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A man desperately tries to itch at his scalp which is irritated and engulfed in flames.

My Scalp Eczema Experience and Treatments

I first experienced scalp eczema, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, in 2017. At first, I thought it was a very bad case of dandruff, as I had no idea that eczema could form on your scalp! It was an extremely intense itch that kept me up most nights. During this time, I tried many different remedies:

Dermatologist prescribed steroid drops

I tried this for about two weeks but stopped because of my really traumatic experience with topical steroid withdrawal (TSW). I did not want to continue a medication that could be attached to a host of negative side effects. However, the short time that I did use it, helped a lot and sort of put the itch on pause.

DIY home remedy for eczema

As the itching crept back on my scalp, I decided to try a home remedy. I mixed tea tree oil with a carrier oil, coconut oil, and massaged this on parts of my scalp. This held me over for some time, but was not the ultimate treatment.

Ketoconazole shampoo

I took a trip to India in 2018, when my body and scalp were at their worst. While there, I visited a skin doctor who prescribed me a Ketoconazole shampoo. This was an anti-fungal medication that is used to treat scalp conditions like ringworms and dandruff. The shampoo I used is called “Novale-CT Shampoo.” The shampoo is made of ketoconazole and coal tar. I used this shampoo with every other shower for about a month and my scalp eczema COMPLETELY went away!

Free and Clear shampoo

Ultimately the Free and Clear shampoo has been the product that has made scalp eczema management so effortless and easy for me. It is free of dyes, fragrance, masking fragrance, protein, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde and is hypoallergenic. I highly recommend this product!

Form my research, I also found other key ingredients that might help you:

Selenium sulfide

Selenium sulfide is an anti-fungal medication that halts yeast growth on the scalp. The most common product that contains this ingredient is Selsun Blue shampoo. I’ve used Selsun Blue in the past and it has been helpful, but it may contain other irritants that would be smart to look into!

Coal tar

Coal tar is derived from burning coal makes it a bit of a controversial ingredient, however, the FDA has deemed 0.5 – 5% of coal tar as safe in our products. Coal tar is typically used to treat psoriasis and scalp eczema. It works by slowing down the growth of skin cells on the scalp, which decreases itching. I personally am a fan of this ingredient because it was in the shampoo I referenced above which ultimately treated my scalp eczema woes!

Zinc pyrithione

Zinc pyrithione is a chemical that is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial which is found in Head and Shoulders shampoo brand. I used to LOVE Head and Shoulders, but I think that my scalp eczema reached a point where this product could no longer help me.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is an anti-inflammatory ingredient, dissolves what keeps skin cells from getting stuck together, which causes the skin to shed. A major concern for this ingredient is that it causes dryness, which I remember when using products containing this ingredient for my face acne.

Check out Jeff’s article “Scalp Eczema Do’s and Don’ts” to read more about scalp eczema tips and tricks.

What has your experience with scalp eczema been like? Anonymously share your experience in our 4th Annual Atopic Dermatitis In America survey by clicking the button below!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AtopicDermatitis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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