Having eczema on scalp is not only irritating, but can be downright embarrassing! If you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from scalp dermatitis, you know how it feels to have your head flaking like a virtual snowstorm. Not to mention the intense itching, soreness, redness, and sometimes bleeding. So what can you do to get rid of these pesky oily flakes?
First, you must understand what scalp eczema is. Scalp eczema is a common form of seborrhoeic dermatitis characterized by yellowish, oily, scaly patches of skin that eventually flake off. It can occur in men and women of all ages but usually emerges after puberty as a mild case of dandruff. Most people can easily eliminate dandruff with a good dandruff shampoo, but for others, the dandruff continues to worsen. Dandruff turns into an unusually oily scalp with extremely itchy, red and irritated skin. Scaly bumps with a yellowish crust form from excess oil, and intense scratching of the scalp causes open sores and bleeding.
Currently, there is no definitive scientific cause for scalp eczema. There are, however several theories of why this condition occurs. One potential culprit a type of yeast known as Malassezia. This yeast lives on the skin along with bacteria microbes, and factors such as excessive sweating or changes in climate leads to an overgrowth of the yeast. This yeast is abundant, especially on the scalp, so it very well may be the trigger for eczema. Other possible explanations include stress, hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, illness, fatigue, and a weakened immune system.
What is the best treatment for eczema on the scalp ?
There is no single scalp eczema treatment that will work for everyone, but there are a few remedies you can try. First, try to eliminate or reduce your scalp sweating at night. A buckwheat hull pillow can help you achieve this since it allows for air circulation to occur between you and the pill which ultimately prevents sweating.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, olive oil is an effective remedy for reducing eczema on scalp. Twice a week, liberally cover your scalp with olive oil and allow it to soak for at least an hour. Then wash your hair with an all natural sulfate-free shampoo or liquid castile soap. Dr. Bronner’s or Trader Joe’s peppermint castile soap are excellent inexpensive choices for combatting dandruff, and can be used daily when diluted with water. When you shampoo your hair, gently massage instead of scratching the scalp. Take care to rinse well, removing all traces of shampoo or soap.
You can help combat scaling and itchiness by applying a topical cream or ointment to a clean scalp. There are many hydrocortisone steroid creams on the market that may work, but a gentle cream such as Eucerin will provide relief without the side effects.
Your diet is also important to maintaining scalp health. Your diet should contain enough vitamin E, selenium, and zinc. Omega 3 fatty acids such as fish oil or flax seed oil can slowly heal eczema on the scalp as well. Adding plenty of green vegetables to your diet is also known to help treat eczema.
If your scalp eczema is resistant to any of the above treatments, you may need medicated shampoos containing ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione, coal tar and salicylic acid, used twice weekly for a minimum for one month. For severe scalp eczema, you need to consult with your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe stronger steroid creams, ointments, or shampoos to help get the problem under control.