scalp eczema

Eczema on the Scalp: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options

by Christoffer Thorsager on Jun 26, 2023

Read through by Dorthe Kristensen

Hairdresser and former co-owner of the award-winning hairdressing chain Zoom by Zoom
With many years of experience in the hairdressing industry, Dorthe has advised many customers about hair and hair care. Dorthe has read through this blog entry to ensure high quality and professionalism. This blog post is professionally updated on May 3, 2024.

Table of contents

Eczema on the scalp can cause itching and discomfort. It is a common condition, but there are many treatment options available. In this article, we will take a closer look at the causes of eczema on the scalp and examine different treatments so that you can get help to relieve your symptoms.

What is scalp eczema?

Eczema of the scalp is a skin condition that can cause itchy and scaly areas. It can be caused by several factors such as stress, fungus or overproduction of the sebaceous glands. Symptoms of scalp eczema often include redness and soreness along with itching and flaking.

Eczema on the scalp can be caused by several factors such as stress, fungus or overproduction of the sebaceous glands and can be treated with special shampoos or creams.

Treatment for scalp eczema varies based on the cause of the condition. Some treatment options include using special shampoos or creams that help reduce inflammation and fight bacterial or fungal infections. It is important to consult a doctor for the best treatment option, as untreated eczema can lead to further irritation and infection of the scalp.

Symptoms of eczema on the scalp

Redness, irritation, peeling, rash and itching are some of the most common symptoms of scalp eczema. This can be due to stress or an overproduction of the sebaceous glands, which creates an itchy and irritated scalp. Skin peeling and scaling may also occur as the inflamed skin releases dead skin cells. If not treated in time, this can lead to sores or welts on the scalp.

It is important to seek treatment for scalp eczema to avoid further irritation and discomfort. The treatment varies according to the cause of the eczema - it can be fungal or scaly eczema (seborrheic eczema) - so it is always recommended to consult a doctor for correct diagnosis and treatment. An effective treatment will relieve the symptoms such as itching as well as reduce skin peeling and prevent future outbreaks of eczema on the scalp.

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Causes of scalp eczema

Genetic predisposition may play a role in the development of scalp eczema. People with family members suffering from eczema or other skin conditions are more likely to develop it themselves. Dry skin/dry scalp or oily hair or oily scalp can also lead to itching and dandruff on the scalp. The sebaceous glands produce too much oil, which makes the hair greasy and creates a breeding ground for fungus.

Allergic reactions or stress can also be the reasons behind itchy flakes on the scalp. Stress increases the production of hormones such as cortisol, which can lead to inflammation and dryness in the body, including on the head. Treatment of scalp eczema and dandruff should always be assessed individually based on a consultation with your doctor to clarify the underlying cause as well as the degree of symptoms, but possible treatment options include medicated anti-fungal shampoo (if caused by this), steroid creams and changes in diets or lifestyle when relevant.

Is scalp eczema hereditary?

Yes, scalp eczema can be hereditary. Research has shown that there is a genetic factor that can play a role in the development of scalp eczema. However, this does not mean that it is guaranteed that you will develop eczema on the scalp if it runs in your family. There are also other factors that can affect whether you develop eczema, such as stress, dietary habits or environmental factors. If you experience symptoms of eczema on the scalp, it is important to seek treatment from a doctor or dermatologist to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Is eczema on the scalp contagious?

Eczema on the scalp is not contagious as it is not caused by an infection. It is an inflammatory condition where the skin on the scalp becomes red, scaly, itchy and sometimes painful. The causes can vary from dry skin, allergies, stress, hormonal changes or an autoimmune disease. It is important to seek medical attention to identify the cause of the eczema and receive appropriate treatment. The use of shared combs, brushes and hair accessories should be avoided as this may worsen the condition or spread any infections that may occur. A good hygiene regimen and a healthy lifestyle can also help prevent the appearance of scalp eczema.

Treatment of eczema on the scalp

Eczema on the scalp can be irritating and bothersome. An effective treatment for scalp eczema includes the use of special shampoos designed to relieve itching and irritation. These shampoos contain active ingredients such as salicylic acid, sulfur or tea tree oil that help soothe and heal the skin.

If you prefer natural remedies for scalp eczema, consider applying aloe vera gel or coconut oil to the infected area to reduce inflammation.

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However, it is important to always consult a doctor before starting a new treatment method for scalp eczema. Furthermore, it may also be beneficial to avoid stressful situations as well as harsh chemicals such as hair dyes or styling products to minimize the risk of further skin irritation.

How is eczema on the scalp treated?

Using medicated shampoos and lotions can be effective in treating scalp eczema. These products contain ingredients that help relieve itching and inflammation, such as salicylic acid and sulfur. It is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully so as not to overuse.

Use of steroid creams or ointments can also be an option for treating eczema on the scalp. These products contain strong anti-inflammatory ingredients that help reduce redness and irritation in the area. However, it is important to use these remedies only after consultation with a doctor or skin specialist, as they have side effects with long-term use.

Light therapy can also be an effective way to treat scalp eczema. This type of therapy emits specialized light to the affected area and reduces inflammation as well as itching. Light treatment usually requires several sessions with a skin specialist before visible results are achieved.

Natural remedies and home remedies for eczema on the scalp

Tea tree oil, aloe vera gel and coconut oil are all natural remedies that can be used to treat eczema on the scalp. Tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties and can help relieve itching and inflammation of the scalp. Aloe vera gel is known for its soothing properties and can reduce redness and irritation in the scalp. Coconut oil also has a soothing effect on the skin, while containing fatty acids that promote healing of damaged skin.

It is important to note that these remedies should only be used after a thorough consultation with a doctor or dermatologist. They should not be used as an alternative to medical treatment or diagnosis of scalp eczema.

Prevention of eczema on the scalp

Using mild, gentle products for hair washing and styling is an effective way to prevent eczema on the scalp. It is also important to ensure thorough rinsing after using hair detergents to avoid accumulation of product residues and chemicals on the scalp. Also, avoid excessive heat from blow dryers and straighteners, as this can dry out the scalp and increase the risk of irritation.

Other tips for preventing scalp eczema include:

  • Use a soft brush or comb to comb your hair
  • Be careful with frequent coloring or permanent treatments
  • Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water every day

By taking these simple steps, you can reduce the risk of developing eczema and other skin irritations on your scalp.


The Impact of Scalp Eczema on Hair Health

Many people search for - how to get rid of eczema on the scalp. But there isn't a permanent cure. Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. It is a chronic skin condition that can cause itchy, red, and inflamed patches anywhere on the body, including the scalp.Scalp eczema looks like dry, itchy patches on the scalp. It can also cause crusting, flaking, and even temporary hair loss.

Today, we will explain how scalp eczema can affect your hair and what you can do to manage the symptoms and keep your hair healthy.

How Does Scalp Eczema Affect Hair?

Before diving into how to cure eczema on the scalp, let us explore how scalp eczema affects your hair.

Scalp eczema can significantly affect hair health and appearance. The condition often causes itchiness, redness, and flaking on the scalp, which can lead to discomfort and embarrassment. In severe cases, the constant itching and inflammation can damage the hair follicles. It may lead to hair loss or thinning.

Also, the scales and flakes from scalp eczema can make the hair appear dull and unkempt. You can manage scalp eczema with proper treatment and care.

What Triggers Scalp Eczema?

There's no single cause of scalp eczema. Several triggers can aggravate this condition. Let's explore some common culprits that might be setting your scalp on fire:

  • Weather: Dry, cold winters and hot, humid summers can wreak havoc on sensitive scalps.
  • Stress: Feeling overwhelmed? Stress can worsen eczema symptoms, including scalp irritation.
  • Product Use: Harsh shampoos, dyes, and styling products packed with chemicals can irritate your scalp.
  • Allergic Reactions: Allergies to ingredients in hair care products, fragrances, or even certain foods can trigger flare-ups.
  • Sensitive Scalp: Some people have naturally sensitive skin. It makes their scalps more prone to eczema outbreaks.

Unforeseen Triggers for Scalp Eczema

Here are some other triggers of scalp eczema.

  • Sweat: Excessive sweating during exercise can irritate your scalp, especially if you don't rinse thoroughly afterwards.
  • Dandruff: Dandruff can sometimes worsen eczema symptoms or even be a symptom itself.
  • Underlying Conditions: Certain medical conditions like asthma or allergies can increase your risk of eczema flare-ups.
  • Diet: Some people find that certain foods, like dairy or gluten, trigger their eczema.

Remember: Consulting a doctor can be highly beneficial. They can diagnose your eczema, identify specific triggers, and recommend the best course of treatment. It will help you keep your scalp feeling comfortable and healthy.

How To Treat Eczema On The Scalp

While there is no cure for scalp eczema, there are ways to manage the symptoms. It will help you keep your hair healthy. Here are some tips to manage your condition:

  • Use Gentle Shampoos: Use a mild, fragrance-free shampoo that is gentle on the scalp. Avoid shampoos with harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin.
  • Keep Your Scalp Clean: Wash your hair regularly to remove dirt, oil, and flakes. However, avoid overwashing, as it can dry out the scalp and worsen eczema symptoms.
  • Avoid Irritants: Avoid using hair products that contain alcohol, fragrances, or other harsh chemicals that can irritate the scalp.
  • Moisturize Regularly: Keep your scalp hydrated by applying a moisturizer or emollient to the affected areas. Use products specifically formulated for sensitive skin.
  • Use Medicated Shampoos: In cases of severe scalp eczema, your doctor may recommend using medicated shampoos to help reduce inflammation and flaking.
  • Prescription Medications: In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe topical corticosteroids or oral medications to help reduce inflammation and itching.
  • Avoid Scratching: Try to avoid scratching your scalp, as it may lead to infection. If you have an uncontrollable urge to scratch, try using a cold compress or anti-itch cream to help relieve the itch.
  • Manage Stress: Stress can worsen eczema symptoms, so try to manage stress through relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
  • Seek Professional Help: If your scalp eczema is severe or does not improve with home remedies, it's important to see a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Remember, eczema is a chronic condition that may flare up from time to time. By following these tips and working closely with your healthcare provider, you can effectively manage scalp eczema and reduce its impact on your daily life.


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