Dandruff is a skin disorder that is commonly recognized by the shedding of white or yellowish flakes. In most cases dandruff is found on the scalp but it can also affect other parts of the body. When the condition is found in or around the ears it is sometimes referred to as ear dandruff.
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One of the most common causes of dandruff is dry skin, but oily skin can also result in dandruff. This type is likely to be found in areas that are rich in oil glands, such as the backs of your ears, according to the Mayo Clinic. Dandruff can also be attributed to not shampooing often enough or sensitivity to hair care products. Other times, malassezia, a yeast-like fungus that lives on the scalps of most adults, grows out of control and feeds on the oils from your hair follicles. This results in skin irritation and more skin cells grow. As the extra skin cells die they fall off.
The most common type of dandruff is related to the fungus malassezia. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a more severe type of dandruff, according to the Grey Hair Loss website. Besides the scalp, this skin disorder can affect the ears, eyebrows, skin around the nose, lines on the cheeks, forehead and armpits. Psoriasis is another type of skin disorder that can affect the scalp as well as other areas of the body. This condition is identified by silvery scales that occur on the knees, lower back and in other areas where there are skin folds.
Dandruff usually does not pose any serious medical problems and in most cases it can be self-treated. However, the skin disorder can result in discomfort related to the itching. Additionally, dandruff can also cause embarrassment and lead to low self-esteem because of the shedding of flakes onto shoulders and surrounding areas.
Shampooing regularly helps prevent scalp and ear dandruff. Many over-the-counter dandruff shampoos available, and alternating between different types may be more effective than using only one type.Other preventative methods recommended at the Doctor Good Skin website include avoiding stress, eating a healthy diet, avoiding the use of chemical products in and around the hair, and spending some time in the sun.
According to information provided at The Skin Center, ear dandruff can be treated with topical applications of mild cortisone creams or lotions over a period of two to four weeks. The cream should be applied one to three times per day to help decrease inflammation.