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Eczema on Scalp

Not all scratches are created equal. For me, scratching my eczema on scalp brings me the highest level of joy... for about 5 seconds, until all hell breaks lose. I think the reason scratching my scalp feels so good is because it's so close to my brain where the pleasure receptors are, although I have no scientific basis for this.

Scalp eczema is almost like a double-edged sword. There is an upside (believe it or not) - unless you are bald, your rash is covered by your hair for the most part. Just hope no one taller than you stands next to you and looks down on your scalp. The bad part is that it's about the worst kind of rash you can get, especially when it gets weepy and smelly. If the scalp is dry, you continue to shed dead skin cells that people mistake you for having dandruff. It can be embarrassing but most of all, it's just so, so itchy!

Here are some common reasons for dry and/or itchy eczema on scalp:

  • Repeated use of hair products (gel, spray, mousse, shampoo, conditioner) that don't agree with your skin
  • Dry weather in the winter
  • Humidity during summer
  • Sweating from exercise or warm weather
  • Same food allergies that cause eczema on other parts of the skin

Of all these, the easiest to counter is the use of hair products. By the process of elimination and experimenting with different hair products, the turnaround time for results is pretty quick.

I personally haven't been able to use any regular shampoos for years, because they actually added to the itchiness. Many commercial shampoos contain an ingredient called sodium lauryl sulfate which is actually a skin irritant. The only thing that works for me is the shampoo containing coal tar, which can be found at any drugstore. It also has sodium lauryl sulfate listed as an inactive ingredient, but coal tar has been used traditionally as a relief for itchy skin and it takes away the itchiness on my scalp for a couple days until it's time to wash my hair again.

Whenever possible, it's best to use natural ingredients for anything that goes on your skin, including shampoo. The only problem is that anything labeled "natural" or "organic" is so darn expensive.

Here are some protocols I use to keep eczema on scalp at bay:

1. Hair-pulling/scalp massage

No, I don't actually "pull" my hair out as that would be very painful. Whenever my scalp starts to itch, I just grab as much of my hair as possible, as close to the scalp as I can, and give it a gentle squeeze and a tug. Couple minutes of this action usually keeps the itchiness away so I don't have to further damage my scalp. It's even better if someone else does this for you. Think of it as a relaxing treat for yourself.

2. Blow-dry weepy patches with cool air

Weepy eczema patches smell funny (that liquid skin smell I can't quite describe) and the skin around that area tends to be very tender. I try to keep the weepy areas as dry as possible by using a hair dryer set to cool option.

3. I wash my hair when my scalp starts getting itchy

This sounds obvious but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only lazy person lying in my bed, entranced in an endless scratching session. During such a moment, it's best to just get up and give my hair the washing it is due. Because excessive hair washing tends to dry my scalp out, I try to limit it to once every 1.5-2 days depending on how much I sweat that day.

My next goal is to come up with my own concoction of natural shampoo consisting of ingredients such as emu oil, tea tree oil, vinegar, or shea butter, and share that recipe on this website. 

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