This could be seborrhoeic dermatitis. It is a skin disorder affecting the scalp, face, and trunk causing scaly, flaky, itchy, red skin. It particularly affects the sebum-gland rich areas of skin.
Side effects to inflammation may include temporary hair loss. If severe outbreaks are untreated for extended intervals, permanent hair loss may result, because of damage to hair follicles.
Soaps and detergents such as sodium laureate sulfate may precipitate a flare-up, as they strip moisture from the top layers of the skin, and the drying property of these can cause flare-ups and may worsen the condition. Accordingly a suitable alternative should be used instead.
Among dermatologist recommended treatments are shampoos containing coal tar, ciclopiroxolamine, ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, or zinc pyrithione. For severe disease, keratolytics such as salicylic acid or coal tar preparations may be used to remove dense scale. Topical terbinafine solution (1%) has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of scalp seborrhoea,as may lotions containing alpha hydroxy acids or corticosteroids (such as fluocinolone acetonide). Pimecrolimus topical lotion is also sometimes prescribed.
It would be advisable to consult a skin specialist for your symptoms and a proper clinical examination if your symptoms persist.
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Could you comment on the HIV portion of the question?
I have had seborrheic dermatitis since I was a kid. I saw a doctor when it first showed up around my nose, and HIV has never ever been mentioned. It's just a type of dermatitis, not really that different from dandruff. It's very common. I just wash my hair with head and shoulders brand intensive treatment shampoo and it clears up my face just fine. I don't even need to use it daily, just during outbreaks. Just to show how common it is, the shampoo actually says "seborrheic dermatitis shampoo" right on the label. You can get it any store that sells shampoo. Seriously, just having seborrhea is not any reason to think you have HIV.
HIV can commonly present as seborrhoeic dermatitis. But, it is hardly true the other way round - if you have seborrhoeic dermatitis it does not mean that you have HIV.
Seborrheic dermatitis is one of the most common skin manifestations of HIV disease. It occurs in <5% of the general HIV-uninfected population, but in 34-83% of those with advanced HIV disease. It may flare and subside over time, and tends to worsen after severe illness.
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