Seborrheic Dermatitis Hair Loss

Seborrheic Dermatitis Hair Loss

Discovering clumps of hair in your shower drain or witnessing thinning patches on your scalp can be distressing, especially when you're already dealing with the vexing symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. Don't lose hope just yet! Our blog is here to equip you with the essential tools and strategies to combat seborrheic dermatitis-related hair loss head-on. In this brief but powerful guide, we'll unravel the mysteries behind this frustrating condition and empower you with practical tips and expert insights.

Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that mainly affects the scalp, but can also occur on other oily areas of the body such as the face, ears, chest, and groin. It is a chronic, inflammatory condition characterised by red, scaly patches, itching, and flaking of the skin. The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune system factors.

Seborrheic dermatitis is not contagious and is not caused by poor hygiene. It tends to occur more frequently in infants (known as cradle cap) and adults between the ages of 30 and 60.

Causes of Seborrheic Dermatitis

Malassezia yeast: 

The overgrowth of a yeast called Malassezia on the skin is believed to play a role in seborrheic dermatitis. This yeast is normally present on the skin but can multiply excessively, leading to inflammation.

Genetic factors: 

There may be a genetic predisposition to seborrheic dermatitis, as it tends to run in families. Certain gene variations may make individuals more susceptible to the condition.

Hormonal factors: 

Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during puberty, pregnancy, or certain medical conditions, can influence sebum production and contribute to seborrheic dermatitis.

Imbalanced immune response: 

An abnormal immune response to the presence of Malassezia yeast or other triggers can lead to inflammation and the development of seborrheic dermatitis.

Environmental factors: 

Cold weather, dry air, and seasonal changes can exacerbate symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. Exposure to harsh chemicals or irritants can also trigger or worsen the condition.

Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis

Here are the main symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis:


The affected skin areas may appear reddened or inflamed.

Scalp flakes:

One of the most common symptoms is the presence of white or yellowish flakes on the scalp, known as dandruff.


Seborrheic dermatitis often causes itching, which can range from mild to severe.

Skin scales: 

The affected skin may develop greasy or dry scales that can be flaky and easily detach from the skin.

Skin rash: 

A rash characterised by raised, red patches with defined borders may occur on the scalp, face, ears, chest, or other oily areas.

Can Seborrheic Dermatitis Cause Hair Fall?

Seborrheic dermatitis can potentially contribute to hair loss, but it is not a direct cause of hair loss in most cases. When seborrheic dermatitis occurs on the scalp, it can lead to inflammation, itching, and scaling. Prolonged and severe inflammation can affect the hair follicles and potentially disrupt the hair growth cycle, leading to temporary hair shedding or thinning.

Seborrheic Dermatitis Treatment

Topical antifungal agents:

Medications such as ketoconazole, selenium sulphide, or pyrithione zinc are often used in shampoos, creams, or lotions to reduce the growth of yeast and control inflammation. These products are typically applied directly to the affected areas and left on for a few minutes before rinsing off.

Topical corticosteroids: 

Mild corticosteroid creams or ointments can help reduce inflammation and relieve itching. They are usually applied to the affected skin areas for a short duration as prescribed by a healthcare professional.

Topical calcineurin inhibitors: 

Medications like tacrolimus or pimecrolimus may be prescribed for seborrheic dermatitis affecting the face or other sensitive areas. These medications help reduce inflammation and are often used when corticosteroids are not suitable or effective.

Medicated shampoos: 

Shampoos containing active ingredients like ketoconazole, selenium sulphide, or coal tar can be effective in treating seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp. They should be used according to the instructions provided, often requiring leaving the shampoo on the scalp for a few minutes before rinsing.

How long does Seborrheic Dermatitis Last with Treatment?

Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition characterised by red, scaly patches, itching, and flaking. With proper treatment, symptoms can improve within weeks to months. It's important to follow the prescribed treatment plan consistently and work closely with a dermatologist. While seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic condition, ongoing management and periodic use of medicated shampoos or topical treatments can help control symptoms and prevent flare-ups. Each individual's response to treatment may vary, so it's important to be patient and persistent in managing this condition.

Take Away

Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition characterised by red, scaly patches, itching, and flaking. Treatment involves using medicated shampoos, creams, or ointments to manage symptoms. Self-care measures and avoiding triggers are also important. With proper treatment and ongoing care, seborrheic dermatitis can be effectively managed. Consultation with a dermatologist is recommended for accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment.


Q: What happens if seborrheic dermatitis is left untreated?

A: If left untreated, seborrheic dermatitis symptoms may persist or worsen, causing increased itching, flaking, and inflammation.

Q: How can I save my hair from seborrheic dermatitis?

A: Managing seborrheic dermatitis effectively with proper treatment, including medicated shampoos and topical treatments, can help alleviate symptoms and minimize the risk of hair loss.

Q: Will hair loss from seborrheic dermatitis grow back?

A: In most cases, hair loss associated with seborrheic dermatitis is temporary. Once the condition is properly managed, the hair typically regrows.


The Connection Between Seborrheic Dermatitis and Hair Loss, By Adrienne Santos-Longhurst, on August 8, 2019

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