An Embarrassing Yet Common OccurrenceRead Time: 3 minutes
Experienced this scenario before? Someone reaches over and dusts off white flakes off the shoulders of that black shirt. Those white flakes are a sign of dandruff. Dandruff is so common, 1 in 2 persons will have dandruff at some point. The condition is common and easily treatable. However, there are some cases where there are deeper forces at play. This could be a condition called seborrheic dermatitis.
Catch my dandruff?
Dandruff happens when the skin on the scalp sheds like little white flakes. The flakes appear in the hair and on the shoulders. The body naturally sheds skin for new skin to form. This dead skin sometimes appears more significant on the scalp. Dandruff is common and not contagious. Yet, people suffer unnecessary social stigmas attached to dandruff. The cause of dandruff is still unknown. However, several factors could contribute to dandruff including stress, harsh hair products, and diet.
Smells like seborrheic dermatitis
Sometimes dandruff could be confused for seborrheic dermatitis. While seborrheic dermatitis is not as common as dandruff, the symptoms are quite similar. The condition is a harsh reaction to the Malassezia fungus naturally found about the body. Research has found about 1 in 3 persons have some form of the condition. Here are some signs to look out for that may signal seborrheic dermatitis.
More than flakes
While dandruff appears in the scalp, seborrheic dermatitis goes past this area. Flakes appear anywhere with sebaceous glands. This includes the face, nose, eyebrows, back, and chest. The condition is closely related to the oil produced in these glands.
A rough patch
Dandruff appears as small white flakes in the hair. Seborrheic dermatitis, however, also appear as large, oily patches. Babies often get these patches on the scalp, called cradle cap. With babies, these patches clear up with minimal intervention. However, adults should see a dermatologist if the patches look infected.
Itching to go
Skin irritation is a serious indicator of seborrheic dermatitis. Dandruff may itch from time to time. Seborrheic dermatitis, however, can cause more intense itching. Flareups can also happen during bad weather, stress and poor diet. The itching could be an immune system reaction. Spending more time itching than usual? Then the situation is long past dandruff.
Let’s check the doctor
Dandruff can be easily treated without medical intervention. Medicated shampoos with zinc and selenium can minimize flareups. At the same time, pay close attention to other signs. Do dandruff and the mentioned symptoms show up? More importantly, do the symptoms make life a little more unbearable than necessary? Then check with a dermatologist. Dermatologists can easily indicate the condition and treatment needed. Seborrheic dermatitis needs close care, including antifungal creams, and pills. Think of dandruff as the beginning stages of seborrheic dermatitis. If symptoms worsen, move to the next stage with medical assistance.