Living With Pityriasis Amiantacea
The scalp disease pityriasis amiantacea is an inflammation in the scalp area that is
characterized by the production of scales, often yellow in color, crusty, and quite itchy. Often mistaken as a
fungal infection because of its synonym of tinea amiantacea, its definite cause has not yet been found although
several hair problems have caused this condition to occur. Tinea capitis, which is a fungal infection of the scalp,
rarely causes pityriasis amiantacea to occur.
Characteristic symptoms of pityriasis
When afflicted with the condition pityriasis amiantacea, the skin of the scalp is found to be densely covered
with scales, more specifically the ends of the hair where the follicles are found. It appears as clumps of scales
that cause the hair strands to adhere to each other. The scales produced by pityriasis amiantacea are found to be
arranged like shingles on a roof. Some may describe it like asbestos flakes, which gives it its name. The skin of
the scalp commonly appears normal, under the scales, but it can also appear reddish and scaly.
Pityriasis amiantacea is frequently found to affect only a small part of the scalp. But there are some cases
wherein the condition of Pityriasis amiantacea has involved the entire scalp. It has also been seen to be present
in the skin behind the ears of young girls, as a localized condition of pityriasis amiantacea but it may also
extend to the scalp area. It may also be seen extending from an infection of lichen simplex in the scalp.
Areas afflicted with pityriasis amiantacea may experience hair loss although hair may grow afterwards following
extensive and continuous treatment of the infection. It is often caused by difficulty in combing the hair strands
and separating them from each other since they are found to be clumped together with the scales caused by this
Causes of pityriasis amiantacea
A definite cause for Pityriasis amiantacea has not yet been discovered. It is sometimes found even present
without any exact origin or source. Pityriasis amiantacea is found to be associated with several scalp infections
including seborrhoeic dermatitis, psoriasis, and lichen simplex.
Treatment of pityriasis amiantacea
The treatment of pityriasis amiantacea, like any other scalp infection, is quite messy and even smells bad,
which makes it rather unpopular with those afflicted with it. Unfortunately, there is no other way but to go
through this treatment for several weeks, at least, to get rid of the infection.
There are studies that concentrate on finding an effective cure for pityriasis amiantacea but at present,
shampoos that contain either coal tar or ketoconazole may be used. Application depends on the degree of the
infection. Sometimes, it may need to stay on the scalp for an extended period of time, just to make sure that the
medication has penetrated the skin of the scalp. This is often seen in more severe cases. Steroids and lotions may
help with the itch but does not remove the scales and there is a possibility of aggravating the inflammation even
Some may suggest getting a haircut although this also does not agree with everyone. Regular application of
creams may also help in keeping the scalp free from scales.
Pityriasis amiantacea is an inflammation of the scalp which affects all types of individuals. It may result in
hair loss if not resolved properly and quickly.