Are you worried about the flaky, greasy, and red patches on your scalp or face? Did you know these can be the symptoms of a chronic skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis? Yes! Along with all the above-said symptoms, seborrheic dermatitis can cause hair loss too.
Excess oil production by sebaceous glands may result in scales on your scalp and sometimes on parts of your face too. Constant itching and scratching of these flaky parts of the scalp result in hair loss in many people suffering from this condition.
Let us learn more about the connection between seborrheic dermatitis, and hair loss, and how you can treat it efficiently.
Tabel of Contents:
- What is seborrheic dermatitis & its causes?
- Can it cause hair loss, and how?
- Is hair loss caused by seborrheic dermatitis permanent?
- How is seborrheic dermatitis treated?
- Will my hair grow back?
1. What Is Seborrheic Dermatitis & Its Causes?
A common chronic inflammatory skin condition is called Seborrheic dermatitis that results in redness and itching along with scaly patches. However, there are no specific reasons known that can pinpoint the cause of this skin condition. Some of the reasons that medical practitioners believe that results in seborrheic dermatitis are:
- Overproduction of sebum in your scalp is one of the primary reasons for this skin condition’s symptoms.
- Genetics also play a role.
- Disorders of your immune system.
- Abnormal hormonal changes.
- People with health conditions like HIV and Parkinson’s are highly perceptible to get this skin condition.
- Heat, excessive exposure to sun rays, and topical therapy aggressively may flare up the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis.
[ Read: Does Folliculitis Cause Hair Loss ]
2. Can It Cause Hair Loss, And How?
Although not a permanent side effect, seborrheic dermatitis can cause temporary hair loss. Malassezia is a yeast that thrives on excess sebum production, resulting in inflammation on the scalp. It becomes challenging for hair growth when this yeast multiplies uncontrollably.
Flaking, itching, and redness of the skin are found as the manifestation of this inflammation. Continuous itching of your inflamed scalp that results in scratching may damage your hair follicles, resulting in hair loss (1).
3. Is Hair Loss Caused By Seborrheic Dermatitis Permanent?
- If you are loosing hair and think seborrheic dermatitis is the reason, then you need not worry. The hair loss in this condition is not permanent, and with proper treatment, your hair will grow back eventually.
- Since inflammation is the root cause of Seborrheic dermatitis, once you treat it and control the urge to scratch, your hair growth will get back to normal.
- Sometimes androgenic alopecia is a scalp ailment that co-exists with seborrheic dermatitis that can cause hair loss along with significant scarring.
- The flare-ups caused by this skin condition affects adults throughout their life. Still, infants bounce back from it sometimes even without treatment.
[ Read: Combat Excessive Hair Loss ]
4. How Is Seborrheic Dermatitis Treated?
Here is a list of treatments that work best to treat the symptoms caused by seborrheic dermatitis during a flare-up. One or a combination of these treatment options may work best for you. Let us take a look:
- OTC Treatments
- Prescription treatments
There are several medicated shampoos available in the market that are designed specifically to treat seborrheic dermatitis.
The main OTC treatments for seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp are medicated shampoos designed to treat dandruff. It is recommended to use these shampoos for a few weeks as continuous usage may do more harm than good.
1. Pyrithione Zinc:
The antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties of pyrinthione zinc, commonly known as zinc pyrithione, effectively treat many skin conditions along with seborrheic dermatitis.
Derived from the chemical element zinc, it is popularly used in many beauty products. It controls the growth of dandruff by reducing the growth of yeast on the scalp (2).
- A face wash with this ingredient reduces the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis, such as itching and redness. It also makes your skin grease-free.
- Applying a thin layer of cream on the affected area with zinc pyrithione helps treat the rough, scaly patches on your scalp.
2. Salicylic Acid:
Although there is a need for more studies to prove the effectiveness of salicylic acid in treating seborrheic dermatitis compared to many other ingredients. Salicylic acid has properties that help exfoliate your scalp gently, removing dead skin cells.
Elimination of the dead skin cells helps in reducing the scales caused by this skin condition. Many market products have the main ingredient as salicylic acid, which helps cleanse and soothe your scalp (3).
Ketoconazole is a drug used in many creams that effectively gives you relief from the flare-ups caused by seborrheic dermatitis on the body and face. The antifungal agents in this drug help fight the yeast present on the skin that is the leading cause of this skin condition.
Along with providing relief from seborrheic dermatitis symptoms, it also improves hair regrowth according to anecdotal evidence (4). Using a shampoo with 2 percent ketoconazole has been shown to prevent the relapse of many symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis (5).
Although topical corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors with anti-inflammatory properties can be useful, they should be used only for short durations, which may otherwise cause severe side effects.
4. Selenium Sulfide:
Selenium sulfide is often used in medicated shampoos to reduce scalp infection caused by conditions like seborrheic dermatitis. It helps reduce the flaking and irritation and control dandruff with its anti-Malassezia effect, which is the yeast, found to be the cause of this skin condition (6). It acts as an anti-infective medication for your skin condition. One of the side effects of using this agent is excessive oiliness.
Prescription treatment is the way to go if the natural remedies and medicated shampoos don’t give you the relief you need. The prevailing prescription treatments available for seborrheic dermatitis are:
1. Antifungal Medication:
Antifungal oral treatment is the option your doctor might suggest for seborrheic dermatitis scalp treatment with hair loss when none of the topical treatments works. These medications tend to have many side effects, so they are usually prescribed as a last resort. Some of the oral therapies prescribed are:
- Homoeopathic mineral therapy.
2. Antifungal creams, gels, and shampoos:
Your doctor might prescribe a product with Ciclopirox, Ketoconazole, for a severe case of seborrheic dermatitis, whichever suits you the most. These ingredients are available in the form of an antifungal cream, gel, and shampoo. But if you want to see an improvement in your skin condition, make sure you use the product for the whole prescribed period.
Make sure to call your doctor if you have pain, redness, irritation, or severe burning in the applied areas. Do not let the product get into your mouth, nose, or eyes.
3. Corticosteroid creams, ointments, or shampoos:
Itching and swelling are the way your body reacts when it produces certain chemicals called prostaglandins and leukotrienes. Medical practitioners prescribe corticosteroids, which help reduce the production of these chemicals. These products are available in the form of foam, gel, ointment, cream, lotion.
Reducing inflammation is the key to treating skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, and corticosteroid prescribed by your doctor in any form come to the rescue.
It also helps your affected area heal well, giving a chance for your hair to regrow. Although these products are effective, they might cause skin thinning if you use it more than a week or two at a time.
[ Also Read: Lack Of Sleep And Hair Loss ]
5. Will My Hair Grow Back?
Have you experienced hair loss with seborrheic dermatitis? Are you worried if it will grow back? Be it fungal overgrowth or excessive scratching; this skin condition may cause hair loss in some people. But the good news is that it is only temporary.
Stress, cold and dry weather, and hormonal imbalance are some of the reasons that may increase the chance of a seborrheic dermatitis flare-up.
Once you treat the inflammation that causes seborrheic dermatitis, and there won’t is an urge to scratch the itch. And therefore, your hair will eventually grow back.
Hair loss in seborrheic dermatitis happens only in sporadic and severe cases and is reversible with the treatment options mentioned in this article. Medicated shampoos and OTC treatment options are most effective in reducing the symptoms of this skin condition. But if the situation is still persistent, it is better to discuss further treatment options with your doctor.
1. Does scratching increase the infection in seborrheic dermatitis?
An antifungal shampoo helps ease the symptoms if your scalp is affected in seborrheic dermatitis. Meanwhile, make sure you don’t scratch and pick the affected area as it may increase the infection, intensifying the situation.
2. How long does it take for seborrheic dermatitis hair loss recovery?
Hair loss from seborrheic dermatitis can be reversible once you complete the treatment process to reduce the inflammation, which is the root cause. With the help of prescription treatment or OTC and controlling the urge of itching, it will treat seborrheic dermatitis’s root cause, which will restore hair growth.
3. What precautions should be taken to quicken seborrheic dermatitis hair loss regrowth?
It is recommended to pre-apply oils and ointments if you have a thick layer of flakes. These may restrict the treatment to reach the scalp hence the application of oils. Remember, seborrheic dermatitis causes hair loss only in severe cases; therefore, treating this skin condition as early as possible is the key to prevent hair loss.