Eczema on the head also called seborrheic eczema, is a skin condition with redness and greasy white/yellow scabs. Seborrheic eczema can also occur in other places: in skin folds, between the eyebrows, behind the ears, on the chest, and on the back.
There are two forms of Eczema on the head:
- the first form occurs in children and often occurs in the sixth to eighth week after birth. One speaks of ‘mountain’. This usually disappears after a few months.
- the second form starts after puberty. This form often has a chronically recurring course (this means that eczema will regularly pop up)
Research has shown that seborrheic eczema is more common in certain families and that therefore genetic factors play a role.
Symptoms of seborrheic eczema
In babies, the typical white/yellow flakes are visible on the hairy head and the skin often looks redder than normal. Sometimes similar spots are visible in the body folds. Older children generally do not seem to be bothered by it.
In adults, itching is the main complaint. The scales are visible on the scalp and the scalp is red. This is, therefore, the most important difference with dandruff, where the scalp has a normal color. Furthermore, flakes and redness can be seen in various other places, such as with eyebrows, next to the nose and in body folds.
How does seborrheic eczema arise?
The exact cause is not known, family aptitude plays an important role. Mountain or seborrheic eczema is certainly not contagious. It is suspected that it is mainly due to a change in sebum production.
Tallow is a substance that keeps the skin fat. It is produced by glands in the skin. The change in sebum production offers certain yeast good opportunities for growth and multiplication. This appears to be an important factor in the development of eczema. Other factors can be both external (soap or cosmetics) and internal (food). In periods of stress, there can be a sharp increase in symptoms.
Is it serious and what can you expect?
Seborrheic eczema is in itself a harmless condition. With small children, it will usually disappear after a few months. Sometimes it can temporarily cause more complaints such as itching. Your doctor can give you medication for this.
In adults, seborrheic eczema is often a disease for life, it will not usually heal completely. However, there may be long periods with hardly any complaints. The itch can be very annoying. Different medications can reduce symptoms.
When to the doctor?
If there are many complaints of itching or if it is a very unsightly sight, it is advisable to contact your doctor’s office.
There are a variety of medicines that can help reduce symptoms. These drugs will not cure the condition but can be very effective in suppressing the symptoms for a longer period of time. Antifungal agents are active against the yeasts. Other agents such as salicylic acid dissolve the flakes, which can then be easily washed out. Anti-inflammatory drugs reduce inflammation and reduce itching.
What can you do about it yourself?
Crusts on the head of small children can be removed by blotting them daily and then soaking for 20 minutes with baby oil. The hair can then be washed with baby shampoo.
Wearing headcover is not recommended, it improves the growth potential of the yeasts. Scratching must be avoided, this gives small wounds. Irritation of the scalp due to daily washing or frequent use of hair stiffeners can play a role and must, therefore, be prevented. Sun and UV radiation reduce eczema and will reduce the symptoms. Psychological factors, such as stress, can also play a role in the development and maintenance of symptoms. Be aware of this and possibly discuss this with your doctor. The use of an anti-dandruff shampoo several times a week can give a good improvement.
General advice and precautions
Good resistance helps to reduce the chance of various disorders. Go to bed on time and don’t get upset. The better your condition, the greater your resistance to infection will be. Leave the scalp uncovered as much as possible. A sultry environment under a cap, hat or headscarf is a place where yeasts feel at home.
Try to find out whether certain circumstances, such as certain food, the use of a certain type of soap, busy stressful periods, are related to the onset of the symptoms. the sun is recommended. If, nevertheless, there are many complaints, do not hesitate to contact your doctor’s office.
For more information, also read:
Eczema on the head