples of these are the Dermalight 80 and DermaHealer Handheld UV-B Phototherapy Lamp, which utilize UV-B/311nm narrowband lamps, minimizing potential side effects like itching and redness.

Wet Therapy

Applying wet compress, showering, soaking in a tub, and swimming all help rehydrate and soften dry skin, removing thick scales without much damage to the skin. Thick psoriasis scales block the entry of topical medications and ultraviolet light into the skin, which is why it is vital to get rid of as much scale as possible. Regular soaking also eases redness and itching. Use lukewarm water since hot water can actually intensify the itch. Also, it is important to moisturize your skin immediately after soaking or washing to protect your skin against moisture loss.

Herbal Topicals

Many herbal treatments help relieve psoriasis. Aloe soothes the skin, helping reduce redness and scaling associated with psoriasis. Oat extracts ease itching and also soothe the skin, which is why they are used as an ingredient in numerous skin care products. Countless people with psoriasis attest that lightly rubbing oat paste on their skin or soaking in an oatmeal bath reduces redness and relieves itchy skin. Tea tree oil can help with psoriasis of the scalp; as well as apple cider vinegar that can also relieve scalp itch.

Adding Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts to your warm bath water and soaking in it for about 15 minutes can ease itching and remove scales.