Can Seborrhea Cause Hair Loss? Treatment and Prevention

Medically reviewed by Dr. Bilal Khan M.B.B.S.
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated

Seborrheic dermatitis, commonly known as seborrhea, is a prevalent skin condition that primarily affects the scalp. While it's a common concern for many individuals, the question 'can seborrhea cause hair loss?' has become increasingly frequent. Let's delve into the relationship between seborrhea and hair loss, backed by scientific research and expert insights.

Can Seborrhea Cause Hair Loss?

While seborrheic dermatitis itself does not directly cause hair loss, it can lead to conditions that promote hair fall. The most significant culprits are the inflammation, itching, and aggressive scratching that seborrhea can provoke. These factors can damage the hair follicles, disrupt the normal hair growth cycle, and result in hair shedding. However, it's important to note that hair loss associated with seborrheic dermatitis is typically temporary and reversible once the condition is effectively managed.

The Science Behind Seborrheic Dermatitis and Hair Loss

Seborrheic dermatitis is often linked to an overgrowth of a yeast called Malassezia on the skin. This yeast can cause inflammation and further damage to hair follicles if left untreated, potentially leading to hair loss. Increased sebum production, another hallmark of seborrhea, can also contribute to scalp irritation and inflammation, exacerbating the itch-scratch cycle and the associated hair loss.

Co-existing Scalp Conditions

Seborrheic dermatitis can co-exist with other scalp conditions that can cause hair loss, such as androgenic alopecia. Therefore, if you're experiencing hair loss along with symptoms of seborrhea, it's advisable to seek professional medical advice to determine the exact causes and appropriate treatment strategies.

Treatment Options for Seborrheic Dermatitis

Treating seborrheic dermatitis often involves using medicated shampoos and anti fungal products designed to manage symptoms and prevent flare-ups. These products aim to control the growth of the Malassezia yeast, reduce inflammation, and regulate sebum production. In some cases, seborrheic dermatitis may resolve without treatment. However, if the condition is causing distress or leading to hair loss, seeking treatment is highly recommended.


While seborrheic dermatitis can indirectly contribute to hair loss, the good news is that this hair loss is generally temporary and reversible. Understanding the link between seborrhea and hair loss can help guide effective management strategies. If you're experiencing symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis and hair loss, consult with a healthcare professional to get personalized advice and treatment.

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Dr. Bilal Khan M.B.B.S. graduated from the Jinnah Sindh University in Karachi. He'll take the official medical licensing program in the US (USMLE) in September 2023. Bilal has a passion for research and has extensively fact-check and medically review articles under his name to make sure you have the most accurate information.