Why Psoriasis Causes Hair Loss

Hair care may involve using medicated shampoo on a strict washing schedule

Scalp psoriasis (psoriasis occurring on the head) can lead to hair loss when the skin becomes irritated, leading to itching, scales, and scratching. Additionally, psoriasis indicates an overactive immune system, which can also prevent hair from growing.

However, hair loss caused by psoriasis is reversible. Treatment can help, and hair generally grows back once psoriasis symptoms are under control.

Learn the causes of hair loss with psoriasis, how to prevent it, and more.

Scalp psoriasis.

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What Causes Psoriasis Hair Loss

Often, when hair falls out due to psoriasis, it happens because of scratching. One of the symptoms of psoriasis is lesions or scales that can be very itchy. Scratching these can cause even more irritation and cause the hair to fall out. Furthermore, when scales peel off, they can dislodge any attached hair.

Additionally, psoriasis occurs when the immune system is too active, which can also stop hair growth. Sometimes psoriasis can cause scars that damage hair follicles, further preventing hair from growing.

Hair Thinning vs. Hair Loss

It is common for hair to fall out (shed) in small quantities. Excessive hair shedding or thinning of larger quantities is often brought about by various stressors. Hair shedding typically stops on its own.

When hair stops growing due to a condition, such as an overactive immune system, it is called hair loss. Your hair typically won't grow back until the underlying cause is treated.

Is Psoriasis Hair Loss Permanent?

Hair loss caused by psoriasis is generally not permanent. Hair usually starts to grow back after the psoriasis symptoms that are causing hair loss decrease or go away. However, it can take some time to heal and for hair to regrow.

Regrowth Occurs Following Treatment

Hair often falls out due to scratching the itchy areas of the scalp brought on by psoriasis. Scratching increases irritation and further causes hair to fall out.

Treatment can help. For example, creams can reduce itching and prevent scratching, and medications taken by mouth (orally) can lessen the scales and inflamed skin.

Men vs. Women

Psoriasis tends to be more severe in men than in women. More severe symptoms, such as itching, may lead to hair loss.

How to Prevent Hair Loss From Scalp Psoriasis

The following may help prevent hair loss caused by scalp psoriasis:

  • Try not to scratch: Scratching leads to increased irritation, which causes hair to fall out.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety: Psoriasis symptoms can increase with stress, so managing stress can help reduce psoriasis-related hair loss and other symptoms.
  • Modify your diet: Inflammatory foods, such as alcohol, dairy, gluten, processed foods, and sugar, can increase inflammation and worsen psoriasis symptoms. Eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, and nuts, however, can help with inflammation and psoriasis symptoms.
  • Seek treatment: Treating psoriasis can control irritation and other symptoms, including itching, which reduces scratching.

While many measures can be taken at home to prevent and reduce hair loss caused by psoriasis, proper care from a healthcare provider is essential.

When to Check in With a Healthcare Provider

Your primary care provider can treat psoriasis in general, but it may be necessary to see a dermatologist, a medical doctor (M.D.) who specializes in conditions of the skin, hair, and nails, for more severe cases.

Mild cases may not need medical treatment, but it is still important to see a medical professional who can:

  • Help determine if the symptoms are related to psoriasis or another condition
  • Assess which type of psoriasis you have, which impacts treatment options
  • Provide recommendations for over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription treatment
  • Monitor changes in your condition over time

Additionally, psoriasis is often linked with other health concerns, including diabetes and depression. It is essential to be evaluated by a professional when anything else is suspected, as these conditions can worsen each other.

Treatment for Psoriasis Hair Loss

One way to treat psoriasis hair loss is to relieve the symptoms causing it, such as itching and irritation, with creams, shampoos, medications, or a combination of these options. Treatments are available OTC or with a prescription.

Treatment options for psoriasis include:

There are also lifestyle changes that can help, such as eating more fruits and vegetables and less sugar and processed food.

How Often to Use Medicated Shampoo for Psoriasis

Psoriasis shampoo can be used every day to help relieve symptoms and help with hair loss. However, it should not be used for longer than four months. If your symptoms are not under control within this time, it is essential to see a healthcare provider for an evaluation and to assess other possible treatment options.

Additionally, some shampoos can make symptoms worse, so it is essential to see a healthcare provider for recommendations of safe and effective products.


Psoriasis is a condition that involves an overactive immune system that can prevent hair from growing. Additionally, people with psoriasis can experience itchy scales on the scalp. Scratching can cause irritation that can make hair fall out. Once psoriasis symptoms are treated, hair loss is usually reversible.

Treatment options are available over the counter, but you may need to consult your healthcare provider for advice and care. Treatment options include topical creams and lotions, shampoos, medications taken by mouth, and light therapy. Lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress and modifying your diet, can also help.

12 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Scalp psoriasis: symptoms.

  2. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Do you have hair loss or hair shedding?

  3. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Scalp psoriasis: 10 ways to reduce hair loss.

  4. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Scalp psoriasis: shampoos, scale softeners, and other treatments.

  5. Almeida MC, Romiti R, Doche I, et al. Psoriatic scarring alopeciaAn Bras Dermatol. 2013;88(6 Suppl 1):29-31. doi:10.1590/abd1806-4841.20132241

  6. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Hair loss: who gets it and causes.

  7. National Institutes of Health. Psoriasis: diagnosis, treatment, and steps to take.

  8. Hägg D, Sundström A, Eriksson M, et al. Severity of psoriasis differs between men and women: a study of the clinical outcome measure psoriasis area and severity index (pasi) in 5438 swedish register patientsAm J Clin Dermatol. 2017;18(4):583-590. doi:10.1007/s40257-017-0274-0

  9. University of California Los Angeles Health. Scalp psoriasis.

  10. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Psoriasis diet: foods to eat and avoid if you have psoriasis.

  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Psoriasis.

  12. National Psoriasis Foundation. Psoriasis shampoos your scalp will love.

By Ashley Olivine, Ph.D., MPH
Dr. Ashley Olivine is a health psychologist and public health professional with over a decade of experience serving clients in the clinical setting and private practice. She has also researched a wide variety psychology and public health topics such as the management of health risk factors, chronic illness, maternal and child wellbeing, and child development.