An Itchy Scalp May Indicate Atopic Dermatitis

If you have an itchy, inflamed scalp, you could have atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema. This problem can cause much discomfort, but it is manageable. You may need a dermatologist or even an immunologist's help to reduce your symptoms or get a full diagnosis. Continue reading to learn more about atopic dermatitis, how it is similar or different from other scalp conditions, and ways to get relief.

What Is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition that causes itchiness and redness. It often appears as a swollen, red rash on the surface of the skin. On the scalp, it is less visible, or only visible around the hairline or when the hair is parted. Many people first get this skin condition as a child, but any age can suffer from it. People with allergies and asthma are at a higher chance of atopic dermatitis.

What Causes Atopic Dermatitis?

The exact causes of this condition are unknown, but doctors do know that it is not contagious. Atopic dermatitis has many triggers. Some of the most prominent triggers include contact with an allergen or irritant, fabrics like wool, and sweating. Some hair products have irritants that can cause scalp irritation, for example. Add excessive sweat from exercise, and you could trigger a flare-up around your scalp.

What Are the Differences From Other Scalp Issues?

Other common inflammatory scalp issues include seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, and dandruff. All of these issues cause severe inflammation and skin flaking. Conversely, atopic dermatitis may not cause much flaking. Also, atopic dermatitis tends to be very itchy, while seborrheic dermatitis is not. Psoriasis has mostly mild itching. People with psoriasis also tend to have raised and scaly patches of skin.

What Treatments Help With Atopic Dermatitis?

You may be able to treat a mild case of atopic dermatitis at home. Over-the-counter skin medications and anti-inflammatory, anti-itch shampoos can help. If your atopic dermatitis is allergy-related, removing that allergen may reduce symptoms. Keep your scalp clean and the skin moisturized.

Atopic dermatitis is a common scalp skin condition. However, other conditions can cause similar symptoms, especially if you have a severe case. For that reason, a visit to a dermatologist or immunologist is necessary to get a proper diagnosis.

An immunologist is an excellent choice if you think allergies are the cause of your skin problems. In that case, you may need a different treatment plan. Contact a dermatologist or immunologist at a clinic like Darwin Dermatology for a diagnosis if you have scalp skin issues and you can't get relief on your own.