Dandruff is mainly found on the scalp. However, it can occur on the face and ears. Seborrheic dermatitis, or seborrhea, is a common form of eczema. It is non-contagious and can usually be treated with home remedies, but if it persists, you need to see a dermatologist.
What causes seborrheic dermatitis?
It is caused by a skin fungus called Malassezia globosa. It breaks down the oil glands on the skin and leaves a residue known as oleic acid. M. globosa normally lives under the skin’s surface, but not everyone gets dandruff. Studies show at least 3% of people experience dandruff in their lifetime.
Dandruff only occurs when the Malassezia overgrows, and the immune system responds.
2. Oily skin
Large pores can lead to larger amounts of sebum, increasing the likelihood of facial dandruff.
3. Dry skin
Leaving your skin dry makes your sebaceous glands overproduce sebum to compensate for the lack of oil. The excess sebum and dry skin flakes become dandruff.
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4. Dead skin cells
If you regenerate skin cells more than once a month, you end up with more dead skin cells on your face. Together with sebum, this can cause seborrhea.
Weather can affect the condition of your skin. Cold, dry air can make facial dandruff worse. Exposure to sunlight can kill the yeast that causes facial dandruff. Basking in the sun can help reduce the risk of dandruff. However, overexposure can lead to UV radiation and sunburn.
Other factors that can increase facial dandruff include:
- Increased levels of androgenic hormones
- Increased skin lipids
- A family history of seborrheic dermatitis
- Using alcohol-based lotions
- Other skin conditions like acne and psoriasis. People with acne are more likely to get facial dandruff.
- Harsh detergents
- Medications like lithium
- Medical conditions like HIV and other immune-weakening conditions
- Poor hygiene
Symptoms of facial dandruff
Dandruff appears as white dry flakes on the skin.
Further symptoms include:
- Patches of oily skin with a yellowish crust
- A darker or lighter rash for Black and brown people and a red rash for white people
- Ring-shaped rash
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Seborrheic dermatitis can go away by itself. You can also use topical antifungal creams, foams, and lotions if it doesn’t. Anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids control the production of hormones. They’re prescribed if anti-fungal drugs aren’t working. Corticosteroids are taken at most twice a day. They should only be used in the event of a flare-up. Steroids can lead to skin thinning and shouldn’t be used continuously.
Other remedies include apple cider vinegar. A mixture of one tablespoon of ACV with two tablespoons of water can help treat facial dandruff. Tea tree oil diluted with a carrier oil can also exfoliate dead skin cells. Aloe vera gel and coconut oil can also clear your skin.
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You can buy salicylic acid, which removes excess dead skin cells. Use anti-dandruff shampoo as a face wash. Sulphur-based ointments and creams can also help clear facial dandruff.
See a doctor if you have a severe flare-up that lingers longer than two weeks. It could be because of an underlying condition. A doctor can perform a skin biopsy to determine what the problem is. Some allergic reactions can mimic seborrheic dermatitis.
Prevention of facial dandruff
Skincare can help reduce seborrheic dermatitis. Having a routine that regularly clears dead skin cells and balances the oil content helps reduce facial dandruff.
Wash your face twice a day, even when it’s dry. Find a cleanser that suits your skin. Use a thick cream as a moisturizer. Petroleum jelly also works as a moisture sealant. Read Also: Lifestyle: Body Parts You Are Not Washing Enough
Exfoliate at least once a week. Use a washcloth or an exfoliating product to help remove excess dead skin cells. Choose gentle scrubs that don’t leave micro-abrasions on your skin. 5 Benefits Of Chemical Exfoliation Over Physical Exfoliation
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