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SEBORRHEA – SEBACEOUS SKIN INFLAMMATION*

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Seborrhea is a skin problem which causes a disturbance in aesthetic appearance, as well as suffering and a feeling of discomfort. The exact reasons for this common problem are not yet totally clear, but several factors increase the chances of the appearance or deterioration of the symptoms.

Seborrhea is a common problem which presents as a  chronic inflammation of the skin in regions where there is a profusion of sebaceous glands and causes dandruff,  redness and flaking skin. In Latin, the word seborrhea means “flow of sebum” and indeed, the inflammation is caused due to a problem of the sebaceous glands.  According to estimates, the prevalence of seborrhea in the population is about 15%, with 3-5% manifesting it in a serious degree. The condition generally appears following puberty, with most cases in the 40-year age group. Although it afflicts both genders almost equally,  it is slightly more common among men. In addition, the condition is more common among babies up to one year of age, where it appears on the scalp. However, this condition generally passes by about 10-12 months and does not require treatment.

SYMPTOMS OF THE CONDITION

Seborrhea develops gradually, and the main symptoms are a red rash and burning accompanied by dry dandruff or oily hair, swelling, yellowish discharge, and in some cases also itching, mainly on the scalp. In more severe cases, the condition is accompanied by pimples with reddish-yellowish scales. These symptoms appear mainly in the T-area of the face, on the eyebrows, at the base

of the eyelashes, on the upper lip and the beard area. It can also appear on the scalp, external ear canal,  behind the ears. Very few cases involve the neck, chest,  armpits, groin and navel.

The dandruff is generally fine and powder-like and if not treated it becomes coarse, yellow and oily.

In addition to the aesthetic disturbance, dandruff and red spots cause discomfort and suffering.

WHAT CAUSES SEBORRHEA?

The exact mechanism responsible for seborrhea is not yet totally clear, but it appears that several factors are involved.

One of the factors identified is a type of yeast,  called Malassezia pityrosporum. This yeast has been discovered in sebaceous glands of people suffering from seborrhea. It is still unknown how the yeast causes the inflammation, but it appears to be a resulting skin infection, combined with a defective reaction of the immune system.

Another factor which may be involved in the problem is the hormonal system. This assumption is supported by the fact that its prevalence increases following puberty.  Several studies found over-activity of the sebaceous glands in response to the presence of the male hormone,  which may explain the fact that the problem is slightly more common in men. In addition, recent studies have shown a correlation between seborrhea and a lack of biotin.

Other factors which may increase the predisposition to the condition are genetic, food allergies, and also diseases related to the nervous system, e.g. Parkinson’s.  In addition, a fair number of medications may cause seborrhea or exacerbate the condition.

 

In most people, seborrhea tends to get worse in the winter, while in the summer the condition improves.  In addition, some correlate the deterioration of the seborrhea condition to periods of tension and emotional stress.

TREATMENT

One of the major ways to deal with seborrhea is to observe proper hygiene, as this serves to remove the oily layer from the affected area and helps improve the condition of the skin. Moreover, it is important to treat the problem as early as possible, the longer the delay the more serious seborrhea. Potentially requiring more complex treatments. Some people respond well to exposure to the sun, and for this reason, sunbaths are recommended for many patients.

Medical treatment of the problem includes anti-fungal preparations (creams, shampoo, and in severe cases

– medication is taken orally) which prevent the growth of the yeast in the sebaceous glands. Creams based on steroids are also used to treat seborrhea and to soothe the inflammation, but this can be used only for short-term treatment, as the steroids may harm the local immune system and thereby accelerate the deterioration of the condition.

In the past oil-based preparations were used to treat seborrhea, based on the concept that the oily substance would soothe the dandruff and give the irritated skin a more supple and comfortable feeling.  However, the oil blocked the skin and caused the area below the skin to heat up, and as a result intensified the seborrheal activity. In recent years there has been a revolution in the approach to treating the skin, and cosmetic manufacturers have recognized that the active ingredient does not have to be oil. This new approach also brought about a change int he substances for treating seborrhea, and instead of preparations based on oil, today soothing formulations with a light water-based texture are used.

HL has a special product for treating seborrhea –  Seboderm, based on two anti-bacterial and anti-fungal proteins – lactoperoxidase and lactoferrin, which prevent the development of bacteria and strengthen the natural protective mechanism of the skin.

The lactoperoxidase protein contains an enzyme – a  catalyst, when it comes in contact with the skin it forms a molecule of oxide, turning it into an active ion which destroys bacteria in the skin. The lactoferrin protein acts by linking iron ions in the skin, thereby preventing the bacteria from staying alive and killing them.

Seboderm is currently the most effective product for real and long-term treatment of the yeast Malassezia pityrosporum which is involved the seborrheal process,  and also against P. Acne bacteria. In addition, Seboderm also contains omega 6 – a linolenic gamma fatty acid,  which is known for its action in reducing inflammatory conditions by improving the body’s ability to produce prostaglandin 1 – an important substance formed by the body to prevent the inflammatory process. In addition,  this fatty acid has also been found to be an important auxiliary agent in preserving the health of the skin and its moisture level. The mechanism through which this fatty acid operates is embodied in its special structure,  which is highly similar to the structure of fatty acids that build the cell coating. As a result, it is relatively easier for it to penetrate the cells, and it serves to build the cell corneum and stabilize them.

The combination of the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal  proteins with the fatty acid from the omega 6 group is  effective in treating problems of seborrhea and acne,  prevents infections and balances the sebum secretion,  while at the same time improving the texture of the skin  and the ability of sensitive and irritated skin to serve as  an isolating buffer against external damage.

The preparation was proven in research to have cleared anti-seborrheal and anti-acne action. After the preparation was used continuously for one month a decrease of about 27% was noted in the amount of sebum produced by the skin, and a drop of about 38%  was achieved in the rate of sebum secretion to the skin.

Another product line developed in HL laboratories suited for oily skin with seborrhea is the Double Action line.  Combining the Double Action products with Seboderm helps to clean and disinfect, stimulate circulation,  constrict the pores, absorb oil and secretions, prevent dandruff, dryness, and flaking, mends and treats pimples,  and also soothes and balances the sebum secretions.

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