Can seborrheic dermatitis cause hair loss?

Seborrheic dermatitis and hair loss can both occur on the scalp in the same place– but is seborrheic dermatitis causing the hair to fall out?

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Seborrheic dermatitis, also known as dandruff, is a common scalp condition.  It is characterized by itch, scale, flaking, redness and discoloration– most commonly on the frontal hair line of the scalp.  Seborrheic dermatitis can also affect other parts of the body such as the face, ears, chest, upper back, armpits and genitals.  Unlike atopic dermatitis which flares on dry skin, seborrheic dermatitis favors oily areas of the skin.  It tends to flare up seasonally especially in the spring, fall and when the weather is very cold.  It can also be made worse by shampooing less than once a week.  Seborrheic dermatitis usually does not cause hair loss except under certain circumstances.

How seborrheic dermatitis causes hair loss

  • trauma

    • itch caused by seborrheic dermatitis can cause a person to vigorously scratch a hairy area.  Scratching can cause hair breakage and loss.  Treat the hair loss by treating the seborrheic dermatitis.
  • inflammation

    • Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition.  Severe inflammation can cause damage to the scalp skin and hair follicles leading to hair loss. If inflammation is severe this could potentially cause scarring, however, this is rare.  Background inflammation in even mild case of dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis can exacerbate other types of hair loss.


So can seborrehic dermatitis cause hair loss?  Usually it’s just a coincidence when seborrheic dermatitis and hair loss occur together.  Seborrheic dermatitis is common.  In severe cases, however, seborrheic dermatitis can hair to common out in a common location if there is enough scratching or severe inflammation.  It may also worsen other types of alopecia.

If you want help because you are suffering with seborrheic dermatitis or another types of scalp condition make an appointment at 212-627-1004 or here.


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