Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin disorder that occurs due to excessive production of sebum by the sebaceous glands. When it affects the scalp, it gives rise to the formation of flaky scales on the scalp. This write-up provides information on this scalp problem.
An inflammatory condition, seborrheic dermatitis usually affects the scalp, but it could also affect skin folds or other parts of the skin that has many sebaceous glands. When it affects the scalp, it gives rise to itching, redness, greasy and flaky skin on the scalp. It could even give rise to severe dandruff.
Causes and Symptoms
This condition usually occurs when the sebaceous glands become overactive. Excessive secretion of sebum creates an ideal environment for the growth of yeast or bacteria. It is believed that this disorder may be caused by a yeast called pityrosporum ovale, which feeds on the dead skin cells, thereby resulting in the shedding of the oily, flaky skin at a very rapid rate. It might also give rise to symptoms such as redness, itching, and inflammation. This infection could spread to other parts of the body such as the creases of the nose, eyebrows, armpits, chest, and the groin.
People with a compromised immune system or those who are genetically disposed are most likely to get affected by this inflammatory skin condition. Other factors that could worsen the condition include poor hygiene or infrequent shampooing, use of certain cosmetic products, or harsh weather. Infants or toddlers could get affected by this skin condition. When this condition affects infants, it is referred to as cradle cap. Cradle cap is characterized by thick yellowish scales on the baby’s eyelids, scalp, nose, or the groin.
Since this condition could be caused due to infrequent shampooing, one must pay attention to scalp hygiene. Even those who have a mild dandruff problem must use a good-quality anti-dandruff shampoo that contains salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione, coal tar, or ketoconazole. These shampoos can be used twice or thrice in a week. All one needs to do is rub the shampoo on the scalp so as to loosen the scales. Leave it on for ten minutes before rinsing it off. While the use of medicated anti-dandruff shampoos usually proves beneficial, cortisone lotions or foam preparations might be recommended by the dermatologist in severe cases.
One can also try certain home remedies:
- Rubbing cut onion on the scalp can help reduce dandruff.
- Add a few drops of tea tree oil to aloe vera gel and apply this on the scalp. Leave it on for half an hour and wash it off.
- Boil neem leaves in water. Let it cool. Thereafter, filter it and apply it on your scalp.
- Massage the scalp with mineral oil and cover it with a shower cap.
- For toddlers affected by this condition, massage on the scalp with mineral oil, and cover the scalp with a warm towel. Make sure that the towel is neither too wet nor scalding hot. This might help in loosening the scaly skin.
If you develop thick flakes on your scalp along with redness and itching, you can follow the aforementioned remedies. If these remedies don’t work, consult a dermatologist soon.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.