Q&A: What Can I Do For Eczema On My Scalp?

woman with shampoo bottlesQ: What can I do for eczema on my scalp?  – K. Henry

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A: Eczema on the scalp, also known as seborrheoic dermatitis, is a common skin condition. You can try over-the-counter shampoos designed to treat dandruff. These may be sufficient if the flaking is mild.

Here are some options to help with eczema on your scalp (as well as your body) if its a little more severe:
Tip 1: Loosen and remove scales by applying warmed olive oil directly to the scalp. Leave the oil in place for one hour, and then wash it out with a mild shampoo. Brush away any remaining scales with a bristled brush.

Tip 2: Avoid taking long, hot showers or baths, as these may dry the skin, increase itching and worsen scalp eczema. Also avoid harsh shampoos and soaps and hair products containing alcohol or fragrances. Use medicated shampoos containing tar or salicylic acid for most cases of seborrheic eczema. Shampoo containing ketoconazole may be useful for cases that do not improve after several weeks of shampooing with regular, medicated shampoos.

Your dermatologist might also prescribe a medicated shampoo or topical cream that contains selenium sulfide, salicylic acid, ketoconazole, coal tar or zinc pyrithione. According to the National  Eczema Association (NEA), seborrheic dermatitis is believed to be caused by an abnormal inflammatory response to yeast. These shampoos work by reducing the number of yeasts living on your scalp and may be more effective than regular dandruff shampoo.


The NEA notes that seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic disease. It may not go away (although some people appear to “outgrow’ it in some cases), but flare ups can be managed before they become severe.

Follow your doctor’s recommendations for shampoo use or other treatments.


Visit the BlackDoctor.org Skin Problems center for more. 

Dr. Renee WHITE COAT HS Frame head onlyIf you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ‘Ask Dr. Renee’. Follow me on Twitter @AskDrRenee and on my website.