Seborrheic dermatitis mainly occurs in areas with sebaceous (oil) gland activity: scalp, forehead, eyebrows, the base of the nose, behind the ear, upper back, navel, under the breasts, in the creases of the arms or legs, and even the groin. It can turn chronic and may appear and disappear intermittently. There are many variations in the symptoms, and accordingly, newer ways to tackle seborrheic dermatitis are being developed. Hence, certain common misconceptions may cause you to inadvertently mistreat your condition. Let us understand these myths in more depth and know what is right for us.
5 Myths about Seborrheic Dermatitis
1. Seborrheic dermatitis appears due to excessively washing the face and hair.
Seborrheic dermatitis does not occur due to a lack of hygiene or, on the other hand, excessive washing. Scalp dandruff does not occur if you do not wash your hair frequently, nor is it due to a dry scalp from washing your hair too often. It occurs due to an inherent disorder within the skin cells and hair follicles. Here, an emollient can help restore the normal dynamics of the skin cells.
2. Seborrheic dermatitis is an allergy.
An overgrowth of the yeast (fungus) called Malassezia, present in oil-secreting areas of your skin, may lead to inflammation, causing scaly skin. This may sometimes be accompanied by swelling arising from the inflammatory reaction. While this may mimic allergic symptoms, it does not necessarily mean there is an allergic reaction in the body.
3. Exfoliation increases dry skin flakes in seborrheic dermatitis.
Over time, seborrheic dermatitis may cause the accumulation of yeast, dry skin flakes, and oil in somebody's skin and scalp. Exfoliating the affected area helps cleanse off the debris. Contrary to popular opinion, it does not increase dry skin flakes. Instead, the skin can breathe more effectively, paving the way for skin regeneration.
4. One should use dandruff shampoo to get rid of dry skin flakes in seborrheic dermatitis.
This is a myth. Dandruff shampoos cause excessive drying of the scalp and hair, making the hair brittle. You must not use shampoos based on such myths.
5. Dry skin/scalp causes seborrheic dermatitis.
If your skin is dry, you may experience redness, itching, and flaky skin which peels off. This does not necessarily mean you have seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff. On the other hand, oily skin, too, can be a cause of seborrheic dermatitis. Malassezia yeast feeds on the oil present on our skin. Oily skin encourages it to grow in the hair and skin follicles, causing seborrheic dermatitis.
You must understand that seborrheic dermatitis is an interplay between the abnormal shedding of keratinocytes, a disrupted lipid barrier, and activation of the body's immune system, which leads to inflammatory lesions and dead flaky skin. These signs indicate a damaged skin surface. There are, however, many misconceptions about this condition. Educating yourself on these myths and overcoming them with facts and clinically proven solutions may help you overcome seborrheic dermatitis in the long run. Trust science-backed measures and consult a dermatologist before choosing a method of treatment.