Skip to main content

Last Updated on September 21, 2023

Hair loss is a common concern that affects millions of people worldwide. While there are various factors contributing to hair loss, one often overlooked culprit is seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that causes redness, itching, and flaking, primarily affecting areas rich in oil glands like the scalp, face, and chest. In this blog, we will delve into the intricate condition of seborrheic dermatitis hair loss, exploring the causes, symptoms, treatment options, and practical tips for managing this condition.

Understanding Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis, often referred to as “dandruff” when it affects the scalp, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition. However, it arises from the interaction of several factors.

Overproduction of Sebum

Seborrheic dermatitis hair loss typically occurs in areas with a high density of sebaceous (oil) glands. However, overproduction of sebum can create an ideal environment for the growth of a yeast called Malassezia. Moreover, this yeast is thought to play a significant role in the development and persistence of seborrheic dermatitis.

Yeast Overgrowth

Malassezia, a naturally occurring yeast on the skin, can multiply excessively in people with seborrheic dermatitis. Furthermore, this overgrowth triggers an inflammatory response from the body, leading to the characteristic symptoms of the condition.


Inflammation is a key factor in seborrheic dermatitis. Moreover, the inflammatory response can lead to itching, redness, and flaking, which can extend beyond the scalp to affect other areas of the body, such as the face, chest, and back.

Does Seborrheic Dermatitis Cause Hair Loss?

Now, let’s explore how seborrheic dermatitis is linked to hair loss.

Scalp Inflammation

Seborrheic dermatitis hair loss is a result of inflammation that affects hair follicles. Moreover, this inflammation disrupts the normal hair growth cycle, leading to a condition known as “telogen effluvium.” In telogen effluvium, hair follicles prematurely enter the resting phase of the hair growth cycle, resulting in increased hair shedding and hair thinning.

Excessive Scratching

Seborrheic dermatitis hair loss causes intense itching, leading individuals to scratch their scalps vigorously. Additionally, this scratching can damage hair follicles, weaken the hair shaft, and contribute to hair loss.

Psychological Stress

Living with a visible skin condition like seborrheic dermatitis hair loss can cause significant psychological stress, which, in turn, can contribute to hair loss. However, stress-related hair loss, known as “telogen effluvium,” can exacerbate hair thinning in individuals already struggling with seborrheic dermatitis.

Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis-Related Hair Loss

Identifying the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis-related hair loss is crucial for early intervention. Common symptoms include:

Scalp Itching

Persistent and intense itching on the scalp is a hallmark symptom of seborrheic dermatitis. Moreover, it precedes hair loss.

Redness and Inflammation

Affected areas may appear red and inflamed. Furthermore, this inflammation can extend to the hair follicles, disrupting hair growth.

Flaking and Scaling

Dandruff-like flaking and scaling are common in seborrheic dermatitis. Moreover, these flakes can accumulate on the scalp and in the hair.

Hair Shedding

Individuals with seborrheic dermatitis hair loss may notice increased bald patches. However, this can be particularly noticeable during activities like washing or brushing the hair.

Managing Seborrheic Dermatitis Hair Loss

Fortunately, there are several strategies for managing seborrheic dermatitis-related hair loss:

Proper Hygiene

Maintaining good scalp hygiene is essential. Use a mild, medicated shampoo designed to prevent seborrheic dermatitis hair loss and cleanse the scalp regularly. Additionally, this can help reduce inflammation and control yeast overgrowth.


In severe cases, a dermatologist may prescribe topical corticosteroids, antifungal creams, or other medications to manage seborrheic dermatitis. Moreover, these treatments can help reduce inflammation and control yeast levels, improving hair loss.

Avoid Harsh Products

Avoid using harsh hair care products, as these can exacerbate symptoms. Opt for gentle, fragrance-free shampoos and conditioners.

Diet and Lifestyle

Some individuals find that certain dietary changes, such as reducing sugar and processed foods, can help manage seborrheic dermatitis. Additionally, managing stress through relaxation techniques and exercise can support overall skin health.

Seek Professional Help

If seborrheic dermatitis-related hair loss is severe or persistent, consult a dermatologist. They can provide personalized treatment recommendations, including prescription medications or advanced therapies.

OTC Treatment

Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments for seborrheic dermatitis hair loss can be effective in managing the symptoms of this skin condition. Seborrheic dermatitis often manifests as redness, itching, and flaking on the scalp and other affected areas. Here are some OTC treatments and strategies you can consider:

Medicated Shampoos

  • Salicylic Acid Shampoos: Shampoos containing salicylic acid can help break down and remove scales and flakes. They can be particularly effective for mild cases of seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Coal Tar Shampoos: Coal tar shampoos can slow down the excessive skin cell growth associated with seborrheic dermatitis. Additionally, they can also reduce itching and inflammation.
  • Zinc Pyrithione Shampoos: Shampoos containing zinc pyrithione can help control the growth of the yeast Malassezia, which is often associated with seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Ketoconazole Shampoos: Ketoconazole is an antifungal agent that can be effective against the yeast responsible for seborrheic dermatitis. It’s available in both OTC and prescription strengths.

Antifungal Creams

Over-the-counter antifungal creams or ointments, such as those containing clotrimazole or miconazole, can be applied to affected areas on the skin to reduce yeast growth and inflammation.

Topical Steroids

Low-strength OTC hydrocortisone creams or ointments may provide relief from itching and inflammation associated with seborrheic dermatitis. However, prolonged use of topical steroids should be avoided without medical guidance due to potential side effects.

Natural Remedies

Some natural remedies, like applying coconut oil or aloe vera gel to the affected areas, may help soothe and moisturize the skin. Moreover, tea tree oil, diluted in a carrier oil, may also have antifungal properties.

Proper Scalp Hygiene For Seborrheic Dermatitis Hair Loss

Regularly cleansing your scalp with a gentle, fragrance-free shampoo and conditioner can help prevent the buildup of oils and dead skin cells that can exacerbate seborrheic dermatitis.

Avoid Triggers

Identify and avoid triggers that worsen your symptoms. These may include stress, certain hair care products, and dietary factors.

Sun Protection

Protect your skin from excessive sun exposure, as sunlight can aggravate seborrheic dermatitis. Use sunscreen when necessary.

Tips for Preventing Seborrheic Dermatitis Hair Loss

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some practical tips to prevent seborrheic dermatitis-related hair loss:

  • Maintain Consistent Scalp Care: Regularly cleanse and moisturize your scalp using appropriate products to prevent seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups.
  • Be Gentle: Avoid excessive scratching, as it can damage hair follicles and worsen hair loss.
  • Manage Stress: Practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to minimize stress-related hair loss.
  • Balanced Diet: Consume a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to support overall skin and hair health.
  • Regular Check-ups: Visit a dermatologist for regular check-ups and guidance on managing seborrheic dermatitis.


In conclusion, seborrheic dermatitis hair loss is a condition that causes inflammation, excessive sebum production, and yeast overgrowth which are key factors contributing to both conditions. However, recognizing the symptoms, seeking early treatment, and adopting a holistic approach to scalp and skin care can help manage seborrheic dermatitis-related hair loss effectively. Additionally, remember that consulting a dermatologist is crucial for tailored treatment plans and long-term hair and scalp health. Moreover, by taking proactive steps and managing this condition, individuals can regain confidence and maintain healthy, vibrant hair.


MetroBoston Clinical Partners is a well established and experienced research center in the greater Boston area. Under the leadership of qualified physicians and medical professionals, we coordinate a range of clinical research trials in Dermatology and Internal Medicine.

Leave a Reply