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Dandruff
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Dandruff - Seborrheic dermatitis

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WOMEN'S HEALTH

Hair/Nails/Skin

Dandruff more scientifically called Seborrheic dermatitis is a disease thatcauses flaking of the skin. At any one time, millions of people have this chronic scalp disorder, which is marked by itching and excessive flaking of the scalp. Although dandruff isn't contagious and is rarely serious, it can be embarrassing and surprisingly persistent.

The good news is that dandruff can usually be controlled. Mild cases may need nothing more than daily shampooing with a gentle cleanser. And stubborn flakes often respond to medicated shampoos. What's more, researchers have identified a yeast-like fungus that aggravates or may cause the disorder - a discovery that may lead to better treatments and even to a whole new wardrobe.

Signs and symptoms

For most people, the symptoms of dandruff are unmistakable: white, oily-looking flakes of dead skin that dot your hair and shoulders and an itchy, scaling scalp. But it's not quite that simple — many conditions cause excessive skin scaling:

  • Dry skin. Simple dry skin — the kind you get in winter when the air is cold and rooms are overheated — is by far the most common cause of itchy, flaking skin. But flakes from dry skin are generally smaller and less oily than those caused by dandruff.

  • Seborrheic dermatitis. This condition — a frequent cause of dandruff — is marked by red, greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales. Seborrheic dermatitis affects not only your scalp but also other areas rich in oil glands, such as your eyebrows, the sides of your nose and the backs of your ears, your breastbone, your groin area, and sometimes your armpits.

  • Psoriasis. This skin disorder is marked by an accumulation of dead skin cells that form silvery scales that are thicker and more persistent than scales caused by seborrheic dermatitis. In severe cases, the skin cracks, bleeds and may be quite painful. Psoriasis commonly occurs on the knees, elbows and trunk, but it can also extend from the scalp onto the forehead and neck. 

  • Cradle cap (seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp). This disorder, which causes a scaling, crusty scalp, is most common in newborns, but it can occur anytime during infancy. Although it can be alarming for parents, cradle cap isn't dangerous and usually clears up on its own by the time a baby is 1 year old.

  • Scalp ringworm (tinea capitis). This highly contagious fungal infection occurs primarily in children under age 10. Ringworm starts as a red sore around a hair shaft — usually on the scalp but sometimes in the eyebrows or eyelashes. Within a few days, the sore turns scaly and spreads outward in the ring pattern that gives the infection its name. The hair in the affected area usually breaks off just above the surface. Unlike dandruff, ringworm usually causes a red, inflamed scalp as well as hair loss.

  • Contact dermatitis. Sometimes sensitivities to certain hair care products or hair dyes can cause a red, itchy, scaling scalp.

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 

 



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