Eczema or seborrheic dermatitis is a common chronic skin condition characterized by flaky scales on the scalp and body. This chronic inflammatory disease can be mild or severe. Its mild form is known as Dandruff and appears as flaky red skin around the forehead, eyebrows, nose, ears, and scalp.
The condition is common in men, the elderly who are bedridden, people with neurologic diseases and even babies. The condition is also prevalent in persons with a weak immunity system. Not even celebrities are being spared by the condition.
Eczema is only manageable and has no cure. Topical steroid ointments can be used to manage the condition but they are not easily applicable on the scalp. Fortunately, you can always use a medicated shampoo.
OTC Medicines For Eczema
Over the counter remedies for eczema are medicines that require no prescription. To manage symptoms such as redness, rashes, and itchiness and to prevent flares, you can always use such medications.
The Food and Drug Administration oversees the distribution of OTC medication to ensure the safety of consumers. If you are expectant, consider consulting with your doctor before taking any eczema medication.
Things To Consider With OTC Medicines
Caution should be exercised when taking OTC medication and more specifically when administering these to kids. More doesn’t mean healthier, therefore, avoid higher doses. Stick to the recommended dose and avoid drugs that have been on the shelves for long.
Watch out for the following symptoms when using OTC eczema medication:
- Severe redness, rash, and inflammation
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
If you notice any of the above symptoms, consult your physician immediately. It is also wise to talk to your doctor before taking OTC drugs for Seborrheic dermatitis if you are:
- Allergic to any active ingredient in OTC medication
- Have diabetes, circulation issues, immune conditions or an infection
- Are expectant or lactating
- Are under prescription drugs, taking supplements or herbs which can interact with OTC medication
How Medical Shampoos Treat Seborrheic Dermatitis Dandruff
Selenium sulfide, coal tar, zinc pyrithione and salicylic acid are the active ingredients found in medicated shampoos.
Choose a medicated shampoo that is tailor-made for eczema. Similarly, use it as directed, only leaving it on your scalp for the specified period of time to enhance the effectiveness of the product. You may also change brands when a specific shampoo loses its effectiveness on your skin.
How to Choose an OTC Shampoo for Eczema
When looking for eczema shampoos, consider those with ingredients that help to fight this skin condition. Below are a few recommendations:
Shampoos containing Selenium Sulfide
Selenium sulfide is an antifungal agent and can be used twice a week. It works by:
- Combatting a specific yeast known as pityrosporum ovale
- Eliminating dandruff cells on the scalp
- Soothing itches and irritation
Shampoos Containing Pyrithione Zinc
Pyrithione zinc is a common ingredient in OTC medication with antifungal and antimicrobial effects. It soothes itching and inflammation. This is why washing the affected area with pyrithione zinc soaps is highly recommended by the National Eczema Foundation. Look out for OTC medication with a concentration of 1 to 2 percent.
Shampoos containing salicylic acid
The effectiveness of salicylic acid in the treatment of Seborrheic dermatitis is not well known. However, it can be used effectively with other treatment options because it significantly reduces scaling on the scalp.
Shampoos containing ketoconazole
Ketoconazole is a well-researched medication with antifungal properties. It works by inhibiting fungal growth and related conditions. What’s more, it has mild anti-inflammatory properties.
You can use ketoconazole shampoo once or twice a week if symptoms subside. The shampoo is highly effective, safe and doesn’t come with major side effects.
Shampoo containing coal bar
Coal tar shampoo works by suppressing sebum production, fungus, and inflammation.
However, coal tar can increase the risk of developing dermatitis on your fingers after application of the medicine.
Similarly, excessive use of coal tar can increase the risk of squamous cell carcinoma cancers.
The Best Over The Counter Eczema Shampoo
Nizoral is an antifungal shampoo that effectively manages dandruff caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Malassezia. This product contains ketoconazole and has antifungal properties.
It also contains wheat germ oil and protein. For best results, use this shampoo twice a week to keep dandruff at bay.
For children under 12 years and expectant mothers, it is imperative that you consult a doctor before using the shampoo.
When using this shampoo, avoid contact with inflamed or broken skin and your eyes. Rinse with water immediately if the shampoo comes in contact with your eyes.
The other product that can keep dandruff in check is the Selsun Blue dandruff shampoo. It contains selenium, sulfide, and menthol and causes a tingling sensation. For best results, use it twice to thrice a week.
The other features of Selsun Blue dandruff shampoo include;
- Safe for use
- Can be used on all hair types
- It is soothing and relieves flaking caused by seborrheic dermatitis
- Targets the source of dandruff
Summary and Tips
Even with medicated shampoos, it is imperative to follow a proper hygiene plan to manage eczema.
Use OTC shampoos regularly for best results. Ideally, you should clean your hair at least twice a week using the shampoo.
If one shampoo doesn’t deliver the expected results, switch between shampoos until you find one that works for you.
Avoid the use of styling products such as gels and hair sprays. Also, minimize the use of personal grooming products containing alcohol as these can worsen irritation and scaling. Use olive oil or mineral oil to resolve dry scales on your skin.
For men, you should regularly clean your facial hair. The skin under mustaches and beards responds well to OTC medication. Clean thoroughly and shave to manage eczema symptoms.
For infants, it is highly recommended that you use non-medicated shampoo to manage cradle cap. Use a brush with soft bristles to carefully remove scales.