Can Seborrheic Dermatitis of the Scalp Be Cured?

Linda White

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin disease. It usually affects the scalp and the face. It can also affect other areas of the body, but the scalp is most common. There are many types of scalp conditions so, it’s important to know the ins and outs of seborrheic dermatitis, and how to treat it.

One of the easiest ways to identify seborrheic dermatitis is by the patches it creates on your skin. These patches can create flaking, which makes people associate this condition with dandruff reasonably often. In babies, the condition is known as ‘cradle cap.’

Almost anyone can get this condition, though it’s most common in infants and older adults. There is no concrete answer on what causes it. But, there are several triggers associated with the condition. In most cases, people who have the condition deal with flare-ups, rather than having to fight the symptoms all the time.

Seborrheic dermatitis can be officially diagnosed by a dermatologist. The diagnosis will usually be based on the appearance of the skin. Once you know you have this particular scalp condition, you can learn how to manage it better. Seborrheic dermatitis can’t be cured. But, most people can live completely normal lives by managing the condition regularly.

How to Control Seborrheic Dermatitis

This guide will focus on the common skin and scalp condition. Because there are many different scalp conditions that people can get, knowing the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis is important. Again, it’s a condition that cannot be cured. But, many treatments can help to manage it.

The good news is that many of the solutions are over-the-counter products or even home remedies. Sometimes, lifestyle changes can help to reduce the number of flare-ups you experience, too. Let’s learn a little more about this common condition that affects the scalp so that you can manage it as best as possible.

Can Seborrheic Dermatitis Cause Itchy Scalp? 

Seborrheic dermatitis has many symptoms. It can also cause many other side effects to occur. Again, it can happen anywhere on the body that has sebum glands. But, the scalp is a reasonably common area. One of the most common symptoms of this condition is an itchy scalp.

Seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp usually causes greasy scales to form on the skin. These scales can be yellow or white in nature. Inflammation is a typical symptom of the condition, and so is redness. As you might expect, scaling of the skin can cause it to become quite itchy.

So, does seborrheic dermatitis cause itchy scalp? Most of the time, yes. This condition will promote the desire to scratch at your scalp. The patches of skin that have become red and scaly will be the itchiest parts.

It can be quite risky to scratch at your scalp when you have a skin condition of any kind.

There are several reasons why itching is bad, including:

  • It can lead to hair loss. Too much scratching at the scalp can pull out existing hair and damage the follicles.
  • It can cause flaking. In the case of seborrheic dermatitis, the oily/greasy flakes of skin from the scaly patches could fall off. It shouldn’t be painful, but it can be embarrassing.
  • If you scratch too vigorously, you could accidentally cut open your scalp. Not only is that painful, but it can cause bleeding. If a wound on the scalp opens up and starts bleeding, you’re putting yourself at risk for an infection.
  • Itching is one of the most annoying symptoms of this condition. It can also turn into one of the most dangerous if you’re not able to treat it somehow.

Seborrheic Dermatitis vs. Dandruff

Seborrheic dermatitis is often referred to as dandruff. But, dandruff can be caused by a variety of different things. It is mainly caused by oil on the scalp causing skin cells to clump together into patches. There is a difference between dandruff flakes and dry scalp flakes.

Flakes caused by dandruff are usually heavier and thicker, and often have a yellowish tint to them due to the dirt and oil. Dry scalp flakes are generally lighter, smaller, and white.

Seborrheic dermatitis can cause dandruff, but it isn’t the sole cause. Because of the oily patches that form on the scalp, the heavy style of flakes tends to fall off when you scratch at them. Dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis aren’t necessarily the same thing. But, seborrheic dermatitis can be an underlying cause of this common skin condition.

Other possibilities that can cause dandruff include:

  • Overuse of hair products
  • Sensitivity to hair products
  • Overgrowth of yeast
  • Scalp psoriasis

Any condition or external situation that causes an overproduction of oils on your scalp can lead to dandruff. That’s why it’s necessary to know the other symptoms of these conditions.

Should I Treat Dandruff Differently?

There are specialized shampoos available that can treat dandruff. There are also many home remedies that can fix the issue since it is such a common condition. But, you can use almost all the same treatment options for dandruff as you would for seborrheic dermatitis. Even if it isn’t what is causing the flaking, the treatment options can help.

While seborrheic dermatitis is a permanent condition, dandruff doesn’t have to be. If something else is causing your itching and flaking, like a sensitivity to hair products, merely making a switch can stop dandruff in its tracks.

Can Seborrheic Dermatitis Cause Swollen Lymph Nodes?

Everyone has lymph nodes all over their body. When the lymph nodes become swollen, it’s usually a sign that something isn’t right and the body isn’t functioning the way it should. The most common place for swollen nodes to occur is in the neck or under the jaw.

One of the primary reasons people experience swollen lymph nodes is because of underlying skin conditions. That includes seborrheic dermatitis. Lymph nodes on the scalp can swell, and it usually occurs because of a condition like this. Swollen lymph nodes by themselves aren’t dangerous. But, they are a warning sign that something else may be wrong.

If you get swollen lymph nodes on the scalp and they are painful, it could be the sign of a severe infection. If you’re unsure about what scalp condition you might have and how it’s affecting you, a dermatologist can give you an official diagnosis. Your lymph nodes should go back to normal once the condition itself is under control.

How Long Does Seborrheic Dermatitis Last?

This condition might be causing other problems (itching, swollen lymph nodes) or not. But, it’s important to find a treatment that works for you with seborrheic dermatitis. Unfortunately, there is no concrete answer to how long it will last. Most people with this condition will experience it in waves. Different things cause flare-ups to occur.

Some of the common reasons people experience flare-ups include the following:

  • Cold, dry weather
  • Stress
  • Weakened immune system

With regular care, seborrheic dermatitis can clear up in as little as six months. But, it may take longer for some people with more severe cases. What’s important to keep in mind is once you’ve experienced it, it will never entirely ‘go away.’ You will need to manage it for the rest of your life, even when you’re not directly experiencing it.

The preventative measures to keep this condition at bay are just as necessary as the treatment solutions. Perhaps, even more so.

Treatments for Seborrheic Dermatitis

If you’ve been diagnosed with seborrheic dermatitis, there are different treatment options to consider. Many people look for an over-the-counter way to manage the condition. Medicated shampoo is usually the most popular solution, but you can get a specialist shampoo for colored hair.

Shampoos that contain either coal tar or ketoconazole are most often used to treat this condition. It’s one of the easiest ways to get rid of the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis, without having to change too much of your routine.

In areas where hair isn’t covering the skin, a topical agent may be needed, like a lotion or cream. If the condition has gotten severe, your doctor may prescribe a topical steroid. Sometimes, you may also need to use an anti-inflammatory treatment.

One good thing about this condition is that it isn’t contagious. You can’t catch it from someone else or give it to someone else. So, you can feel free to use whatever treatment solution necessary to others.

How to stop itchiness of the scalp fast

Home Remedies

One of the easiest ways to treat seborrheic dermatitis is with home remedies. You can probably ease itching and flaking using items you already have around the house. Let’s go over some popular home remedies for seborrheic dermatitis. Using these solutions regularly can help you get rid of symptoms and manage your condition easier.

  • Apple cider vinegar – This is a popular home remedy for seborrheic dermatitis because it helps to balance out the pH level of your scalp. This condition occurs when too much oil starts to build up. That is often an indicator that your scalp is ‘off balance’ somehow. Because apple cider vinegar is an acidic solution, it can help to reduce oil production. It also works as an astringent. It can help to lower your risk of infection if you scratch at your scalp a lot.
  • Honey – Raw honey has been found effective. It can help to reduce itching and inflammation that you may be experiencing. While there isn’t much research to back up this treatment, many people swear by it as a safe and effective home remedy. You can create a honey treatment mask by leaving the raw honey on your scalp for a while before rinsing it away. Or, you can combine it with other healing ingredients, like coconut oil.
  • Tea tree oil – This is a natural healing agent. Tea tree oil has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. It can ward off infection and help to soothe the symptoms. It also won’t make your skin or hair greasy in the process. You can use pure tea tree oil on its own with a carrier. Or, you can add a few drops to your regular shampoo.

One of the best parts of these home remedies is there is little risk of harmful side effects. When you use entirely natural ingredients, you’ll have a better idea of how your body will respond. If you start to experience a flare-up, you can use one of these home remedies at the first sign. You’ll probably already have the ‘ingredients’ on hand.

Whether you use an over-the-counter solution or a home remedy, keep in mind that seborrheic dermatitis can’t be cured. Some people experience flare-ups more frequently than others. Some suffer from them more severely than others. With regular use of a treatment solution, the symptoms of the condition should go away. But, as long as it is active, you can probably expect it to come back.

The sooner you know the signs of a flare-up and start a treatment that works for you, the less debilitating the condition will feel. The symptoms won’t have time to become as severe.

Can it Be Prevented?

Since seborrheic dermatitis can’t be permanently cured, people who have it find ways to manage and control it. Using treatment solutions like the ones listed above are some of the best ways to keep the condition in check. There is no way to completely prevent it or to stop a flare-up. But, there are ways to lower your risk. Many of these factors involve trying to boost your immune system and stay as healthy as possible.

A few things you can do to keep seborrheic dermatitis under control include:

  • Getting enough sleep at night – aim for at least 7-8 hours.
  • Practice a diet rich in foods that are natural anti-inflammatory agents. This includes things like garlic, bananas, and ginger. Additionally, try to limit foods that cause inflammation, like processed foods and sugars. If you’re not sure what else to include in your diet, talk to a nutritionist to create a personalized plan.
  • Exercise several times a week.
  • Look for hobbies or activities that can help to lower your stress levels. Anything from yoga or meditation to reading can help relax your mind and body. Stress can trigger flare-ups, so being able to manage it can help.
  • Stay hydrated. While seborrheic dermatitis isn’t the same thing as dry scalp, consuming enough water each day can help your body to function properly. This can help with an overproduction of sebum.
  • Avoid using hair products that irritate your scalp. Chemicals and preservatives in many shampoos and products can lead to skin problems and itching. If your scalp gets easily irritated, try using a shampoo and other products with all natural ingredients. Organic products are even better.
  • Use hydrating masks with natural ingredients like coconut oil. Even if you don’t have a dry scalp, keeping your skin and hair moisturized can reduce the impact of a flare-up.

How do I get rid of Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Is Seborrheic Dermatitis Dangerous?

In most cases, seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp isn’t harmful. But, it can lead to other problems when it isn’t treated properly. First, it causes large flakes to slough off from your scalp. While that isn’t harmful, it can be embarrassing. Equally embarrassing are the scaly patches that can form under your hair. These patches may appear oily and greasy and can lead to unfortunate stereotypes.

Perhaps the most troublesome part of this condition is the itching associated with it. Again, scratching at your scalp opens it up for dirt, debris, and infection.

If your seborrheic dermatitis is/was caused by an overgrowth of yeast, you could have a fungal infection. Fungal infections won’t go away on their own and need to be treated differently. A fungus will keep growing and thriving until it is treated properly.

Will There Ever Be a Cure for Seborrheic Dermatitis?

To completely cure seborrheic dermatitis, researchers and doctors need to determine what officially causes it. As of now, they have several theories. There have also been strong connections made between the immune system and the skin condition. But, there isn’t just one underlying cause.

When people hear that a condition isn’t curable, it’s easy to panic. But, millions of people deal with this condition (and dandruff) every single day. The people in their lives probably don’t even know it. It’s a relatively easy condition to treat and manage, as long as you stay on top of it.

The important thing is making sure you know you’re dealing with seborrheic dermatitis. Other skin conditions like psoriasis of the scalp take different types of treatments. If you’re unsure of your symptoms, a dermatologist can do a scraping of the scalp to make sure.

We hope this guide has been helpful in answering your questions. It’s a common condition, but there is still a lot of mystery behind it. Using some of the suggestions here, you can manage it. Managing it the right way should help the symptoms be less severe and less noticeable.

Copyright 2018 by DryScalpGone.