Itchy Scalp? It Might Be Eczema

Itchy Scalp? It Might Be Eczema | Spectrum Dermatology, Scottsdale

Itchy Scalp? It Might Be Eczema

Eczema is a common skin condition marked by red, itchy, scaly skin. Many patients at Spectrum Dermatology think that eczema is contained to only certain parts of the body. However, a person can suffer from eczema virtually anywhere on their skin, including the scalp. Someone with a very itchy scalp might actually have eczema, though the redness is often hidden by hair.

What Is Eczema

While it is true that most cases of eczema are on the hands and feet, wrists and ankles, face, chest, elbows, knees, and neck, it is an unbiased condition. Eczema on the scalp is relatively rare, which can lead to a number of misdiagnoses. Eczema may be confused with dandruff. A high-strength dandruff shampoo may then be recommended, but the chemicals in these shampoos can make eczema worse.

In many cases, a patient will self-diagnose their itchy scalp. It may be blamed on hair products, a sunburn, or simply a dry scalp. They may ask their hairdresser about the itchiness. Hairdressers are not medical experts, and their recommendations may do more harm than good. Itchy scalps are an issue to address with a dermatologist.

Eczema vs. Dermatitis

Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis, and dermatitis is an umbrella term for skin inflammation. However, atopic dermatitis is often caused by a gene variation that makes it challenging for the skin to moisturize itself and safeguard from irritants, allergens, and bacteria. The result can be inflamed, itchy, dry skin that feels like it is burning. In severe cases, the dryness can lead to open sores.

Eczema vs. Dandriff vs Dermatitis

Beyond dandruff, eczema is also commonly mistaken for contact dermatitis. This type of dermatitis is an allergic reaction and looks very similar to eczema. A person may have both atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis can be exacerbated by hot showers, frequent shampooing, and harsh scrubbing of the scalp (often in an effort to address dandruff that is not present). Eczema requires warm water, never hot, and a 15-minute maximum shower.

An Inflamed, Itchy, or a flaky Scalp Should Be Looked At By A Dermatologist

Anyone suffering from an inflamed, itchy, or flaky scalp should seek medical treatment from a dermatologist immediately. Pain relief is readily available, as are effective ways to treat the root cause. Contact Spectrum Dermatology today and schedule a consultation.