Eczema and Dermatitis

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If you find yourself with flaky patches that are accompanied by slight swelling, redness and small blisters that may weep could mean either contact dermatitis or eczema.

These 2 conditions are very similar and only different in how deep they penetrate into the layers of the skin. The patches are produced when you come into contact with something that you are allergic to. Initially the symptoms are confined to the area that the allergen touched and further contact can result in a spread of that irritation to other areas.

You need to seek the help of your family doctor as soon as you can and isolate the cause of the irritation. Once the allergen is found you need to avoid it to prevent further problems.

The ingredients found in perming solutions are the main culprits in allergic or irritant reactions. Colouring products, shampoos and other styling products can also cause allergic reactions but these normally occur within an hour of use.

You can tell the difference between an allergic and an irritant reaction because an allergic reaction is immediate and an irritant reaction occurs after repeated exposure to the product.

You will often find that you may be especially sensitive to certain brands so it is advisable to change makes and find one you are not allergic to. Always have a patch test before a chemical based hairdressing service to ascertain if you are going to have problems.

One of the most common forms of dermatis is:

Seborrhoeic Dermatitis

This is severe form of dandruff that often runs in families. This condition is charaterised by flakes that are more yellow than white colour, accompanied with excessive oil production and red itchy skin, in the most severe cases spreading to the eyebrows, beard and around the nose. It may even on occasions spread to the neck and chest.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis is most commonly located along the front of the hairline but can occur anywhere on the scalp. It often begins at puberty when the increase in sex hormones increases sebum production.

The most important component of any treatment is frequent shampooing. This will stop the sebum from accumulating and the seborrhoeic dermatitis will be controlled. Commercially available products such as Nizoral 2% or Selsun 'Yellow' will assist in controlling this condition.

Changing your diet also helps this condition. Sufferers should eat a low fat, low sugar diet and cut down on the alcohol.

See a trichologist or doctor if you are unsure.

(With acknowledgements to the "Picture Guide to scalp and Hair Problems" by David Salinger IAT


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