When To Seek Medical Advice
You should see your GP or pharmacist if you think you may have discoid eczema, as the condition can take a long time to improve without treatment and it may keep recurring.
You should also seek medical advice if you think your skin may be infected, as you may need to use antibiotic cream or, in very severe cases, take antibiotics tablets.
- oral corticosteroids for severe flare-ups
- antibiotics for infected eczema
- antihistamines for severe itching
There are many different preparations for each type of medication and it is worth taking time with your pharmacist to find the best one for you.
A range of emollient products, soap substitutes and some topical corticosteroids can be bought from pharmacies without a prescription. Some of them are cheaper to buy this way than with a prescription.
Ask your pharmacist for advice on the different products and how to use them. See your GP if your eczema does not improve after using an over-the-counter preparation.
Moderate To Severe Psoriasis Treatments
Your doctor may prescribe steroids, lotions, solutions, sprays, or foams to treat moderate to severe scalp psoriasis. Some topical treatments are applied directly to the skin, then shampooed and rinsed out, including:
- Anthralin . Apply this cream once a day for 10 to 30 minutes.
- Calcipotriene . This is a prescription form of vitamin D. Apply it at night and cover your scalp with a shower cap. Leave it on overnight. Dont get it in your eyes.
- Calcipotriene and betamethasone dipropionate . This is a combination of a type of vitamin D and a strong steroid in a suspension or ointment. You use it once a day. Dont get it in your eyes.
- Tazarotene . This vitamin A treatment comes in a cream, foam, or gel form. If using it at night, put it on clean, dry skin, and let the medication dry before you go to sleep. Applying a moisturizer after the medication may help prevent drying.
Follow your doctors directions for all medications. Dont use stronger steroids for more than a 2-week cycle without your doctor giving you the OK.
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:
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How Can I Treat Eczema On My Scalp
Eczema is a common skin health concern that can affect just about any part of the body, but when an eczema flare-up happens on the scalp, it may be especially uncomfortable and potentially difficult to treat. According to Dr. Sam Awan of U.S. Dermatology Partners in Plano and McKinney, Texas, Eczema on the scalp can be very painful, itchy, and uncomfortable. The good news is, with proper daily care and quick treatment during flare-ups, most people can manage and minimize the adverse effects of scalp eczema. In this blog, Dr. Awan will review the basics of scalp eczema and the potential treatment options.
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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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.
How Is Cradle Cap Treated
Cradle cap and seborrheic dermatitis in infants usually clears up on its own in weeks or months. In the meantime, you may want to loosen and remove the scales on your baby’s scalp:
- Wash your baby’s hair once a day with mild, tear-free baby shampoo.
- Gently remove scales with a soft brush or toothbrush.
- If the scales don’t loosen easily, apply a small amount of mineral oil or petroleum jelly to your baby’s scalp. Let the oil to soak into the scales for a few minutes to several hours, if needed. Then use a soft brush or toothbrush to remove scales. Shampoo your baby’s hair as usual.
If regular shampooing doesn’t help, your doctor may recommend a mild steroid cream or antifungal shampoo.
For seborrhea on other parts of the body, your doctor may recommend a mild steroid or antifungal cream.
Do not use over-the-counter steroid or antifungal creams or anti-seborrhea shampoos without checking first with the doctor.
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Deterrence And Patient Education
- Parental education is useful in allaying anxiety associated with ISD, and well-informed adults can learn to be confident at managing their condition
- For ASD, it requires emphasizing to the patient that there is no cure, but it can be well controlled and managed primarily at home.
- Many of the treatments for SD are available without a prescription, over the counter at the pharmacy, or increasingly on supermarket shelves. Directing the patient to the selection of such products may save consultation time and associated costs.
When You Need To Call A Doctor For Scalp Eczema
If you have tried a number of different treatments and theyre not proving to be effective, or you suspect that your skin is infected, then you should speak to your doctor. They may provide stronger prescription medication for you, or refer you to a dermatologist for expert advice on skin conditions.
You should also see your doctor if your condition is causing you anxiety, embarrassment, trouble sleeping or stopping you from continuing with everyday life.
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Symptoms Of Eczema On The Scalp
Here are some of the common signs and symptoms of eczema on the scalp:
- Patches or areas of skin that are dry, scaly or flaky
- Dandruff on your scalp or in hair
- The skin may also be greasy or waxy
- In more extreme circumstances, oozing or weeping lesions
- Possible discharge from the ear if eczema has affected the ear canal
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then you may want to confirm a diagnosis of eczema with your doctor and start looking into medication that could help with your skin problem.
How Is Seborrheic Dermatitis Diagnosed
Seborrheic dermatitis is an easy condition to diagnosis because of its appearance on the affected skin and where it appears on your body. No blood, urine or allergy tests are needed. Your dermatologist may perform a skin biopsy to rule out other diseases if your condition does not respond to treatment.
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What Is The Root Cause Of Eczema
In leaky gut syndrome, fragments of protein and bacteria reach the sensitive immune centers in the gut, triggering the immune system to produce antibodies to mount a reaction against these foods. Leaky gut syndrome is associated with food allergies, food sensitivities, and other autoimmune diseases, such as eczema.
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Will My Baby Grow Out Of Eczema
Sadly, it is impossible to predict whether your baby will have eczema for life or for just a short time. So far, there is no cure for eczema. Eczema is a chronic condition with periods of flare and periods of remission, and most people with a history of eczema still have problems with dry and itchy skin. If your child has a difference in their filaggrin gene, they will not grow out of it. Even if your baby appears to grow out of their eczema, it may return during the teenage years or in adulthood.
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What Else Can Cause Scalp Eczema
There are a few other conditions that can cause eczema of the scalp:
Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema when not specifically talking about the scalp, but it can affect the scalp as well. The most significant risk factor for atopic dermatitis is a family history, and this condition has many environmental triggers , which can make symptoms worse .
Contact dermatitis comes in two flavors: allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis. It appears as a rash on your skin after coming into contact with an irritating substance or a substance to which youve developed an allergy .
Neurodermatitis is a condition that occurs more often in women between the ages of 3050 and can cause itchy, raised patches on the skin .
Treatments for these conditions range from simple lifestyle changes to prescription creams that work with your bodys immune system to help control your symptoms. To learn more about the other types of eczema and their treatments, click here.
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According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, more than 60 percent of people with psoriasis develop some scaling on their scalp. Nourishing ingredients like green tea extract and ceramides combine in this conditioning serum to combat flakes and bring moisture back to the scalp while also reducing hair breakage. With tea tree products, Dr. Tareem recommends rubbing them on the arm first to make sure the skin doesnt irritate.
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Systemic And Biologic Treatments
These treatments work to slow down the growth of skin cells or to reduce inflammation.
Biologic medications block proteins in the immune system that are related to psoriasis, such as:
- tumor necrosis factor-alpha
is continually being done to see how these biologics can help reduce symptoms, and to develop newer medications.
Is Eczema On The Scalp Common
Eczema is not among the most common conditions that can appear on the scalp. However, the most common type of scalp eczema is seborrheic dermatitis, which is also known as cradle cap in infants.
As per a study conducted by the Department of Dermatology, Calcutta National Medical College, India, about 13.4% of children under the age of 5 years are infected with seborrheic dermatitis, which is at peak during infancy.
As per a study conducted by Kamedis Ltd, almost 5% of the general population across the world is affected by scalp eczema, and men are affected more than women.
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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.
If You Have Allergic Eczema
You will need to eliminate any shampoo containing the identified allergen. The dermato-allergologist can also help by recommending you safe alternative shampoos you can use.
Ultimately, it is up to you to be careful. For example, if you are allergic to a preservative like methylisothiazolinone, you will need to check the label on your shampoo to make sure that this tricky name is not on the ingredients list.
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How Can You Prevent Eczema On The Scalp
1. Wash your scalp and hair regularly using a mild scalp eczema shampoo, especially after workout sessions. However, avoid overwashing your scalp and hair as it can strip off the natural moisturizing oils.
2. Avoid using any product that may irritate your skin such as harsh soaps or chemical dyes.
3. As per the study conducted by the Department of Dermatology and STD, JIPMER, Pondicherry, India, even chemical Holi colors contain lead oxide, chromium iodide, copper sulfate, silica, etc., which result in contact dermatitis on your scalp and skin.
4. Use products that are free of harmful chemicals or fragrances.
5. Always choose your hair products carefully with ingredients that do not trigger allergic reactions.
6. Avoid using blow dryers.
7. Avoid washing your scalp with hot or cold water. Always prefer lukewarm water to wash your scalp and hair.
8. Ensure you get enough sleep to keep your stress under control.
9. You can rely on Pranayama and meditation regularly to keep your stress levels in control.
What Triggers A Scalp Eczema Flare
Eczema triggers can vary from person to person. Environmental irritants, such as air pollution or cold weather, as well as genetic and lifestyle factors, including dry skin and stress, can set off scalp eczema symptoms, according to the AAD.
Scalp eczema triggers you are especially likely to come in contact with include shampoo, conditioner, hair dye, and hair styling products. Many of these self-care products contain certain ingredients, like fragrances or detergents, that can cause allergic reactions or irritation in people who are susceptible. If you brush your hair aggressively, wash your hair too frequently for your needs, or heat-style your hair often, you might also aggravate dry skin on your scalp and potentially trigger eczema symptoms.
You can try to narrow down potential scalp eczema triggers by taking note of the products youve used on your scalp recently as well as thinking about any changes in your routine. For instance, blow-drying your hair instead of your usual air drying may trigger scalp eczema flare-ups.
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What Causes Seborrhoeic Dermatitis
Seborrhoeic dermatitis may be caused by an immune reaction to a microscopic fungus called Malassezia.
Malassezia is normally present on healthy skin, around the areas where oil is produced, but some people develop an immune reaction to Malassezia for reasons that remain unknown. It is not contagious, nor a sign of poor hygiene.
Seborrhoeic dermatitis looks like patches of oily, flaking or scaly skin. Crusting yellow sores may develop on the scalp, particularly in infants with cradle cap. Affected areas may also be red and itchy, or may sting.
Medicated Shampoos Lotions And Creams
Just like your skin requires regular moisturizing, your scalp needs it too. You can use medicated products such as shampoo, lotion, or cream to massage your scalp regularly.
Since it can be tricky to work the moisture through your hair so it reaches the scalp, it is essential to part your hair into sections before application. With this step, the medicine is absorbed effectively into the affected areas.
Medicated emollients lotions and spray-on oil can also be used to keep the scalp moisturized and hydrated.
If your scalp is too scaly, you can use a combination of salicylic acid and tar preparation . Apply the formula and leave it on overnight, or at least for four hours and shampoo your hair in the morning.
Dont forget to cover your hair with a shower cap or a cotton turban if you leave the medicine on overnight as the process may get messy.
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Top 5 Most Common Otc Treatments For Eczema
Eczema treatment can go beyond prescribed medication. There are many OTC products which can provide hydration and itch relief, stop some skin types from becoming scaly and prevent skin dryness. Check out these four OTC products and see how they might work with your eczema therapy and treatment plan.
Can I Prevent Scalp Eczema Flare
According to Dr. Awan, Once you get a scalp eczema flare-up under control, its important to take steps to maintain skin health and prevent future flare-ups. Your dermatologist can help you find the right daily scalp care products. While its always recommended to work with a dermatologist to create a personalized skincare routine, some basic steps you can take to minimize risk for scalp eczema flare-ups include:
- Keep your scalp clean Wash your scalp regularly, especially if youve been sweating, with a gentle, pH-balanced shampoo and apply a conditioner
- Moisturize Apply moisturizer to the scalp at least once a day
- Cut back on styling Avoid using styling products, especially those that contain alcohol and other drying agents, or minimize use significantly to reduce the risk of a flare-up
- Protect the scalp Wear hats and other protective clothing to minimize scalp exposure to sunlight, cold, or dry weather
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Best For Sensitive Scalps: Exederm Eczema And Dermatitis Shampoo
Yes, its fair to say that anyone dealing with scalp eczema has sensitive skin, but if any little thing seems to trigger a flair, this pick is for you. Another crazy gentle formula, Shaurya calls this, one of the most hypoallergenic shampoos on the market, with minimal ingredients that will cause irritation. It too boasts the National Eczema Associations seal of approval and is good not only for eczema but any kind of scalp dermatitis.