Seborrheic dermatitis, more commonly known as “dandruff”, is a condition caused by a buildup of normal yeast that is not restricted to just the scalp. Dandruff is notoriously known for itching and flaking in the scalp, however it also affects the oily parts of other hair-bearing areas such as the eyebrows, ears, nose, check, chin and even the chest. As the yeast grows, it irritates the skin, causing it to become itchy, red, and scaly.
PEDIATRICS: CRADLE CAP
This is a type of seborrheic dermatitis that develops in babies. Scaly, greasy patches form on the baby’s scalp and can become thick and crusty. Cradle cap Cradle cap peaks at 2 and at 12 months of age, is harmless and typically resolves on its own within a few months. Infants can also get seborrheic dermatitis in their diaper area and can be mistaken for diaper rash.
ADULTS: CHRONIC & FRUSTRATING
Many people believe that dandruff is caused by poor hygiene, but this is not true. When an adult develops seborrheic dermatitis, the condition can come and go for the rest of the person’s life. Changes in seasons, weather, as well as emotional and psychological stress are usual triggers when seborrheic dermatitis rears its head. The good news is that treatment can reduce flare-ups and bring relief.
The first choice for any skin condition is to deal with the source of the issue. With seborrheic dermatitis, the yeast thrives on naturally occurring oils – oils that we can’t change. Because dandruff is caused by yeast, one treatment option is to try to knock out the yeast.
Head & Shoulders, Selsun Blue, Nizoral- OTC shampoos that contain ingredients like Zinc pyrithione and ketoconazole to help fight and reduce the yeast.
Unfortunately, these products aren’t very effective at treating dandruff. Often, the yeast is able to overcome these ingredients and these ingredients are not very effective at treating the itchy, red, and scaly inflammation caused by the yeast. If there is no improvement with OTC anti-dandruff shampoos, the next best step:
- Prescription Strength
- Anti-fungals can help combat yeast.
- Topical Steroids – can reduce inflammation, itching and redness quickly.
- Using these treatments in conjunction with one another will allow the patient the best results/most relief.
Managing dandruff is exactly what it sounds like: “managing.” Unfortunately, this is not a condition that can be cured- it can recur. The good news is that with the tools your dermatologist gives you, you can calm it down and manage it.
If your scalp symptoms have progressed to seem to be more than just dandruff, you may have a different condition that needs special attention. Schedule a consultation today!