Dandruff – Seborrheic Dermatitis
Having dandruff, medically called seborrheic dermatitis, is not life threatening. Yet, it can really be irritating to have it, especially when it becomes widespread and when the itching becomes non-stop. It can also become embarrassing when flakes end up on your clothes. Hence, it is understandable why, harmless as it may be, dandruff is not something anyone would want.
Also called seborrheic eczema and seborrheic psoriasis, dandruff affects all people – male, female, young and old. In babies, this condition is called cradle cap and manifests as scaly patches on the scalp which look oily, yellowish and crusty. While it can affect anyone, some are more susceptible to it than others. Reports show that men are more likely to have it than women. Also, people with oily skin and those with conditions like acne, Parkinson’s and HIV are more prone to it.
Some studies claim that those with close family members with seborrheic dermatitis are at a higher risk of having it as well. Factors such obesity, stress, fatigue and poor hygiene may also trigger this condition.
What Causes Dandruff or Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Scientists are yet to find out what exactly causes seborrheic dermatitis. What they know so far is that there are two things which may lead to the development of this skin problem. One is the abnormal growth of Malassezia, a naturally occurring fungus in the skin’s oils. When this happens, the skin oversecretes oil which in return irritates the skin. The other factor is the overproduction of oil in the skin. Here, Malassezia is not involved; rather, it may be a product of hormones and/or genetics.
Some experts point to a weakened immune system as one of the reasons for the development of dandruff. There are also reports which say that certain medication can trigger this scalp problem.
What Are the Symptoms of Dandruff or Seborrheic Dermatitis?
The most common symptoms of dandruff is the presence of skin flakes on the scalp. Since seborrheic dermatitis may affect other oily parts of the body like the eyebrows, face and chest, these whitish flakes may also be seen in these areas.
The affected areas tend to appear greasy and oily. The scalp or affected area also usually has patches of crusty or flaky skin which are either white or yellow. Of course, itching and reddish skin are very common in people with dandruff. At times, hair loss may be observed in the affected area.
It is important to note that the symptoms vary from person to person. Furthermore, certain factors like stress can exacerbate the symptoms in some people. Changes in weather may also cause flare-ups.
How to Treat Dandruff or Seborrheic Dermatitis
If you want to get relief from dandruff-related itching and rid your scalp of crusty patches, you need to consult a dermatologist or scalp specialist. This is because treatment cannot commence without a diagnosis.
While what you have may appear to be seborrheic dermatitis, it could also be psoriasis or rosacea since these conditions have similar symptoms. Hence, you need an expert to check your scalp and perform a biopsy to determine if what you have is really seborrheic dermatitis.
Once a diagnosis has been made, your dermatologist will create a treatment plan. Oftentimes, the first treatment option involves the use of dandruff shampoo and over-the-counter anti-itch creams. If this treatment protocol does not work, your doctor may give you prescription-grade shampoos and topical medications, specially formulated to treat seborrheic dermatitis.
Want your dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis treated? Talk to our dermatologist and trichologist to know your treatment options. Call us at 01 6793618 to schedule an appointment!