Eczema is the term used to refer to a group of chronic conditions associated with skin irritation. In most cases, the affected areas get inflamed and become red and itchy. The patches may also become dry and rough. In some cases, fluid-filled bumps may also appear on the skin.
Eczema is very common, affecting at least 3% of adults and 20% of children worldwide. Researchers say that these percentages will still go up in the coming years, especially in low-income nations.
This condition affects anyone regardless of age but tends to be more prevalent in children, particularly the younger ones. In Ireland, around 20% of children will suffer from this skin condition at some stage. Its onset usually happens before a child turns a year old or before he/she turns five.
As mentioned earlier, eczema is a chronic or long-term condition. While it is not contagious and not life-threatening, the itching associated with this disease can be a real nuisance, especially for children.
This skin problem may affect any part of the body – the hands, body and face. It may also affect the scalp which is why there’s what is called scalp eczema.
What Is Scalp Eczema?
Scalp eczema is a condition wherein the scalp becomes inflamed, red and itchy. There are different types of eczema. The form which typically affects the scalp is called seborrheic dermatitis. Aside from redness, itching and scaly patches, flaking skin is one of its most common effects of this disease.
Sometimes referred to as seborrheic eczema, this condition is believed to be due to the overproduction of oil in the skin. Experts also say that the abnormal growth of Malassezia, a naturally occurring fungus in the body, likewise contributes to the problem.
Another type of eczema that may affect the scalp is atopic dermatitis (AD), the most prevalent type of eczema. A dry, itchy skin is the first symptom of this skin problem. Eventually, a reddish rash oozing with clear fluid may develop.
The exact cause of AD is unknown, but some experts think that the abundance of inflammatory cells in the skin plays a role. It is also said that a damaged skin barrier, which makes the skin more sensitive and susceptible to infection, is also a factor.
Contact dermatitis is another possible reason behind scalp eczema. In this condition, the skin develops an adverse reaction to a particular substance. This results in the appearance of red rashes, tenderness in the affected area and severe itching.
Who Is at Risk of Developing Scalp Eczema?
Anyone can develop scalp eczema, but those with a family history of this condition are more at risk. Similarly, people with skin conditions like acne and psoriasis and those with diseases like HIV and Parkinson’s are more likely to suffer from this scalp problem.
Meanwhile, if you are suffering from scalp eczema, you are more likely to experience flare-ups if you are experiencing hormonal changes or exposed to extreme stress. Suffering from an illness may also trigger your symptoms.
How Do You Treat Scalp Eczema?
The treatment for scalp eczema would depend on what type you have and how severe the problem is. So, you need to see a dermatologist to get an accurate diagnosis.
Please keep in mind, there is no cure for this chronic condition. The primary goal of scalp eczema treatments is to manage the flare-ups. The treatment protocol usually involves the use of dandruff shampoos and OTC or prescription topical medications. Your doctor may also recommend making some lifestyle changes, particularly eliminating or avoiding what triggers your flare-ups.
Suffering from scalp eczema can be embarrassing and at times annoying, but it is a condition that is manageable. With the help of a hair and scalp specialist, you can minimise your flare-ups and prevent this condition from affecting the quality of your life. So, do not think twice about getting professional help!
Worried that you might have scalp eczema? Let our trusted dermatologist examine your scalp and determine what’s causing the problem. Call us at (0)1 6793618 and schedule an appoint with our specialist.