Dandruff or Seborrheic Dermatitis? Those flakes may not be only because of Dandruff

Dandruff or Seborrheic Dermatitis? Those flakes may not be only because of Dandruff

Do you notice that those white flakes from your skin are produced in excess? Do they seem to have no benefit from routine dandruff shampoos? Do the flakes often also extend to the ears, face or folds of skin? Do you feel that the dandruff is causing redness or yellowish sticky flakes on your scalp? If the answer to any of these questions is a YES, chances are that you might be suffering from Seborrheic Dermatitis. The condition is also often seen in babies and is called as Cradle Cap.

Seborrheic Dermatitis is a common inflammatory condition that affects the scalp and surrounding areas around the scalp or other body parts where the sebum accumulates. It is a more serious condition than dandruff and needs a more dedicated treatment regimen.

So what causes Seborrheic Dermatitis ?

Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory condition of the skin which doesn’t seem to have any specific cause. The infection is often seen to be associated with a common yeast growth called Malassezia. However, Malassezia is found very commonly in the sebum of most human skin.

Some people seem to lack a strong immunity towards it and develop flaking, redness, itchiness as an immune reaction.

However there are certain conditions which predispose an individual towards developing Seborrheic dermatitis, such as:

  1. Psychological Stress
  2. Extreme weather changes
  3. Obesity
  4. Hormonal imbalances
  5. Immunity deficient systems- such as those with HIV
  6. Parkinson’s disease, injuries to the head or stroke
  7. Oily skin


Treatment for Seborrheic Dermatitis depends on the severity of the condition.

  1. Shampoos containing ketoconazole, pyrithione zinc, coal tar, selenium sulphide may be used to control the excessive flaking. These ingredients help in lifting the sticky flakes from the scalp and remove them from the infected areas.
  2. If the infection seems to be present at areas other than the scalp or the scalp seems to be red, itchy and inflamed, consult a doctor. Sometimes creams and lotions that contain corticosteroids might also be needed to control the condition.

Written by: Dr. Chhavi
Edited by: C. Soni

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