Are you brushing flakes off your shirt? Have you tried anti-dandruff shampoo? Do you worry that these flakes are leading to your hair loss? The answer is, maybe. There is run of the mill “dandruff” which is simply dry scalp and then there is seborrheic dermatitis, an inflammatory condition that can lead to hair loss.
What is Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Seborrheic Dermatitis is a common skin condition that usually affects the scalp, but can be found on other parts of the body like the ears, creases around the nose, or even the chest and groin. It causes red, flaky skin, sometimes mistaken for dandruff but it is more severe and should be treated. It can appear similar to psoriasis, eczema or an allergic reaction, which can also be found on the scalp and face. Seborrheic dermatitis is NOT an infection so it’s not contagious. It is not caused by allergies or being unclean. While it can be uncomfortable, and embarrassing, thankfully it does not lead to serious health problems.
What Causes Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Doctors do not fully understand what causes Seborrheic Dermatitis, but they believe it is a combination of things including genetics and an exaggerated response to the normal yeast on our skin. It can be made worse by stress, certain medical conditions or medications you may be taking, as well as changes in the weather.
If you currently suffer from certain diseases like acne, AIDS, alcoholism, depression, eating disorders, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, psoriasis or rosacea, you may be at a higher risk for Seborrheic Dermatitis. Or your seborrheic dermatitis may be harder to control.
Newborn babies, younger than 3-months, sometimes develop yellowish, flakey skin on their heads, known as cradle cap. Cradle cap is the same thing as seborrheic dermatitis.
After infancy, adults between the ages of 30 and 60 tend to be more susceptible to developing this condition, and is considered chronic, meaning there is no cure. It may wax and wane but it is something that will need to be dealt with and treated long-term. You should definitely take measures to ensure that Seborrheic Dermatitis does not lead to an increase in hair loss in adulthood.
Seborrheic Dermatitis and Hair Loss
Seborrheic Dermatitis can cause hair loss in a couple of ways. Hair can become attached to the oily flakes or layers of skin that have become irritated and can be pulled out with the scratching of your scalp. In addition to this, the flakiness and greasiness of the scalp can lead to hair follicles becoming clogged, which can impeded good hair growth. So while Seborrheic Dermatitis itself will not cause hair loss, the inflammation due to the condition can cause issues with the hair follicles, which will then cause hair not to grow as well.
Since the hair loss is not caused by the condition itself, rather the inflammation, it can be reversed by treatment. Once the condition has been properly treated, the hair that was affected should grow healthy and strong.
Thankfully treatment for Seborrheic Dermatitis is a pretty simple process involving the use of medicated shampoos to help reduce the amount of yeast (malassezia) and decrease inflammation on the scalp. Over-the-counter shampoos like ‘Head and Shoulders,’ ‘T-Sal’, ‘Nizoral’ and ‘Selsun Blue’ can be great options. The key is not to scrub too hard but to gently massage the suds into your scalp and let it sit up to 15 minutes before rinsing it out. You have to give the medication time to penetrate the scalp. If over-the-counter remedies are not enough, you may require prescription strength medications for the scalp. If you are concerned about hair loss due to Seborrheic Dermatitis you should consult with a dermatologist to determine the best course of treatment. Your doctor will be able to recommend a proper treatment regimen to ensure that your fears of hair loss are addressed.
When it comes to the loss of your hair, prevention is the best action. In this case, when treated properly, clearing your scalp of seborrheic dermatitis will allow your hair to grow at its best. We at the Limmer Hair Transplant Center are here to provide you with all the information you need regarding hair loss and hair transplants, and we would love to discuss more options with you. Please contact us today to setup a consultation.