Scalp Eczema

Scalp Eczema is an itchy, dry, inflamed scalp condition. Our treatment methods adopt a gentle but practical approach in controlling such a conditions. Firstly, removing that irritating crusting, then calming the underlying skin. This in turn slows the cell proliferation.The first step in any skin ailment is to confirm a diagnosis. At which point treatment either at home or in the clinic can be advised.

Advice Line 0207 404 0072 

scalp eczemaIf you think you are suffering from scalp eczema or any itchy scalp condition then give us a call. We can offer advice on the phone or arrange a visit for you. Alternatively, send us an e-mail (contact page) with any questions you may have.

Itchy Scalp – Scalp Eczema can make the scalp feel very uncomfortable, dry and itchy. An itchy scalp may be a symptom of scalp eczema or one of the many other dry scalp conditions that cause irritation, inflammation, cracking, bleeding and in some cases hair loss. An itchy scalp is the bodies immune system reacting the cause. If shampooing doesn’t help you should seek professional advice.

What is Scalp Eczema – a group of non contagious acute or chronic scalp conditions characterised by erythema (inflammation), oozing, skin thickening, formation of papules, vesicles (blisters) and crust. Pruritis (itching, often severe) leads to self manipulation to cause bleeding. A burning sensation often accompanies scalp conditions such as scalp eczema. May affect all ages.

Secondary infection may be present. Scalp Eczema In most cases can be controlled, however it is not considered curable. Affected skin is susceptible to flare ups. SE is categorised into environmental and internal.

Environmental Scalp Eczema (scalp conditions) – Irritant Contact Dermatitis/eczema,  Allergic Contact Dermatitis/eczema and Herpeticum eczema.

Internal Eczema – (scalp conditions) – Atopic Dermatitis/eczema, Seborrhoeic Dermatitis/eczema, Nummular Dermatitis/eczema, Dishydrotic/Pompholyx (blistering) Dermatitis/eczema, Varicose Eczema/dermatitis, Asteototic (dry) Dermatitis/eczema, Madidans eczema, Pustulosum eczema, Rubrum eczema.

Herpeticum Eczema – Eczema Herpeticum develops when eczema becomes infected with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Tends to affect Atopic Dermatitis patients or those who have a pre-existing dermatitis/eczema. Considered serious in infant, chronically ill or elderly patients. Both Herpes Simplex and Atopic Dermatitis are common conditions however Eczema Herpeticum is rare. Symptoms include, high temperature, an erythematic rash containing vesicles filled with yellow pus.

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) –  HSV presents as vesicles or sores that may affect most areas of the skin. Tends to affect the genital region (type 2) and the mouth, nose, chin, cheeks and lips (type 1). The sores may to be painful. Tends to affect those in early years. Transmitted through direct contact (kissing or sharing towels and utensils). Occurs shortly after exposure. Considered highly contagious. Herpes describes eight related human viruses. Simplex refers to the viruses that cause chicken pox, shingles and Mononucleosis (Epstein – Barr virus).

Type 1 tends to present as cold sores or small vesicles around the mouth. Wounds are susceptible to infection. Infection (primary or recurrent) tends to present sores or blisters in approx 10% of cases. Primary cases present symptoms 2 – 20 days after exposure lasting for approx 8 – 10 days. Symptoms may present one or several blisters which tend to rupture causing the fluid to ooze. The skin crusts.  The underlining healing skin presents erythema. Cicatrix in primary infections is rare. The herpes virus remains in the body in nerve cells.  Reoccurrence may occur although unpredictable, close to or at the primary infection site. Reoccurrences tends to be milder. Sun exposure, menstrual period or fever may cause reoccurrence. Many causes are idiopathic.

Type 2 tends to produce sores on the penis, vagina, cervix or buttocks 2 – 20 days after contact. Reoccurrence may occur. Symptoms include a pruritic rash, fever, muscle ache and a burning sensation. Type 2 may affect other areas below waist level. Initial onset may be undetectable. Reoccurrence which may occur years later may be mistaken for primary infection. Sun exposure, menstrual period or fever may cause reoccurrence. Many causes are idiopathic.

Herpes tends to be easily diagnosis due to its appearance. However a skin biopsy may be required for type 2 cases which show similarities to syphilis and some other conditions. Herpes may affect the eyes which may lead to cicatrix and damage to sight. Ophthalmologist should be sought if eye herpes is suspected. Herpes may be transmitted from mother to baby during child birth (type 2). Primary infections can cause serious damage to the infant. Effective methods are available to prevent this.
There is no medication to date that prevents herpes. Acyclovir, Famciclovir and Valacyclovir (all anti viral medications) are effective prescribed treatments.  Approx 80% of genital herpes is transmitted where no symptoms were apparent. Resting phase herpes bare no risk to the new born.

Asteototic Eczema -presents as dry scaly skin that has distinct cracked lesions. A distinct paved appearance. Tends to affects the elderly and those who have endured a lengthy hospital stay. The skin dries when subjected to a warm, dry, low humidity environment. Shows no affiliation to skin colour, type, or sex. Winter tends to exacerbate the conditions. Tends to affect the lower limbs.

Varicose Eczema (aka Statis) affects thrombosis (blocked veins), varicose and ulcerated vein regions e.g. the ankles. Tends to affect later in life, showing no affiliation to skin colour, type or sex. Excess vein pressure causes blood vessels to release Fibrin (a fibrous insoluble protein – basic component of a blood clot). Fibrin forms a barrier preventing Oxygen and nutrients penetrating the skin causing eczema.

Skin discoloration is caused by the release of red blood cells. Varicose Veins cause slow blood flow, poor oxygen and nutrient supply to surrounding tissue, back pressure increase, fatigue, and heaviness in the legs. Accumulation of waste in the veins may result in skin colour change (statis dermatitis).

Symptoms – Scales, skin dryness, pruritis and hyperpigmentation (brown/purple). Manipulation leads to soreness and swelling. Secondary infection is common, evident when inflammation is apparent. Ulcers tend to affect the inside leg, developing a yellow membrane that produces an offensive odour. They may surround the leg if not treated. Reoccurrence is common if varicose veins or thrombosis are not treated. Although rare, cancerous change may occur.

Treatment – Varicose eczema is considered curable. Treating thrombosis and varicose veins assist remission. Steroids tend to assist recovery however they may cause skin dryness exacerbating the condition. They should be used with an emulsifying agent or aqueous (watery) cream. Emollient creams tend to prove effective in reducing erythema and pruritis.

Bathing ulcers in salt water assists the removal of infected membrane. Powders, pastes, creams and dressing are available treatments.

Oxipentifylline is a prescribed medication used to break down the barrier caused by fibrin. Antibiotics (erythromycin) combat secondary infection. Kalmaderm (hyper allergenic cream) may be effective. In severe cases a skin graft may be required. Hyperpigmentation may increase in severity despite treatment.