Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Scalp Conditions

Dandruff

What is dandruff?

Dandruff is excessive flaking of the scalp, or dandruff, is a common cosmetic problem experienced by millions of people. Dandruff is not contagious and is normally not a serious problem. Some cases of excessive dandruff accompanied by intense itching and patches of flaky skin on the face or elsewhere are actually a form of eczema. One commonly mistaken dandruff lookalike is plain old dry scalp. Some products have a knack for drying out the scalp shampoos are a common culprit. Regularly using a soap or shampoo formula that is too harsh (usually sulfate-based) will lead to scalp dryness over time. Other dry scalp instigators include weather changes, using water with a high mineral content or pH, and using water that is too hot. Those who chemically treat their hair with relaxers, texturizers, or hair coloring products and those who over dry their hair when blowdrying may also run into this kind of problem as those treatments/techniques tend to dehydrate the scalp. If you aren’t hydrating your body from within by drinking water, you’ll also tend to have dry skin not just on the scalp but all over.
People with dry skin tend to get dandruff more often. Winter cold air, combined with overheated rooms is a common cause of itchy, flaking skin. To prevent dandruff eat a healthy and balanced diet, avoid stress, limit the use of styling products and wash your hair regularly.

Treatment.
  • Anti dandruff shampoos & conditioners
  • Oil your hair with herbal oils or use special herbal gels.
  • For more server dandruff a medicated shampoo might be necessary
  • Tea tree oil
  • Baking soda helps fight the fungus 
  • Coconut oil helps moisturize dry and flaky scalp 
  • See your doctor if the problem persists
Treatment may take a few weeks until you start seeing results
 

Psoriasis

What is psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis is a common skin disorder that produces raised, reddish, and often scaly patches. It can appear as one or multiple patches on the scalp, affect the entire scalp, and spread beyond the scalp to the forehead, back of the neck, or behind the ears. 

Scalp psoriasis is not contagious. Like other types of psoriasis, its exact cause is unknown. But it's believed to result from an abnormality of the immune system that causes skin cells to grow too quickly and build up as patches. You may be more likely to develop scalp psoriasis if psoriasis runs in your family. Most commonly, people with scalp psoriasis also have psoriasis on other parts of their body. But sometimes the scalp is the only affected area. Scalp psoriasis can be mild and almost unnoticeable. But it can also be severe and long lasting, causing thick, crusted lesions that affect appearance. Intense itching can interfere with sleep and everyday life, and frequent scratching can lead to skin infections and hair loss. People with scalp psoriasis often report that it leaves them feeling embarrassed and ashamed.

Treatment.
Sometimes scalp psoriasis gets better without treatment. It can take a couple of months or longer to get scalp psoriasis under control. But once you do, you may be able to keep it from returning with special shampoos or moisturizers. See your doctor if the problem persists.

To soften the scales
  • Apply salicylic acid gels to scales to make them easier to remove. 
  • Gently loosen the scales with a brush or fine-toothed comb.
  • Shampoo your scalp to remove the scales, using a salicylic acid shampoo or soap.
  • Apply emollients such as petroleum jelly or thick creams, oils, lotions, or ointments while scalp is still damp.
To reduce the itchiness
  • Use conditioner after shampooing 
  • Limit using hot tools for styling
  • Use wet towels, cold packs or cold water on itchy spots

Head lice

What is head lice?

Head lice have been around for many thousands of years. Anyone can get head lice.
Head lice are small, wingless, blood sucking insects. Their colour varies from whitish-brown to reddish-brown. Head lice only survive on humans. If isolated from the head they die very quickly (usually within 24 hours).
People get head lice from direct hair to hair contact with another person who has head lice. Head lice do not have wings or jumping legs so they cannot fly or jump from head to head. They can only crawl. Many lice do not cause an itch, so you have to look carefully to find them.
Head lice are found on the hair itself and move to the scalp to feed. They have six legs which end in a claw and they rarely fall from the head. Louse eggs (also called nits) are laid within 1.5 cm of the scalp and are firmly attached to the hair. They resemble dandruff, but can’t be brushed off. Head lice is mainly found in children.

Treatment
  • Buying and using a head lice lotion or shampoo, following the instructions on the product
  • Using the conditioner and comb method (described under ‘finding head lice’) every second day until there have been no live lice found for ten days.
  • Head lice products must be applied to all parts of the hair and scalp.
  • No treatment kills all of the eggs so treatment must involve two applications, seven days apart. The first treatment kills all lice; the second treatment kills the lice that may have hatched from eggs not killed by the first treatment..
  • Apply the treatment near the scalp, using an ordinary comb to cover the hair from root to tip. Repeat this several times until all the hair is covered.
Preventing head lice
Check your child’s head regularly with comb and conditioner, and avoid direct contact on each others hair.

Written by Becc.