Treating scalp psoriasis brings its own unique set of challenges. For starters, the scalp is—in most people—covered with hair. This can obstruct the area that needs treatment and can also trap psoriasis scales, making them harder to remove. And then there’s hair loss—a common problem in people with scalp psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Many people want to know if hair loss can be prevented, or, at least, slowed down. The good news is: Yes, it can be.

Know What’s Normal

To understand hair shedding and loss, it helps to understand what’s typical and what isn’t. Our scalp normally sheds about 100 hairs a day. “Most of these come out when we wash or comb our hair,” says board-certified dermatologist Sandy Skotnicki, M.D., an assistant professor in the department of dermatology at the University of Toronto. “Significant itching from psoriasis would also lead to this normal hair shed, which typically only happens with washing or combing.”

But if you’re losing more than those 100 daily hairs, or if hair is falling out at other times, this may be considered excessive and is worth having checked out by a dermatologist, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Excessive shedding is usually temporary, so long as the cause is resolved. Hair loss is slightly different—it’s when hair stops growing for a particular reason. That reason must be resolved in order for the hair to start growing again.