USA Seniors: How to maintain a healthy Scalp and prevent Hair Loss

Scalp psoriasis is a prevalent skin disorder that can affect individuals at any age, but seniors are particularly susceptible due to immune system changes and pre-existing health conditions. We have done some research to help seniors who are suffering from scalp psoriasis and hair loss.

Understanding Scalp Psoriasis in Seniors

Scalp psoriasis manifests as raised, reddish, and scaly patches on the scalp. It can extend to the forehead, the back of the neck, and behind the ears. In seniors, the symptoms may be exacerbated by age-related skin sensitivity and reduced regenerative capacities. The psychological impact of visible psoriatic lesions and associated hair loss can be significant, affecting self-esteem and social interactions.

Treatments for Scalp Psoriasis and Hair Loss

Topical Treatments

1. Corticosteroids

  • Description: These are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce swelling and redness and are often prescribed for mild to moderate scalp psoriasis.
  • Effectiveness: They are effective for reducing symptoms and controlling flare-ups.
  • Cost: Generic formulations might cost between $10 to $100 per month, depending on the brand and strength.
  • Best Suited For: Patients with mild scalp psoriasis or those looking for short-term relief.

2. Vitamin D Analogues (e.g., Calcipotriene)

  • Description: These help to slow down the growth of skin cells.
  • Effectiveness: Useful in combination with other treatments, but may take longer to see results.
  • Cost: Typically around $30 to $100 for a month’s supply.
  • Best Suited For: Patients who can manage slower onset treatments and can commit to long-term usage.

3. Coal Tar

  • Description: One of the oldest treatments that reduces scaling, itching, and inflammation.
  • Effectiveness: Effective for many patients, though less favored due to its messiness and strong odor.
  • Cost: Over-the-counter shampoos and ointments can cost between $5 to $25.
  • Best Suited For: Patients looking for an economical option and those not sensitive to its aesthetic drawbacks.


1. UVB Phototherapy

  • Description: Exposure to ultraviolet B light, which can slow down the growth rate of affected skin cells.
  • Effectiveness: Effective in reducing symptoms over time with regular sessions.
  • Cost: Home UVB therapy units range from $500 to $2,500, while clinical sessions can cost $50 to $150 each.
  • Best Suited For: Patients able to attend multiple treatment sessions weekly or invest in home equipment.

Alternative and Over-the-Counter Options

1. Salicylic Acid Shampoos

  • Description: Used to soften and remove scales from the scalp.
  • Effectiveness: Effective as an adjunct treatment.
  • Cost: Typically under $20 for over-the-counter products.
  • Best Suited For: All patients, especially as a supplementary treatment to medicated options.

2. Minoxidil (Rogaine)

  • Description: Commonly used to treat hair loss, it can also help with hair regrowth in patients with scalp psoriasis.
  • Effectiveness: Can be effective in regrowing hair, but results vary.
  • Cost: Generally around $30 to $60 for a month’s supply.
  • Best Suited For: Patients experiencing hair thinning or loss associated with psoriasis.

Treatment Approaches for Seniors with Scalp Psoriasis

1. Topical Treatments: Topical treatments are the cornerstone of managing scalp psoriasis. Options include:

  • Corticosteroids: These are effective in reducing inflammation and itchiness.
  • Vitamin D analogues: Useful in slowing down skin cell growth.
  • Salicylic acid: Helps in softening and shedding psoriatic scales.
  • Coal tar: Reduces scaling, itching, and inflammation, although its strong odor and messy application can be a downside for some seniors.

2. Phototherapy: This treatment involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light under medical guidance. It is effective but may require frequent clinic visits, which can be challenging for seniors with mobility issues.

3. Systemic Treatments: For severe cases, systemic medications might be prescribed. These include methotrexate, cyclosporine, and biologics. However, the potential side effects must be carefully managed in elderly patients, particularly those with comorbidities.

4. Lifestyle and Home Remedies: Seniors can benefit from lifestyle adjustments such as:

  • Moisturizing regularly: Keeping the scalp moisturized can prevent dryness and reduce irritation.
  • Avoiding harsh scalp products: Using gentle shampoos and avoiding hair treatments that can irritate the scalp.
  • Stress management: Stress can exacerbate psoriasis, so techniques like meditation, adequate sleep, and hobbies can be beneficial.

Preventing Hair Loss in Seniors

Hair loss from scalp psoriasis is usually temporary, but it can be distressing. To minimize hair loss, seniors are advised to:

  • Treat scalp psoriasis actively: Effective management of scalp lesions reduces hair breakage around inflamed areas.
  • Use gentle hair care practices: Avoiding aggressive brushing and harsh chemical treatments preserves hair integrity.
  • Consult with healthcare providers: Regular check-ups can help adapt treatments as the condition or general health changes.