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Ask Valarie Your Own Question
Valarie, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1228
Experience:  36+ yrs exprience medical, surgical, wound/skin care, nutrition, geriatrics, rehab, management
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What is this sticky stuff on my scalp It causes my hair to

Resolved Question:

What is this sticky stuff on my scalp? It causes my hair to stick to my scalp. I can't get rid of it. How can I get rid of it, I've tried everything.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr Campen replied 7 years ago.
Could be a fungal infection called tinea capitis. It is treated by antifungal cream. It may also be sebbhoreic dermatitis which is very dry scalp.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.



Yeah that is what the dermatoligist's all ready told me. I tried everything they prescribed and it did not go away. It is still driving me crazy.

Expert:  Dr Campen replied 7 years ago.
In addition to the medications, you can use a tar containing shampoo that treats dandruff. It will get rid of the shedding skin but must be used in conjunction with the medical treatment.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
yeah all ready tried that as well. I'm looking for something that will work. All those things have not worked.
Expert:  Dr Campen replied 7 years ago.
That is all I can tell you for a medical opinion. As far as homeopathic or household tricks, I only know of using olive oil to soften and remove the excess shedding skin. You can also try the baby shampoo that is made for "cradle cap."
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes, well you did not help me as I all ready knew everything you told me and have all ready tried those things. They did not work and I still have the problem.
Expert:  Dr Campen replied 7 years ago.
Sorry. Good luck to you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
it wasn't helpful.
Expert:  Valarie replied 7 years ago.



Great user name? And you should not give up.


It sounds like you have a resistant case of seborrheic dermatitis. The cause of the itching and gooey plaque that forms on your scalp are some overactive sebaceous glands (they produce sebum that normally keeps our skin and hair moisturized) along with a fungal type of infection. Some people develop a severe case of this that is very difficult to get under control. It will manifest with an itchy dense greasy dandruff that is very difficult to remove. However, once you get it under control, keeping it that way should not be too difficult.


The causes of seborrhea are largely unknown. But there are theories that hormone changes can play a part in this. Also there are some medications that may make you more prone to it, as well as some medical conditions.


The key to control of the condition is to remove the plaque that accumulates on your scalp so that medications can reach the scalp. There are different ways to do this, and different products. It may take some time, and continued working with your dermatologist will get the condition under control.


To remove the dense scale, you can apply a mineral oil, or olive oil to your scalp and let it sit for several hours (or, there is a special solution you can get from your doctor to put on overnight). Then shampoo it out with a strong soap or coal tar shampoo. Then you shampoo daily with a special shampoo. Some of these should be left on your scalp for 10-15 minutes before you rinse them out. To keep your hair from being damaged, you can shampoo with a moisturizing shampoo after the seborrhea shampoo. There are also topical solutions to use if you have alot of inflammation involved. These should be used temporarily until the condition is under control. Then daily shampooing should keep it controlled.


Many people make the mistake of not shampooing frequently enough because they think the scalp will dry out and the condition will become worse. But with seborrhea, you need to cleanse daily to remove plaque and to keep it from building up. If it builds up, it gets thick, fungus or yeast gets involved, inflammation develops, and the sebum thats excreted "glues" it all together into a sticky, greasy, itchy layer on your scalp that is difficult to remove.


Since there are a few ways to accomplish this, I am including this link: Treatment of Seborrheic Dermatitis which will put all this together in a "nutshell" for you. You can discuss this with your dermatologist to decide which solutions or shampoos will be good for you. There is a table in the article that lists everything together.


Remember though, you have to remove the plaque first, so that the medications can be effective. There are instructions within the article on how to do this (as I summarized above). Then once controlled, stay on it daily.

Edited by Valarie on 11/2/2009 at 3:42 PM EST
Valarie, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1228
Experience: 36+ yrs exprience medical, surgical, wound/skin care, nutrition, geriatrics, rehab, management
Valarie and 2 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
It sounds like I need to apply fluocinolone acetonide. What contains that and where can I get it? I have not been to the dermotoligist in months because nothing he did seemed to help. I have this one spot where the greasy oily stuff pools up and hair clumps in it and it itches.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Now I see it is in Derma smooth. do I need a prescription for that or can I just buy it somewhere?
Expert:  Valarie replied 7 years ago.

Hi Tina,


That solution is a prescription medication. If you look at the box in the article that lists all of the meds and shampoos, the first column tells you if you can get it over the counter ("yes") or only by prescription ("no").


Looking at the list, you can get Lamisil solution that you can try instead. Apply this overnight to the area and cover you head. Then, in the morning shampoo aggressively with one of the medicated shampoos. Try this for a few days to see if there is any positive effect. You can also add some over the counter hydrocortisone cream to this solution overnight.


It may take some time, but you should be able to get it under control. Many times there is a combination of inflammation (so use the cortisone cream), and a fungal or yeast infection (so use the lamisil solution). You can use any of the other antifungals as well, but the Lamisil comes in liquid form.


Once you get it under control by doing the overnight treatment, you can stop, and just use a medicated shampoo at least 2-3 times a week. You might want to use Selsun Blue most days, and alternate with a stronger shampoo, like a coal tar combination product.