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I have a terribly itchy scalp, seborrhea, what can I do?

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I have a terribly itchy...
I have a terribly itchy scalp. My doctor says that I have sebhorrea. He gave me Nizoral 2% shampoo. All it does is make my hair nasty. I thought I might have contracted head lice it itches so bad but my hairdresser says absolutely not.. I scratch so much sometimes I make my scalp bleed. What can I do? Am I deficient in some kind of vitamins or anything?
Submitted: 7 years ago.Category: Dermatology
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Answered in 10 hours by:
11/21/2010
Dermatologist: Dr. Abby, US Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago
Dr. Abby
Dr. Abby, US Board Certified MD
Category: Dermatology
Satisfied Customers: 10,330
Experience: Family Physician practicing medicine for over 10 years, United States
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Hello,

Have you tried any other shampoos?

Dr Abby
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
He told me to use the Nizoral every other day for 3 days and then the off days use Selsun blue.
Dermatologist: Dr. Abby, US Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago

Thank you for clarifying,

If you are finding these are not working for you, then the next step is to try a prescription steroid foam or gel. These typically help quite well for the itching.

Some studies have also shown a benefit with tea tree oil. However, there is a chance of allergic reactions and it may affect hormone levels if used frequently. For these reasons, it is recommended as a last resort option.

I would discuss a trial of the steroid foam with your doctor.
There is no evidence that seborrhea is related to a vitamin deficiency.

You can try using zyrtec, which is an antihistamine available over the counter which may help lessen your itching a bit.
Feel free to ask any follow up questions you may have.

Thank you!!

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago

I was using Claritan and it seemed to help a little. Is Zyrtec the same as Claritin, because if it is not, I will certainly go out and get it today. It won't make me drowsy will it?

Dermatologist: Dr. Abby, US Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago

They are very similar, although I find that for many people it works better for itching.

It is marketed as non-drowsy but, to be completely honest, it does make some people drowsy.
If it does, take it at night.

The generic formulation (cetirizine) is fine.

Thank you!!

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago

The generic formula for claritin is loratadine.

What is the difference between the two?

Will I get more relief and can I take it every day for this condition?

What is the cause of this condition?

Is it because I wash my hair every day?

Do many people get this itchy scalp thing? It's not only in the winter, I have it all year round.

Dermatologist: Dr. Abby, US Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago

The cause of seborrhea is not well understood but one contributing factor is thought to be an overgrowth of yeast. Whether the yeast causes the inflammation, flaking, redness and itching or the itching and inflammation causes the yeast is not clear. Many people do get this condition. Often, it does occur more in the winter, during times of stress, hormonal changes or illness.

It is possible, too, that you have been misdiagnosed...you may want to see a dermatologist if you do not improve.

As for the antihistamines--both loratidine/claritin and zyrtec/cetirizine are very similar. Why the zyrtec works better for itching is also unclear and it may not be the case for you. You can take either zyrtec or claritin every day for relief. It does not cure the underlying problem...it is for relief of the itching, as you likely know.

Thank you!!

Dr. Abby
Dr. Abby, US Board Certified MD
Category: Dermatology
Satisfied Customers: 10,330
Experience: Family Physician practicing medicine for over 10 years, United States
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