Seborrheic Dermatitis, more commonly known as Dandruff, is an inflammatory skin condition that causes white, flaky scales to appear in oily places, such as the scalp, and can also cause hair loss. Dandruff is thought to be caused by an overproduction of skin oil combined with an irritation from a strain of yeast known as Malessizia. Although there is scientific evidence that Dandruff is a hereditary condition, it can also be brought on by stress, fatigue, weather extremes, oily skin, infrequent cleaning, use of lotions that contain alcohol, skin disorders, and obesity. Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, HIV, stroke, and head injuries are also associated with cases of Seborrheic Dermatitis. Some of the symptoms that accompany Eborrheic Dermatitis are itchiness, redness, flaky patches, mild redness, oily skin, and hair loss.
There is much speculation about whether or not Dandruff causes direct hair loss. Some physicians believe that the scalp inflammation that is common in people with Dandruff can aggravate and inhibit healthy hair growth, which contributes to overall hair loss and thinning. However, many physicians believe this to be absolutely false. If treated correctly, normal cases of Dandruff should go away with no serious side-affects. Doctors do believe that people who respond to their itchy, irritated scalp by scratching and excessively rubbing it can personally bring on bouts of hair loss.
Since Dandruff is most commonly caused by the overproduction of dead skin cells, which clump together to form visible, white flakes. Most researchers believe this increased cell turnover is the result of a fungal colonization, which means that an anti-fungal shampoo should alleviate the problem. Physicians typically prescribe a shampoo called Nizoral, which contains an ingredient called ketoconazole. However, if continued hair loss is experienced, it is advised that a hair loss specialist be contacted. There are many causes attributed with hair loss that should be ruled out before blaming Dandruff.
The symptoms of Dandruff should be treated by diligently washing hair with an anti-fungal shampoo, such as Nizoral mentioned above. There are other over the counter shampoos that should also solve the problem of flaking and dryness. Daily shampoo the hair and run a comb through it to evenly coat the solution. Scrub for at least five minutes and then rinse thoroughly. It may be noticed that cases and severity of Dandruff decrease over the summer and with regular outdoor activity.
People should not worry if they experience any of the symptoms attributed with Dandruff. It is a common condition caused by fungal colonization that can easily be treated with over the counter medication. Although there are myths that Dandruff leads to hair loss, there is much evidence that this is false. To avoid hair loss, simply avoid vigorously scratching and rubbing the irritated area.