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Can I Have Eczema On My Scalp

Can You Have Eczema And Psoriasis At The Same Time

How to Get Rid of Eczema on the Scalp

Medically reviewed by Shari Marchbein, MD

If you have painful skin symptoms that just wont quityou know, dryness that leads to obvious cracks, inflammation that just feels awful, or intense itchinessand youve traveled down a rabbit hole via Dr. Google, then youve probably come across information on either eczema or psoriasis.

These skin conditions are different and complex in unique ways, but their respective lists of symptoms can overlap quite a bit, making them difficult for the average person to tell apart.

If you think that suspicious rash could be a sign of eczema, psoriasis, or maybe even both, heres some information to help you navigate what youre experiencing, straight from dermatologists.

Whats The Difference Between Scalp Eczema And Scalp Psoriasis What About Seborrheic Dermatitis

There are plenty of conditions that can cause an itchy scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis , for example, affects oily areas like the scalp, according to the NLM. About 70% of seborrheic dermatitis cases involve the scalp5. According to the AAD, seborrheic dermatitis symptoms may include shiny, oily patches of skin around your scalp, hairline, and eyebrows, oily flakes, or dandruff on your scalp, as well as inflamed patches of skin.

Doctors suspect an overgrowth of a common yeast known as Malassezia already found on your skin may cause seborrheic dermatitis, Dr. Stevenson says.

Scalp psoriasis can also look and feel similar to scalp eczema. Eczema and psoriasis both cause changes in skin color and itchy skin, but they can show up slightly differently. The inflamed skin patches that are caused by psoriasis tend to be thick and scaly, and they may appear pink or red with silvery scales on light skin tones. On medium-to-deep skin tones, these lesions can vary in color and appear salmon-pink, silvery-white, purple, or brown, depending on your specific skin tone, according to the AAD. These thickened patches are referred to as plaques.

If youre not sure whether your scalp symptoms are due to eczema, psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis, try to check in with a doctor if you can so you can get the best treatment for your particular symptoms.

What Is Scalp Eczema

Irritation on your scalp may be a sign of eczema. Eczema, also called dermatitis, is the name for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become itchy, inflamed, or have a rash-like appearance.

This condition affects your skin, and there are several types that may affect your scalp. Symptoms vary based on the type you have. Some will disappear with treatment, while others are chronic and require long-term observation and management.

Speak with a doctor to confirm the cause of your eczema as well as to rule out other conditions that may be causing the symptoms.

Keep reading to learn more about what may be causing your eczema and how to find relief.

There are different types of dermatitis that may appear on your scalp. These are seborrheic, atopic, and contact.

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Suppose over-the-counter options fail to help with your dandruff. In that case, some prescription-strength shampoos and foams contain a higher medication concentration and may be more effective. The most commonly prescribed medications contain ketoconazole or salicylic acid and should only be used under a healthcare providers supervision.

Other prescription options for seborrheic dermatitis include topical steroids, antibiotics, topical calcineurin inhibitors , and antifungal medications .

Scalp eczema can be an irritating, lifelong symptom that can cause many people to have anxiety and stress. Still, it is important to keep in mind that there are options available to control it. Talk to your healthcare provider about treatment options and for advice on how to manage relapses.

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The severity of seborrheic dermatitis may be lessened by controlling risk factors and triggers, and taking care of the skin.

To manage scalp eczema and help prevent flare-ups, do your best to follow these recommendations:

  • Avoid exposure to any suspected irritants and allergens.
  • Clean your scalp thoroughly, but avoid drying it out by using only a quarter-sized dollop of a gentle shampoo and warm, never hot, water.
  • Manage stress well.
  • Shampoo your hair after sweating heavily, such as after a workout, since perspiration can be a trigger.

Scalp eczema often responds to treatment, but it also often returns. For some people, exposure to the sun may improve symptoms.

Be on the lookout for signs of a flare-up and start treatment right away.

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What Causes Atopic Dermatitis On The Scalp

Atopic dermatitis is generally a complex condition with a variety of causes and risk factors, says Dr. Engleman. It’s often genetically inherited, she says, so if your mom or dad have it, you’re more likely to develop it too. Eczema also seems to be influenced by something called the atopic triad, she saysseasonal allergies, asthma, and eczema. People with eczema also often have genetic mutations that affect how effective their skin barrier is at protecting you from germs, irritants, and other pathogens, she adds.

No matter the cause, the end result is that people with eczema have super sensitive skin that overreacts to things that aren’t supposed to be irritating, says Dr. Engleman. In the case of the scalp, the eczema flareup just happens to occur on the scalp. Having an existing flare-up of eczema affecting large parts of your body can potentially eventually involve the scalp, according to Dr. Guttman-Yasky says.

What Type Of Shampoo Is Best For Scalp Eczema

The best shampoo for scalp eczema is gentle and free of allergens or irritants that are contributing to their eczema, says Dr. Farber. You should avoid any ingredients that could be irritating and cause the inflammation on your scalp to get worse, like fragrance, harsh detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate, and methylisothiazolinone . Dr. Farber also notes that certain ingredients in hair dye, like paraphenylenediamine, can cause rashes for some.

What ingredients should you look for? For dry, compromised scalps, look for hydrating ingredients like glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid that can help keep your moisture barrier strong, says Dr. Farber, while itchy, inflamed scalps will do best with soothing aloe, chamomile, and oatmeal. Still, its important to note that some eczema cases will need more than just a gentle shampoo to get rid of itchiness and flakes: More severe eczema will often require a steroid or other prescription medication, says Dr. Farber, which brings us to

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Apply Raw Honey To Your Hair

Raw honey has antifungal and anti-bacterial properties. You should apply it to your hair after cleaning to get rid of the remaining bacteria and fungi. Raw honey can be very helpful if you have been suffering from itching. It can also alleviate skin flakes. To apply the honey, you have to dilute it with warm water. The mixture should contain 90 percent honey and 10 percent water. However, you should keep in mind the fact that raw honey is not a treatment for eczema. It is just meant to kill bacteria, fungi as well as help you heal scalp skin lesions fast. When you apply the raw honey, leave it on for at least 3 hours. Try to use this regimen every day for at least one month.

The Top Medications For Treating Eczema On Your Scalp

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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:

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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider

  • Do my symptoms indicate seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, atopic dermatitis or psoriasis?
  • What over-the-counter treatment or combination of treatments would work best for me?
  • Is there a specific brand of dandruff shampoo, cream or lotion that you recommend?
  • Is there a prescription shampoo, cream or lotion you can prescribe?
  • How often should I see a dermatologist regarding this condition?
  • What should I do if I have an allergic reaction to a shampoo/cream/lotion?
  • Is my acne treatment covered by my insurance?

Although seborrheic dermatitis is itchy and uncomfortable, it does not harm your health. The condition can be managed with treatment. Itchy skin and white flakes on your black shirts shouldnt be a normal part of your day!

What Causes Or Triggers Atopic Dermatitis On The Head


Like Atopic Dermatitis, Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition which is likely also to be genetic and linked to a compromised immune system. Rare in babies and children, Psoriasis most commonly effects adults and appears on the scalp. It is distinctive in appearance with inflamed skin overlaid by silvery scales. In severe cases it can cause hair loss. Find out more in Psoriasis.

Contact Dermatitis:

Contact Dermatitis is caused by skin reacting to something external that it is, or has been, in contact with. Contact Dermatitis on the scalp is caused by a reaction to the chemicals in some shampoos, hair dyes or other hair grooming products. It may be that you are allergic to those ingredients or that they just irritate your skin.

Though not a skin condition, another common cause of an itchy scalp in children between the ages of three and twelve is head lice. Extremely contagious, lice are easy to treat and, once diagnosed , your pharmacist will be able to recommend an appropriate treatment.

You can find out more about the symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis, and about how they differ on different parts of the body, in Facial Atopic Dermatitis, Atopic Dermatitis on the eyelids, Atopic Dermatitis on the hands and Atopic Dermatitis on different parts of the body.

If you are in any doubt as to which condition you have, or your or your childs skin is in any way troubling you, consult your doctor for a diagnosis and for treatment advice.

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What Is Scalp Malassezia Exploring The Fungal World Of The Scalp Microbiome

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It might start with a small bump or a dry patch on an otherwise healthy scalp. But when you’re dealing with a disruption to the microbiota of the scalp or hair follicle, a dramatic little yeast called Malassezia globosa can go nuclear and wreak complete havoc on your head. According to Dhaval Bhanusali, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Hudson Dermatology & Laser Surgery and Skin Medicinals, it can be linked to conditions as mundane as everyday folliculitis all the way to seborrheic dermatitis .

While Malassezia exists on everyone’s scalps, studies show that roughly half the population suffers from an underlying sensitivity to it. This sensitivity then leads to the flaky, itchy, dry, inflamed scalp condition known as dandruff. In certain conditions, things can take a turn for the more serious, when itchiness becomes painful, patches become inflamed, and plaques and lesions warrant a more serious diagnosis by the derm.

Here’s everything you need to know about scalp Malassezia, including how to treat the condition.

How Can I Prevent Eczema On My Scalp

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When it comes to treatment, topical steroids for the scalp can be prescribed, as well as emollient creams and oils. For mild forms of eczema, you might want to use a shampoo with zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid, and selenium sulphide. I would also recommend MONPUREs Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum, which contains hydrating aloe vera and anti-inflammatory witch hazel, to alleviate itching and redness.

To mark #NationalEczemaWeek, MONPURE are here to offer expert advice and support for anyone dealing with scalp eczema, as well as how to treat eczema on the scalp. Send your questions to our resident dermatologist at info@monpure.com

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What Do The Ecz

Seborrheic dermatitis isnt contagious and is not an allergy, although some allergies can mimic it, said Dr. Peter Lio, clinical assistant professor of dermatology and pediatrics at Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine. A correct diagnosis, he added, requires careful evaluation by a dermatologist.

Seborrheic dermatitis can also overlap with atopic dermatitis, especially in infants. We see this overlap in young adults, as well, usually in those with more severe atopic dermatitis, Lio said. They can develop a condition that some call head and neck dermatitis that seems to be very closely related to seborrheic dermatitis and is treated similarly.

  • National Eczema Association | 505 San Marin Drive, #B300 | Novato, CA 94945
  • 415-499-3474 or 800-818-7546

Tips For Preventing Flare

  • Learn what factors may contribute to your scalp symptoms, and limit your contact or avoid them entirely.
  • Wash your hair with warm not hot or cold water. Both hot and cold water can dry out your scalp and cause irritation.
  • Use gentle shampoos, conditioners, styling creams, gels, and even hair dye. If you can, choose fragrance-free versions.
  • If stress is a trigger, speak with a doctor about using stress-reduction techniques. This may mean breathing exercises, meditation, or journaling.
  • Avoid scratching if youre having a flare-up. This can make your symptoms worse.

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How To Get Rid Of Eyebrow Eczema

In the meantime, keeping the skin around your eyebrows moisturized can help reduce the irritation and flakiness. Using anti-itch cream or taking an antihistamine like Benadryl can help cut down on the itch, and applying cool, wet compresses for 1530 minutes at a time can help alleviate irritation and itching.

Additionally, how do you treat eczema on eyebrows? Dry scaly skin or eczema can cause itching. Sometimes a lubricant can help with these symptoms. You could use a drop of mineral oil or olive oil. If that doesnt work, you might want to try an anti-inflammatory steroid like hydrocortisone, which you can find over-the-counter.

Considering this, why do I have eczema on my eyebrows? Seborrheic dermatitis It causes greasy, irritated skin to produce these white flakes along the eyebrows and on other areas of skin. A fungus called Malassezia may cause chronic seborrheic dermatitis. The fungus lives in the oily sebum of the skin and may multiply due to a poor immune system reaction.

As many you asked, how do I get rid of dry skin on my eyebrows? Massaging your brows with few drops of warm almond oil will help you get rid of dandruff. You can do this at night before going to bed. Massaging with almond oil can even prevent eyebrow hair fall. Remember to wash your face the next morning.

  • Moisturize your skin at least twice a day.
  • Apply an anti-itch cream to the affected area.
  • Take an oral allergy or anti-itch medication.
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    What’s The Difference Between Seborrheic Dermatitis And Psoriasis

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    Psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis can mimic each other. Both are patches of red skin with flakes. Both can be found on your scalp and back.

    Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease that affects 2% to 4% of the population. The scales of psoriasis are often thicker than that of seborrheic dermatitis. The edges of those scales are very well-defined. On the scalp, psoriasis scales are closer to a silver color than white or yellow.

    There is a condition called sebopsoriasis where seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis overlap. In that case you have the symptoms of both: both white flakes and silver flakes, both on the scalp or back, both itchy.

    If youre concerned about whether you have psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis, consult your healthcare provider. Treatment for one may not work as treatment for the other.

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    What Should You Do

    If you have successfully identified the triggering agent, such as a hair dye for example, simply avoid any hair dyes containing the same allergen in order to prevent future allergic reactions. The same allergen, however, can be found in various products, which can make total avoidance difficult. A dermato-allergologist will be able to advise you on how to track down and avoid the allergen. The consultation will include several questions on your habits as well as allergy tests .

    What Are The Causes Of Seborrheic Dermatitis What Aggravates It

    Researchers arent sure of the exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis. They think there may be many causes. Factors that are thought to play a role include:

    • A type of yeast called Malassezia, which is present on everyones skin, but overgrow in some people.
    • An increased level of androgens .
    • An increased level of skin lipids.
    • An inflammatory reaction.
    • Family history .

    Other factors that trigger or worsen seborrheic dermatitis include:

    • History of other skin disorders, including rosacea, psoriasis and acne.

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    Why Those Flakes And The Itchiness On Your Head May Not Be Dandruff

    April 20, 2022// by Dr. Robert Paull, MD//

    Lots of things can make your scalp itchy. But if its a persistent concern , you might want to consider talking with a dermatologist about scalp eczema.

    Eczema is a very common skin condition in the United States. It typically affects the hands, neck, inner elbows, and the delicate area around the eyes, although its not unusual for it to reach the scalp, too.

    It can cause very dry, inflamed, scaly skin that can feel unbearably itchy. Understandably, these things can be harder to notice on top of your head. Or you might assume its merely dandruff or a dry scalp. But if it is scalp eczema, over-the-counter dandruff shampoos arent going to help.


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