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Can Dandruff Really Turn Into A Severe Problem?

Aug 17, 2007
Dandruff is extremely common and it is thought that around 97% of the American population develop the condition at some time in their lives.

However, there is a type of Dandruff which is a little more severe than usual. This is known as Seborrhoeic Dermatitis.

Why Seborrhoeic Dermatitis Occurs

Seborrhoeic Dermatitis is otherwise known as Seborrhoeic Eczema and it tends to cause greasy, bran like scale. The whole seborrhoeic area may also become red and itchy and this includes the nose, the scalp, the ears and the torso. Whilst the disease is often harmless, it can be a real pain to get rid of and it can also potentially turn serious.

It is generally a skin inflammation and it tends to occur more in young adults and adolescents, though it can affect all ages. It is often more common in men than in women and some babies can have the condition, though it tends to clear within a few months.

The exact cause is currently unknown but it is thought that the yeast germ Malassezia furfur is involved. The condition is not contagious and you cannot catch it from anybody else. The yeast germ tends to live in the oil, or Sebum, of the skin and usually it causes no harm, however it is possible for some people to react to the germ which is what causes inflammation.

The Symptoms and the Treatment

The reason Seborrhoeic Dermatitis causes dandruff is because it occurs in the greasiest areas of the skin, and the scalp is one of those areas. It is possible that bad dandruff is the only symptom and that would mean that the condition is only mild.

However, it is possible that a rash could develop which could be itchy and the scalp could become sore too. It is also possible to develop inflammation in the outer ear canal and the eyelids.

More severe cases are unusual but the symptoms include a red rash which covers a lot of the face, neck, scalp, armpits, and chest. It is thought that people with HIV or AIDS are more at risk of developing more severe cases of the condition.

Usually this condition is a long term one and it can flare up from time to time. Treatment usually consists of either an anti fungal shampoo or an antifungal cream.

Generally it takes roughly two to four weeks to clear up the dandruff and rash; it is recommended that you continue to use the medication for a few days after the symptoms have cleared up just to make sure that it has less chance of coming back.

Is the Condition Preventable?

If you want to prevent this condition from occurring, or if you have just managed to clear up the condition and you want to prevent it from reoccurring, there are a few things which you can do.

Using an anti fungal shampoo every one to two weeks and leaving it on the scalp for at last five minutes before rinsing it off should work. Also, to protect the body, using soap and water should help to remove all greasy sebum from the body which will help to keep the yeast germ at bay.

You could also rub a little anti fungal shampoo lather over your body too whilst you use it on the scalp, to keep the condition away. Remember to only use the anti fungal shampoo every one to two weeks however!

In some cases if the condition is particularly bad, to stop it from reoccurring you may need to use an anti fungal ream up to three times a week to keep it at bay.

Overall the best thing to do is to consult your doctor and see which treatment would be better for you. The problem can be annoying and in some cases severe, so it is always worth getting any dandruff checked out to see whether it could lead to this condition.
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