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dry itchy scalp dermatologist guide to treating scaly scalp eczema

Remedies for Really Stubborn Scalp Seborrheic Dermatitis

Remedies for really stubborn scalp seborrheic dermatitis are important because sometimes medicated shampoos alone aren't strong enough to clear severely dry scalp from scalp dandruff.  If your scalp just doesn't clear after you've diligently rotated through the medicated shampoos as I described in my last post, then it's time for more intensive scalp treatments and medicated leave-on products.

What are the best non-prescription topical leave-on medicated products for severely dry scalp dandruff?

For stubborn dandruff, or faster relief than just using medicated shampoos alone you can apply leave on products to the affected areas.  Non-prescription medicated options include hydrocortisone and salicylic acid liquids.  Typically you use these products twice a day until your scalp clears.  Remember to follow the directions on the product labels.  Some product options include:

  1. Scalpicin Maximum Strength with 1% Hydrocortisone
  2. Scalpicin with 3% Salicylic Acid

Your doctor can prescribe stronger cortisone products if your severely dry scalp seborrhea won't clear with these non prescription options.

What are some dermatologist's intensive scalp treatments for thick scale and stubborn dandruff that you can do at home?

If you have stubborn plaques of really thick scale you can loosen them with oil treatments or P&S liquid.

  1. Oil Treatment:  Slightly warm mineral oil or coconut oil in the microwave (of course be careful not to heat it to the point that it burns your skin!).  Apply the warmed oil to the scalp plaques for 30 minutes under a towel.  Comb the plaque to loosen the scale then shampoo your scalp to remove the oil.  Use your medicated shampoo as your last lather as directed above.
  2. P&S Liquid: Apply the liquid to the scalp plaques and cover with a shower cap for 8 hours.  Then shampoo your scalp as I describe above.

What is the best medicated shampoo treatment for severely dry scalp?

Best treatment for severely dry scalpThe product I depend on in my practice is Foaming Zinc Shampoo. This hypoallergenic product is medicated with a full 2% pyrithione zinc, the highest level allowed. I like it used with a scalp scrubber. 

Get rid of dry scalp with this scrubber


Please remember that if your scalp does not improve you should see your doctor to be certain that you don't have some other more unusual reason for an itchy and scaly scalp.

My Seborrheic Dermatitis Series:

Dermatologist's Tips for Dry Flaky Skin on Your Face and Scalp; Tis the Season for Seborrheic Dermatitis

Remedies for the Dry Itchy Scalp of Seborrheic Dermatitis

Remedies for the Dry Itchy Scalp of Seborrheic Dermatitis-Part 2

Itchy Crusty Scaly Ears; More on Seborrheic Dermatitis

Dermatologist's Tips for Treating Facial Seborrheic Dermatitis: It Looks Like Dry Skin, But It's a Rash!

Dr. Cynthia Bailey's Tips for Facial Seborrheic Dermatitis Control

Dermatologist's Tips for Flakey Eyelashes (a.k.a. seborrheic blepharitis)

You can find more of my treatment and skin care recommendations in my Advice Pages for Understanding and Treating Seborrheic Dermatitis. I share my favorite tips for dandruff of the scalp, face, ears and more.