Does the itchiness keep you up at night? Or the flakiness prevent you from wearing that little black dress, dark cashmere sweater, or gorgeous blue suit you bought? Have you tried every kind of medicated shampoo and detoxifier without relief? You’re not alone, and the culprit may not be what you think it is. While your scalp condition may be inherited, a fungal or bacterial infection could be contributing to the problem.
Scalp conditions, such as seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff, affect up to 50 percent of the adult population in the United States. People spend up to $300 million annually on products designed to treat the associated itching and flaking. These are just two of the many conditions that affect the scalp.
Here is a breakdown of the following scalp conditions and their symptoms:
- Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by a yeast fungus marked by itchy red patches and yellow or white flakes on the scalp. Most people refer to this as dandruff.
- Scalp psoriasis, also characterized by itchy, reddish skin with silver or white scales similar to dandruff, is believed to be an inherited immune dysfunction and affects approximately 7.5 million people in the United States.
- Atopic dermatitis, which affects an estimated 7.8 million people in the United States, is a severe type of eczema and is characterized by dry, itchy, scaly skin.
Common symptoms of scalp conditions generally include rashes, hair loss, breakage, itchiness, scaliness, pain, and tenderness. Many chronic conditions are further exacerbated by unchecked bacterial infections and fungal growth, often with a combination of both.
There are no known cures for common scalp conditions, although they can be managed with various medications and dandruff shampoos. You may even notice the conditions persist and get worse.
What Can You Do About it?
In many cases, the culprit may be biofilm, a sticky substance produced by bacteria and fungi. It functions as a glue-like anchor for colonizing surfaces and acts like a protective dome under which bacteria can rapidly multiply. This protective dome prevents most common treatments from getting to the “root” of the problem and destroying the bacteria and fungi causing it.
According to an estimate by the National Institute of Health (NIH, USA), among all microbial and chronic infections, 65% and 80%, respectively, are associated with biofilms.1 Biofilms can make bacteria up to 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics, antimicrobial agents and disinfectants. They also prevent or reduce our immune system’s ability to access and kill the bacteria.
Common treatments for scalp conditions currently include topical prescription steroids, anti-fungal ointments, anti-microbial shampoos, laser therapy, and in severe cases, surgery.
There may be another option to consider, and it starts with getting rid of biofilms.