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It’s easy to brush off a flaky scalp as your run-of-the-mill dandruff. But if the problem persists no matter what you do, scalp eczema might be to blame. Besides dry skin patches, it carries other problems that can put your hair health in the red zone. Below, we uncover the different ways eczema threatens your locks and what you can do to curb the issue.

Causes of Scalp Eczema

As with other found in other parts of the body, the primary cause of scalp eczema remains somewhat of a mystery. Experts believe that it’s a combination of genetics and external triggers, such as stress, dust mites, and extreme temperatures. An overactive immune system can also weaken the , according to the . This results in a dry and inflamed scalp, which resembles dandruff.

ICYDK, dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis) is the most common type of scalp eczema, which is why their symptoms overlap. In the , flaking happens when a yeast called Malassezia multiplies excessively. To make matters worse, researchers have found that Malassezia can in some people, making your scalp twice as itchy.

Aside from seborrheic dermatitis, another type of eczema that can affect the scalp is contact dermatitis. It’s characterized by swelling along with a burning sensation. The culprits behind this variation are irritants and allergens commonly found in hair care products, dyes, and materials in head accessories.

What Scalp Eczema Can Do to Your Hair

Your scalp serves as the fertile ground from which healthy hair sprouts. So when eczema enters the picture, it can set off some noticeable changes in your tresses.

1. Flakes can stunt hair growth.

This scalp confetti is not only unsightly, but it's a proven menace to your locks. It can accumulate and clog the hair follicles, potentially leading to stagnant and leaving you with shorter and thinner strands.

2. An itchy scalp can lead to hair loss.

The persistent itching that comes with eczema can push you to scratch your scalp constantly. Scratching may provide temporary relief, but the repetitive friction can damage your permanently. Scarring occurs over time, causing more strands to fall out, leaving you with a bald patch. 

3. Inflamed rashes weaken your hair.

Scalp inflammation can trigger your immune system to attack the hair follicles. When this happens, the can’t get the nutrients they need to thrive, leading to weak and . A 2018 study also reveals that Malassezia can cause the hair to enter prematurely.

Use Dove Botanical Anti Hair Fall Shampoo Silicone Free Primrose in the shower to help strengthen your mane. Its gentle formula is enriched with primrose oil to nourish your strands and help reduce hair fall due to breakage. Apply Dove Botanical Selection Anti Hair Fall Hair Conditioner Primrose next, which restores moisture and protects your locks from breakage.

How to Manage Scalp Eczema Flare-Ups

When dealing with hair-related issues associated with eczema, the first thing to do is make an appointment with your primary care doctor. They can help refer you to a board-certified dermatologist who will tailor scalp eczema treatment options to your needs. Before going to the clinic, write down all the symptoms so you can discuss them with your doctor.

Once you get a proper diagnosis, the physician may prescribe topical or oral medications to reduce inflammation and alleviate itching. For severe cases, your dermatologist may also recommend UV light therapy.

To prevent flare-ups, keep your scalp clean by washing your hair regularly. While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s essential to remove buildup and excess oil. Be careful not to scrub too hard as it can worsen your scalp eczema. And if you’re tempted to scratch your itchy scalp, wrap an ice pack in a towel and place it on your head instead.