What Treatment Options Are Available
Treatments for scalp eczema will vary based on the type you have. You may be able to treat it at home with different hygiene practices and by changing hair products, or you may need to see a doctor to clear up and manage your symptoms.
Keep in mind that seborrheic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis can be lifelong conditions. Contact dermatitis should go away once you remove the element causing your symptoms.
Treating Eczema A Stepped Approach
The recommended first-line treatments for most cases of eczema are emollients and topical steroids. Paste bandages and wet wraps may be a helpful addition for some people, particularly where scratching is a major problem. Sedating-type antihistamines may be useful in helping with sleeping at night . Long-term use is not recommended.
When there is an inadequate response to appropriate strengths of topical steroid, or if these are not tolerated, especially on areas of delicate skin, topical calcineurin inhibitors the cream pimecrolimus or the ointment tacrolimus may be useful.
Treatments for more severe eczema, or additional treatments, include phototherapy, oral steroids, immunosuppressant drugs, a biologic drug and a Janus kinase inhibitor.
Before progressing to additional treatments, it is essential to check that there is no other explanation for the eczema being uncontrolled. The following are examples of questions that should be considered by your doctor, but it is not an exhaustive list:
- Have all topical therapies been used to the highest dose possible that is safe? , please see our Topical steroids factsheet.)
- Have all irritants and allergens been identified and avoided to the extent practicable?
- Has infection been controlled?
- Is the eczema diagnosis correct?
Have a look at our factsheets to find out more about different eczema treatments.
How To Help Prevent Scalp Eczema Flare
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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Hailey Bieber’s *chocolate* Glazed Donut Nails Are Even Better Than The Original
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.
Instead, she prescribes topical anti-inflammatories that are helpful for treating scalp eczema. Finney also recommends switching to a gentler shampoo. Irritant contact dermatitis can occur on the scalp due to different ingredients in shampoos, including sulfates, he explains.
What should I do if over-the-counter products aren’t cutting it?
One of the worst things to do when you have presumed eczema is to try to treat it at home yourself, like putting on a topical antibiotic, Gohara says. Common first aid kit essentials like Neosporin or even aloe vera will only stoke the fire and potentially exacerbate the eczema.
The Obvious Anti Itch Medicine
However a year back I stumbled upon a revelation that is so simple it almost seems stupid. You see I was on a business trip in Korea and noted how easy it is to get cosmetic surgery it is there, they can do a simple operation within 10 to 20 minutes, and do it while you are awake?
Awake I said to myself and then it his me. An idea on how to stop itchy skin.
Why has no doctor thought of using safe topical anaesthesia for Eczema, the answer is that doctors just do what they are told and anesthesia/surgery is not related to Eczema so it makes no sense to link the two.
But THEN Lidocaine is readily used in anti-itching formulas for Mosquitoes bites. It is an extremely safe and one of the essential medicines in the WTO list.
So I thought well what if you used Lidocaine cream at 10% from Korea, it was easy to get because they are so far ahead in cosmetic alterations and just applied it to itching areas. And it worked!
Within seconds, any strong eczema itching has subsided or disappeared.
A doctor would say blasphemy to using a local anaesthetic for Eczema, why would you use an surgery med for a not so terrible skin disease .
If you think about it perfectly makes sense.
Lidocaine cream remove the sensation from the nerves in your skin, and the nerves dealing with inflammation is what is creating that burning itching feeling.
Even an expensive formula called Emla with 5% Lidocaine cream works effectively.
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Best For Flakes: Dhs Zinc Shampoo
To address scaliness, reach for this flake-fighter. It contains zinc pyrithione, an ingredient that has both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that help treat and prevent eczema, explains Shaurya. Its a fan-favorite on Amazon, too, with many satisfied reviewers commenting on how well it works to combat not only flakes but itchiness, too.
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Ingredients: Less Is More
Most shampoos youâll find in stores lean toward flowery, fruity, and fragrant. But shampoos loaded with botanical ingredients and scents can make your eczema worse, no matter how nice they smell.
Because your scalp is more likely to get irritated than most other peopleâs, your shampoo should have fewer additives that might rile up that tender skin. If you look for shampoos that have fewer ingredients, you may sidestep much of the trial and error that can come with the quest for the right shampoo.
Bear in mind âunscentedâ and âfragrance-freeâ arenât the same. âUnscentedâ means somethingâs been added to the product to mask the smell. âFragrance-freeâ means no ingredients in the shampoo should have a scent.
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Treatment Of Scalp And Beard Areas
Many cases of seborrheic dermatitis are effectively treated by shampooing daily or every other day with antidandruff shampoos containing 2.5 percent selenium sulfide or 1 to 2 percent pyrithione zinc. Alternatively, ketoconazole shampoo may be used.10 The shampoo should be applied to the scalp and beard areas and left in place for five to 10 minutes before rinsing. A moisturizing shampoo may be used afterward to prevent dessication of the hair. After the disease is under control, the frequency of shampooing with medicated shampoos may be decreased to twice weekly or as needed. Topical terbinafine solution, 1 percent, has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of scalp seborrhea.11
If the scalp is covered with diffuse, dense scale, the scale may first be removed by applying warm mineral oil or olive oil to the scalp and washing several hours later with a detergent such as a dishwashing liquid or a tar shampoo.12 An alternative is an overnight application of a coal tarkeratolytic combination or phenol-saline solution with or without occlusion with a plastic shower cap followed by shampooing in the morning.13
Infants frequently have seborrheic dermatitis, commonly known as cradle cap. Areas of possible involvement include the scalp, face and intertriginous areas. Involvement may be extensive, but this disorder frequently clears spontaneously by six to 12 months of age and does not recur until the onset of puberty.
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
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Treatment For Seborrheic Dermatitis In Children
If the seborrheic dermatitis is mild, an OTC topical antifungal cream or medicated shampoo with ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, coal tar or zinc pyrithione, may be enough to control symptoms. It is OK to leave mild seborrheic dermatitis untreated if your child is not uncomfortable.
A seborrheic dermatitis rash on an infants head, neck and torso.
In more severe cases, a provider may prescribe topical steroids or TCIs to calm the inflammation. Oral antifungal agents may also be used.
Eczema is a skin condition that causes dry, itchy, scaly, red skin.
Eczema is a chronic condition that can worsen and also go into periods with no symptoms . Eczema on the scalp is treated with home treatments and medications.
Home treatment for eczema on the scalp includes:
- Moisturizing the scalp
- Coconut oil or non-fragranced mineral oil
- Petroleum jelly
What Is Scalp Dermatitis
Scalp dermatitis is a wide-ranging condition, according to Dr. Shani Francis, a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in hair loss.
Scalp dermatitis is a very broad condition, and it has several diagnoses that are very common, and some rare diagnoses, Francis said.
There are several different kinds of dermatitis, each caused by different factors and requiring different treatments. Seborrheic dermatitis can cause scaly patches, red skin and stubborn dandruff, while contact dermatitis typically occurs in a particular area, in response to an allergen or irritant. Other, less common types of scalp dermatitis can be caused by infections or even internal illnesses like cancer, according to Francis.
Dermatitis is something you shouldnt blow off, Francis said. Its usually something that could be harmless, but there are also rare things that can present on the scalp that definitely need to be diagnosed by a board-certified dermatologist.
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One Last Thing About Scalp Eczema Treatment
Scalp eczema can be uncomfortable, but there are several over-the-counter solutions that can help relieve your symptoms.
But as always, consulting a professional can help you manage this skin condition. In particular, you may want to see a dermatologist to help identify the triggers for scalp eczema and get a prescription treatment if the remedies youve tried arent effective.
Importantly, see your dermatologist as soon as possible if your eczema-related skin patches drain fluid or pus, form crusts, or become very red or painful.
Additional reporting by Diana Rodriguez.
Finding The Right Hair Stylist
One of the first things I would check in with when choosing a hairdresser is if they have worked with clients with sensitive skin before. This is something that you can contact them about ahead of time through email or over the phone just make sure that they are someone who can work with you and be very cognizant of avoiding harsh chemicals and processing as much as possible. To a degree, there will be some irritation no matter what because we need to strip some of the proteins in your hair to get it light enough to show the hair dye as truly as possible. So its not completely without some level of discomfort, but it can be greatly minimized if your hairdresser is willing to work with you.
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What Can You Expect From Scalp Eczema Treatment
The first thing to do if you think you might have eczema on your scalp is to get a proper diagnosis from a board-certified dermatologist if you can. Of course, not everyone has access to specialists. In this case, consider reaching out to a primary care doctor if you have one or make an appointment at a medical clinic in your area. They may be able to help you find the right scalp eczema treatment if your condition is mild or eventually refer you to a dermatologist if needed.
Take notes on your symptoms and how they are similar to eczema on the scalp before your appointment, so youre prepared to discuss them and any questions you have with your doctor. Finding an effective treatment plan for your scalp is really dependent on the condition you have. For example, seborrheic dermatitis6 can typically be managed with dandruff shampoobut thats not the case for scalp eczema. To solidify a diagnosis, your doctor may recommend a skin patch test, which involves placing small amounts of potential allergens and irritants on your skin during a medical appointment, according to the AAD. These areas are covered with patches that you keep on your skin for 48 hours. Then, youll return to the doctors office so they can inspect your skin for reactions, such as sores or rashes. After that, you may have one more appointment roughly four days later so your doctor can have one final inspection and determine if youre sensitive or allergic to any particular substances.
When To See A Doctor Or Healthcare Provider
Scalp eczema may be chronic, but patients can successfully manage symptoms with the proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
If your condition is disrupting your life or causing you to be uncomfortable, embarrassed, or anxious, call your primary care provider or a provider specializing in skin conditions and make an appointment to be evaluated.
If your scalp begins to display red streaks, ooze pus, or crust over, that may be a sign of an infection that requires immediate medical intervention to address.
Also, if you have itchy skin and begin to develop a fever, tightness in your chest, cough, wheeze, begin to lose your voice, or have swelling or tingling in your face, tongue, lips, or throat, you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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Do Not Scratch The Itchy Patches
It is difficult to keep yourself from scratching especially when your scalp feels itchy. However, if you want to get rid of eczema on scalp fast, you have to refrain from the temptation to scratch the itchy patches. Every time you feel like scratching your scalp, try to find something else to do. Scratching the affected areas not only cause irritation, it can lead to bleeding. You can also develop secondary infections when you scratch your scalp excessively. You should also resist the urge to touch your scalp to prevent infection.
Causes And Triggers Of Scalp Eczema
Scientists correlate the onset of scalp eczema with a combination of causative factors, such as individual risk factors and response to inflammatory changes initiated by a typical skin microbe called Malassezia yeast.
This organism invades the stratum corneum layer of the skin and triggers a nonspecific immunological response with inflammatory changes.
Some people may be more likely to develop scalp eczema, including:
- infants less than 3 months old
- adults typically between 30 and 60 years old
- some individuals living with HIV or epilepsy
- some people with conditions due to chronic alcohol intake
- some people taking medications such as interferon and lithium
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Scalp Eczema Vs Scalp Psoriasis
Scalp eczema and scalp psoriasis can look very similar, but a trained dermatologist or other healthcare provider will be able to tell the difference and suggest the correct treatment.
It sometimes requires a skin biopsy to tell the difference.
Patients with both conditions can have red, scaly skin, but those with psoriasis have thicker, drier skin, and silvery scales.
People with psoriasis may experience soreness or pain as a part of their condition, and may find that their skin is more challenging to treat than those with eczema.
Whats The Difference Between Seborrheic Dermatitis And Psoriasis
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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