Scalp Eczema- How To Soothe That Itch!

Via DrPhoenyx.com

I decided to write about eczema today because I've been hit up in the past couple weeks by quite a few ladies who are dealing with scalp eczema and other forms of dermatitis. I truly empathize with these women because years ago I suffered from a case of eczema and it was truly a frustrating experience. Fortunately it was just a one-time flare up. But that one time flare-up was enough to make me upgrade my hair products, skin products, and even change certain aspects of my diet. If you’re dealing with eczema or chronic dermatitis then hopefully the suggestions I offer may help with alleviating your symptoms. But before we get to that, let me take a minute to share some general information about eczema and dermatitis.

Dermatitis itself just means skin inflammation-- “derma” meaning skin and “itis” meaning inflammation. The term dermatitis is very broad and encompasses many types of skin conditions. Eczema is just one type of dermatitis.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic allergic skin condition. It can occur on almost any part of the body and is characterized by areas of itchy, scaly, leathery and blistering skin that worsens when scratched. In many cases the cause of eczema can be traced back to an allergen or allergens. In some cases, the allergen can be a harsh chemical found in cosmetics, soaps and detergents. In other cases eczema can also be caused by dust mites or even pet dander. Symptoms of eczema can also be worsened by temperature changes and stress. And when located on the scalp, eczema and dermatitis can even lead to hair loss.

When treating dermatitis/eczema I suggest that women do 3 key things:

1) start using more natural or hypoallergenic hair care and skin products
2) do a clean sweep of their households as well as their household products
3) revamp their diets

Oftentimes ingredients in commercial products can be very aggravating to certain skin types. So switching to more natural or organic hair care products will help to alleviate symptoms of dermatitis. If you still want to use commercial products, I suggest that they only be hypoallergenic products. A product will be labeled as hypoallergenic if it is formulated without harsh chemicals and ingredients that can irritate the skin. After changing products, I also suggest that you thoroughly vacuum your home, toss the vacuum bag, immediately rewash all clothes and linens with a hypoallergenic brand of laundry detergent, and if you don’t have one already, seriously consider getting a water filter/softener. Lastly, you should try the topical remedies and dietary recommendations I have listed below. Try these all of these things for a few weeks and see how they work. It may take some time to get to the root cause dermatitis. And if all else fails there are other medical treatments such as prescription strength steroid creams and ointments that can be obtained from your doctor.



Topical Remedies for Dermatitis


Ayurvedic: neem, aloe vera

Oils:
jojoba oil, emu oil

Essential oils: lavender, chamomile

Other topical treatments:
topical vitamin E, calendula lotion/cream

When using these topical remedies, apply immediately to affected area after a warm shower or bath.

Dietary Recommendations for Dermatitis

Take a gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) supplement. GLA is a fatty acid found in evening primrose oil, black currant oil and borage oil. Take 500 mg twice a day. It may take six to eight weeks to see results when taking supplements. You should not take evening primrose oil while pregnant.
Remove all dairy products from your diet (i.e. cheese and milk)

Avoid processed grains (i.e. white bread or white rice)

Consider switching to a gluten free diet

Avoid soy products

Remove hydrogenated oils and margarine from your diet

Cut back on beef, pork and chicken consumption.

Dealing with eczema? share your story below!


If you’d like to send a comment/question to Dr. Phoenyx Austin, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Dr. Phoenyx is a writer, media personality, and physician.

15 Weigh in!:
fabwtalk said...

Excellent article! I deal with very mild skin eczema and I've been blessed to have it not irritate my scalp. My baby cousin on the other hand has had this issue with her scalp and her mom had no idea what to do for her and I recommended to her to simply change her commercial hair care products to natural hair care products and it has worked wonders. I will also pass the other information to her and the eating habits to hubby as he suffers from skin eczema. Thanks!

Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth said...

I still have eczema. I've had it since I was a baby. My godmother used to slather me with bacon grease. I worked but the dog became too attached to me. As an adult I find that repeated applications of coconut oil in the scalp helps... a lot. And coconut oil is light enough that it doesn't get heavy or build up.

Anonymous said...

Wow, awesome article. I also have eczema and have dealt with it my whole life. It really was a confidence killer when I was younger. It's on my arms, legs, face and scalp :(. I tend to have more flare-ups during the spring and fall (seasonal allergies), when I'm stressed, and when my diet is poor. This article is really helpful and I've changed my products that I use, but I will work on trying some of the diet tips she suggested. To any other sufferers, stay hydrated, keep moistured, and look at the product ingredients and go more natural. Before I went natural, I used a lot of carol's daughter products (body jelly, shea lotion), but now that's she gone commercial, I find that she's added a lot more preservatives and my skin doesn't like it. So now, I use the same products in my hair on my skin and have had great results (raw mango butter, shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, etc). Good luck to you all and thanks Curly Nikki and Dr. Phoenyx for this article.

virtue5 said...

I’ve actually suffered with it from a child in my scalp. However, I during my annual physical last year my doctor decided to run allergy test on me because I had not had one In a while. It turned out that I had developed an allergy to soy (soy beans, tofu, etc). Though it was hard giving up tofu, my eczema has cut back significantly ever since I gave up soy products.

Anonymous said...

Is this article referring to atopic dermatitis located on the scalp OR seborrheic dermatitis? These terms, in the medical community, are not used interchangeably. These are two different conditions with two different implications.

Anonymous said...

Why do you Americans start a sentence with a conjunction?!

Serenity Spot said...

I was actually excited to see this article as I rarely hear much about scalp eczema in relation to natural hair. I'm 15 and I've been suffering from scalp eczema for less than a year. So far I have used everything given to me by the doctors and what usually happens is that it goes away and then comes back. I think that it definitely gets worse when I am stressed but at the moment I can't seem to stop stressing out because of GCSE exams (I'm in England btw). I'm finding it quite difficult to deal with the scalp eczema because I transitioned for one year and I have been natural now for 6 months so I've got quite a lot of hair to deal with along with attempting to sort out my scalp. I am considering using all natural products and although I don't really have that much money to spend I'm still going to try. Hopefully it will all work out in the end :D

Anonymous said...

I am an aesthetician who works with 2 Dermatologists and to my knowledge, there is no cure for eczema, in any of its forms. A cure is a treatment that when used, will take away a condition and have it never return.

Eczema, in any of its forms cannot be cured. It can be managed (temporarily reducing and/or eliminating the symptoms- possibly for long periods of time), however, with the appropriate treatments. As with any medical issue, if one is armed with the correct information about the nature of the condition and appropriate treatment options available, odds of successful management are increased tremendously.
Good luck in coping with this irritating condition!

Essense in Natural Land said...

I have suffered from eczema off and on since childhood. I've had way too many prescriptions to list here. But I'll say that as an adult I have managed my eczema without any RX's. I take MSM daily, I use castor oil on my skin and scalp. I also use sulphur 8 on my scalp. Sheamoisture had THE BEST lotion and soap in the world! (this is my personal testimony) Your skin will be softer than a infant.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 12:06
Because we can! LOL We have our rules, you (if you're not American) have yours. Let's stay on topic =)

I'm so glad for this article! And the previous commenter is right--seborrheic dermatitis and eczema are two TOTALLY different things. Unfortunately, I suffer from both! I have a medicated shampoo that I have to wash with once a week. It cleans my hair, but doesn't strip it too much, but I followup with a great conditioner + leave-in, so moisture really isn't much an issue. Coconut oil does help as well, but sparingly in between washes...I really can't put much on my scalp because of buildup.

My seborrheic dermatitis also affects my skin, mainly on my face and various parts of my head (ears, nose, eyebrows..the eczema flares up in other areas). I still haven't found something to manage that yet.

Honestly, the shampoo is the only thing that has managed to regulate my scalp issues! That, and perhaps my inconsistent, slightly healthier diet. lol

Anonymous said...

This might sound weird, but Sea Salt soaks / or spray (especially Dead Sea salt). I am a believer! I'd been afraid to go to the beach /wear a bathing suit for years due to horrible psoriasis. I just came back from a beach vacation and the ocean and sun did WONDERS for my skin. Now I'm incorporating sea salt into my beauty regimen.

Mix 1 part dead sea salt with 2 parts distilled water (I used rosewater) in a small spray bottle, and spray the effected areas once a day. It's good for psoriasis (my issue) and eczema. If you can go to the ocean, even better. I may even hit the tanning bed once or twice this winter for the same reason (shhhh).

Anonymous said...

^^oops, I forgot to mention, the sea salt solution definitely stings a bit, but that's a part of the healing. Apply a light moisturizer after it dries. I've been usinb either coconut oil or the Shea Moisture black soap lotion.

Anonymous said...

FINALLY! Glad to see this article but I'd rather it have mentioned a bit more about seborrheic dermatitis. Diet is an important part of mangaging flare ups, as well as minimizing stress. I'm currently using Shea Moisture's african black soap shampoo & conditioner & it's helping...coconut oil helps as well. I've recently decided to big chop, as relaxers only cause further irritation and I'm too impatient to transition. I want my scalp HEALTHY. I use oil-free face products, exfoliate once a week, and use a toner w/ salicylic acid. That seems to help with the spots along my hairline,ears, & around my nose.

KayDanai said...

Whoop Whoop! I have eczema. Alls over my body, and just this June the creeper moved to my scalp. It was the worst it has ever been this past winter, and it usually goes away but it hadn't. Although I was trying many natural remedies that had worked for me in the past nothing worked. I finally gave in and went to a dermatologist around June when eczema started attacking my scalp and my face. I left with two steroid creams and an order to wet wrap daily (if you have no idea what wet wrapping is, I'll tell you, it's hell. I had to apply the prescribed cream all over my body and sit in damp pajamas. I was supposed to do this for at least an hour. I only lasted about 20 minutes. Sitting in wet anything is absolutely the worst feeling ever!). I did the wet wrap once, but continued using the cream twice daily. Upon further investigation, I stumbled upon information regarding bitch control and eczema. I stopped taking my birth control at the time I started my prescribed creams, and my skin has cleared up tremendously. (Birth control hormones leads to an overgrowth of yeast in the body which leads to skin problems....)
Now that I have my condition more under control I rarely apply my prescribed creams anymore. There was a point where the majority of my body was covered in scales and itched like nobody's business, but now I just mostly have eczema "scars". I bathe in epsom salt baths, apply a heavy greasy lotion, and shea butter on my body to help my scars fade.
Now my scalp. Grrrrr. Seborrhiec dermatitis is a bitch. It started and the only way to get it to go away was a prescribed shampoo. Which dried my hair completely. I hated that shampoo, I always had to pre-poo and deep condition or else my hair would be straw. And I used it every week. I still use it every week, but I started oiling my scalp with a mix of olive oil and tea oil which has helped with the itching and scaling. Hopefully I can get to the point where I don't have to use the medicated shampoo anymore, but right now it's the only thing that keeps me from ripping my scalp out. Oh, and I had bald spots. Yeah, I pretty much hate eczema, but I have it more-so under control. I've been told that I should alter my diet, but I'm on a budget, and as we all know the cheaper foods aren't the ones that are best for you, but it's what I can afford right now.

This was long as hell. My bad. But eczema, been there, still here.

Unknown said...

I have suffered from seborrheic dermatitis for many years now. And it was part of my rationale for going natural. I thought that the relaxers were causing my dermatitis to worsen and was finding that the longer I went without one, the better my scalp was. Well, that wasn't quite the instant fix I had hoped it would be.
I still suffer from seborrheic dermatitis, but despite some flare ups during season changes and severe stress I have found that all natural shampoos with tea tree oil have helped to calm my symptoms. I also use a combination of Vit. E, jojoba, and tea tree oils to massage into my scalp focusing on the areas where my hair is thinning from the condition.
I also find that I absolutely have to wash my hair every 7 days if not more often (usually when inflammed).
Thank you for the article and speaking on this topic. Good luck ladies!!

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...