Seborrheic dermatitis is a very common condition. It presents predominantly on the scalp in scaly red inflamed patches of skin. And, one of the worst side effects is dandruff.  It’s an embarrassing condition that worsens in various environments and with seasonal changes. And because one of the worst side effects is dandruff, it’s almost immediately noticeable.


You must learn to treat it

None of this is pleasant and, unfortunately, it can’t be cured but rather it can only be managed and treated. You see, it’s caused by three very specific factors that come together and result in these nasty conditions. The dandruff comes about when the naturally occurring microbe Malassezia globosa presents together with natural oils on the scalp and you have particularly sensitive skin.  In reality, this is like a chronic form of eczema and it occurs in areas of the body where a lot of oil is produced. Hence it often occurs on the scalp. But can also present where there are a lot of sebaceous glands. So you can expect your face, upper chest, back of your ears, sides of your nose and back, to suffer to some degree.


The symptoms are a pain

Symptoms can be quite severe and extremely uncomfortable with the worst of them being yellow, greasy scales and reddened skin. The most common symptoms are redness, greasy, swollen skin, itchiness and a burning sensation and white or yellow crusty flakes stuck to the hair follicles. It’s important to note that severe seborrheic dermatitis or even just slight dandruff is not due to poor hygiene and it must be treated carefully to keep it under control.


There are many reasons why some of us end up with this condition

Seborrheic dermatitis and consequently dandruff is mostly a hormonal issue. And those who suffer with oily hormonal breakouts are likely to experience dandruff. Other triggers for the condition are high stress levels and illness induced thereof or major hormone changes. Also, if you’re using too harsh detergents, solvents, chemicals or soaps that are chemically-laden then you’re in danger of experiencing this skin concern. People suffering chronic illness are high risk for seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff flakes.


There are other factors that can also lead to this condition

For instance, people who don’t brush their hair frequently enough have a higher risk of suffering with dandruff. This is because when you brush your hair you assist with the shedding of dead skin cells and removal of them. Also, if you have a sensitivity towards yeast infections then you might run the risk of seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. In the winter seasons, people with a predisposition to yeast infection might find their dandruff is worse as their skin dries out. Also, the sun’s ultraviolet light kills off yeast infections so summer is definitely the safer season for this skin condition.

Of course, if you already suffer with existing skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema then you’re susceptible to this condition and the following dandruff issue that’s so often a problem. However, those who suffer with weak immune systems, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological illnesses or who are recovering from a stroke or heart attack are prone to suffering with seborrheic dermatitis and embarrassing dandruff. Many people who are HIV positive are also shown to suffer with this condition. According to AIDS Education and Training Centre,

“Seborrheic dermatitis is one of the most common skin manifestations of HIV infection. It occurs in 3-5% of the general HIV-uninfected population but in up to 85-95% of patients with advanced HIV infection. Among HIV-infected individuals, seborrheic dermatitis often begins when their CD4 counts drop to the 450-550 cells/µL range. The disease is more likely to occur among young adults (because they have oilier skin) and males, and is more common in areas with cold, dry winter air”


Sometimes it’s external issues such as the skincare products being used

Many people react negatively to chemically-laden hair or skin care products and this results in itchy, dry and inflamed skin. Some experts advise that shampooing too often and overuse of products can be the cause whereas as others make mention of not shampooing enough which in turn doesn’t remove the dead skin cells and flakes. What’s important to note though is that everyone has a fungus on their scalp called malassezia. In most individuals, it causes no issues and it is completely natural but every now and then it gets out of control and causes the scalp to produce extra skin cells. This irritates the scalp and the extra skin cells form flakes that stick to the oils on the hair follicles. This is what we know as dandruff. It has been suggested that you can prevent seborrheic dermatitis through a diet that contains good amounts of zinc, b vitamins and good fats.

About The Author

I was born in the Eastern Cape, close to the waves. After getting my degree in Media, Communication and Culture, I knew it was time to make my way to a big city. Not wanting to leave the ocean, Cape Town was the natural choice for me. At first I thought the fast paced world of marketing. But I never forgot that what I'd always wanted to do was write. Now I'm a freelance writer, where my office is my bedroom and my platform is the World Wide Web. I live with my partner and our two beloved Great Danes. When not reading or writing you can probably find me on the beach or exploring nature trails.

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