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Eczema can be hard to diagnose. When it occurs on scalp, it looks like common dandruff. But it can be way more intense and even cause infection on the scalp. Fighting scalp eczema is not only finding the miracle drug, it’s about having a different look on the hair products we are using. Let’s discover the best vegan hair products designed to manage scalp eczema.

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What is Eczema

Eczema is a chronic skin condition. Even if this article focuses on the scalp eczema, it also affects many parts of the body, such as the face (including the nose, eyelids and eyebrows), ears, upper back, elbows and knees. Its most common symptoms are almost always dry, itchy and flaky skin. On lighter skin tones, eczema appears as scaly patches and yello / red discoloration. On darker skin tones, light / dark areas can be observed.

What Causes Eczema

Scalp eczema can result from numerous factors:

  • Certain chemicals found in hair products (e.g. shampoos, conditioners, gels, sprays, hair dyes, hair extension glue, perm solutions or fragances)
  • Neurological diseases (e.g. Parkinson’s disease)
  • Depression or eating disorder
  • Immunodepressive diseases (e.g. HIV)
  • Having an oily skin (too much unsaturated fatty acids on the skin)
  • Certain medications (e.g. immunosuppressants or dopamine antagonists)
  • Hair accessories made of nickel or rubber (e.g. hair clips, headgear, swimming caps or hair nets)
  • Living in a cold or dry environment

Types of Eczema

Eczema is a pretty common condition, as 10% of the population will encounter it during their lifetime. It is almost always dry, itchy, scaly and sometimes inflamed skin. The scalp can even become painful during eczema flare phase. But beware, a number of conditions (like psoriasis or other skin conditions) look and feel like eczema but they are not. Hence, it’s crucial to get a medical expertise to diagnose eczema precisely.

Different types of eczema can affect the scalp:

  • Atopic eczema is the most common type of eczema, but also affects the scalp. It usually starts in childhood, and often goes away or get milder by adulthood. If you have atopic eczema, the scalp can easily become infected if not treated.
  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis affects 5% of the U.S. population: adults (more males than females, aged 40 or over), as well as babies (cradle cap) and children can have seborrhoeic dermatitis. It is often accompanied with dandruff, which can complexify the condition. Seborrhoeic dermatitis must be taken seriously as it can get infected if not treated.
  • Irritant contact dermatitis occurs when the skin is contact with a substance, usually a chemical irritant (found in shampoos, hair gels, hair spray), repeatedly. It’s a form of skin irritation rather than an allergic reaction.
  • Allergic contact dermatitis may follow irritant contact dermatitis. When the scalp is repeatedly exposed to a chemical over a long period of time (months), it can develop an allergy. The immune system will then overreacts when in contact of this chemical.

Advice #1: Treat Flares & Flakes

Many natural and vegan ingredients can help you prevent infection and manage scalp eczema when it flares up.

  • Evening primrose oil can be both applied topically and taken orally. When used topically, it helps soothe irritated skin. When taken orally, evening primrose oil contain omega-6 fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid, which may play a role in preventing inflammation in the body. Even if robust studies are missing, people claim it helps reduce their eczema symptoms naturally. It is usually recommended to blend this oil with other essential oils to dilute and mask its oily / fishy scent.
  • Colloidal oatmeal can help calm inflamed skin. It can be found in the form of soap (to apply topically) or powder (to mix with your bath water).
  • Coconut oil has antibacterial properties. As patches of inflamed skin may crack, bacteria can enter and create infection. Coconut oil can help decrease bacteria spread on the skin, which helps prevent infection.
  • Calendula has been known and used for centuries to treat skin inflammation. Although not many studies on calendula exist, it’s believed to improve blood flow to areas of inflammation, to help moisturize skin, and fight infection.

When scalp eczema flares appear, apply the treatment on the scalp, not the hair. If scalp eczema spreads or becomes infected, go and see your dermatologist, as oral antibiotics may need to be prescribed.

Organic Evening Primrose Oil

Pura d'Or
  • 100% pure cold-pressed evening primrose oil
  • USDA Organic Certified
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 4 fl oz / 118 mL
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Colloidal Oatmeal

Traverse Bay Bath & Body
  • 100% colloidal oatmeal
  • Supplies for do-it-yourself and crafters
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 32 oz / 907 g
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Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo

  • Purifying Binchotan charcoal detoxifies and cleanses to help diminish scalp and hair buildup
  • Coconut oil, panthenol, and tea tree oil moisturize and soothe flaky scalp
  • 95% naturally derived
  • No harsh sulfates, silicones, phthalates, parabens, DEA or artificial dyes
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 8 fl oz / 236 mL
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Anti-Inflammatory, Antibacterial & Moisturizing Calendula Cream

Baby Bum
  • Helps soothe dry, itchy, eczema-prone skin
  • Contains calendula, shea butter, and lavender oil
  • Pediatrician and dermatologist tested
  • No harsh sulfates, silicones, phthalates or parabens
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 3 fl oz / 88 mL
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Advice #2: Cleanse Scalp & Hair

Washing your hair is a crucial step in the context of fighting scalp eczema. In fact, fighting eczema starts with a clean and empty the battlefield. Shampoos designed for eczema can help exfoliate dead skin and protect your scalp’s defense.

But regular shampoo may not be your scalp’s friends. They will probably irritate your scalp, worsen eczema and even cause allergies. Several medicated shampoos exist, which may help. However, they usually are not vegan, not cruelty-free and contain harsh chemicals which need to be washed off thoroughly in order to avoid further irritation. As a rule of thumb, avoid shampoos and hair products that are fragranced or contain sulfates, and go for the most natural hair solutions.

After washing your hair, do not forget to use your hair dryer in the coolest mode, as hot air increases dryness and itchiness, making scalp eczema symptoms even worse.

Dermatologist-Developed Shampoo

  • Removes hidden irritants and pore-clogging oils
  • Rinses easily without leaving the hair or scalp feeling stripped
  • Awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 8.6 fl oz / 244 mL
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Scalp Relief Shampoo with Psorzema Herbal Blend

  • Relieves from a scaly, flaky and dry scalp, and supports future scalp health
  • Aloe vera extract soothes irritation, provitamin B5 deeply hydrates and nourishes
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 10 fl oz / 296 mL
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Medicated Shampoo for Children Cradle Cap & Sensitive Scalp

Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy
  • Fights flaking, redness, itching, scaling, and irritation on the scalp and skin for children of all ages
  • Contains provitamin B5 to moisturize hair and skin
  • Dermatologist tested
  • No fragrance, dyes, alcohol, parabens, sulfates and BPA
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 8 fl oz / 237 mL
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Lavender Mint Moisturizing Shampoo

Tea Tree
  • Moisturizing shampoo with calming lavender, mint and tea tree soothes, cleans and replenishes dry hair
  • Color-safe
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 10.14 fl oz / 300 mL
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Advice #3: Moisturize Scalp

Just like the rest of the body, the scalp needs its dose of moisture in order to remain healthy and have the strength to fight eczema. Coconut oil and aloe vera gel may be one of the best natural and vegan options that are doing the job. Note that olive oil, considered as a good moisturizer, is no longer recommended in the context of scalp eczema, as it may damage the skin barrier.

People often moisturize their scalp just before going to bed, and keep the moisturizer overnight. Leave-in treatments can be grimy if you don’t take proper precautions. Watch out and make sure you use protection for your bed pillows. In the morning, just take a good shower and gently rinse the product out of your hair and scalp.

Raw Extra-Virgin Organic Coconut Oil

Garden of Life
  • Keeps hair healthy and moisturized
  • 100% unrefined organic coconut oil
  • Not hydrogenated, bleached, or deodorized
  • Non-GMO, USDA Organic certified
  • Gluten-free
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • 29 fl oz / 857 mL
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Organic Aloe Vera Gel Infused with Bergamot Lime

Pura d'Or
  • Deeply penetrates the skin with superior hydration for clearer and healthier scalp
  • Rich in antioxidants and nutrients including Vitamins C and E
  • USDA Certified Organic
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 16 fl oz / 473 mL
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Moisturizing Plant-Based Conditioner with Organic Calendula

Babo Botanicals
  • Formulated to nourish and protect the scalp
  • Suitable for kids and babies
  • Clinically tested under dermatological control
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 6 fl oz / 180 mL
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Tea Tree + Charcoal Scalp Revival Treatment

  • Tea tree, peppermint, and spearmint oil complex reduces itchiness, irritation, and flakiness
  • Binchotan charcoal detoxifies and draws out impurities
  • 99% naturally derived
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 1 fl oz / 30 mL
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Even if well-documented and carefully written, this content should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Consult a qualified health care provider before making any health care decisions about any specific medical condition.

Amie A.

With a pen in my wand and a hairbrush as my scepter, I craft tales as captivating as my vegan and cruelty-free coiffures. Words and hair do more than just impress – they inspire in a style that's my own.

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