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.
Eczema Coping Tips Good Hygiene
Skin affected by eczema is more vulnerable to a range of infections, including impetigo, cold sores and warts. The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus may cause a secondary infection of impetigo, and possibly contribute to the symptoms of eczema.Suggestions for washing include:
- Take lukewarm baths or showers, and avoid really hot showers.
- Dont use ordinary soap, as the ingredients may aggravate your eczema. Wash your body with warm water alone. For armpits and groin, use soap-free products, such as sorbolene cream.
- Bath oils can help to moisturise your skin while bathing.
- When towelling dry, pat rather than rub your skin.
Complementary And Alternative Treatments
There are several natural treatments that have been shown to be effective controlling eczema symptoms. Many of these studies looked the effects on adults, so be sure to consult with your childs doctor prior to starting any natural treatments for eczema.
- National Eczema Association | 505 San Marin Drive, #B300 | Novato, CA 94945
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How To Get Rid Of Facial Eczema
There are many ways to get rid of facial eczema. Typically, doctors use the following facial eczema treatments:
Moisturizers or emollients
Moisturizers or emollients are an essential part of the treatment. They can be directly applied to dry and flaky skin in the form of creams and ointments. Moisturizers hydrate, soothe, protect, and repair the skin by preventing moisture loss. They are also important for the management and prevention of flare-ups.
Bathing is an essential part of facial eczema treatment. Your doctor will suggest using neutral or low pH, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and irritant-free bath products. You then apply moisturizer immediately after bath to maintain skin hydration.
Wet-wrap therapy involves wearing medicated bandages, cloth, or wet wraps over the facial skin affected by eczema. You can use this therapy with or without emollients or topical corticosteroids. The covering helps decrease the severity of facial eczema and prevents scratching. It also allows the skin to remain hydrated and heal better.
Your doctor may prescribe the following topical and oral medications to treat facial eczema:
Doctors prescribe phototherapy alone or in combination with other medicines. You must be careful when using phototherapy, as it can cause reactions with certain drugs.
Follow Good Hygiene Practices
Good hygiene practices may help people manage and reduce their eczema symptoms. A person should wash their skin regularly but not use soap or heavily scented products that can over-dry or irritate the skin. They should also take short, lukewarm showers or baths, pat the skin dry instead of rubbing it, and moisturize right after bathing.
Additionally, using hydrating creams regularly may help heal the skin and keep it from getting too dry.
Some people with eczema may find that bleach baths help reduce inflammation and skin bacteria. The National Eczema Association notes that bleach concentration is similar to that of a chlorinated swimming pool. The association recommends bathing for around 510 minutes each session.
Additionally, parents and caregivers should ensure they carefully wipe and dry an infants mouth and face after eating. They should avoid using commercial, pre-moistened wipes on the face.
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What Causes Facial Eczema
This is where it gets a little complicated. There are several types of eczema, Shah says. Atopic dermatitis is the most common form, and often when people say eczema this is the condition they are referring to.
Atopic dermatitis is chronic, meaning that it comes and goes over a long period of time, according to the National Eczema Association. It’s generally caused by genetics, and can flare up in the face, arms, legs, and other parts of the body.
Another type of facial eczema: contact dermatitis. This is a form of eczema that is triggered by one specific irritant, like extreme weather, super-hot showers, skincare ingredients, laundry detergents, fragrancesthe list goes on. What triggers eczema in one person may not irritate another persons skin at all.
How To Treat Facial Eczema
If you do indeed have eczema on your face, youll want to reduce or eliminate it as quickly as possible so you can go back to living your normal life. There are two ways that you can directly treat eczema: with regular moisturisers , and with topical steroid creams.
- Moisturisers are safe to use without a prescription or specific direction, though its best to follow your doctor or dermatologists recommendations. By keeping the affected skin from drying out, you stop it cracking and sustaining further damage, and soothe some of the discomfort. And if that area isnt covered by clothing, you dont need to worry about getting moisturiser on anything. The National Eczema Society advises that they should be applied liberally at least three times daily to keep your skin moisturised and prevent flare-ups of eczema.
- Topical steroid treatments mostly require prescriptions, mainly because they are stronger and should be used following medical advice especially on thin areas of skin, such as the eyelids or lips. Examples for use on the face include hydrocortisone, or Fucidin H Cream . Our medical team can find you the most suitable eczema treatment if youre unsure. These treatments contain active ingredients that have anti-inflammatory and/or anti-bacterial properties, attacking some of the root causes of eczema and allowing the skin to heal. Stronger treatments, like Betnovate and Fucibet, are not recommended for use on the face as the skin is too sensitive.
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The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
How Do You Determine The Cause Of The Allergy
You will first need to identify the trigger for the contact allergy in order to eliminate it from your daily routine. Although the cause may be obvious, it is still best to consult a doctor, as you may need to look back and explore your past activities to find the cause .
Your doctor will be able to identify more elusive triggers by asking detailed questions and conducting allergy tests. The allergologist will also be able to advise on what you should avoid, as an allergen can be found in several different products or objects.
What about a photoallergy?
Some contact allergies are triggered by the presence of a product in combination with sun exposure! More specifically, exposure to certain UV rays can cause an allergic reaction to a product in contact with the skin. Naturally, the face is exposed to the suns rays and is thus more susceptible.
In the case of photoallergic eczema, the most common causes are medicines and sunscreen.
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How To Build A Smart Skin
To calm aggravated skin due to atopic dermatitis, follow a personalized regimen every day, not just during flare-ups.
Eva Katalin/Getty Images
If youre living with eczema, you know that what you do or don’t apply to your skin can affect whether red, dry, and itchy skin stays at bay. But sometimes figuring out which products are safe for you takes some trial and error.
The right skin-care routine can help support skin functioning in eczema, but the wrong one can make matters worse, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
The most common form of eczema is the itchy skin condition called atopic dermatitis, according to the National Eczema Association . Unlike contact dermatitis, which can be blamed on a specific irritant or allergen, atopic eczema has no defined cause. It appears to be indirectly related to allergies because it’s common in people who have respiratory allergy symptoms such as asthma, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology .
Eczema needs to be managed with the right treatment from the time it first appears, which, for between 80 and 90 percent of those who have it, is in the first five years of life, according to statistics from the NEA and the ACAAI.
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How To Use Emollients
Use your emollient all the time, even if you’re not experiencing symptoms.
Many people find it helpful to keep separate supplies of emollients at work or school, or a tub in the bathroom and one in a living area.
To apply the emollient:
- use a large amount
- do not rub it in smooth it into the skin in the same direction the hair grows
- after a bath or shower, gently pat the skin dry and apply the emollient while the skin is still moist to keep the moisture in
You should use an emollient at least twice a day if you can, or more often if you have very dry skin.
During a flare-up, apply generous amounts of emollient more frequently, but remember to treat inflamed skin with a topical corticosteroid as emollients used on their own are not enough to control it.
Do not put your fingers into an emollient pot use a spoon or pump dispenser instead, as this reduces the risk of infection. And never share your emollient with other people.
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Eczema On The Face Vs The Body
Even though all of our experts agree that the general signs and symptoms of eczema will be the same regardless of where it appears on your bodyface includedthere are some key differences that are important to be aware of. Hartman explains, “Eczema can affect any part of the body, most commonly the bends of the arms and legs, the hands and the neck. But it can also affect the face, usually on the cheeks. The presentation is the same dry, red, itchy patches that start to thicken the skin the longer its present and the more scratching that takes place.”
As Wheeler explains, eczema on the face can be more difficult to manage since the skin is more sensitive and we tend to apply more products that might trigger a flare-up. This, for example, would require a different treatment strategy than a type of eczema on the hands called pompholyx or dyshidrotic eczema which, Bae says, presents itself as deep-seated blisters.
“You can also get nummular eczema, which looks like a coin-shaped rash on the body. Plus, since many patients with eczema scratch and rub the areas affected, it’s not uncommon for the skin to appear thickened and/or sometimes darker in some areas of the body and face than others,” says Bae.
Are Natural Remedies Worth Trying
Some people strongly recommend natural remedies instead of the treatments usually prescribed by medical professionals, with examples including aloe vera gel and coconut oil. Most of these substances are harmless, and some do possess antibacterial and/or antimicrobial properties, but be warned: much of what theyre claimed to do has never been verified.
Prescribed treatments dont sound exotic or fancy, but thats because theyve been purpose-developed to achieve specific goals safely and effectively. If youre sure that it will be safe to try a natural remedy, then youre welcome to try but dont expect to get results similar to those youd get from prescribed medication.
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Types Of Facial Eczema
Eczema is actually a term for a group of conditions that cause itchy, red, and inflamed skin rashes. The types of eczema that are most likely to appear on the face are:
- Atopic dermatitis: This is the most common type of eczema overall. It is very common on the cheeks and chin, especially in infants. It can also appear around the eyes, on the eyelids, and around the lips. It can, however, occur anywhere on the face or the rest of the body.
- Contact dermatitis: This is also a common type of eczema. It is a skin reaction to a specific irritant. On the face, it is usually found around the eyes, the hairline, and in areas that contact perfumes and jewelry, like the neck and earlobes. But, like atopic dermatitis, this type of eczema can occur anywhere.
- Seborrheic dermatitis: This type most often occurs around the hairline, in the eyebrows, around the ears, and on the sides of the nose.
- Small blisters that may weep or ooze
- Cracked skin that may bleed
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The skin may also feel sore and raw during a flare-up. If eczema lasts long, the skin can eventually become thick, discolored, or scarred.
Nearly 30 million people live with eczema in the United States, and it impacts everyone differently. Some people may experience minor flare-ups, where their skin becomes mildly itchy. For others, flare-ups involve severe itching, dryness or oozing, and bleeding.
What Foods Should I Eat Or Avoid To Reduce My Risk Of Eczema
The connection between eczema and food allergies is unclear. If you have food allergies, then one of the reasons why you must avoid that food is that it may cause or worsen dermatitis. Examples of common allergies include peanuts, dairy, eggs, sugar, alcohol and gluten. Pay attention to what you eat. If your eczema flares up after you eat a certain food, then you might have an allergy to it.
If you dont have a food allergy then there are no foods, including chicken, that will cause or worsen your eczema.
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Shampoos And Hair Products
There are several over-the-counter or prescription hair products that may help seborrheic dermatitis:
- salicylic acid and tar preparation products to remove scales
- dandruff shampoos, which may contain zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid, sulfur, coal tar, selenium sulfide, or ketoconazole
- antifungal shampoos
Be careful when selecting shampoos for your hair if you have atopic or contact dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis causes sensitive skin. A certain ingredient might cause contact dermatitis or further irritate your skin.
Consider any additional hair products when managing your scalp dermatitis. Conditioners, gels, hair sprays, and hair accessories may all trigger symptoms. Be mindful about what products you use and eliminate any that may trigger dermatitis symptoms.
How Is Eczema Diagnosed
There is no specific test used to diagnose eczema. A doctor will look at the rash and ask about your symptoms and past health, as well as your family’s health. If you or your family members have any atopic conditions, that’s an important clue.
The doctor will want to rule out other conditions that can cause skin inflammation. The doctor might recommend that you see a dermatologist or an allergist.
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Emollients For Treating Eczema
Emollient creams add moisture to the skin. Apply moisturisers each day to clean, dry skin. It is especially important to moisturise after showering and bathing, and when living or working in an air-conditioned or heated environment. You may need to try several different brands until you find the emollient that works best for you. Ask your doctor, dermatologist or pharmacist for advice.
Eczema Coping Tips Avoid Changes In Temperature
Abrupt temperature and humidity changes can sometimes irritate the skin for example, going in and out of air-conditioned buildings on hot days or heated buildings on cold days.Hard physical activity or exercise that makes you sweat heavily can also trigger the itch of eczema.Suggestions include:
- In winter, dont overheat your house. Dress warmly when going outdoors and remove the extra layers as soon as you return.
- In summer, dont over cool your house. Air conditioners can dry out the air and irritate your skin.
- Avoid hard physical activity in hot weather. For example, do your gardening first thing in the morning, or in the evening when the sun is lower in the sky.
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How Do I Know If I Have Facial Eczema
Believe it or not, one of the most frustrating aspects of facial eczema is figuring out whether you actually have eczema. Your dry or irritated skin could be the result of a bad reaction to a product you’re using, harsh weather, and other common factors that can impact skin health.
“It can be difficult to distinguish the two as skin affected by eczema is dry and irritated, generally, dry skin is not irritated and itchy to the level of eczema and will readily respond to moisturizers, gentle skin care, and bringing humidity back to the environment,” explains Sejal Shah, a New York City-based dermatologist.
Sadick adds that unlike the mild flaking, dullness, and tightness associated with dry skin, facial eczema generally involves intense itchiness, cracked skin, and even bleeding. If you’re still stumped, or just want a second opinion, visit your dermatologist to find out for sure.