As a 48-Year-old man suffering from Eczema and with very little hair, I often wondered ‘Can eczema cause hair loss?’
I’m not too worried for myself anymore as my days of having a full head of hair are long gone but I do worry about my Children. This problem is not just a male thing it’s just as relevant for women who suffer from eczema.
All the scratching we do on our scalp must have some implications for hair loss, right?
Well, let’s look at this topic in more detail. We have spoken to a number of Doctors and people who suffer from eczema to get their view on the subject of eczema and hair loss.
Can eczema cause hair loss?
Eczema can cause hair loss but not simply from the condition itself. The main reason as you might have guessed is from scratching. It also depends on what type of eczema you suffer from.
A type of eczema called Seborrheic dermatitis which is a chronic skin condition which if left untreated can cause patches of red, flaky, greasy skin and hair loss. These patches often become very itchy and are commonly found on the scalp.
These red itchy patches are the results of an overproduction of thick oily secretion called sebum, which is produced by your sebaceous glands. Doctors are not entirely sure what causes seborrheic dermatitis, but it may be related to genetics or immune system issues.
Seborrheic dermatitis doesn’t cause hair loss itself, but the effects of excessive scratching can damage your hair follicles, resulting in some hair loss. Frequent scratching can also cause bleeding and damage to your hair follicles.
A side effect of seborrheic dermatitis is that it can trigger an overgrowth of Malassezia. A type of yeast that’s naturally found on most people’s skin. When it grows out of control, it can cause inflammation that makes it harder for hair to grow nearby.
There are many other common skin conditions that can also cause hair loss include tinea capitis, alopecia areata, traction alopecia, or psoriasis. All these have one thing in common, itching which again will be a contributing factor to your hair loss.
Stress, tiredness or being unwell can also trigger symptoms and cause eczema flare-ups. The condition isn’t contagious and is not caused by diet or poor hygiene which really irritates me when people think this.
Yes, we have dry flaky skin but it won’t harm you and no you can’t catch it.
Treating eczema on the scalp
When treating eczema you must always seek medical advice as your doctor or dermatologist can identify which type of eczema you have and prescribe the best course of treatment and medication. Whilst there is no cure for eczema at the moment we can treat the symptoms and try to reduce the inflammation and in turn, reduce the itching.
Itching is the curse of eczema. If you ask anyone what’s the worse thing about eczema they would probably say the itching. I know I would!
Over the counter treatments for seborrheic dermatitis on your scalp would be a suitable medicated shampoos designed to treat dandruff.
Look for products containing any of the following ingredients:
- Pyrinthione zinc
- Selenium sulfide
- Salicylic acid
These over the counter treatments will provide some relief from the itching which in turn will help hair loss. However, they are not a cure for eczema and particularly seborrheic dermatitis.
If you find these over the counter treatments have no effect on the itchiness then you may require a stronger medicated shampoo provided by your doctor on prescription.
Which shampoos do you recommend?
There are several good eczema shampoos available OTC and many of which we have used in our family or tested for our website.
We highly recommend the following which we purchased from Amazon –NATURAL BIOTIN SHAMPOO This maximum strength hair loss prevention and treatment shampoo contains biotin as well as provitamin B5 zinc coconut oil and several other nutrient rich botanicals.
The other one we really liked is- Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic and Anti-Dandruff Shampoo to get long-lasting relief from itching and flaking. This one was favored by my Children and I preferred the Biotin Shampoo. This was mainly down to the smell. My children have a very sensitive smell and liked the smell of Neutrogena shampoo better.
Will my hair grow back?
YES, Normally hair loss due to scratching is temporary and will come back once the redness and itchy patches subside.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a common eczema condition that often affects the scalp and if treated quickly will have little effect on your hair loss.
Reducing the itching will reduce hair loss, Simple!
Having an understanding hairdresser or barber is also important if you have eczema on your head. Dealing with eczema is hard enough without being ridiculed by a hairdresser or barber. I had a very bad experience with this when I was younger. Read my story here.
Who can get Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Anyone can get seborrheic dermatitis from babies where it is more commonly known as cradle cap or infant eczema to the elderly.
Depending on your age and amount of hair you have will have a direct influence on the amount of hair you may lose. I never had a full head of hair even when I was younger so losing even a small amount from scratching 24/7 had a visible and dramatic effect on the head.
It can be difficult for hair to grow where inflammation is present so your number one goal is to reduce the inflammation caused by scratching.
Make this your primary goal.
You should visit your Doctor, GP or Dermatologist if you think you have symptoms of Seborrheic Eczema and if hair loss is a concern. There’s even hair loss specialist that can explore your options for repairing any damage caused by scratching and seborrheic dermatitis.
Everyone reacts differently to hair loss and in women, it can be particularly difficult to deal with. The social implications and reduced self-esteem and depression which can be hard to tackle and many people shy away and start to withdraw from social interactions. If you are starting to go down this road then please, please seek help or talk to a family member or loved one. Eczema and depression often go hand in hand and we have to watch out for other symptoms that eczema can cause.
I am speaking from experience with my sons and I wish I had spotted the tell-tale signs sooner.
As always our advice is to speak to your Doctor at the first signs of hair loss due to eczema. They can and will help and in most cases, you will see an improvement within weeks.
If it’s taking some time to get an appointment with your doctor try using one of the over the counter shampoos we mentioned earlier. They will certainly help reduce the itching almost instantly. Best eczema and dandruff shampoos on Amazon with fast delivery. You could be easing the itching within 24 hours!!