Should I Treat Scalp Eczema Differently Than I Would Eczema On My Body
Its less about treating scalp irritation differently from eczema on the rest of your body than figuring out whether your symptoms triggered by irritants or by underlying medical conditions that disrupt your skins balance. That can be difficult to figure out without seeking professional advice from a dermatologist. “Avoiding triggers is essential to minimize worsening of symptoms, Idriss explains. Hence, the importance of seeking help from a board-certified dermatologist who can help you narrow down the cause through various testing methods in particular, patch-testing.
Ultraviolet light therapy can be used to treat eczema on parts of the body that can be exposed to a safer variance of UV light for extensive periods of time, such as your hands. But on your eyelids, which are thin and cannot be exposed to UV rays, or on your scalp , it may not work as a treatment. You can, however, use over-the-counter low-dose hydrocortisone cream, as recommended by Finney.
Hold off on the anti-dandruff shampoo or any new hair treatment until youve seen your dermatologist. Medicated rinses or shampoos may cause more harm than good due to the potential irritation from new ingredients. You have to identify the cause before offering a treatment plan, Gohara explains. The cause drives the solution.
What Causes Scalp Eczema
Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory condition caused by the overproduction of sebum, the natural oils secreted by sebaceous glands in the scalp. It is not contagious.
Because seborrheic dermatitis is a condition related to the sebaceous glands, it can also appear in other oily areas of the skin, including the face , ears, upper chest, upper back, armpits, and genitals.
There is a strong association between seborrheic dermatitis and yeast of the genus Malassezia, which are normally present in the skin but often overgrown in people with the skin condition.
Scientists dont fully understand the exact connection between the yeast and eczema symptoms, but research suggests that a nonspecific immune reaction may be to blame. That is, some interaction between Malassezia, their metabolites , and skin and immune cells results in an inflammatory reaction.
Importantly, once someone becomes sensitized to Malassezia, the yeast will always cause an immune reaction.
Is It Time For A Prescription Eczema Shampoo To Help Your Itchy Scalp
Your doctor or dermatologist will usually suggest that you try over-the-counter remedies for your eczema first. These tend to be cheaper and are often available at the drugstore.
If you find that over-the-counter products arent working well for you, a prescription treatment may be appropriate.
Prescription remedies for persistent and stubborn seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp can take several forms. Medicated shampoos for seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp may have higher concentrations of the same active ingredients in the best over-the-counter shampoos for scalp eczema. They may also contain other active ingredients, like ciclopirox. Some prescription remedies may also take the form of gels or creams that you apply between shampoos or even medication that you take as a pill.
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When To See Your Doctor
Seborrheic dermatitis isnt life threatening, but it is chronic and can be uncomfortable. At times, you may find the scaling, itching, and redness distracting, especially if it happens on your face or upper body.
Talk to your doctor about your symptoms to ensure you get a correct diagnosis. You can connect to a dermatologist in your area using the Healthline FindCare tool.
Also, see your doctor if flare-ups are a persistent concern or if you also have other symptoms.
Your primary care physician may refer you to a dermatologist, who specializes in skin conditions.
They may want to order some tests to further evaluate your situation and talk to you about treatment options complementary to your condition.
Best Scalp Eczema Shampoos You Can Buy In The Uk
Medicated, over-the-counter shampoos can help to treat milder cases of scalp eczema. Here at The Independent Pharmacy, we offer a range of shampoos that are designed to treat scalp dryness and eczema, including:
These shampoos contain a variety of ingredients that work in different ways to treat eczema symptoms , so it may take a few attempts to find the right solution for you. Some may also not be suitable for you . If in doubt, speak to your doctor or a pharmacist to see which is best for you.
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Gentle Soaps And Detergents
Laundry detergent can contain harsh chemicals that aggravate eczema.
Many body washes and cleansers contain detergents, which help provide a soapy lather. Detergents and other lathering agents can dry out the skin, especially in people with eczema.
Bar soaps can also be harsh on the skin because of their alkalinity.
Try using a gentle, no-lather, fragrance-free cleanser. Avoid products with rough particles for scrubbing or exfoliating, as these can further irritate the skin.
Many people with eczema also find that switching to a more gentle, fragrance- or color-free laundry detergent can help improve symptoms.
Additionally, try skipping fabric softener, which lingers on clothes and often contains fragrances and chemicals that can irritate the skin.
Sitting next to a fireplace or near a furnace may feel good, but it can worsen eczema symptoms. The hot, dry air can dehydrate the skin and aggravate the itchiness of eczema.
Use a humidifier during the dry winter months and avoid getting too close to heaters and fireplaces.
How To Use Oils For Psoriasis
Essential oils are extracted from plants and herbs. They can treat skin inflammation, get rid of scarring, smooth wrinkles and lessen skin flaws . You can add essential oils to carrier oils, moisturizers or creams and apply to the affected areas. You can directly use aromatherapy to treat psoriasis. Indication for essential oils treatment is healing symptoms of psoriasis. Treatments regularly employ multiple oils, such as thyme, sandalwood, chamomile, tea tree, helichrysum, geranium, juniper, and lavender oils among others.
The first step in using essential oils for psoriasis is to do a patch test. This test is important because some of the oils can cause skin irritation, skin sensitization, and allergy. A number of reactions indicate sensitization from an exposure. To do the test, dilute two drops of an essential oil in one teaspoon of carrier oil. Apply a small amount of the blend to the inside curve of your elbow and leave on for twenty-four hours without washing. Observe the area for any allergic reaction/ sensitivity, such as itchiness, rash, redness, bumps and pain.
You should not use a given essential oil if you develop any of the stated symptoms. If after the test you do not experience any symptoms, then it is safe to continue using the essential oil. Though, your skin can change over the course of time for different reasons.
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Heres How To Treat Eczema On Your Scalp:
The first thing to do if you think you might have scalp eczema is to get a proper diagnosis from a board-certified dermatologist. They might prescribe certain treatments like drugs to reduce inflammation and calm an overactive immune system, according to the Mayo Clinic.
But there are some things you can do at home to help soothe your eczema, particularly when it comes to your hair-washing habits:
Avoid overwashing. For instance, if you experience the symptoms of eczema on your scalp, you might assume you have an especially bad case of dandruff, which can result in itching, scaliness, and flakes that drift down onto your clothes. In response, you might decide to wash your hair more often, but that can actually make things worse because it strips the scalp and hair of their natural moisturizing oils and can contribute to dryness and irritation.
Wash only with gentle shampoos and conditioners. Eczema is often triggered or worsened by irritant or allergic reactions, including reactions to harsh hair- or skin-care products. Its possible for anyone to get this type of reactionwith or without eczema, Dr. Bailey says. But if you do have eczema, you are more susceptible to these reactions and they can trigger your eczema symptoms.
What Is Carrier Oil
Carrier oils are vegetable oils used to dilute essential oils so they are safe to apply to the skin . The best carrier oil is cold-pressed and made from plants. Cold-pressed oils hold onto more of their beneficial properties since they are not subjected to heat. Its also best to choose unrefined oils that have no additives.
Butter and other animal fats are not good choices for carrier oil because the fatty acid profile doesnt allow the oil to absorb into the skin. However, there are a few exceptions such as Emu oil. Many people use Emu oil as a carrier oil because it contains no phosphorus, allowing it to absorb well into the skin.
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Treatment For Seborrheic Dermatitis
Specific treatment for seborrheic dermatitis will be discussed with you by your healthcare provider based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the condition
Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
Although the condition responds to treatment, it may happen again. Treatment depends on the inflammation’s location. It is usually effective in relieving symptoms. Treatments may include:
Antiinflammatory creams or lotions, such as corticosteroids or calcineurin inhibitors
Medicated shampoo for adults, as prescribed by your healthcare provider
Does Scalp Eczema Cause Hair Loss
Although scalp eczema or seborrheic dermatitis is not a direct cause of hair loss, itching and scratching can injure the scalp while damaging hair follicles. This, in turn, leads to brittle hair, resulting in some amount of hair fall and hair loss.
Scalp eczema is chronic and may last for years, but it is possible to manage your symptoms effectively. While home remedies are a boon for some, it is strongly advisable to consult your doctor to identify the nature of your scalp eczema and follow a suitable course of action.
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Make Time For Afternoon Tea
Tea tree oil isnt messing around. This strong antimicrobial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory oil can treat scalp psoriasis when paired with a carrier oil .
Dont go nuts with this one. Start with just a drop or two and see how your skin reacts. Also, if youre pregnant, breastfeeding, have linear IgA disease, or are taking the antibiotic vancomycin, then this oil is not for you.
Causes Of Eczema On The Scalp
- Stress and illness
Age is another factor. Infants up to 3 months and adults ages 30 to 60 are at a higher risk for developing scalp eczema.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Seborrheic Dermatitis
Theres little that can be done to prevent seborrheic dermatitis. Cradle cap is a natural, harmless condition. It can be simply treated at home. If you are a teenager or an adult with seborrheic dermatitis, you might be more prone if you have higher than normal levels of androgens, a higher level of lipids in your skin or have an overgrowth of the yeast that is always present on your skins surface.
Some simple healthy things you can do to reduce your risk include getting plenty of rest, controlling your emotional stress and getting a daily small doses of sunshine . Stay away from the midday sun.
Always follow your healthcare providers instructions for using medicated shampoos and skin products. Under treatment or inappropriate treatment can result in flare-ups of your condition and return visits to your healthcare provider.
How Can You Treat And Prevent Atopic Dermatitis On The Scalp
Because it can easily be confused with other skin conditions, your first order of business if you think you have scalp eczema is to see a board-certified dermatologist. They can properly diagnose you and provide the correct treatmentwhich will require a prescription.
Dr. Guttman-Yasky says that she typically prescribes a combination of topical steroids and salicylic acid for people with true atopic dermatitis on their scalps. This combo helps remove any scaly buildup caused by eczema while combatting itchiness, she says. If a patient’s eczema is all over their bodies, not just their head, or is particularly severe, she says she might opt for a systemic course of steroids.
Your dermatologist might also recommend you change some aspects of your hair-care routine to help reduce itching and reduce the risk of future flareups. “We recommend mild shampoos with a minimum amount of preservatives,” Dr. Guttman-Yasky says, because those kinds of ingredients can be irritating to sensitive, eczema-prone skin.
People who have or frequently get scalp eczema should also avoid going overboard on hair treatments, like tons of blow drys or regular bleaching, Dr. Guttman-Yasky adds. These treatments are harsh and could unnecessarily irritate a sensitive scalp.
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Scalp Eczema Vs Dandruff
Dandruff is a common skin condition with symptoms limited to the scalp, hairline, eyebrows, and facial hair.
It can result in an itchy scalp or scaly, crusty patches on the skin that flake off when they are scratched.
In general, dandruff causes small, dry flakes, but not the thick, greasy patches and flakes of scalp eczema.
However, there is some overlap.
Most dandruff is a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis, but occasionally, irritant contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, or other skin conditions like ringworm or psoriasis cause similar symptoms.
Home Remedies For Eczema
Home remedies for eczema can be simple or complex. The easiest, most effective treatment is to make changes to avoid or remove whatever is causing the allergic reaction. But try not to expect a quick response. Eczema is easier to control than cure.
Here are some things you can try on your own to ease the irritation of eczema.
Change your laundry detergent or fabric softener. Liquid detergents may be less irritating than powders or tablets. Use an extra rinse cycle when you wash to remove residue.
Put on a cool compress. Holding a clean, damp cloth against skin can ease itching.
Take lukewarm showers or baths for no more than 10 or 15 minutes to prevent dry skin. Dry yourself very carefully and apply moisturizing lotion all over your body.
Add colloidal oatmeal to the bath or as a paste on your skin. This finely ground oatmeal helps with itchy, dry skin. Or try a baking soda bath or paste.
A mild solution of bleach and water may ease inflammation and itching, as well as killing the bacteria that can cause skin infections when you have eczema. Add a half-cup of household bleach to a full tub of water, soak for 10 minutes, and rinse. Talk to your doctor before giving this a try because chlorine can cause problems for some people.
Add apple cider vinegar to bath water. Use an amount between 1-2 cups.
Moisturize your skin twice a day. But avoid lotions with fragrances or other irritating ingredients.
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Recognizing The Symptoms And Causes
Talk With Others Who Understand
MyEczemaTeam is the social network for people with eczema and their loved ones. Here, more than 38,000 members from around the world come together to ask questions, offer support and advice, and connect with others who understand life with eczema.
Do you get eczema on your scalp? How do you cope? Share your experience in the comments below or start a discussion on MyEczemaTeam.
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The Top Medications For Treating Eczema On Your Scalp
There is no cure for scalp eczema or seborrheic dermatitis, but medications can help reduce and prevent symptoms.
For example, you can usually treat irritation and an itchy scalp with a medicated, over-the-counter dandruff shampoo.
The chemical ingredients in these shampoos can help ease the inflammation and get rid of flaky, scaly skin when used two or three times a week. Look for these items:
Topical creams, ointments, or sprays made from these ingredients can also be applied to help calm the irritation and stop the flaking.
If you have severe scalp eczema, your doctor may prescribe products containing stronger doses of the aforementioned medicines or medicines containing other ingredients, such as corticosteroids, ciclopirox, sulfacetamide sodium, Protopic , or Elidel .