Psoriasis is a common, chronic inflammatory skin disease that affects the scalp more commonly than any other site. Scalp psoriasis causes significant psychosocial disability as it is highly visible and can, on occasion, extend onto the face. Furthermore, current treatment regimens are messy, time consuming and, in some instances, ineffective, leading to a high level of non-compliance. The majority of current evidence for topical treatments for this condition comes from open-label, uncontrolled studies. From such studies, there are data to support the use of topical corticosteroids in a number of different formulations and topical vitamin D analogues. However, these studies have not addressed issues such as the need for keratolytics, which may be required to remove adherent scale before a topical corticosteroid or vitamin D analogue may prove efficacious. There is an urgent need for well designed, controlled trials to assess the efficacy of existing and new treatment regimens for scalp psoriasis. The aim of this review is to critically assess the relative effectiveness and tolerability of available topical therapies for this problematic condition and provide recommendations for selection of treatment. © 2008 Adis Data Information BV. All rights reserved.