Itching to Know More About Seborrheic Dermatitis?

You ironed your little black dress to perfection and even painstakingly taped away any trace of white fiber from washing. You put it on and checked yourself in the mirror…your mind already fastforwarding to would-be scenarios of the soon-to-be awesome night. Everything’s just perfect. Nothing can bring you down! Not even your annoying brother! And then suddenly… an itch that would ruin your perfect dress and supposedly perfect night in an instant…“Mooooom!!! I thought the shampoo was anti-dandruff!!!”

While you might have felt like the unluckiest girl in the world then, actually, you are quite the opposite. The fact that you are only suffering from dandruff and not some other form of seborrheic dermatitis makes you one lucky girl, indeed. Dandruff is a mild type of this chronic skin condition, often characterized by inflammation. Most types involve swelling and redness and can affect areas along the hair, ears, eyebrows, nose and chest. Unlike dandruff, other forms of seborrheic dermatitis are characterized by either yellowish greasy or reddish, scaly rash.

Cause Unknown
The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis remains a mystery. Doctors, however say, that common yeast organisms called Malassezia, may play a role in some cases. People who seem to be prone to the disease, though, have oily skin and hair. If your family has a history of seborrheic dermatitis, most likely, you are also prone to this condition. Others at risk are those with HIV infection, neurological conditions like Parkinsons and less commonly, stroke. Illness, psychological stress, lack of sleep, fatigue and reduced health may aggravate the condition.

Topical Treatments
Treatment for the condition may vary depending on severity. Often, treatments are in the form of shampoo or lotion and are applied topically. They usually take several weeks and months to take effect and get rid of the problem. Some even require repetitive treatment especially for chronic cases.

Common ingredients found in over-the-counter treatments are the following:

  • Zinc Pyrithione
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Selenium sulf
  • Salicylic acid
  • Coal tar

Presciption creams, meanwhile, often contain the following ingredients:

  • Hydrocortisone
  • Ketoconazole
  • Pimecrolimus

No Prevention
Since the cause of seborrheic dermatitis remains unclear, there are no clear cut guidelines on how to prevent this condition. Doctors, however, say regular check up and treatment can prevent seborrheic dermatitis from recurring. A clean scalp can also help prevent the condition from worsening. Malassezia yeast thrives in humid areas so it is best to have short hair styles that will expose hair and scalp to the air and sun.

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