Seborrheic Dermatitis (commonly known as dandruff) is a condition that affects the scalp. It is also known as Seborrhoea. In this scalp condition, oily or waxy patch of eczema appears over the scalp and may even spread to the face. Like other types of eczema, seborrhoea also flares when the air becomes cold and dry (during winter). In case of babies, this scalp condition is referred to as ‘cradle cap’.
Seborrheic Dermatitis is an inflammatory condition of the skin occurring in the regions that are rich in sebaceous glands viz. the scalp, the face, the chest and the back. The exact cause responsible for Seborrhoea is not known. Those people who are most likely to get affected with this skin condition are the infants and individuals above 30 years of age.
Seborrheic Dermatitis is also known as ‘bad dandruff’. Clinically, this condition presents as flaking of skin which is then accompanied by itchiness. Individuals affected with Seborrheic Dermatitis come up with scaly skin patches. Also, the affected areas may have dark coloured bumps that are painful when touched.
What are the predisposing factors?
Excessive production of skin oil & irritation from yeast called Malassezia are known to result in seborrhoea.
Other factors include:
- Poor hygiene of hair and skin
- Stress & fatigue
- Adverse weather conditions – too dry and cold weather
- Patients with depression, spinal injuries, Parkinson disease and other such conditions are said to be susceptible to it
- Based on certain studies, genes do have a role to play in producing Seborrheic dermatitis. However, it is not yet proved.
How can a case of Scalp Seborrhoea be distinguished?
Individuals with Seborrhoea on scalp generally have an unwanted smell over the scalp and also come up with flaky white particles that are itchy and sores on the scalp. This type of dermatitis is not that dangerous, since its appearance would not make you look ugly or affect your confidence. However, the sensation of itchiness is quite disturbing than as expected during dry winter.
How is Seborrheic Dermatitis treated?
Using over-the-counter medicated shampoos may prove beneficial and lessen dandruff. Oiling your hair regularly can be beneficial, too. These specially formulated shampoos should include one or more active ingredients. Look for one of these ingredients in the shampoo:
- Salicylic acid
- Coal tar
- Zinc pyrithione
- Selenium sulphide
While using these medicated shampoos, follow the below guidelines carefully:
- Use the medicated shampoo on a daily basis. Infrequent shampooing may result in flaking of the scalp skin; hence, shampooing daily may be all you need to get rid of the seborrhoea.
- At the time of shampooing, it is also important to massage your scalp and work at loosening the flakes with your fingers.
- After applying the shampoo, leave it on scalp for about 3-5 minutes and allow it to act on your scalp. Rinsing too quickly will cause you to miss out on the healing power of the medicated shampoo.
- Rinse your hair completely after shampooing.
What If Over-The-Counter Shampoos Don’t Work?
After trying these shampoos, if you are still not able to get the desired results, then you may consult your Dematologist who can provide you with a prescription strength shampoo designed particularly for treating Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Besides all this, it is very important to lead a healthy and stress-free life. Make it a point to include all the essential minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients in your diet. This will help in preventing hair loss and will also assist the growth of new hair. Also, avoid usage of hair sprays, hair pomades, cosmetics and perfumed creams.
In summary, Seborrheic Dermatitis or Dandruff is a very common condition affecting especially the scalp. It is characterized by oily, waxy patches and flaking of skin accompanied by itchiness. Using medicated shampoos particularly designed to treat dandruff, corticosteroid hair gels etc. can effectively treat dandruff. Above all, maintaining good hygiene for your skin and hair can solve all the problems. Also, consulting the best Dermatologist who can provide you the best solution possible for any of your hair problems, will be a better way to go about it!