Do you have stubborn dandruff? Are your itchy flakes driving you crazy? If so, you have seborrheic dermatitis, a common skin disorder that affects the scalp, face, upper chest, and other oily parts of the body.
This skin problem is neither harmful nor contagious but it can definitely turn off other members of the opposite sex.
Seborrheic dermatitis is characterized by scaly, itchy red skin, skin flakes or dandruff, and yellow or white scales that may attach to the hair shaft. The cause of this disorder is unknown but it appears to be inherited and an excessively oily skin (seborrhea) is one of the factors involved in this disease. The risk of contracting seborrheic dermatitis increases with stress, infrequent shampoos, obesity, and at times other skin disorders.
aSeborrheic dermatitis predominately affects the scalp but can occur between folds of skin and on skin rich in oil glands. These include in and between your eyebrows, the sides of your nose and behind your ears, over your breastbone, your groin area, and sometimes your armpits. You may experience periods when your signs and symptoms improve alternating with times when they become worse,a according to the Mayo Clinic.
The condition is more likely to occur in hot, humid weather or in a cold climate. Unfortunately, there’s no cure but symptoms can be controlled. However, bear in mind that the disease is subject to flare-ups; it may be here today and gone tomorrow – only to return at a later date.
aIt’s also thought that in some people, a yeast (fungus) called malassezia grows in the sebum along with bacteria. Antifungal treatments, such as ketoconazole (Nizoral), are often effective, supporting the idea that yeast is a contributing factor. Outbreaks may be linked with production of certain hormones, physical stress, fatigue, travel, change of season – outbreaks are usually worse in the winter – or illness. Seborrheic dermatitis may also occur more frequently in people who have neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease,a explained the Mayo Clinic.
The best thing to do is to consult a reliable dermatologist for advice on the right treatment depending on your skin type, the severity of the disease, and the affected area. If the problem is confined to the scalp, you can try several over-the-counter shampoos that contain ketoconazole, tar, pyrithione zinc or selenium sulfide. You may have to experiment for a while to see which product works for you.
aTry using the shampoo daily until your symptoms are controlled, then cut back to two or three times a week. If one type of shampoo works for a time and then seems to lose its effectiveness, try alternating between two types of dandruff shampoos. Be sure to leave the shampoo on for at least five minutes – this allows the ingredients time to work,a said the Mayo Clinic.
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