Dandruff is a common problem affecting skin on the scalp. As with all of the skin cells on our body, our scalp skin cells shed the old dead cells and produce new cells. In a person suffering with dandruff the rate of new skin cell production is very high so the old skin cells accumulate to form visible flakes. The skin can become inflamed and itchy. The causes of the increased turnover in cells are not really understood, but it is believed that some yeasts may be involved, so anti-fungal agents are sometimes used in the treatment of dandruff. >

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Seborrhoeic Dermatitis is a common, inflammatory skin condition that causes flaky, white to yellowish scales to form on oily areas such as the scalp or inside the ear. It can occur with or without reddened skin. Cradle cap is the term used when seborrhoeic dermatitis affects the scalp of infants. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is thought to arise due to a combination of an over-production of skin oil and irritation from a yeast called malessizia. Seborrhoeic dermatitis appears to run in families. Stress, fatigue, weather extremes, oily skin, infrequent shampoos or skin cleaning, use of lotions that contain alcohol, skin disorders (such as acne), or obesity may increase an outbreak. The differences to dandruff are that the condition is usually more extreme and can affect areas other than the scalp.

In general, symptoms of seborrhoeic dermatitis include:

  • Skin lesions
  • Plaques over large area
  • Greasy, oily areas of skin
  • Skin scales -- white and flaking, or yellowish, oily, and adherent -- "dandruff"
  • Itching -- may become more itchy if infected
  • Mild redness
  • Hair loss
Ketoconazole: is an anti-fungal agent and is used for the prevention as well as the treatment of dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis. It reduces the amount of yeast produced and helps control the itching and flaking.

Coal Tar: reduces flaking and inflammation of the skin, however it has an unpleasant odour. . It can stain clothes and the skin and can cause irritation in some people.

Salicylic acid: Is found in combination with other ingredients in treatments. It helps remove scales associated with dandruff and other dry skin conditions.

Selenium Sulphide: has some anti-fungal properties but like coal tar it has an unpleasant odour and can also cause irritation.
Visit your pharmacist or doctor:
  • If there is any bleeding or weeping of the scalp
  • If there is any hair loss
  • If treatment with an over the counter product has failed
Helpful Tips from Mulligans Pharmacy:
  • At Mulligans Pharmacy, we understand that our customers may need treatment for symptoms of a personal or sensitive nature. Our pharmacists are always available for a discreet chat in our private consultation room at your request, or you can ask a Mulligans Pharmacist a question in confidence here.
  • Shampoo hair vigorously and frequently (preferably daily) to loosen scales. Scrub for at least 5 minutes, and rinse thoroughly to prevent irritation.
  • When applying shampoos, part the hair into small sections, and apply to a small area at a time, and massage into the skin.
  • Dandruff sufferers should avoid overdrying the scalp with hair dryers where possible
  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis may improve in the summer, especially after outdoor activities.
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The information provided is intended solely as a guide. Please seek the advice of your pharmacist to determine whether a particular service, medication, or treatment programme will be of value to you. Always check the dosage directions carefully on all medicines. Never combine medicines without consulting your doctor or pharmacist. All health facts and information contained herein should not be a substitute for medical advice. The use of this site is subject to our Terms & Conditions.
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