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Scientific Area

Seborrheic dermatitis

CATEGORIES SCIENTIFIC AREA

Scientific collaboration between Professor Marco Toscani and Dr. Pasquale Fino, Chair of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, Umberto I Health Center – “Sapienza” University of Rome.

Seborrheic dermatitis is a very common scalp condition characterized by the presence of yellow and oily flakes on the skin.

It is associated with erythema, small scaly, and intense itching.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a well-known condition but is still not easily identifiable. Many men and women starting from puberty have oily, greasy, shiny and thickened skin with large hair follicles, especially noticeable around the nose and mouth, forehead, torso, scalp (affected by so-called oily dandruff).
Seborrheic dermatitis appears in these individuals. It is characterized by red, reddish-yellow or dark red skin patches, covered with small and medium sized, thick and greasy flakes, sometimes appearing as scaly formations with blisters that are not easily noticed.

Seborrheic eczema is a typical form surrounded by seborrheic dermatitis limited to certain areas of the body, found at the level of the sternum and shoulder blades, characterized by various round patches with clearly defined convex edges. Another form is characterized by pityriasiform and psoriasiform patches. Complications of seborrheic dermatitis are: eczematization (the most common complication), external otitis, occipital and nuchal eczema, umbilical eczema, areola eczema in women and lastly perineum-genital eczema.

Often, seborrheic dermatitis is located on the scalp and along its edges. An irregular patch often emerges from the scalp onto the forehead called a “seborrheic crown”. It is important to remember that seborrheic dermatitis in and of itself does not cause hair loss.
The etiopathogenesis of seborrheic dermatitis is not completely clear. Recognized concurrent causes are bacterial, fungal (Malassezia), infectious, mechanical, irritative, psychosomatic and sebaceous dysfunction (most probably of genetic origin) factors. In the case of seborrheic dermatitis sebum undergoes a chemical transformation. In fact, a reduction of triglycerides, squalene and cholesterol occurs.

Hair treatments like lotions and shampoos are commonly used as local anti-seborrheic treatments. Non-halogenated corticosteroids in the form of gels or lotions are very effective. Antibiotics and antifungal treatments may also be used. Positive results have also been achieved by using retinoic acid and ketoconazole, general purpose antifungals.

Grey hair

In the trichological field, with the passing of age hair whitening is seen to follow the greying process of the hair on the scalp (called grey hair). Hair becomes grey (white) following a natural biological aging process of the melanocytes, which are the cells tasked with coloring hair.
In the majority of people, the first grey hairs appear around 35/40 years of age in women and around 30/35 in men.

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Psychogenic alopecia (psychological baldness)

Psychogenic alopecia is a type of hair loss related to stress. Though not yet scientifically explained, this connection is well-known in the experience of those working with the problem. In addition to stress, other causes are personality disorders, states of anxiety and depression, all of which are conditions of acute or chronic stress.

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Hair loss (telogen effluvium)

The term Telogen Effluvium was introduced for the first time by Kligman (*) in 1961 to introduce an acute hair loss of benign origin that follows an intense and short period of stress of different types. Subsequently, Rebora (**) introduced the concept of chronic Telogen Effluvium.

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Split ends

The phenomenon of split ends, also called trichoptilosis, is a hair problem that depends on an alteration of the hair shaft with concurrent modification and deterioration of the structure, form and physiology of the hair.

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Hair loss: manifestation, causes and prevention

A shedding of hair is considered physiologically normal when hair loss is limited to around one hundred hairs per day. During an individual’s life hair grows, falls out and regrows around twenty times. Each cycle, especially for females, may last up to six years and if hair loss is found within this time frame, it is considered absolutely physiological.

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Structure and chemical composition of hair

The hair on our bodies has a particular structure and is divided into thin and thick hair. Thin hair, also called lanugo or vellus, is located on all skin surfaces except for the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Thick hair, also called terminal hair, is dark and located only in some areas such as the scalp, the armpits, the pubic area, the beard area in the case of men, etc…

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