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Dandruff
(Seborrhea)

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Dandruff facts

  • Dandruff is a form of skin eczema called seborrhea.
  • Treatment of seborrhea (dandruff) is directed at fighting the skin inflammation.
  • Yeast is a fungus that sometimes builds up on scaly areas of seborrhea.
  • The physician may recommend prescription-strength antifungal and corticosteroid preparations for seborrhea.

What is dandruff (seborrhea)?

It is a common form of skin eczema that occurs in parts of the body with high oil (sebum) production. Body areas that are commonly affected include the scalp, ears, face, chest, and folds of skin, such as the underarms or the skin below breasts or overhanging abdominal folds. The cause of seborrhea is unknown, although a yeast that often lives on the skin, Malassezia furfur, may play a role.

One common manifestation of seborrhea that affects the scalp is dandruff. Scalp seborrhea can also present as thick, flaky, localized plaques of scale. On the face, seborrhea produces reddish-brown, dry-looking, or thick, greasy scales on the eyebrows, sides of the nose, and behind the ears. Reddish, scaly plaques may also appear in the folds of skin mentioned above. Although skin affected by seborrhea may feel "dry," moisturizing may only make them redder.

Scalp seborrhea and dandruff do not cause permanent hair loss. Often, scalp seborrhea doesn't even itch significantly. Seborrhea can appear during infancy, starting shortly after birth and lasting several months. It may affect the scalp ("cradle cap") or produce scaly plaques on the body. Adults of all ages may develop seborrhea, too, especially on the scalp and face.

Some people who have weakened immune systems, such as those on chemotherapy or those with HIV disease or certain neurological disorders, may have very severe seborrhea. It is important to emphasize, however, that seborrhea is a very common condition, affecting perhaps 5% of the population (with men predominating). The vast majority of those who have it are completely healthy and have no internal or immune problems.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/14/2014

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Seborrhea - Treatments Question: What treatments have you tried for your seborrhea (dandruff)? What works for you?
Seborrhea - Remedies Question: What home remedies have been effective for your seborrhea?
Dandruff - Treatments That Don't Work Question: Please discuss remedies or lifestyle changes you've tried for dandruff that don't work.
Dandruff - Prescriptions Question: Did you see a doctor for your dandruff? What was prescribed, and was it effective?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/seborrhea/article.htm

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