Itchy scalps can be extremely irritating, but when that itching is caused by seborrheic dermatitis, your hair can start falling off when left unchecked.
Hair loss is already embarrassing, but having to deal with other symptoms of the condition, such as inflamed skin and redness, can get uncomfortable and painful. On top of that, the condition can last months, leaving one to wonder if they can ever find relief.
If you are suffering from seborrheic dermatitis, it is good to know that the situation is not hopeless. The condition is completely treatable, and this article will tell you all about it. But before we get to the treatments section, let’s look at the disease in a little more detail, so you understand what it really is.
What is seborrheic dermatitis?
We have all had dandruff at one point in our lives, but seborrheic dermatitis is like having dandruff in its most extreme form. Seborrheic dermatitis commonly affects the skin on the scalp area (other areas it can affect include the face, back and upper chest), causing patches to appear.
Since it is dandruff-related, the symptoms that manifest are similar: flakiness, itching, and redness. The cause of the condition is unknown, but experts believe a skin fungus called Malassezia and issues with the immune system are contributing factors since they are involved in a majority of the cases.
They have even identified some risk factors, which include a weak immune system, Parkinson’s disease, improper scalp care, depression, usage of harsh chemicals on the skin, poor diet and certain kinds of medications.
Despite not knowing the cause, the condition is very treatable. You will need to go to a medical expert for a diagnosis (lab test are usually not required to form the diagnosis).
With proper treatment in the form of medicated lotions, creams and shampoos, the condition can go away in a few months. For that reason, there is no need to worry when you have it.
Does seborrheic dermatitis cause hair loss?
You might be wondering how a bad case of dandruff can actually lead to hair loss, and generally, this shouldn’t be the case with seborrheic dermatitis. But it all boils down to an overproduction of what is known as sebum, which is the scalps natural oil that prevents it from getting too dry.
Since the sebum is being overproduced, the skin becomes too oily. And when the sebum gets mixed in with dead skin cells, dirt particles and residue from skin products, your hair follicles become blocked.
This leads to thinning of the hair and in some cases can prevent the hair follicles from reaching the surface of the skin by disrupting the hair’s growth cycle.
Not to mention the fact that you will be scratching a lot due to the itchiness, and this will cause the hair to fall out as well. And the biggest problem with the scratching is that it aggravates the condition, even more, making the flakiness and redness even worse.
Not only that, the presence of excess sebum can lead to the growth of too much Malassezia, a fungus that is naturally found in the human skin. When there’s excessive growth of these naturally-occurring fungi, it is hard for hair to grow in the affected areas due to the inflammation.
How to stop seborrheic dermatitis
Even though the name of the condition, seborrheic dermatitis, might sound strange, it is a common inflammatory skin condition. As a matter of fact, 5% of the adult population is affected by it. As such, you can expect that there are a variety of home remedies and treatments on the market that are aimed at curing it. (1)
When the doctor gives you a diagnosis, he or she will recommend that you try some home remedies first to see if the condition will get any better. Your doctor might recommend anti-dandruff shampoo, which can be purchased over the counter, and moisturizer to hydrate and protect your skin from damage.
Besides that, here are three other home remedies that you can try:
Tea Tree Oil And Aloe Vera
Tea Tree Oil has known anti-fungal properties while aloe vera soothes the scalp from any inflammation and irritation.
Combine 20 drops of tea tree oil and 2 tablespoons of Aloe Vera gel. Apply the solution on your scalp and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Wash it off with a mild, sulfate-free shampoo. Do it 2-3 times a week.
To recap, clogging of hair follicles is one of the contributing factors to hair loss, and this happens due to the excessive production of skin oil. Lemon juice can help balance the PH levels on your scalp thanks to its acidic nature, which controls the production of sebum.
Apply 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice onto a cotton pad. Dab the affected areas with the cotton pad and let the lemon juice sit for about 15 minutes. Wash it off with warm water. Doing this 2-3 times a week should be enough.
If you are not into shampoos, baking soda can be a great alternative. Sebum comes from the sebaceous glands and baking soda can prevent them from becoming too overactive and producing too much of it.
Start by washing your hair with warm water. While the hair is still wet, massage your scalp with baking soda for a couple of minutes. Wash it off with warm water. Do it 2-3 times a week.
If the above home remedies don’t help, then the condition has reached a level where prescription treatments are needed. Your doctor may recommend any of the following:
Will my hair grow back?
After the inflammatory condition has been treated, yes. This will happen when the inflammation goes down because that is what makes the scalp area have unfavorable conditions for hair growth.
And since you won’t be scratching anymore, you stop losing hair – although, it is worth pointing out that some level of hair loss is normal; just not in excessive amounts.
Having seborrheic dermatitis can be a painful condition to live with due to the inflammation and itchiness. However, it can also be embarrassing because it can cause your hair to fall out.
For those suffering from the condition, there is some good news: there are home remedies and treatments you can use to stop it in its tracks and grow back your hair.