Are dandruff and psoriasis caused by a fungal infection? What is the simplest, least expensive therapy for each?
—Gerald Strahs, MD, Havertown, Pa.
Dandruff, or seborrheic dermatitis, may be an inflammatory reaction to the normal colonizing fungal organism Pityrosporum ovale. Common first-line, inexpensive therapies include shampoos containing selenium sulfide or ketoconazole. Topical steroid preparations may also be helpful.
Psoriasis is not usually associated with fungal infection, but infectious agents may trigger the disease in some cases. The simplest, least expensive therapy for localized psoriasis is a prescription, topical generic steroid preparation.
—Jeffrey M. Weinberg, MD (101-8)