Treatments For Weeping Eczema
If your skin is weeping and infected, your treatment will depend on the type of infection you have.
Bacterial infections are usually treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics may be administered as a cream, ointment, tablet, or syrup. Sometimes, antibiotics are given along with a topical steroid.
Viral infections are typically treated with antiviral tablets. If your viral infection is severe, you may need to receive these medicines intravenously in a hospital setting.
Fungal infections are helped with antifungal creams or ointments. These are usually combined with topical steroids.
Its important that you continue to take your usual oral or topical medicines for eczema unless your doctor tells you to stop treatment.
Whats The Difference Between Scalp Eczema And Scalp Psoriasis
There are a surprising amount of conditions that can cause an itchy scalp, so its important to be sure you know what youre really dealing with. Seborrheic dermatitis, for example, is a major cause of dandruff and has an entirely different treatment plan than eczema.
Another possibility is psoriasis on your scalp. Eczema and psoriasis both cause patches of red, itchy skin, but they show up slightly differently. Unlike eczema, psoriasis is an autoimmune condition, and the inflamed skin patches that are caused by psoriasis tend to be thick and scaly, and they may be grayish in color. These thickened patches are referred to as plaques and may be triggered by things like stress or a bacterial or viral infection.
If youre not sure whether your scalp issue is due to eczema, psoriasis, or something else, its best to check with a dermatologist. But you can help narrow it down by thinking about the products youve used on your scalp recently and what, if anything, helps your scalp feel better. For instance, if you know you used a new shampoo in the past week, that could be triggering eczema.
It also helps to know about your family history because both eczema and psoriasis can have a genetic component. So, if you have a family member with one condition or the other, that makes it more likely that you have it too.
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.
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Can Someone Outgrow Eczema
Technically, yesusually if they were born with it. In a study from the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, most eczema will present itself in early childhood. The good news? Most babies who develop eczema in the first few months of life will show improvements by the age of 3, and around two-thirds of them will suffer only occasional breakouts or completely outgrow their symptoms by their teen years. Even when it does appear in adults, it tends to be milder.
However, a small percentage of babies who develop eczema will not outgrow it. And in certain instances of adult onset, eczema does develop after individuals turn 18. In fact, the National Eczema Association finds that roughly one in four adults with eczema report initial symptoms coming on later in life. “When eczema is caused by genetics or developed as an adult, it can have longer-lasting effects, with flare-ups occurring throughout life,” says Dr. Zeichner. “If the eczema is caused by external factors like dry weather or irritating skincare products, it will usually improve once the aggressor is eliminated.”
Tips For Reducing Outbreaks
Here are a few ways to prevent eczema flare-ups and manage symptoms:
- Apply cool compresses to your skin, or take a colloidal oatmeal or baking soda bath to relieve the itch.
- Moisturize your skin daily with a rich, oil-based cream or ointment to form a protective barrier against the elements. Apply the cream right after you get out of the shower or bath to seal in moisture.
- After you bathe, gently blot your skin with a soft towel. Never rub.
- Avoid scratching. You could cause an infection.
- Use fragrance-free detergents, cleansers, makeup, and other skin care products.
- Wear gloves and protective clothing whenever you handle chemicals.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes made from soft fibers, like cotton.
You should also avoid any known triggers.
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How To Prevent Eczema On The Scalp
As well as using medication to treat scalp eczema, there are certain changes you can make to your lifestyle to prevent eczema outbreaks from getting worse or happening in the first place.
Here are some ways to prevent eczema on the scalp:
- Reducing stress: in some cases, eczema flare-ups can be triggered by stressful situations and feelings of anxiety. Exercise, meditation, eating healthily and maintaining good sleep hygiene are all good ways to reduce stress levels.
- Keeping your scalp clean: washing your hair and head regularly with warm water and a gentle shampoo can keep eczema at bay and wash away sweat and buildups on the skin which can trigger eczema.
- Avoiding suspected irritants: limit exposure to certain chemicals or products such as harsh soaps and shampoos, hair dye, and extremely hot water. Certain medications may also make eczema flare-up too.
Risk Factors And Triggers: What Are The Causes Of Eczema On The Scalp
Although the exact causes of eczema arent fully known, there are a number of risk factors and triggers that can increase your risk of developing scalp eczema or exacerbate the condition.
Here are the risk factors of scalp eczema:
- Neurological or psychiatric conditions
- Immune system conditions or weaknesses
- Stressful medical conditions
- Other existing skin conditions
Here are the triggers of scalp eczema:
- Harsh chemicals in products like soap, shampoo and conditioner
- Irritants in these products such as nickel or cobalt
- Exposure to something youre allergic to
- Medications such as psoralen , interferon, and lithium
- Extreme sweating
Scalp eczema may also be caused by an overproduction of sebum , which can encourage a natural skin fungus called Malassezia to multiply. This fungal overgrowth can cause the scalp to become irritated, which can lead to scalp eczema.
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How Do I Know If I Have Atopic Dermatitis On My Scalp
If you or your child have red, itchy skin on your head and already experience Atopic Dermatitis on other areas of your body then it is likely that the symptoms on your scalp are linked. Atopic Dermatitis is especially common in babies and children but many adults have it too. You can find out more in Atopic Dermatitis and babies, Atopic Dermatitis and children and Atopic Dermatitis and adults.
If you or your child do not have Atopic Dermatitis, then there are several other types of Dermatitis that are also common on the scalp and which present similar symptoms. These include:
A common condition in babies where it is known as Cradle Cap. Thought by many scientist to be a type of fungal infection typical symptoms are thick, crusty, yellowish flakes of skin on the infants scalp, though it can also appear on the eyes and nose. Unlike Atopic Dermatitis, It is rarely itchy. Most children grow out of it as they get older and are normally symptom free by the age of three. You can find out more about Seborrheic Dermatitis in general here.
Seborrheic Dermatitis is thought to be the underlying causes of dandruff in adults. There are two different types: greasy dandruff and dry dandruff . As with Atopic Dermatitis, skin often itchy and looks red. Dry dandruff is much more common in adults than children with up to 50% of the adult population suffering for it at some time. Read more about it in Dandruff.
Symptoms Of Seborrheic Dermatitis
Seborrheic dermatitis often presents with scaly patches on the skin that appear greasy. The skin beneath the patches is red and the scales flake off, like the flaking experienced with dandruff. Some people may also have itching, which can be severe. In most cases, there are periods of time when the condition worsens followed by periods of improvement . Flares may be more frequent with high stress levels, hormonal changes, heavy alcohol use or when the air is cold and dry.
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Wrap Up In Cold Weather
Cold, harsh winter winds can dry out the skin and cause eczema flares.
Keep the skin covered when temperatures are low. Also, consider covering the face with a scarf if eczema occurs in this body region.
While many home remedies are suitable for babies and children, always speak with a doctor before using them.
The following home remedies and tips may help:
What Type Of Moisturizer Is Good For Hand Eczema
Mild hand eczema on the knuckles
The more water there is in a lotion or moisturizer, the more likely it is to worsen your hand eczema. Moisturizers usually contain more water than oil, and when the water evaporates it can dry out the skin. The best moisturizer for hand eczema is a greasy ointment, such as petroleum jelly. Be sure to read the label to determine which moisturizer has the least amount of water.
The NEA Seal of Acceptance directory has a list of moisturizers specially formulated for eczema skin.
Apply the moisturizer to your hands immediately after you bathe and each time you wash your hands.
Remember that it can take a few months for a flare-up to clear. Even if your hands appear eczema-free, you will sometimes need to take special care with them to avoid a return of symptoms.
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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.
If a hair product might be causing contact dermatitis that worsens your eczema, your doctor will likely recommend that you ditch it and see where that gets you, New York City dermatologist Doris Day, M.D., author of Beyond Beautiful, tells SELF. Theyll likely suggest gentle shampoos, conditioners, and other hair products that wont strip your scalp of moisture or otherwise make your eczema harder to handle.
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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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.
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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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.
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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What Else Can I Do To Reduce Symptoms Of Atopic Dermatitis On My Scalp
Because there is no known cure for Atopic Dermatitis, it is important that you try to identify and avoid potential triggers: this will reduce the chances of it flaring up. You can find out more about the steps that you can take in Understanding Atopic Dermatitis.
If the symptoms persist, or if your skin is in any way bothering you, be sure to contact your doctor.
What Triggers A Seborrheic Dermatitis Flare
When seborrheic dermatitis flares up, it can cause increased redness, flaky rashes, and intense itchiness. Seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups can be rather hard to manage. These symptoms are uncomfortable and unpleasant for anyone experiencing them.
Flare-ups may be triggered by:
- Increased stress
- Harsh ingredients
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What Triggers Eczema On The Scalp
There are many different triggers for eczema, and they are not unique to eczema of the scalp. For some people, stress can be a trigger. Its believed that stress causes the immune system to activate. And this, in turn, can spur the release of hormones that cause itchiness and inflammation.
For others, weather changes can lead to eczema flare-ups. But the kind of weather that triggers eczema is not the same for everyone. Some people find that their eczema is worse when it is cold, and others find that its worse when it is hot.
It is also possible for the skin to get irritated by certain fabrics and chemicals. Wool, synthetic fibers, and some fabric dyes are common triggers. If you notice an eczema flare when you wear certain hats, the fabric or dye may be a trigger for you.
What’s The Best Treatment For Eczema
According to Dr. Zeichner, eczema is often dealt with in one of two ways. “First, you’ll want to repair the skin barrier using good moisturizers, ideally with ceramides or colloidal oatmeal . Second, you’ll want to reduce the inflammation, in which case over-the-counter anti-inflammatory creams can be useful,” he advises.
In the event that over-the-counter treatments are not helping, Dr. Zeichner suggests visiting a board-certified dermatologist for prescription treatment options. It is possible to keep the rashes at bay even if it’s something you won’t grow out of.
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