Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic Dermatitis and Hair Loss

One of the more uncommon symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis is hair loss. The oil the scalp produces combined with the malassezia fungus can cause irritation and inflammation to the hair follicles, making it difficult for hair to grow [source: AHLA]. The best way to prevent hair loss is to use an over-the-counter antidandruff shampoo that contains selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione, coal tar or ketoconazole. A dermatologist may prescribe an antifungal cream or antibiotic to combat the malassezia, and sometimes a topical medication that contains corticosteroid can help reduce inflammation.

The hair loss should subside with proper treatment, but it's important to continue treatment even after your symptoms decrease because seborrheic dermatitis is chronic and can recur [source: AHLA]. If the hair loss doesn't subside, it may be caused by something more severe than seborrheic dermatitis, and you should see a doctor [source: Evans].

For more information about seborrheic dermatitis, check out the links below.

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  • American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). "Types of Eczema: Seborrheic Dermatitis." (Accessed 8/8/09)
  • American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). "Seborrheic Dermatitis: What It Is and How to Treat It." July 1995.
  • American Hair Loss Association. "Infections Agents: Seborrheic Dermatitis." (Accessed 8/8/09)
  • American Optometric Association. "Blepharitis." (Accessed 8/9/09)
  • Evans, Jeff. "New working cicatricial alopecia classifications solidify definitions, criteria: North American Hair Research Society." April 1, 2004. (Accessed 8/12/2009)
  • Johnson, Bette Anne, M.D., PH.D. and Nunley, Juila R., MD. American Academy of Family Physicians. "Treatment of Seborrheic Dermatitis." May 2, 2000. (Accessed 8/12/2009)
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. "Blepharitis." (Accessed 8/12/2009)
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. "Scalp psoriasis vs. seborrheic dermatitis: What's the difference?" Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Oct. 19, 2007. (Accessed 8/12/2009)
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. "Seborrheic dermatitis." Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (Accessed 8/7/09)
  • MedicalNewsToday. "What is Dandruff? What Causes Dandruff?" June 6, 2009. (Accessed 8/12/2009)
  • New Zealand Dermatological Society. "Coal Tar." June 2009. (Accessed 8/27/09)
  • Piérard-Franchimont C., Goffin V, Decroix J. and Piérard, GE. "A multicenter randomized trial of ketoconazole 2% and zinc pyrithione 1% shampoos in severe dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis." Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. 2002 Nov-Dec.15 (6): 434-41. (Accessed 8/9/09)
  • "Women and Hair Loss: The Causes." (Accessed 8/9/09)