Scalp Eczema Treatment: Effective Relief for Symptoms & Care

Scalp eczema, a common skin condition also known as seborrheic dermatitis, can be frustrating and embarrassing. Itching, redness, and flaking disrupt your daily life. Fortunately, with proper diagnosis and treatment, you can effectively manage your symptoms and achieve relief.

What is Scalp Eczema?

Scalp eczema causes inflammation and irritation on the scalp. This inflammation disrupts the skin's natural barrier function, leading to dryness, itching, and increased susceptibility to infection.

Identifying Scalp Eczema Symptoms

Several key signs can help identify scalp eczema:

  • Itchy scalp: This is often the most bothersome symptom, leading to scratching that can worsen the irritation and potentially cause temporary hair loss.
  • Redness: Inflamed skin appears red and irritated.
  • Flaking skin (dandruff): Dead skin cells accumulate and shed, causing dandruff-like flaking.
  • Scaly patches: Well-defined, red, and scaly patches may appear on the scalp.
  • Oozing or crusting (in severe cases): In severe eczema, the inflamed skin may weep fluid that dries into crusts.

If you experience these symptoms, consulting a dermatologist is crucial for an accurate diagnosis and to rule out other potential causes like psoriasis.

Causes of Scalp Eczema

The exact cause of scalp eczema remains unknown, but several factors are believed to contribute:

Common Triggers for Scalp Eczema

  • Allergies: Allergies to certain foods, hair products, or environmental triggers can contribute to scalp eczema flare-ups.
  • Environmental factors (dry weather, harsh soaps): Dry, cold weather and harsh soaps or shampoos can strip away natural oils, worsening dryness and irritation.
  • Stress: Stress can exacerbate eczema symptoms.
  • Malassezia yeast overgrowth on the scalp: A specific type of yeast naturally lives on the scalp. In some individuals, an overgrowth of this yeast can trigger inflammation.

Diagnosing Scalp Eczema

An accurate diagnosis is crucial for effective scalp eczema management. Here's how healthcare providers typically diagnose the condition:

How Healthcare Providers Diagnose Scalp Eczema

A healthcare professional will likely diagnose scalp eczema through a physical examination of your scalp and a discussion of your medical history. They'll inquire about:

  • Your symptoms and their duration
  • Any allergies you have
  • Potential triggers in your environment or lifestyle

In some cases, additional tests like skin tests might be necessary to rule out other conditions with similar presentations.

Treatment Options for Scalp Eczema

There's no one-size-fits-all cure for scalp eczema, but various approaches can help manage symptoms and achieve relief. Here at Hair Folli, we understand the importance of healthy hair and scalp, we recommend consulting a dermatologist to develop a personalized treatment plan.

Topical Treatments and Their Effectiveness

Topical treatments applied directly to the scalp are a mainstay of scalp eczema management. Here are some common options:

  • Corticosteroid creams: These prescription creams reduce inflammation and itching, providing quick relief. However, long-term use should be monitored by a dermatologist.
  • Moisturizers: Moisturizers help hydrate dry, irritated skin and restore the scalp's natural barrier function. Look for fragrance-free and gentle formulas suitable for sensitive scalps.

Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes

In addition to topical treatments, several home remedies and lifestyle changes can be helpful:

  • Natural oils: Natural oils like jojoba or coconut oil can offer soothing and moisturizing properties. However, consult a dermatologist before using any oil on your scalp, as some can worsen itching.
  • Diet adjustments: Identifying and eliminating potential food triggers can significantly improve scalp eczema symptoms. Consider keeping a food diary to track your intake and any flare-ups.
  • Stress management: Stress can worsen eczema symptoms. Techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises can help manage stress and potentially reduce flare-ups.

Advanced Therapies and Innovations in Treatment

Traditional treatments can be highly effective, but for persistent or severe cases, innovative therapies offer promising results:

Biologics and New Medications

Biologic drugs represent a cutting-edge approach to treating scalp eczema. These injectable medications target specific aspects of the immune system involved in the inflammatory process of eczema. By modulating the immune response, biologics can provide significant relief for individuals who haven't responded well to other treatments.

Light Therapy and Its Role

Phototherapy, also known as UV treatment, utilizes ultraviolet light to reduce inflammation and improve symptoms in some cases. Specific wavelengths of UV light can help calm the overactive immune response associated with eczema, offering relief from itching and scaling.


Understanding scalp eczema and its various treatment options empowers you to manage your condition effectively. Consulting a board-certified dermatologist like the ones here at Hair Folli allows for a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. With the right approach, you can achieve lasting relief and a healthier, itch-free scalp. Remember, scalp eczema is a manageable condition, and you don't have to suffer in silence.

FAQs about Scalp Eczema Treatment

Q: How often should I wash my hair if I have scalp eczema?

The ideal hair washing frequency for scalp eczema varies depending on your individual needs and hair type. Consulting a dermatologist is best for personalized advice. However, generally, frequent gentle washing with a mild shampoo can help manage symptoms. Avoid harsh shampoos that can strip away natural oils and worsen irritation.

Q: Are there any specific shampoos that help with scalp eczema?

Yes, medicated shampoos containing specific ingredients can be beneficial for scalp eczema. Here are some to look for:

  • Coal tar: This ingredient helps reduce inflammation and scaling.
  • Salicylic acid: This acid helps remove dead skin cells and reduce scaling.
  • Zinc pyrithione: This antifungal ingredient helps control Malassezia yeast overgrowth, a potential trigger for some people.

It's important to consult with your dermatologist to find the best shampoo for your specific needs. They can recommend a product with the right ingredients and strength for your unique case.

Q: Can scalp eczema lead to hair loss?

Scratching associated with scalp eczema can cause temporary hair loss. However, scalp eczema itself shouldn't lead to permanent hair loss. If you're concerned about hair loss, consult your dermatologist to rule out any underlying causes.

Q: What should I avoid if you have scalp eczema?

Here are some things to avoid that can worsen scalp eczema symptoms:

  • Harsh shampoos: Shampoos with harsh sulfates or perfumes can irritate your scalp.
  • Scratching: Scratching might provide temporary relief but can worsen inflammation and potentially lead to infection.
  • Stress: As mentioned earlier, stress can exacerbate eczema symptoms. Practice relaxation techniques to manage stress and potentially reduce flare-ups.
  • Identified triggers: Once you identify your personal triggers, such as certain foods, weather conditions, or hair products, avoid them as much as possible to prevent flare-ups. This can involve keeping a food diary to track potential dietary triggers.