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Does Seborrhea Dermatitis Cause Hair Loss?

Seborrhea dermatitis is a skin condition that can cause hair loss and the formation of scaly patches on the skin. The patches are itchy and inflamed, and they can cause the skin to flake. If seborrheic dermatitis affects the scalp, the follicles that are affected by the dermatitis will temporarily stop producing hair and result in hair loss or thinning. This can cause hair loss in varying degrees; however, once the condition is treated, the follicles will be able to produce hair again as normal.

Seborrheic Dermatitis Summarized

Although what triggers the condition is not completely understood, seborrheic dermatitis (scalp dermatitis) is believed to be largely genetic that can be triggered during puberty or other times of hormonal fluctuation. Seborrhea dermatitis causes the hair follicles to produce an increased amount of sebum, the oil that is naturally produced in the follicle. Sebum is essential for protecting hair from dryness, dirt, and other elements. However, an excess of sebum can cause an overproduction of yeast called malassezia that is also found naturally on the scalp. The malassezia feeds on the sebum; the more sebum on the scalp, the more malassezia will grow as it feeds on it. While it is normal to have the yeast on the scalp at regular levels, an abundance of malassezia can cause problems.

Effects On The Scalp and Hair

The overgrowth of malassezia causes redness and irritation of the affected skin. Patches of oily, inflamed skin result, and they can itch and cause the scalp to flake. Although seborrheic dermatitis does not directly affect hair growth, if hair follicles are inflamed due to dermatitis, they will not grow hair. If there are only one or two small patches on the scalp, hair loss will not be very noticeable. However, if the malassezia continues to grow in excess, more patches will appear on the scalp, increasing the amount of hair loss.

In addition, the excess of oil can cause the hair follicles to become clogged. Skin cells from the flaking patches and oil can block the follicle so that it is not suitable for hair growth. Just like the clogging of skin pores that produces acne, the follicles become irritated rather than growing hair like normal. Reducing the amount of oil will help prevent clogging of follicles, and it will help in reducing the amount of yeast on the scalp that is causing irritation to the hair follicles.


There are numerous medicated shampoos and treatment shampoo for dermatitis of the scalp. Some have anti-fungal properties that reduce the amount of malassezia on the scalp. With the decrease in the yeast, the irritation and inflammation are reduced. The treatments also may include ingredients that target the production of sebum, as this is the cause of the over production of yeast.

Most of the medicated shampoos call for daily use and a thorough massaging of the scalp to loosen the patches of skin before treating the scalp. Some treatments also include the use of anti-histamines to reduce the itching and cortisone or steroids to reduce the amount of inflammation. Others support regrowth by including ingredients such as Minoxidil or Trichogen to address DHT hair loss that may accompany thinning due to dermatitis, and in some cases psoriasis. When the condition is under control, the hair will grow back. However, like acne, certain individuals are more prone to outbreaks than others, so these individuals should monitor their scalp to catch future outbreaks as soon as possible.