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AAD’s Tips for Applying topical medications on Scalp


AAD’s Tips for Applying topical medications on Scalp

Dermatologists and even general practitioners come across scalp conditions, such as alopecia areata, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis, very frequently. According to an estimate, at least half of the people who have plaque psoriasis have it on their scalp. The patients, therefore, are prescribed topical medications by their dermatologist in many forms, including shampoos, lotions, sprays and oils, the most popular are solutions, which are liquid-based, and foams. The effect of such medications can be achieved adequately if there are clear-cut instructions of their use by the attending doctor.

For the most effective application, Dr. McMichael a professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center recommends- applying scalp medications to dry hair using a simple, “five-line” approach. With a little practice, she says, the application should take less than two minutes to complete. However, it’s important to follow your dermatologist’s directions when applying scalp medications, she says, as different conditions may require different instructions.

To apply a solution medication, Dr. McMichael recommends the following steps:

  1. Part your hair down the middle of your head. Then, use a dropper to apply the medication along with the part, from the front of your scalp to the back. If your medication doesn’t come with a dropper, you can get one from your local drugstore. Make sure you continuously squeeze out the medication as you work your way along the part with the dropper.
  2. Part your hair a second and third time to the right and left of your middle part, about 2 inches down. Continuously apply the medication along each part from the front of your scalp to the back.
  3. Part your hair a fourth and fifth time just above your right and left ears. Continuously apply the medication along each part from the front of your scalp to the back.

“Solution medications are commonly used among those with naturally straight hair, including Asian-Americans and many Caucasians,” says Dr. McMichael. “For those with coarse, curly or chemically relaxed hair, including many African-Americans, foam medications may be easier to apply and more popular.”

Foam medications can be applied the same way as solution medications, except that one would use the bottle cap instead of a dropper, says Dr. McMichael. Since foam medications are designed to melt when they come into contact with a person’s body heat, she says, the medication will dissolve if it’s applied to the hands before it’s applied to the scalp.

To apply a foam medication, Dr. McMichael recommends these tips:

  1. Part your hair down the middle of your head. Then, dispense a small amount of medication into the bottle cap. Bring the bottle cap up to your hair and use your fingertips to continuously rake small amounts of the medication out of the bottle cap and into your part, from the front of your scalp to the back.
  2. Part your hair a second and third time to the right and left of your middle part, about 2 inches down. Continuously rake the medication out of the bottle cap and into each part from the front of your scalp to the back.
  3. Part your hair a fourth and fifth time just above your right and left ears. Continuously rake the medication out of the bottle cap and into each part from the front of your scalp to the back. Wash your hands immediately after applying the medication.

It is vital to adopt right method of application of topical medicnes on scalp imn order to get proper results.


Source: With inputs from American Academy of Dermatology

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