Seborrheic Eczema Treatment

Written by nolan foster
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Seborrheic Eczema Treatment

Seborrheic eczema, or seborrheic dermatitis, is a skin condition that causes unsightly flaking, itching, scaling, and redness, especially on the scalp, face and neck. The exact causes of seborrheic eczema are unknown, but genetic, hormonal and environmental factors likely play a role in its development. As a result, the condition itself is nearly impossible to cure permanently, so symptoms can reoccur over periods of months or years. However, many treatment options are available to help minimise and manage its symptoms.


There are numerous popular dermatologist-recommended shampoos for treating seborrheic eczema available over the counter, many containing antifungal and antibacterial agents like zinc pyrithione, selenium sulphide or ciclopirox olamine, keratolytics like salicylic acid or preparations of coal tar. Most of these medications are also available in stronger, prescription-strength dosages for patients with especially stubborn or severe outbreaks. Additional prescription-strength medicines like corticosteroid foams may be used in conjunction with one or more of these shampoos to further suppress scaling, flaking and irritation on the scalp.

Face & Neck

Seborrheic eczema outbreaks on the face and neck can be especially difficult to treat because many prescription drugs are too strong for use on such sensitive areas. One of the most effective and commonly recommended over the counter treatments for seborrheic eczema outbreaks on the face and neck is hydrocortisone cream, a corticosteroid that helps reduce redness, itching and puffiness. In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe stronger steroids or a mixture of other medications such as immunomodulators like tacrolimus ointment and pimecrolimus cream and moisturising lotions or soaps.

Nutritional Supplements

Natural remedies are also becoming more popular among both doctors and patients. According to the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, zinc, vitamin B, flaxseed oil and biotin have all been shown to have positive effects in treating seborrheic eczema patients, and researchers at the New Jersey Medical School University of Medicine and Dentistry include daily use of tea tree oil shampoo on their list of effective treatments.


While topical corticosteroids can be highly effective, frequent and continual use of them can cause damaging and lasting side effects, including cutaneous atrophy and telangiectasia. The effectiveness of topical steroids is also known to decrease over time, so prolonged use may lead to a noticeable decrease in their positive effects unless discontinued for several months before resuming treatment.


Aside from medications and supplements, there are several other commonly recommended methods for helping to reduce the frequency and severity of seborrheic eczema symptoms. These include gentle, non-comedogenic and fragrance-free moisturising cleansers and air humidifiers. Stress, anxiety and lack of sleep can trigger or dramatically worsen symptoms, making healthy amounts of rest and relaxation essential for patients with a history of the condition.

While seborrhoic eczema is not dangerous or life threatening, it can be very damaging to a person's self-image and quality of life, and treatment can be slow and frustrating because of how little is known about the condition. With patience, open-mindedness and regular visits to the dermatologist, however, seborrheic eczema is completely manageable, and patients suffering from it are fully capable of living normal and healthy lives.

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