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The Causes of Seborrheic Dermatitis and Treatment Options by a Medical Dermatologist


Despite common belief, dandruff is not a problem associated with hair. Dandruff, or Seborrheic Dermatitis, is actually a skin condition with varying degrees of symptoms. The most widespread dandruff symptoms include white to yellow flakes on the scalp and/or inside the ear. However, Seborrheic Dermatitis can occur on any oily part of the body. These infected areas are typically red and can be itchy and irritated.

What causes dandruff?

The cause of dandruff is thought to be a combination of an overproduction of skin oil, and irritation from a yeast called malessizia. Malessizia can be found in everyone’s skin, but people who suffer from dandruff are apparently sensitive to it.

Dandruff poses no health risk for people who suffer from it, although it can be rather uncomfortable.

Treatments for dandruff

The following are examples of commonly used dandruff treatments:

  • Anti-fungal shampoos – These types of shampoos can reduce the intensity and frequency of flare-ups of Seborrheic Dermatitis, thereby reducing the flakes. Avoid scratching the scalp when applying these anti-fungal shampoos, and wash your hair and scalp once a day
  • Anti-fungal creams – As mentioned earlier, Seborrheic Dermatitis isn’t isolated to the head. Other parts of the body can suffer from this skin affliction. Anti-fungal creams can be applied to other parts of the body to reduce flare-ups
  • Salicylic acid shampoos – These types of shampoos are designed to reduce the amount of oil found on the scalp. Since oil is a contributing factor toward the cause of dandruff, reducing oil levels can reduce dandruff symptoms.
  • Tar shampoos –Neutrogena T-Gel is an example of a tar shampoo that is used to control itching, inflammation, and flaking

What else can I do to reduce dandruff flare-ups?

Since Seborrheic Dermatitis is the result of your body’s response to its own yeast and oil, there is no actual cure. Use of the dandruff treatment suggestions above will help reduce flare-ups. But dandruff sufferers should also avoid picking or scratching at the affected area. Picking or scratching at the area can increase the intensity of the flare-up, and can also spread the flare-up to other parts of thebody.The creams and shampoos listed above should be able to help minimize the amount of discomfort a dandruff sufferer faces.

There are treatment options available for anyone who suffers from Seborrheic Dermatitis or other common skin conditions. Each case is unique, thus it’s best if you seek advice from a dermatologist.

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