Scalp Eczema, The First Sign Of Sebaceous Dermatitis

Published: 16th March 2011
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Scalp eczema is one of the most unpleasant symptoms of eczema because apart from resting right underneath your crowning glory and being too obvious, it also gives others the impression that you have very poor hygiene or a rather severe case of dandruff. Often mistaken as a type of eczema rather than an eczema symptom, it is actually the first sign of sebaceous dermatitis - a unique yet common type of eczema that primarily affects the scalp. And it is best to identify sebaceous dermatitis with this very first symptom to avoid it from getting worse.

Sebaceous dermatitis is a unique form of eczema because it is the only type of eczema that affects the scalp. But scalp eczema is just the first symptom of this type of eczema because later on, it causes eczema in face and the torso. The scope of sebaceous dermatitis is determined by the presence of sebum or sebaceous glands underneath the skin. Since the scalp, face, and torso are the only skin areas where sebum glands can be found, these are the skin areas where sebaceous dermatitis manifests itself.

Early during this skin condition, the affected person will manifest scalp eczema or what appears to be like severe dandruff. But scalp eczema can easily be told apart from dandruff. All you need to do is take a closer look at your scalp or have someone else look it over for you. With dandruff, there's only supposed to be flaking of the scalp. But with scalp eczema that's caused by sebaceous dermatitis, the flaking of the scalp is accompanied with redness.

Scalp eczema is just the first sign of sebaceous dermatitis. This eczema symptom is either taken for granted or goes unnoticed. Later on though, when sebaceous dermatitis progresses and manifests as eczema in face along with scalp eczema, that is usually when the affected person begins to take notice. Sebaceous dermatitis isn't the only type of eczema which causes eczema in face because other types of eczema such as dermatitis atopica and allergic eczema result in the same eczema symptom. However, the face eczema caused by sebaceous dermatitis does have a distinct manifestation that closely resembles scalp eczema.

Just like scalp eczema, face eczema with sebaceous dermatitis makes it look like you have dandruff - only on the face. Different areas of the face will have redness and flaking. The redness and flaking may appear on the eyelids, on the eyebrows, and behind the ears. In some instances, the flakes may even appear on the eyelashes, on the forehead, or around the nose. Eczema in face can also be accompanied by eczema of the torso. Basically, similar patterns of redness and flaking will appear anywhere on one's front or back.

Eczema of the torso isn't the worst that sebaceous dermatitis can get. Signs that this condition has become severe include the appearance of thicker and oilier scales or red and scaling itchy pimples on the face and the torso. As for severe scalp eczema, the scalp will become covered with thick and greasy yellowish or white scales. These may attach to the hair shafts and can cause severe itching and soreness of the scalp. Severe scalp eczema can even cause in the wounding of the scalp and hair loss.

To avoid the worsening of sebaceous dermatitis in which scalp eczema eventually results in face eczema, eczema of the torso, and the subsequent worsening of symptoms as exhibited by the thickening of the flakes and hair loss, it is best to identify the condition at the very first sign of it. As soon as you experience scalp eczema, have it checked by a dermatologist and find ways to avoid it.


Charles Perkins is a skin care expert. For more information related to scalp eczema, visit

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