Worried your dry, itchy scalp is a sign of something more serious? Dandruff, also known as Seborrheic Dermatitis, is a form of dermatitis often associated with severe itching and flakiness on and around the scalp. Here, Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, a dermatologist at Rapaport Dermatology of Beverly Hills, weighs in on how to treat it.
What Is Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Seborrheic Dermatitis is a common (5% prevalence in adults), recurring, flaky skin condition of the oil-gland containing areas of the body like the scalp, face (around the hairline, sides of the nose, beard/mustache/sideburns/eyebrows) and chest. It is a sensitivity reaction to Malassezia(Pityrosporum) yeast, that colonizes normal skin and hair follicles with sebaceous glands. Most people do not react to this yeast, but if your skin gets irritated, it becomes pink and scaly and sometimes itchy or painful and even fissured.
How To Treat Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Management is two-fold: kill the yeast and calm the inflammation. Yeast can be killed and recurrences can be prevented with the regular use of anti-yeast shampoos (like Nizoral A-D Ketoconazole Anti-Dandruff Shampoo) or prescription creams, and the inflammation can be calmed with short-term topical steroid use.