Seborrheic dermatitis can cause excessive sebum production and irritate the scalp, which may lead to scratching or rubbing and hair loss.
Can Seborrheic Dermatitis Cause Hair Loss?
This article explains the link between seborrheic dermatitis and hair loss.
Seborrheic dermatitis does not directly cause hair loss. However, the condition may contribute to hair loss in a few different ways:
- Scratching and rubbing: Seborrheic dermatitis causes
excessive oil or sebum production Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to sourceon the scalp. This can cause irritation and inflammation, leading to itchiness and scratching. Scratching or rubbing the scalp can damage the hair follicles and lead to hair loss.
- A reaction to yeast on the scalp: The presence of Malassezia yeast on the scalp may cause scalp inflammation, which can affect the hair follicles. This inflammation may consequently interfere with hair growth.
Other symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis include:
- dandruff and flaky skin
- patchy or flaky white or yellow scales
- ring-shaped rash
Make an appointment with your dermatologist if you have symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis.
Learn more about what causes seborrheic dermatitis.
View the slideshow below to see pictures of hair loss from seborrheic dermatitis.
Zay Nyi Nyi/Shutterstock
With the right treatment, hair loss caused by seborrheic dermatitis can be reversible.
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Treatments for seborrheic dermatitis focus primarily on
Your treatment plan may include:
- Medicated shampoos: These reduce scalp flaking and itchiness by
managing Malassezia growth Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source. Beneficial shampoos contain ingredients like:
- zinc pyrithione
- selenium sulfide
- salicylic acid
- Topical corticosteroids: These medications reduce itchiness and inflammation. Examples include hydrocortisone (Ala-Cort), fluocinolone (Synalar), and clobetasol (Clobex).
- Calcineurin inhibitors: These medications ease inflammation by limiting atypical immune system activity. They can serve as an alternative to corticosteroids.
- Topical antifungals: These medications help manage yeast growth on the skin. Examples include ciclopirox (Loprox) 0.77% gel and ketoconazole 2% cream (Extina). Your dermatologist may also recommend an oral antifungal medication if topical formulations are ineffective.
Proper self-care may also help manage seborrheic dermatitis.
The National Eczema Association recommends some self-care tips that may help manage your condition:
- Get adequate sleep.
- Manage stress by meditating, performing breathing practices, or spending time in nature.
- Try and get some light physical activity.
Learn more about self-care tips for seborrheic dermatitis.
Your dermatologist will make a diagnosis by examining your scalp and other areas of your skin. They may also ask some questions related to your family and medical history.
Lab tests are often unnecessary when diagnosing seborrheic dermatitis. However, your dermatologist may perform a skin biopsy if there is uncertainty.
Learn more about the different types of biopsies and how doctors perform them.
Hair loss due to seborrheic dermatitis may resolve when you and your doctor find a treatment that works for you.
If hair loss lingers after adequate treatment, another condition may be involved, such as alopecia areata. Contact your doctor for a firm diagnosis and treatment.
Contact a dermatologist if you’re experiencing hair loss and other symptoms consistent with seborrheic dermatitis. They can confirm a diagnosis and recommend the proper treatment.
Bukky Aremu, APRN, reviewed the answers to these common questions about seborrheic dermatitis.
Should I wash my hair every day if I have seborrheic dermatitis?
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may have to wash your hair with medicated shampoo every day for a period of weeks. Your dermatologist can help you determine a treatment timeframe.
What happens if seborrheic dermatitis is left untreated?
While seborrheic dermatitis isn’t curable yet, your symptoms may resolve without treatment. In other cases, treatment can prevent symptoms from persisting or worsening. It is advisable to get treatment if you have severe or persistent symptoms.
Seborrheic dermatitis does not directly cause hair loss. However, it can contribute to hair loss in a few different ways. These ways include causing scratching and triggering inflammation of the hair follicles.
Your dermatologist will typically recommend medicated shampoos and topical medications if you have seborrheic dermatitis. Self-care practices such as stress management may also help relieve your symptoms.
Talk with your doctor about ways to manage seborrheic dermatitis and prevent hair loss.