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Find out about the cause of seborrheic dermatitis as well as symptoms to look out for and treatment to help get rid of severe flakes.


Like dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis affects your hair and scalp, but to a far greater degree.

In fact, that’s not the only thing that seborrheic dermatitis has in common with dandruff:

What is seborrheic dermatitis?

Essentially, seborrheic dermatitis is a far more severe form of dandruff, sharing most of the symptoms, but also including:

  • severe flakes attached to the scalp (also called “scaling”)

  • yellowish flake scales that can be oily

  • inflamed areas on the scalp

  • symptoms can appear on other body areas, like the face, chest, or back

Like dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis is caused by a microbe that occurs naturally on all of our heads.

This microbe, called Malassezia globosa, can be harmless. About half the population, however, has a sensitivity to a substance it makes called oleic acid.

Typically, this leads to dandruff – but among people who are very sensitive to oleic acid, it can trigger seborrheic dermatitis instead.


Seborrheic dermatitis treatment

Treating dandruff is simple: simply use a good anti-dandruff shampoo regularly, like Head & Shoulders, formulated to fight dandruff and calm your scalp.

Seborrheic dermatitis needs more powerful measures – but luckily, Head & Shoulders is up to the task there as well.

Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength shampoo with 1% selenium sulfide is designed to treat severe dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.

Start by washing exclusively with the shampoo for 2-3 weeks. If you have seborrheic dermatitis, you should notice a difference. Continue using it regularly, since seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic condition that will come back if treatment stops.

If these steps don’t bring relief, consult with your dermatologist - you may have a condition that requires a different treatment.

More tips and advice from the experts:

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