Your skin is the first line of protection on your body and takes a regular beating. Various forms of bacteria and fungi try to leave a mark, and some even end up succeeding. Like those fungi of the genus Malassezia.
This fungus is found naturally on your body and is not a cause for immediate concern. There are various other forms of bacteria which are also found on your skin, and they work to protect you against other harmful microbes. The severe scalp problems start when this fungus grows exponentially and starts to play havoc. Fungus such as Malassezia, which can cause Dandruff and Tinea Versicolor, but shows different effects for each.
What is Tinea Versicolor?
This is classified as a fungal infection, generally caused by some form of the fungus Malassezia, like Malassezia Furfur or Globosa. When the fungus grows out of control, it can affect the pigmentation of your skin and create patches of discolouration. You’ll find these on your back, chest, neck and arms. These patches can be lighter or darker when compared to the surrounding skin, and can be pink, red, brown or tan in colour. This is a superficial ailment that is not contagious, generally associated with scaly skin and mild itching.
What causes tinea versicolor:
- Hot and humid weather that leads to excessive sweating
- Oily skin that promotes fungal growth
- Hormonal changes
- Weakened or suppressed immune system
- Hereditary factors if it runs in your family
What is dandruff?
Dandruff is a skin infection that is caused by the fungus Malassezia Globosa. This ailment primarily affects the scalp, but it can appear on your face as well. Your scalp produces sebum or oil through numerous sebaceous glands. If there is excess sebum on your scalp, the fungus feeds on it and breaks it down into oleic acid. This is not harmful to you by itself. But if your body is sensitive towards this by-product, it reacts in the form of itching, redness and white-yellow flakes. Almost half of the people in the world have some form of reaction to oleic acid.
Your dandruff condition is made worse by excess sebum, which is controlled by various factors. Hormonal changes, weather fluctuations and even stress can cause a spike in your sebum production. Even poor hair hygiene can cause a build-up on your scalp and provide fodder to the fungus.
How can you tell them apart?
Although the cause of Dandruff and Tinea versicolor is the same genus of fungi, the effects are quite different. This is what makes it easier to identify at home.
- Tinea Versicolor generally affects your back, arms, chest and neck area. Dandruff is predominantly on your scalp and face where the largest number of sebaceous glands are found.
- Tinea Versicolor is due to the spread of fungus that leads to hypopigmentation of your skin. Dandruff occurs only if you react to the by-products created by the fungus.
- Dandruff is associated with severe itching while Tinea Versicolor has a milder form of irritation.
- Tinea Versicolor has scaly skin with raised edges that is built on discolouration. It almost looks like patches of a different colour as compared to the adjacent skin. Dandruff is commonly associated with scalp redness, that can be accompanied by inflammation as well. Dandruff-laden skin is oilier, as the root cause is excess sebum. With Tinea Versicolor the skin is usually dry and scaly.
- You will shed white-yellow oily flakes of dead skin cells with dandruff. This does not occur with Tinea Versicolor.
- Tinea Versicolor might disappear in cool weather. Dandruff will not do so until the root cause is taken care of.
What should you do?
The approach on how to remove Dandruff and Tinea Versicolor is quite similar, as both are caused by a similar fungus.
You can use over the counter anti-fungal creams for your Tinea Versicolor problem. Anti-fungal oral pills can also deal with this ailment. Funnily, applying anti-dandruff scalp shampoos has shown to reduce your Tinea Versicolor breakout, as this attacks the dandruff causing microbes. If this severe scalp condition does not improve or if it spreads even more, you should visit a doctor and get a better diagnosis.
- You can try medicated cleansers or soaps once a week.
- Avoid oily products that could help the growth of the fungus.
- Reduce the time you spend in excessive heat or excessive sweating.
- Maintain better hygiene.
- Wear loose and breathable clothes, like cotton or linen.
For dandruff, you should apply shampoos that are built for your ailment. Use the Head and Shoulders Neem, that brings the benefits of nature to give you up to 100% dandruff free hair. Or you might want to use the Head and Shoulders Cool Menthol 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner to untangle your hair and get rid of dandruff flakes at the same time. Different combinations of products exist to help you with your dandruff problems, like the Head and Shoulders Supreme Scalp Rejuvenation for a dry scalp. You need to figure out what your requirements are and use the right product for you.