Eczema is a type of skin inflammation known as dermatitis that can cause red, dry itchy patches of skin. This inflammation can occur anywhere on the body and is often believed to be hereditary.
One type of eczema that is often misdiagnosed is scalp eczema. Many people who begin suffering from this type of dermatitis often believe they have a simple case of dandruff, but the normal dandruff treatments do not seem to help clear it up. If you begin scratching you head more than usual and you cannot seem to get relief from normal dandruff shampoos, you need to look for signs of scalp eczema.
Eczema is often triggered by environmental irritants, allergens in shampoos, soaps, or hair dyes, chemicals, food allergies, or temperature and humidity changes. Scalp eczema outbreaks can also occur as the result of greasy skin or hair, Parkinson’s Disease, HIV, or extremely dry skin. This condition often runs in families and is usually quite common in infants and children. Scalp eczema is often seen in people who have allergies themselves or a family history of asthma, hay fever, or food allergies.
Eczema patches usually begin as red, itchy, patches of skin, but the constant scratching can quickly cause the skin to become leathery or scaly. In severe cases the skin can be cracked, broken and bleeding which can cause infection. It is believed that the scaly skin patches present with scalp eczema can also lead to the overproduction of Mallasezia, which is a skin fungus that occurs normally. When this happens, it can lead to a worsening in the dandruff symptoms that accompany eczema until the problem is treated.
Eczema on scalp can also be caused by the irritation of head lice, so it is important to do a thorough check of the hair and scalp with a nit comb to make sure this is not the problem. Head lice is highly contagious so proper treatment and cleaning is a must in order to prevent further outbreaks in other people who come in close contact. Scalp eczema is noticeably different from head lice irritation due to the reddened, scaly patches of skin and the lack of nits or bugs.
Seborrheic eczema is another form of scalp eczema that has no known cause. This condition is recognized by the formation of oily, yellow patches of skin that take on a scaly appearance. In infants this condition is often called cradle cap. Seborrheic eczema does not usually cause itching like most forms of scalp eczema do.
Another form of eczema on scalp is neurodermatitis, which often occurs as the result of an irritant such as a bug bite. Neurodermatitis is a chronic condition that once it appears may reoccur due to further irritations and stress. This type of eczema can also be the result of a head lice infestation and occurs due to the irritation and inflammation caused by the bites.
Eczema on scalp and other forms of eczema can be treated with medications and lifestyle changes. One of the most popular over the counter treatments for eczema is the use of emollient creams and lotions containing high amounts of oil. If the condition is more severe, corticosteroid creams are often used to decrease the amount of itching, but some outbreaks may require oral medications and antibiotics if there is any infection present. Some lifestyle changes, such as using cool water for bathing can also help prevent some of the itching and outbreaks.
Scalp eczema can be very annoying due to the itch and the fact that the red, flaky patches are usually quite noticeable. If dandruff treatments do not help your itchy scalp, you need to inspect your scalp for any scaly, red patches. If these are present, you should see your doctor for treatment. If scalp or any other kind of eczema is left untreated it can lead to blisters or sores that break open and bleed when they are scratched, which can also lead to further infection that will require treatment. Scalp eczema can also cause the hair shafts to become infected can lead to shingles or chickenpox outbreaks or sebaceous cysts that occur as a result of plugged ducts in the skin of the scalp.