Scalp eczema is relatively uncommon although it can be just as distressing and annoying as other skin conditions. Scalp eczema will normally produce more flakes compared to other eczema conditions, which can be very embarrassing in itself, and the skin can be very itchy and sore. The condition varies from other similar skin conditions as the scalp has different skin compared to the rest of the body. There are obviously more hair follicles but there are also additional oil glands as well.
Scalp eczema is referred to as seborrheic dermatitis and affects certain parts of the body, like the scalp and face, that have higher levels of oil. It can also be seen sometimes in the area of the face known as the T-zone that extends from your forehead to around the nose. It can be seen anywhere on the scalp and even eyebrows can get it. Sometimes the inner cheeks can be affected in addition to the inner skin surrounding the eyes. Armpits are actually another place on the body that seborrheic dermatitis can occur and this is often seen in puberty as the oil glands are developing.
Eczema of this type can produce skin of varying colors. The skin will often be red or pink but there could also be scaling or flaking that is more gray or yellow. The actual size of affectation can vary as well with some people having small areas of scalp affected while others might have almost their entire head covered in inflammation.
The cause of scalp eczema is not clearly defined as it varies from other types that are often allergy based. Research has indicated that there is an overgrowth of a particular yeast strain (called Malassezia or Pityrosporum ovale) that is present in the skin of sufferers. This yeast can flare up as a result of various situations like too much sweating or from an intolerance to a particular type of shampoo.
The condition that we know as dandruff is also a type of seborrheic dermatitis that affects the scalp. This is a relatively common problem and can lead to severe itching and extensive scaling on the scalp. A good quality anti-dandruff shampoo will help to limit any rash and also reduce the itching. Eventually your skin should recover and all signs of dandruff dermatitis will disappear.
Scalp eczema is also a problem for infants. It can start when a baby is about 2-3 months old when they have oily skin that appears to have yellowish scales. This problem is often known as cradle cap. Preferred treatments are based around applying baby oil to the affected area and then brushing with a fine-toothed comb to remove any scales. The hair can then be washed using a hypoallergenic shampoo specially intended for babies. This process can then be repeated every day until you notice that the redness and scaling has disappeared. Cradle cap will often only last for up to four weeks and should not return again.
It is important to realize that there are treatment options available if you have eczema on your scalp. The treatments are normally effective in providing relief from irritation and should help to remove the problem totally from your future.